Angelini Osteria is two different restaurants Ė a bustling, noisy place with great food at dinner and a more sedate, relaxed place with great food for lunch.
I canít explain why Jennifer and I hadnít visited Angelini years ago. It was among the favorite places in town for the late L.A. Times food writer David Shaw, a friend who I respected immensely. David had a devotion to good Italian food. So, why didnít I follow his lead to Angelini. Maybe it was because I had a silly misperception that the place was too trendy. Well, it isnít and we are the losers for not having been there before our recent visits.
Angelini Osteria is in store-front space that could be a dry cleaner or insurance agency if it werenít a restaurant. The tables are jammed together. But the staff is friendly, helpful and efficient and the kitchen turns out miracles on plates.
In two recent visits I had a beet and arugula salad that was tops, veal liver with mashed potatoes and asparagus, canolis filled with ricotta cheese, marinated baby artichokes, and halibut with tomatoes in olive oil. Jennifer swooned over her beef cheeks and loved her roasted sweet Italian sausage with canilli beans appetizer. A dinner companion had a wonderful veal and beef lasagna and a lunch partner had a terrific lobster risotto.
In a fickle restaurant town, Angelini has survived long enough to inspire confidence. Our first visit was on a Thursday night in the midst of a recession and the place was packed throughout the evening.