041 Bacaro is small, intimate and incredibly good. Located right in the heart of the action in the old Santa Maria BBQ place, this is authentic Venetian fare. The waiters are lively and friendly and the food superb. My lovely friend Meta went with her husband and 3 yr. old and said it was “soooooo good. Really authentic, really rich with smaller portions that are just the right amount. The pappardelle with mushrooms was amazing and the fried goat cheese appetizer was super. It was like being in Venice without having to travel.” Yes please, sign me up.
The crowd is a mix of real foodies and lots of families with everyone being treated the same. They are open for lunch and dinner but are closed Sunday and Monday.
From Yelp: “I am now calling 041 Bacaro my best kept secret italian local eatery.”
Wildcraft Pizza - Downtown Culver. They serve woodfire sourdough pizza in a neopolitan style. Now let the record state that I do not like sourdough. But this pizza, I love! It is interesting, exciting, unusual, and most importantly, absolutely delicious. The atmosphere is amazing: high ceilings, super casual vibe, great music, really friendly waiters and a great selection of appetizers, salads, beer and wine. I had what was almost like a very chic taco pizza - it was incredible. My kids loved the OG pizza - simple but full of wonderful fresh flavors. Also the Carbonara pizza with lots of delicious bacon and an egg on top was a stand out.
I loved appetizer of the Burratta with roasted grapes and moscato wine sauce and wafer thin toast. They have a wonderfully inviting patio in the front and it sits in the row that holds Lundeen's, City Tavern and Meet in Paris. They are open every day for lunch and dinner.
From Yelp: "The food was wonderful, the service was amazing, and the vibe was trendy, lively and fun. I also loved that we had the option of sitting outside or inside."
www.wildcraftpizza.com (310) 815-8100
Ugo - Downtown Culver, across the street from the movie theatre. There are actually two restaurants that have just been redone. It is prime real estate right in the heart of downtown and they have two fabulous patios to prove it. This is traditional delicious italian. I love the canneloni stuffed with spinach and ricotta. I am a sucker for ricotta. It is finished with a tart and sweet marinara. They have wonderful traditional sandwiches and great panini's. My mother always gets the chicken picatta and it is solid and hits that "comfort food" mark. We have always had a lovely meal there and you just can't beat the warm and festive atmosphere. Also, the gelato bar at the front restaurant is outstanding. They have an amazing selection as well as amazing italian pastries. You will definitely make this a regular place.
From Yelp: "Their 4 cheese gnocchi is nothing short of heavenly!!"
www.cafeugo.com (310) 204-1222
Pitfire Pizza - So full disclosure, this is my favorite place. It's the perfect storm of amazing atmosphere, super cool space, you see people you know and the burrata pie is heaven sent. Plus, they always have a DJ spinning classic tunes. I wish they could follow me around and be the soundtrack to my life. But that would be weird. And awkward. There is usually a line but it is absolutely worth the wait. (So get there early.) Their house salad is to die for. Burrata Pie - burrata cheese, tomato sauce, hazelnut, caramelized onion, wild arugula, and pesto drizzle - insanely good.
The Heirloom tomato pizza with ricotta - amazing. Also the fold over chicken, four cheese and pesto pizza is ridiculously good and the kids mac and cheese and kids pizza - wonderful and very inexpensive. They have a really interesting wine and beer list. They have a huge specials menu that is ever-changing and very eclectic. Pitfire is located on Washington Boulevard (12924) near Waterloo and city and A-frame. On their website they claim it as Mar Vista. But we claim it as Culver City!
From Yelp: "My family and I love love Pit Fire and all it has to offer. The food is amazing and the staff is so helpful and friendly. We have tried almost everything on the menu and nothing lets you down!!!"
www.pitfirepizza.com (424) 835-4088
If you like authentic holes in the wall, Giovanni's Trattoria is an amazing find. Located in a strip mall at the corner of Venice and Clarington (kitty corner to Natalee Thai) is a wonderful authentic italian hang out. They do a big take out service but you can also eat in their small dining room where the owner is usually present. It is a wonderful little neighborhood restaurant. The minestrone is to die for, as is the chunky and divine bruschetta. My whole family loves the Chicken Milanese and orders it frequently - juicy tomatoes tossed in olive oil, basil and garlic atop a pounded and breaded chicken breast. I love their Penne Vodka and Rigatoni Bolognese. I do recommend getting more adventurous and trying their amazing specials. Portions are big and it makes it fun to get take out and curl up in front of the tv with an authentic and delicious italian feast. They are open every day from 5:30 PM to 10 PM and are also open for lunch during the week.
From Yelp: "My favorite Italian place in Culver City. The owners are Italian, and very friendly."
www.giovannis.0catch.com (310) 839-1757
On the east side of Culver sits a great neighborhood favorite, Brunello trattoria. Located on the fabulous artsy stretch of Washington Blvd just west of La Cienega, this is a real regular haunt for many locals looking for authentic and delicious italian cuisine. I went there for a birthday lunch with my friends and family and was thoroughly impressed with how warm the owners and staff were and, of course, the food was divine. We have been back a few times since. I highly recommend the calamari app., as well as a really simple but beautiful penne with ricotta, eggplant, basil and tomatoes. I love their veal saltimbocca - tart but salty and sweet, it's a real indulgence and so so good. They have an outstanding specials menu that changes daily and is very exciting. If you want to drool and make yourself incredibly hungry, go to their website and look at the pics of food. Amazing. You will feel very much at home in the big, slightly noisy dining room - but the atmosphere is wonderful. And it's always fun to go for a stroll afterwards and take in all the galleries and groovy little shops along the way. Lunch & Dinner.
From Yelp: "The atmosphere is just right not too noisy and not too quiet. The food and wine is very good."
www.brunello-trattoria.com 310) 280-3856
An amazing little pizza delivery place is Victor Jr's Pizza on Washington just west of Madison/Clarington, across the street from Sony. They have classic and eclectic italian toppings for your pizza where most of your needs can be catered to. Their pies are huge and the crust is delicious. Every time I go in there to pick up my pizza, the guys behind the counter are extremely funny, friendly and charming - always a pleasure to chat with. Their sausage sandwiches are fab and tons of people crave their Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches. They have a cute front patio that is always busy at lunch time. They are open Monday thru Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm.
From Yelp: "My wife told me she hates "HAWAIIAN PIZZA", but this was the best pizza she has ever had in her life."
www.victorjrs.com (310) 559-8900
LaRocco's Pizzeria is a Culver City classic haunt. Many long time culvercitians (yes, that's a term) live and die by this pizza. It is a little charming hole in the wall on little charming Main Street in the heart of downtown. They have really interesting toppings on their pizzas. The spinaci & pomodoro and the bronx specials seem to be most peoples favorites as well as a delicious puttanesca pizza and a special with kale and roasted garlic was wonderful. They serve salads and calzones. It's has a small patio out front which is fun to sit at with your dog and watch the world go by. There is a small long diding room outside but a lot of people get take out. Open everyday for lunch and dinner - 11 to 9/10 ("when we run out of dough!")
From Yelp: "Best NY Pizza in Los Angeles. GREAT PIZZA! GREAT BEER! GREAT PRICES!"
www.laroccospizzeria.com (310) 837-8345