5 Dudley Ave, Venice, CA | Directions 9029133.994214 -118.479434
Neighborhoods: West LA, Venice
Calm down on the salt. – A charming, snug and intimate place. So snug that we were party to our neighboring table receiving a lengthy harrangue regarding management's current battle with Zagat. At the time we sympathized with management but by the time we finished the meal our loyalties had moved to "the man" (Zagat).
Although artfully described, the menu rarely lives up to the dish as served (this is our 3rd time here - always hoping for improvement). The foie gras stuffed quail seemed absent the foie gras (the reason I ordered it). The "light" anchovy sauce completely dominated the ravioli dish. The squid ink pasta, already salty in itself, suffered from a further drenching of sodium before leaving the kitchen. I couldn't get it down. The last time we ate here I was overwhelmed with the abundance of salt in a salad! What's up with the salt jonesing, chef?
For dessert we were desperate for something to cleanse the palate and surprise, surprise, no sorbet. The dessert menu was dominated by chocolate and dairy and banana and something pretentiously called pineapple carpaccio (thin slices of pineapple - gimme a break). A trip to Gelson's for some delightful fruit sorbetto finally vanquished the salty redolence the dinner left behind.
Overall there's a firm, guiding hand here with an undertone of arrogance that may leave this restaurant to its devoted followers but few others. It's such a disappointment. I so want to love this local "jewel" (as we live in the neighborhood) but every time we've eaten here for every dish we've loved there's been two that we found bad to uneatable. And for the record, we've eaten all over the world and love Florentine dining..... This ain't that.
avoid at all costs – If you like to get treated badly by the waitress because you did not take the strongly suggested appetizer, be refused Parmesan cheese on your 5 noodles (very small plates) because the restaurant's chef thinks it would spoil the plate and pay $30 per person for all of this, this place is definitely for you. Pedantic, over priced and the food is not even good. Without kidding this is my worst restaurant experience in 38 years and, believe me, I ate in some great places before.
BETTER SPEND A LOT OF $$$ - BECAUSE THE STAFF WILL BERATE IF YOU DON'T – Apparently our $29 half bottle chianti and three pasta dishes (ranging $17.50 - $18.50) were not enough of an order. Both the waitress and the sommelier 'warned' us the portions were small and that most people would order an appetizer to go with it. In fact, the sommelier rather berated us about it and made it clear that we shouldn't have been seated if we weren't going to order more food.
No manager was available to speak with about this behavior and neither the waitress nor the sommelier wanted to hear our viewpoint or try to soothe the situation.
While trying to explain that we felt his viewpoint was short sighted because we had intended to give the restaurant a try and return to have a bigger meal another day, he rather rudely said "for 3 pastas, i don't have time for you' and walked off to the kitchen.
Had they made the evening pleasant, we would have finished with more wine and dessert and the meal would have surpassed the $90 tab by another $20. We still would have been out in under an hour so they could turn the table again.
But instead this sommelier/waiter/manager would rather scare away future business than attract another loyal customer.
If any of my staff at one of the hotels i manage ever treated one of our guests in a similar way, saying the one night they spent at our hotel was not worth their time, I'd fire the person...and give the guest a free night in hopes of rectifiyng the situation.
Anyone with any sense in the hospitality biz knows that word of mouth and good customer service, for each and every customer, are what keep the business going and growing. And by thinking and acting as if every customer matters, you become and stay at the top of your field.
I hope the owner sees this and either gives his staff a lesson in customer service and retention, or fires this guy, as he is clearly inappropriate for this line of work, plain and simple.
Great food, but watch those "comps" – We went there on a Tuesday night hoping to find a less crowded place than on the weekends. The food was fantastic - and so was the wait. I had ordered the pea soup for my app, and was brought the beet salad - no problem, our waiter said - keep the salad and I will bring your soup. The soup was one of the best things I have ever eaten - just amazing. My black pasta with lobster sauce lacked a bit of flavor, but my husband's steak was wonderful.
After dinner, our waiter brought us what we thought was a complimentary dessert (we hadn't ordered it) of amaretto semifreddo - it was crazy tasty - but thought it was a little underhanded when we saw it on the bill ($10 for one scoop!)
So we didn't pay for the incorrect salad - we just paid for a dessert we didn't order.
The food was so good and the ambiance so charming we would return, but would watch everything carefully.
For THAT money?? – The worst night, ever. Waited a long time, and very disappointed when we got it. Food was truly awful-- trying too hard. A huge, disgusting bone stuck in the middle of fish causing it to be meaty and greasy was the special! Rude staff. Asked for a cappucino at the end, and was told they "won't serve cappucino during the meal." First of all, for those prices, they really should. Second of all, we were done. We've traveled the world, eaten in the best restaurants anywhere-- have never been treated so badly, by people who clearly have nothing to be so self-pleased about. Go anywhere else, Santa Monica and Venice are full of great places.
Not worth it if it was half the price.
Best Italian in Los Anglels – This is one of the best Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles. You can experience amazing food with out putting up with the pretentiousness of the LA restaurant scene.The restaurant is small so be prepared to wait. The wait is well worth it. My favorites are the butternut gnocci and pine nut salad. You may also want to try the Tuna Tartare. The parking is only a stones throw from the restaurant too.
one of the best!!! – New chef (a "Top Chef" guest judge), new menu, new look, innovative recipes, and delightful specials, with the most respect for quality: "Beef tongue with tuna aioli", "Ravioli with baccala", "Lamb with rhubarb", "choclate with Venetian liquor"; unpretentious service but with an eye for details: the addition of a young sommelier, makes this little jewel still among the top five Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. Bravo!
Best of the best – Can't stress it enough--this is hands down the best food I've ever had. I brought some out-of-town guests here and they *still* rave about the place, and that was four years ago. I used to be a huge fan of Locanda Veneta, and so when Antonio (the chef) moved down to this place, I had to try it out. I'm glad I did. He's amazing, and so is the food. A must-try.
Don't go there so I can take your table – I, like some of the reviewers below, am hesitant to write this review because Piccolo is so small, but after I saw a few negative reviews there's no way I can't give this restaurant its just dues. Piccolo is one of the best italian restaurants I have ever been to, bar none. I first discovered it on Citysearch 2 years ago when my parents were visiting from out of town and I wanted a new restaurant to try. It was hard to find and we found ourselves lost on the little alley street, but finally just parked the car and walked down the boardwalk until we found Dudley. They don't take reservations and I was nervous we would wait for a while -- and we did -- but the manager turned it into a pro. As my parents and I stood next to the open kitchen (which I love, that you can actually see them cooking away!) the manager brought each of us a glass of incredible champagne, on the house. Who gives a glass of champagne because you have to wait for a table?! We were actually the only people waiting, and we oddly enjoyed the wait not just because of the champagne, but eyeing the different dishes being created. Once seated our waiter recommended the potato and fig ravioli, but I opted for another dish as that didn't sound good. My mom did order it, and I almost stole her plate. Let's just say the 2 times I have been since I have barely looked at the menu because I am obsessed with this ravioli! The wine selection is phenomenal, the service is great, the interior is adorable and feels like a New York find, and I am more than grateful I now live about 5 blocks down the street! This restaurant puts Ago to shame.
They nailed it! – I love this place. I had my second meal there this past week and the second was better than the first and I didn't think that was possible. Get the chef's tasting. It's the only way to go. And the butternut squash ravioli are sooooo good. It's expensive and the waits are long, but it's well worth it. And of you're a red wine fan, give them a price and let them pick the bottle. They're good at that. And then sit back and enjoy the rest of your experience (at least until the check comes).
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