You might not guess it from the modest, rather congested dining room, but this is one of L.A.'s most celebrated Italian restaurants. The key is chef-owner Gino Angelini's thoughtful use of superb ingredients, evident in dishes such as a chopped salad with white beans, cucumbers, pistachios, and avocado, and cavatelli with mussels, clams, shrimp, peas, and saffron. Whole branzino, liberally crusted in sea salt, and boldly flavored rustic specials like tender veal kidneys
or rich oxtail stew, consistently impress. An intelligent selection of mostly Italian wines complements the menu.