On a less-than-charming stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, chef Alberto Lazzarino (Il Moro, Piccolo Ristorante) cooks northern Italian food with minimal fuss. Couples converse on comfy banquettes in a space that is both intimate and airy, thanks to 18-foot ceilings and piped-in Ella Fitzgerald. A warm vegetable flan antipasto offers a delicate counterpoint to a menu heavy on grains and meat. Black truffles and braised radicchio lend an earthy flavor to risotto, and a crust of herbed bread crumbs enlivens oven-roasted lamb chops. Tough, bitter short ribs, however, made us thankful for the minuscule portion. Experienced servers suggest smart wine pairings from the exclusively Italian list. » 6541 Hollywood Blvd. (323-465-6650 or D Tue.-Sun. Full bar. Italian   $$$

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Suter oversees all dining and food coverage in Los Angeles. In May 2012, Suter took home a James Beard Award, the first ever awarded for food coverage in a general-interest publication. She has lent her culinary know-how to national publications including Saveur and Conde Nast Traveler, has appeared on a number of television and radio programs including Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef Masters, and is a regular guest on KCRW’s Good Food. She began her career as an Associate Editor at the music magazine Filter and later served as Editor-In-Chief of the alternative weekly newspaper L.A. Alternative.