For a locale that is not remotely Italy adjacent, us Angelenos excel at being Italian food snobs. We like a wood burning oven, and we know our optimal wood burning temperature. We like our cheese, perfect. Many compete, options abound, it takes a lot to impress us. So when a neighbourhood trattoria comes along and raises our brow, the rest of us sit up, take notice, and tuck in our napkin. Il Piccolo Ritrovo, pass the pappardelle.
While they have recently opened a second outpost to the delight of Playa Vista denizens, we decided to try out their flagship of Neapolitan nuance in the Pacific Palisades. This preference largely driven by Rick Caruso’s newest uprising, where the window shopping is wonderous but actual consumption, questionable. While feasting on fashion only takes me so far, I had to ask, couldn’t we dine decadently here in the Palisades without taking out a second mortgage? Isn’t there a place? Il Picolo Ritrovo (while admittedly hard for me to pronounce), fills in a niche needed in this want for naught neighbourhood. With old school charm and an inarguable authenticity.
Situated next to a gas station, expect nothing fancy and everything genuine – the pasta, ravioli, homemade, same goes for the oven. If you are looking for an extravagant dining experience, move on. If you are looking to sit in Nando Silvestri and Tarcisio Mosconi’s kitchen, pull up a chair.
For dinner, it’s all there. Antipasti, NY style pizza, pastas, risottos, one of the most comprehensive gnocchi collections I’ve come across. Fish is featured too – scampi, spigola, halibut, salmon – I settled in on the lobster ravioli – a treat. The pink sauce, an excellent complement. The Arugula e Carciofi is a great opener, with those shaved artichoke hearts, that parmesan, lemony and truffled. My husband went with the spaghetti integrali, hearty pasta with vegetables highlighted by the lemon and light white wine sauce. Simple and very well done. Everything in this humble haunt appeared to be. Kids cleaned their plates too, and got in on our salad.
Alight with an abundance of what makes Italy such a lure, Il Piccolo Ritrovo is a reflection of the hospitality and hominess that defines its homeland. The meals are made from scratch, the welcome is genuine, and the want to stay for gelato, undeniable. Don’t let the informality mislead you, in a city searching for Italian that merits a meal out, Il Piccolo Ritrovo is a formidable find.
Il Piccolo Ritrovo, 15415 West Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA.
Tel: +1(310) 454-2243
There’s metered street parking on Sunset or you will find some parking behind the restaurant. Open Monday to Sunday from 5:00pm to 9:30pm.
Type of Restaurant: Italian Restaurant, Pizzeria and Trattoria
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tip: Family friendly, very reasonably priced and an easy answer for a family night out.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.
Photographs courtesy of Il Piccolo Ritrovo