We had a family dinner at Eatalian Cafe in Gardena last weekend. It’s funny because my mom first read about them in the Korean newspaper (her holy grail). It was a sign when I saw that same restaurant review proudly hanging on wall next to the cash register.
I would rate the food as the one of the top 3 Italian food experiences ever. The dishes were made with a light touch (not overly salty) and allowed the ingredients to shine. My favorites were the gnocchi in ragu sauce and linguine vongole (despite my mild shellfish allergy). Also, I highly recommend the pistachio and cappuccino gelato. OMG! Airy and dead-on flavors. Even though we were full, we really enjoyed our dessert.
The only downside was the ambiance; it feels you’re having dinner in an airport terminal. This warehouse converted into a restaurant means sound bounces everywhere and it seems chaotic inside (well, at least on a Saturday night) but bright enough for decent pictures :).
Because it’s so big inside, they can accommodate larger groups (8 to 12). However, they don’t take reservations on the weekends so expect a wait. We came around 6:20pm and waited for about 30 minutes to get seated.
Overall, I would recommend this restaurant because of the high quality of the food. Although I haven’t been to Italy (yet), I can tell it’s very authentic. Not Italian American but authentic as in briny-anchovies-in-your pizza kinda way (owner is from Italy). It’s also an affordable option. Dinner for 5 including dessert and a few beers was about $100 (with tip). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this place for a romantic date (not the setting for it) but a great place to come with your foodie friends. Maybe on a weeknight it’ll be less chaotic. If you’re curious, check out their review in the LA Times and what 900+ yelpers have to say.