Old School Italian in Los Angeles

Kevin dropped this review on a spot in Tustin (looks super good!) but I disagree with the statements that it’s hard to find red sauce Italian places in LA (not sure about OC…)

Not only are there plenty of red sauce Italian restaurants, they’re still very popular on every price point. Consider: Vito (crazy busy in SaMo), La Dolce Vita (BH), Dan Tana’s, and Madeo. Peppone, Matteo’s, Pace, Guido’s are still kicking around. On the outskirts, Pinocchio, Little Toni’s, Petrillo’s, Casa Bianca, heck even Scarantino’s is still serving in what I’m pretty sure is a mobster-owned place in Glendale. Andre’s, Jones Hollywood, Jon & Vinny’s (yes, this is red sauce Italian despite the modern look), and Little Dom’s. Anyway, it’s inspired us to do a map of it on Eater LA, so it’ll be easier to find them and enjoy some spaghetti and meatballs!

We sort of did this already.

There you go. I’m glad you love Jones bc it’s probably my favorite too for spaghetti and meatballs.

Yeah, I think the only place I like better for Spaghetti and Meatballs is probably Carbone in Manhattan.

While I’m not a fan of the hype or scene, I’d have to go with Rao’s. Their meatball recipe is what I make at home and very close to what my grandmother - who grew up on Mulberry St. in NYC - made with her Sunday gravy.

I gave up on going to the LA Rao’s after some brutal early reviews. BUt it has somewhat rebounded on yelp–with an average of four stars. I will say, it has very few reviews given how long it’s been around now, suggesting business is not great.

Rao’s is really good despite its oddball location. Prices are high though

$49 for veal parm is really a bit crazy.

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that’s a bargain compared to the $64 veal parm and $75 lasagna at carbone

Understatement of the year.

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my office is across the street from Matteo’s/Little Taste of Hoboken…i grew up eating often in Bronx red sauce/checkered table cloths restaurants…Hoboken is my go to for spaghetti & meat balls, baked ziti, caesar salad w/wo chicken…

Haha so what should I have said: they’re ludicrously priced?

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Carbone is also insanely expensive based on my meal in Vegas

$50 for veal parm? fuck that!

I drive by this place all the time but never have been. Maybe I should stop by once!

if you mean Hoboken, paranoidgarliclover, id give it a shot! but go to Hoboken not Matteo’s…mostly the same menu(used to be, anyway) but pretty big price gap

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Carmine II

I miss the days of Matteo’s when Matty was alive (and later, his brother). Once they sold, it wasn’t the same, but boy oh boy were those great days and great food.

Let’s say it’s ludicrously overpriced.

It’s funny, this was the “cheap stuff” when I was growing up - homestyle food we often consumed in the kitchens and dining rooms of family and friends or ate as a weeknight cheapie restaurant dinner - but time and distance have somehow elevated humble dishes like spaghetti and meatballs to special occasion dining. This is especially true of places like Rao’s or Tana’s, that charge an arm and a leg for these sorts of red sauce dishes. $30 bucks for lasagna… ridiculous.

What makes it insanely expensive? The style of food not being worth the money?