Italian Restaurants are renowned as a staple of Chicago or New York culture. Finding genuine Italian food in Los Angeles is an interesting challenge. The Chicagoan will claim it isn’t nearly as good as their local spot, while the New Yorker wouldn’t even bother with the attempt.
Yet, it’s hard to deny this San Fernando Valley spot with a vast menu spanning many eclectic Italian dishes and an owner, Pete, straight from the boot (Italy) itself.
Known to many as the “Hidden Hollywood in Woodland Hills,” Paoli’s Pizzeria and Piano Bar attempts to live up to that title. Posters of classic Hollywood films like Casablanca (1942) and Gone with the Wind (1940) can be seen draped upon its dimly lit walls.
Italian Restaurants seem to be cut from a similar cloth, meaning the aesthetic seemed predictable showcasing classic Hollywood in this way. However, Paoli’s finds a simple yet effect twist.
Behind the vintage Hollywood glam found in the posters, the restaurants choice of wallpaper are the thousands of moments, captured via polaroid pictures spanning from present day to its opening.
It’s evident the photos have remained so long as they have yellowed and are peeling off. Although this doesn’t add to the cleanliness of the restaurant, it builds upon the vintage aesthetic and its credibility with the surrounding neighborhoods.
The exterior of the restaurant continues to add to the Italian romanticism that is Paoli’s. Vines cascading along the sides of the restaurant walls, it creates a sense of calm as the scents of sweet vine uplift that of the italian dishes running from the kitchen.
But how was the food?
As an appetizer, the server brought their hot wings. The wings themselves were very basic. Nothing to flaunt about. However, the heat from the sauce was a decent palate cleanser for dishes to come.
Recommended by the server was a staple to any Italian restaurant, the cheese pizza. At $20 for the medium size no topping pizza, it seemed a bit expensive, but it was delicious. The breading used was thick and similar to a Chicago deep dish, while the sauce, which was lightly spread, was sweet and creamy. The cheese was a classic mozzarella, nothing special. And the sausages were thin and carried a kick of spice.
The meal itself was thick and one could feel lethargic if they were to overeat. That seems to be the nature of Italian cuisine, Paoli’s is no different.
Paoli’s is a place to take a date. Its a romantic escape from the busy city streets of Ventura Blvd and its located just a few miles from Pierce College.
Paoli’s Pizzeria and Piano Bar is located at 21020 Ventura Blvd. Woodland Hills,
CA. 91364. The pizzeria is open 11 A.M- 2 A.M. seven days a week.
Cheese Ravioli $14
Marinara, pomodoro, meat
The Climax Med $20 Large $22
Pizza with sausage, pesto, red or alfredo sauce
Rib Eye Steak $27
Charlbroiled, roasted lemon potatoes, rice pelaf adn steamed vegetables
Meatball Sandwich $13
Provolone and marinara on a garlic roll served with fries
Buffalo Chicken Wings $12
Served with ranch and/ or blue cheese