When the world thinks of Los Angeles, they imagine a city full of salad-eaters and juiceheads. That stereotype is primarily based off of a group of people who get paid to look pretty and stay that way, but the truth is that Angelenos love to eat. Sure, we have tremendous sushi, but did you know we also have incredible pasta? We may be the biggest city in the country without an official Little Italy, but instead we have great chefs serving unbelievable Italian food. While there's definitely a contingent of OG Pasta Godfathers, the new crop of talent is even more exciting. These are the new pasta masters of LA:
Name: Evan Funke
Claim to Fame: Taking “handmade pasta” really seriously.
When Bucato debuted over the summer, they got attention for two reasons: a stupid policy that makes your cell phone contraband inside the restaurant and a dedication to making pasta by hand that goes far beyond what anyone else in town is doing. The pasta is made daily without the use of any machines whatsoever. It's made, rolled and cut entirely by hand using the ultra-traditional fatto a mano techniques that have ruled Italy for centuries. Even better news: that handmade pasta is really, really good. 3280 Helms Ave. Culver City, CA 90230, (310) 876-0286
Name: Jason Neroni
Restaurant: Superba Snack Bar
Claim to Fame: Out-of-the-box pasta stunners.
Superba isn't really an Italian restaurant, but Neroni makes pasta dishes that would make nonnas weep with tears of envy. He turns out excellent versions of classics like spaghetti cacio pepe and a smoked (!) bucatini carbonara that may blow your mind. But the true genius of Neroni stretches beyond The Boot. You might find a squid ink chitarra with chorizo and mussels, perhaps, or his incredible tagliatelle by way of Tokyo with uni, Dungeness crab, wakame and jalapeno miso butter. No matter which pasta dish you order at Superba, there's no doubt you'll be leaving happy. 533 Rose Ave. Venice, CA 90291; (310) 399-6400
Name: Ori Menashe
Claim to Fame: Downtown warehouse trendy cool.
If you've spoken to anyone in the LA food scene about the hottest restaurants over the last couple of years, you've surely heard the name Bestia. The restaurant thrives on current food trends (small plates, farm-to-table, nose-to-tail, pasta/pizza/charcuterie), but also happens to put out really good food. Chef Ori Menashe knows his pasta, and the plates he's turning out — hand-rolled pistachio pasta with lamb ragu, cavatelli with housemade pork sausage and black truffles, saffron pasta, mushroom pasta — are worth a visit to this somewhat hidden gem on the east side of Downtown. 2121 7th Pl. Los Angeles, CA 90021; (213) 514-5724
Name: Vic Casanova
Claim to Fame: Comfort food that goes beyond the red sauce.
One of Esquire's Best New Restaurants of 2012, Gusto from chef Vic Casanova is exactly the type of place you wish existed in every neighborhood: small, affordable and comfortable. The menu doesn't overwhelm you with a full page of 50 cheesecakes, but that's because it's curated to include the best of what Casanova can do. Choose any of the six pastas (made in-house, of course) and you're bound to stumble upon a new favorite, whether it's the garganelli verdi in bolognese or the rich agnolotti dal plin with short ribs, chive butter, horseradish and parmigiano-reggiano. When you're at Gusto, you really do feel like family. 8432 W. 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048; (323) 782-1778
Name: Dustin Trani
Claim to Fame: Started working in restaurants at age 6.
Chef Dustin Trani comes from a proud tradition of Italian cooking. His family has owned and operated San Pedro's J Trani's since 1925 and Trani became an executive chef before he was 25. Now he's helming the stoves at Doma, creating pasta dishes that satisfy the Beverly Hills blue hairs and foodies alike. You won't find any new advances in modern pasta technology here, but you will find seafood linguine, spaghetti and meatballs and a creamy ricotta ravioli that can only come from a kid who grew up near a six-burner. 362 N. Camden Dr. Beverly Hills, CA; (310) 277-7346
Name: Matt Molina
Restaurant: Osteria Mozza
Claim to Fame: The superstar of a new dynasty.
When the Mozza complex launched roughly seven years ago, everyone was talking about the pairing of big leaguers Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali. A name that didn't get much press? Matt Molina, not even 30 years old at time. Now, Molina is a big leaguer himself, winning the James Beard Best Chef: Pacific award in 2012 and making Mozza one of the most successful restaurants in LA. The pastas here are head and shoulders above the main courses and anyone who's gone more than once can tell you that you have to order both the ricotta and egg raviolo and the orecchiette with sausage and chard. Those people are right. The people that tell you to order every pasta on the menu are also right. 6602 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038; (323) 297-0100
Names: Zach Pollack and Steve Samson
Claim to Fame: The sort-of, kind-of LA equivalent of the Torrisi guys.
The guys at Sotto have made a name for themselves with authentic Neapolitan pizza and pastas that you won't find at Olive Garden. Maharrones de pungiu? Casarecce? Fileja? They're all here, like the Island of Misfit Pasta. Close your eyes and point to one randomly, then sit back and happily eat your bowl of misfits when it arrives. 9575 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035; (310) 277-0210
Craving more from Los Angeles' master chefs? Break out your chopsticks for The 8 Sushi Masters Of LA
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