Angeli Caffe, the Melrose Italian restaurant, has been around for years but I never made it there. With high powered Italian spots like Mozza and Angelini Osteria within a short drive, it's impressive that Angeli has held on for so long, so I figured I would finally check it out.
The atmosphere of the restaurant reminds me of Manhattan. It's a tiny cube of a room with small tables pressed up tightly against each other. It's a bit cramped.
The hot loaf of bread delivered to your table is delicious, tasting a bit like a good, pizza dough (and they do serve pizza, so that makes sense). We next headed for the antipasti which was just fantastic. The marinated veggies which dominated the antipasti plate (ours was the special, but they have several), were wonderfully done. Carrots had a nice tang and zucchini a sweet zing, along with a nice goat cheese wrapped in marinated eggplant. The small sprinkling of olives and mozzarella balls on the plate were sort of throwaways that didn't seem to match the great veggies.
For entrees, after hearing much lauding of the gnocchi of the day, we went with the ricotta gnocchi and a chicken piccata special. Both of these were very nice as well. The gnocchi were light and fluffy in a luxurious butter sauce, and the piccata was very nice, creamy and not too sour.
And one of the best things about this place was the price. There aren't many more formal LA dining spots where you can eat and enjoy a few drinks in the $70 range and finding one, was indeed gratifying.
I'm glad I finally made the trip after all these years, and I will be back, for pasta, pizza and more.
7274 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046