Friday, February 3, 2012

Closing Night at Angeli Caffe

On January 13th, after 27 years of service, Angeli Caffe hosted its final dinner. The Melrose Avenue fixture, owned and operated by Chef Evan Kleiman, was a trusty, go-to option for delicious, seasonal Italian cooking for many, including myself. In fact, my love for food owes a great debt to Chef Kleiman and Angeli.

When I first moved to LA to attend college, food was not a particularly important part of my life. Its relative unimportance to me was rooted in several different factors, not the least of which were my struggles with an eating disorder in high school. In my sophomore year, however, I sampled Chef Kleiman’s food and learned of the Slow Food movement, seasonal cooking and locally-sourced ingredients. My exposure to these concepts radically changed the way I looked at food and fostered my appreciation for it. Since then, I have turned to Angeli Caffe for all manner of events: (real) first dates, birthdays, dinners with parents and out-of-towners, and graduation dinners (for both J and me). When J and I heard that Angeli Caffe was shuttering, we knew, without a doubt, that we’d have to pay a visit to the restaurant for its closing night.

Angeli Caffe

Although it was the restaurant’s final night, the mood amongst the diners was convivial; we were celebrating the restaurant’s run, not mourning its closure. Everyone around us seemed to have their own Angeli story, their own connection to the restaurant that made it feel uniquely “theirs.” A well-known actor sitting nearby told me that he’s eaten there since childhood, even rolling pizza dough in the kitchen as a small boy. People from all of the restaurant's nearly three decades had gathered for one last bite of Angeli.

Suppli & Croquettes de Patate @ Angeli Caffe
Suppli (rice croquettes stuffed with mozzarella) and Croquette di Patate (potato croquettes with salame and smoked mozzarella)

Pizza con Salcicce @ Angeli Caffe
Pizza con Salcicce (caramelized onion, Italian sausage, fontina and sage)

Special Pizza @ Angeli Caffe
Special pizza with sausage, artichoke, sweet pepper and fontina

Special Lasagna @ Angeli Caffe
Seasonal lasagna

Tiramisu @ Angeli Caffe

My love of, appreciation for and steps towards developing a healthy relationship with food can all be traced back to Angeli. Thank you to Evan Kleiman for the love you poured into the food at Angeli Caffe over 27 years--particularly the 5 which I enjoyed!—and for the passion for good food that you awakened in me. I already miss that hot, pillowy bread but can’t wait to see (and, more importantly, eat) what comes next. Cheers!

Previous posts about Angeli Caffe:
Dinner (one of my first posts on Noms, Not Bombs)
Passover Seder


  1. Thanks so much for this. Really meaningful for me. And love the pic of the croquettes and suppli!

  2. Wow, thank you so very much for reading! I really appreciate your comment and hope to be able to eat more of your cooking in the very near future. Best wishes! :)

  3. Great story, Misty!I'm missing my Sunday pizzas to go from Angeli.