What Does an Italian Chef Eat in L.A.? Asian and Mexican Food, of Course
Pizzana's Daniele Uditi
Daniele Uditi did not mean to move to Los Angeles. When the chef arrived in 2010, it was for a six-month consulting gig. Seven years later, he's still here, having fallen in love with the culture and produce of Los Angeles, as well as with the woman who would become his wife. In April, Uditi opened Pizzana in Brentwood, serving Neapolitan-style pizza that people are going berserk over. But when the chef eats out, he usually gravitates toward Mexican or Asian food.
"I like to see how other immigrants have brought the dishes from their countries to this city," Uditi says. "When I think of the food that L.A. does really well, I always think of Asian and Mexican cuisine."
Here are his six go-to spots.
Mole taco at Guisados
"There are several locations of Guisados now, but it still feels very genuine with the soulful meat braises and handmade corn tortillas. You can get a sampler platter with small versions of six different tacos or order à la carte. My wife, who is Mexican, always does the ordering for us." 2100 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Boyle Heights; (323) 264-7201, guisados.co.
5. Escuela Taqueria
"This Mid-City spot on Beverly Boulevard near the Grove offers specialty tacos made with high-quality ingredients. The lobster taco has fresh Maine lobster and chipotle crema, and I also get the pork ribs taco, which has slow-roasted rib meat with sweet chili sauce and slaw — it's awesome." 7615 Beverly Blvd., Mid-City; (323) 932-6178, escuelataqueria.com.
4. Mercado Santa Monica
"This is one of my favorite spots on the Westside — I love the cuisine and go visit the chef there all the time with my wife. We order tacos such as the jicama crispy shrimp and skirt steak, and then finish with the flan."
1416 Fourth St., Santa Monica; (310) 526-7121, cocinasycalaveras.com.
Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.
"Every Friday I go to the Sawtelle location after finishing up at Pizzana. I order the tsukemen noodles that you dip into the thick broth served on the side. It’s my comfort food." 2057 Sawtelle Blvd., Sawtelle; (310) 231-7373, thetsujita.com.
2. ROC Sawtelle
"When I’m in the mood for dumplings, I’ll visit ROC just down the block from Tsujita. The soup dumplings are great, and during the afternoon they also offer pan-fried dumplings — though I’m usually at Pizzana when those are available!" 2049 Sawtelle Blvd., Sawtelle; (310) 235-2089.
1. Qin West
"This spot specializing in Shaanxi Chinese cuisine is hidden away, so it feels like a discovery in the middle of Westwood. I go with my brother Roberto and always get the liang pi noodles — a cold, flat noodle dish. It closes at 9 p.m., so get there early." 1767 Westwood Blvd., Westwood; (310) 478-8829, qinwest.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.