It was love at first bite for me and Angeli Caffe (a bite of pumpkin lasagna to be precise) and it's been my go-to Italian restaurant ever since. Located on Melrose, Angeli Caffe serves rustic Italian food with seasonal, fresh ingredients. The food is simple but incredibly delicious, which is no surprise when you consider its owner.
Evan Kleiman is a chef, cookbook writer and host of KCRW's Good Food. She's also the founder of Slow Food LA, a non-profit organization that promotes good, clean and fair food production and consumption. Basically, she's a total superstar in the foodie world...and one of my heroes.
As part of its connection to the Slow Food Movement, Angeli has a year-round menu and a seasonal menu. When I visited this weekend, I was stoked to get to try the winter menu!
J ordered the Lasagna Angeli, lasagna with a tomato-basil sauce, ricotta, parmesan and seasonal veggies including spinach. Although I prefer heartier, meatier lasagna, this is so good! You can actually taste chunks of tomato in the sauce, which makes it feel like you're eating a home-cooked meal rather than a restaurant-prepared one. I also love that the lasagna's flavor will always be different depending on the season during which you visit the restaurant.
My out-of-town visitor ordered the seasonal gnocchi, which was beet. I passed on trying this one, but my friend ate every bite! Not a bad sign. I just love that they're pink!
My other friend (and Angeli-newbie) opted for the Special Pizza with winter squash, fontina cheese and walnuts. Squash is not something that I'd ordinarily think of as a pizza topping, but the soft, sweet squash played nicely off the crunchy dough. I had food envy over this one!
I ordered the Penne with Ricotta, Garlic and a "hint of chile." The dish was good but very rich. I didn't quite anticipate that the pasta would be bathed in ricotta, and I got full very quickly. It needed a little more chile to counteract all of the creamy cheese.
Our first dessert was Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding. The consensus was that it was yummy with just the right amount of chocolate but that it could have been a little gooier (although this is a matter of taste).
We also ordered a mixed berry tart. I loved the fruit, but the tart itself was a little dry and definitely needed to be paired with ice cream rather than whipped cream.
Angeli Caffe is a must-try for homemade, rustic Italian!
7274 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046