My husband kept my birthday celebration going by taking me to Pizzicoto on Saturday night. This cramped space is always filled with locals who know where to get authentic Italian food in Los Angeles’ Westside. There is nothing stuffy or uptight about this place - the interior is decorated with imported pastas and oils and hanging meats and cheeses; the wait staff is friendly (though always busy); and the food is filled with simple, fresh flavors. You can go dressed up or dressed down, but you might want to make a reservation when you do go. It’s a rare evening that Pizzicotto isn’t packed.
My husband and I have been to Pizzicotto many times in the past. Our first time there made a lasting impression - our waiter was so eager to please us, and he seemed to take true delight in making sure we enjoyed each selection. He also brought us some free espresso, so he could show us his crema skills. At the end of that night, while watching the sugar crystals slowly melt into the thick espresso, we knew that we would be back again and again.
One great thing about Pizzicotto is the reasonable prices. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great meal, but you can. I say that you can, because of their nightly specials. Anytime either myself or someone I have been with has ordered a special, it has been wonderful. Knowing that always makes me want to try at least one thing off of the specials menu when I go. However, the specials always cost more than the regular menu, which also has amazing dishes. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.
The majority of the time that we go here, my husband and I start our night by splitting a large Caesar salad. Their fresh dressing is so light, and it coats each crisp leaf of romaine perfectly. However, on Saturday, we each decided to get the soup du jour: potato, leek, and artichoke. At first I thought the price was a bit steep at $7.95 per bowl. But when they brought it to us, I realized why. The bowls were huge - this soup, with the previously mentioned Caesar, could have been a meal on their own. Floating on the surface were a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and a delicate chiffonade of basil. The soup itself was very fresh tasting - you could really make out the tang of the artichoke, the sweetness of the basil, and bite of the leek. I am sure there must have been cream in there, but it was very light. This was a vegetarian soup, and the stock melded wonderfully with the other flavors. My husband and I oohed and ahhed through each bite, and I declared that I was going to start making homemade soups from now on for us to enjoy. We basically scrapped our bowls clean!
Next up were our entrees, which we both chose to order off of the regular menu. I picked my favorite, the fettuccine ortolano. While their gnocchi is pillow-y and soft, and their ravioli is so thin you can see the spinach leaves and ricotta inside, it’s the fettuccine ortolano that I love best. The fresh pasta is served up with fresh tomatoes, arugula, asparagus, peppers, eggplant, and buffalo mozzarella. How the chef knew these are all of my favorite things mixed together in one bowl, I have no idea. But this dish could just as easily be named after me, that’s how much I love it.
My husband ordered the lobster ravioli. The same fresh pasta is wrapped around succulent chunks of lobster meat, and it’s served in a pink vodka sauce. Swoon!
Two of the husband’s other favorites that he has ordered in the past, both specials:
- Black and white spaghetti. Each spaghetti noodle is half white (regular pasta color) and half black (dyed with squid ink). When I say “half”, I mean the long way, so I don’t know how they accomplish this. I had never seen it before. It’s served with calamari.
- Oso Bucco. Tender veal and veggies. All perfectly cooked.
Both of those dishes were great, and I got to taste them, so I am a lucky wife.
The desserts at Pizzicotto are also wonderful. They have a delicate lemon torta with a crisp, almond crust; chocolate covered pastry balls filled with cream (sorry, don’t know the name of that one); and the freshest berry tart. All of these are on display in a refrigerator case that you can stare at all night, so it’s pretty unlikely that you will make it out without ordering dessert. Sorry, Pinkberry, no stop on the way home for you.
So, not only did we have a wonderful Italian dinner that completely erased our horrible experience at San Gennaro from the week before, but our bill was much less as well. If you are ever anywhere near Brentwood, and are looking for amazing Italian at a reasonable price, I highly suggest going to Pizzicotto. You won’t regret it.
Pizzicotto is located next to Blockbuster at 11758 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 442-7188
Note: Pizzicotto will make anything to order. Even if you don’t want garlic on anything, they can do that. There is nothing pre-made in their kitchen. (Except the marinara, which has been cooking all day. You can’t get that without garlic.)