So this weekend I decided I needed a break from the bootcamp diet – a “cheat day” if you will. Actually it wasn’t so much a whole day as it was just one meal. Sometimes it’s needed. No shame. My dear friend Anthony who lives not far from me in the Larchmont area had been talking about the gnocchi at Osteria Mamma for months. When I called him last night to see what he wanted to do with our Saturday evening, he said he was first and foremost hungry. We tossed around ideas, he mentioned gnocchi, and before I knew it I was in his car on our way to a reservation for two.
Anthony and I walked from his place, past an art school that was in session drawing a rather attractive male model in his underwear. Quite the amuse bouche (wink). The restaurant is a warm, bustling place on the corner of Melrose and Lucerne, just one block over from the popular and charming Larchmont Ave. Not too big, not too small, full of life and pleasantly appointed with modern yet rustic Italian touches. We were sat promptly by a pleasant staff who were working quite hard to keep up with the demands of a completely full restaurant. All of them are equipped with iPad minis to put in orders and take payments – so impressively hi-tech.
The menu is like some heavenly tome full of everything I would ever want from an Italian restaurant: linguine alla carbornara, tagilatelle bolognese (all homemade pasta of course), a seafood risotto special… I was so tempted by so many different things, but I managed to stick with Anthony’s glowing recommendation and got the gnocchi ai porcini – housemade gnocchi in a light cream sauce with porcini mushrooms and free range chicken. Friends, it’s like eating the pillows taken from the bed of God. Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Each bite becomes better in an exponential way, much like, I imagine, becoming addicted to drugs (is there really much difference?). Anthony got the other gnocchi dish, which is again a light cream sauce of ham, peas, and white mushrooms. Equally as heavenly, though I do have a partiality for anything involving porcini mushrooms. We were in such a state eating these divine pillows that the people sitting around us chimed in to see what it was we were eating. Having fun with strangers – it’s how I roll.
After the gnocchi was dessert. When we first walked in I had seen a gigantic piece of tiramisu land on someone’s table and I knew it needed to happen. The best I’ve ever had – light, creamy, airy, a little chocolatey. Like an espresso-soaked cloud. No joke.
Though this place is spendy for the starving artist’s humble wallet, it is really reasonable considering the experience. At entrees, appetizers, and specials ranging from $15-30, it is the perfect payday spot to spend a bit more and know you are getting world-class food. Definitely make sure you have a reservation. One should should definitely visit ready to spend and ready to indulge because it really doesn’t get better than Osteria Mamma.
5732 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Click here to see my review on YELP