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Big Night in Los Angeles

Halfway between Venice Beach and Beverly Hills is a winning little neighborhood restaurant - Giovanni's Trattoria & Pizzeria - that has more than a touch of the 1996 film Big Night to it. Like the restaurant in that movie, this one is run by two Italian brothers - the Prinzos - with Giovanni handling the front of the house and Angelo manning the stoves. The food is authentic and good, reflecting, in this case, the cooking of the
Campania region, where the Prinzo brothers were born.

But unlike the unlucky lads of Big Night, these brothers have a steady stream of regular customers. They return for the friendly service, casual atmosphere and straightforward food made with care. The pizzas are of the thin-crust variety - at once crisp and chewy; the fagottini di melenzane (grilled eggplant with pine nuts, ricotta cheese and herbs) is delicious; the farfalle with fresh salmon comes in a delicate tomato sauce that has just a hint of cream. Entrees, such as the pounded breast of chicken with lemon and olive oil, are served with garlicky vegetables and thick-cut potatoes that are roasted to perfection. And the tiramisu is terrific.

Reprinted from Bon Appetit,
The Western Insider
December 1997, p. 198B
By Siobhan Burns and Anthony Head