The chef Giacomino Drago is from Sicily, yet his cooking is influenced by all regions of Italy. He is a businessman and he knows how the best Italian restaurant should look even in Los Angeles. Busy, vibrant, lively and homey. The diner has to feel like eating at a family table. And, that is exactly how we felt at Il Pastaio. Staged in the midst of the fancy shopping frenzy of Beverly Hills, Il Pastaio brings normality into the fake façades of the rich and surgically beautiful living and driving to this affluent LA area.
Busy vibe inside Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills.
You almost feel like in Italy. I love the busy and noisy chatter inside Il Pastaio reminding me of my favourite restaurants in Italy. That is why I am always happy to be seated inside. The service was friendly, attentive and speaking the charming ‘Italiaglish’.
In fall, the truffle season menu flies in the temptation to order some specials enhanced by this intensely aromatic fungus. Like the Carpaccio di Bue al Tartufo was out of the world expensive ($62) but the tender beaf with truffles were exquisite. Served with porcini, arugula, fresh black truffle, shaved parmesan and fondue dressing it was opulent and I would recommend it as a main course to alleviate the high price.
Beef Carpaccio with Truffles
For a lighter start the Carpaccio di Pesce Spada, a swordfish carpaccio with arugula, fennel, baby frisèe salad, capers, olive oil and lemon dressing was fabulous and refreshing.
Linguine con Crostacei, the linguini pasta with half lobster and crab meat in a light and slightly spicy tomato sauce were slightly disappointing. Unfortunately, the pastas were not cooked al dente.
Linguine with Lobster
We shared Risotto with fresh truffles ($55), again the aromatic mushrooms added up to the price, though this time it was not worth it as the rice was too undercooked! A balance needs to be weighed into the pasta and rice cooking time at Il Pastaio.
We shared three desserts. The Tiramisu was perfetto – the creamy mascarpone between the layers of a spongy cake soaked with liquor (fortified marsala from Sicily) and sprinkled with dark chocolate powder. With cappuccino it was a double shot.
The Apple pie with vanilla ice cream is not the most typical Italian sweet treat, but which country does not have its own adaptation of an apple pie? My favorite dessert at Il Pastaio. The perfectly crisp crust nesting the caramelized apple melted together with the vanilla ice cream like lovers kissing each other for the first time.
An extra scoop of the house Vanilla gelato was a refreshing yet creamy cherry on the cake left for the last bite.
Desserts and cappuccino
The wine list is very good sporting iconic Italian wines such as Ornellaia and Sassicaia, but also more friendly-priced bottles around $30. We started with a bottle of Sicilian Chardonnay from Planeta, which never disappoints. It has a fuller body thanks to oak ageing. From the reds we got a less pricier version from the Antinori family – Tignanello (it is still a hit with almost $200, yet a three times less than the Antinori’s iconic Ornellaia). It is a wonderful wine, elegant and rich at the same time. With pasta and desserts is a great wine. Il Pastaio also passed my expert test with their cappuccino, which had a frothy thick foam and slightly milky body as it should be.
The savvy chef cum businessman ventured into Japanese cuisine with Shu Sushi and Yojisan Sushi.
 400 N.Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, US
+1 310 205 5444
Mon-Wed: 11:30am – 11:00pm; Thu-Sat 11:30am – midnight; Sun: 11:30am – 10:00pm