7274 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Dining date: 2/12/11
Angeli Caffe has been around for more than 25 years, a remarkable achievement in an LA dining scene that has vastly changed during that time period. Its founder, Evan Kleinman, is a notable personality in LA – she’s the host of KCRW’s Good Food. I’ve been to Angeli once a few years back, and I thought it was just okay. However, we were looking for Italian options in the area, and this popped up as a suggestion.
Half of our party was vegetarian, so we were heavy on those dishes.
Insalata Forte locally grown organic baby greens, fennel, Belgian endive dressed with a garlicky parmesan vinaigrette
Penne with Ricotta chile and parsley
This is typically with pancetta, but we “veggie-fied” it by omitting it. The pasta was a nice al dente, and still had some good flavor from the ricotta and chile. The pancetta would’ve given it a nice depth of flavor and saltiness, I’m sure.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Pollo Arrosto famous succulent half chicken, marinated w/garlic, fresh rosemary and lemon, then roasted
I found the chicken to be pretty moist with decent flavor. Nothing special, but a decent chicken. The accompanying beans and potatoes seemed steamed and rather plain.
Risotto with Shrimp and Lemon Zest
The risotto was good, creamy with an al dente texture. The shrimp was overcooked, though, leaving it mealy. I liked the lemon zest, which added a little bit of brightness to the dish.
I had ordered a lasagna which never came out. The food thus far had been mediocre, but I was still hungry so I was up for another dish. Weezermonkey had been raving about the gnochetti (as well as many Yelp reviews) on Twitter after I had ordered, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Two options were available – a tomato basil sauce and an herb butter.
Ricotta Gnocchetti of the Day tomato basil
As I ate the first piece, I thought to myself “holy crap, this is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while!” Perhaps part of this was a factor of expectations from the previous dishes, but I found the gnochetti to be so light, fluffy, pillowy – delicious. The tomato basil sauce had just a little bit of sweetness that really complemented the dish. So good.
I had to try another order; this time with the herb butter.
Ricotta Gnocchetti of the Day herb butter
The gnochetti was just the same as before, but I didn’t care for the herb butter as much. I appreciated the acidity and sweetness of the tomato basil sauce with the dumplings – here, the rich butter didn’t do the same thing.
My meal at Angeli was kind of whatever, except for the late-entry gnochetti. They were definitely memorable; still one of the best bites I’ve had in 2011. I’m not sure when/if I’ll be back, but I’m definitely sticking to the gnochetti – it’s highly recommended.