Working beside Steve Samson at Sotto on the Westside, Zach Pollack hewed to the cooking of southern Italy. With his place in Silver Lake, Pollack navigates demarcations (regional and otherwise) like a Fiat cutting between Roman buses. While the roasted escarole heart with Parmigiano, oregano-scented fried bread crumbs, and anchovy vinaigrette evokes something essential about the Italian cucina, the marsala-deglazed chicken livers tossed in with macche-roncini spears summon the era of scallopini and spumoni. Pastas are, of course, a highlight. Whole-wheat bigoli—tubular strands from northern Italy’s Veneto—tap into an earthy realm with shaved Sardinian Fiore Sardo. This is a neighborhood restaurant with convictions; walk-ins are encouraged, prices are modest, Grüner is on tap, and like any great neighborhood joint, it quickly becomes a second home.
The Vibe: The restaurant recently installed sound panels, but this was, for a while, the noisiest restaurant in L.A. Still, the tiny room somehow pulls off cozy, and is packed with cool kids.
The Crowd: The aforementioned cool kids, and Silver Lake locals young and old. Great for first dates, second dates, and solo diners at the bar.
The Must-Have Dishes: Bagna cauda sounds weird (tuna dip?), but it isn’t. The chicken liver with black plum mostarda and grilled bread is ethereal. The Pig’s in a Blanket sandwich with mortadella on a biscuit is plain naughty.
The Drinks: Beer and wine, with Grüner Vetliner on tap.
Getting a Table: OpenTable can score you a spot—just likely not at a peak time if you’re looking for a Saturday or Sunday. But the restaurant reserves a hefty percentage of its seats for walk-ins.
Insider Tip: If noise is a concern, the folks at Alimento recently opened their patio. Delicate ears should head there.
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