Cafe Carolina
Cafe Carolina

Cafe Carolina

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.organiccafecarolina.com/
  • Phone: (818) 881-8600
  • Hours of Operation:

    Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Sunday 5:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Organic, Italian, Vegetarian
  • Executive Chef: Giuseppe Dossi
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Please visit our website for our catering menu.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Zelzah Ave.
  • Public Transit: Ventura Blvd at Zelzah Ave. (west of White Oak.)
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking is available in the back of building and on street.
A word from Cafe Carolina
Chef Giuseppe Dossi, from beautiful Lago di Garda in northern Italy, invites you to experience authentic Italian food as it was meant to be – fresh, delicious, and made with passion!

Formerly of Il Fornaio/Manhattan Beach and Prego/Beverly Hills – after earliest inspiration and instruction at his mother"s side! – Chef Giuseppe is committed to bringing you a culinary experience his "Mama" would be proud of!

We are also proud to serve, to the extent possible, organic products in an earth-friendly facility. We firmly believe organic ingredients are the healthier and tastier choice, for both our bodies and the soil.

Come experience our warm, inviting trattoria-style atmosphere – perfect for your dining delight. While we are not a vegetarian restaurant, we understand the needs of vegetarians, as well as vegans (the chef was a vegetarian for many years). Let us know of any special requests.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
Cafe Carolina reviews from OpenTable diners
38 reviews since July 27, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.5
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (28)fit for foodies (16)special occasion (6)good for groups (6)notable wine list (3)great for lunch (2)kid-friendly (2)romantic (2)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Food here is excellent!
    GaryC
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    The food here is excellent (I've eaten here seven times). They flip the menu every few weeks to reflect some other region of Italy. There are some mainstays, though; try the Caprese Bruzza salad, which is very tasty. The decor is nothing special, but again, with food this good, it hardly matters.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing neighborhood find!
    luvfood
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    Cafe Carolina is a gem, the food is prepared perfectly, the homemade pasta to die for fresh and the pizza crust is really nice, thin and not cracker like. This place is a regular for us! They also half half portions available so you can try multiple dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hidden Valley Gem
    VoltarrVIP
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Giuseppe is phenomenal. Truly a great value for great food and regional flavors!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best gnocchi ever!
    greengirl04
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    If you want Italian come to Cafe Carolina. The gorgonzola gnocchi is the best I've had here or in Italy. Maple Marscarpone Cheesecake is a great way to end the meal!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Italian for Gourmets
    Gypsygirl
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    This is not your spaghetti and pizza heavy red sauce restaurant -- it features special dishes from the various regions in Italy which change every 3 weeks or so. I had the traditional pasta dish of Sadegna, Italy - it was wonderful. Pasta shells, lamb ragu and fennel - others had fish and every plate was excellent. Portions are plenty, and if you want the traditional American Italian dishes they are there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • NewmiesVIP
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    Whatever we order at Cafe Carolina is always very good and a generous portion. The waitstaff is friendly and efficient.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Less Than Expected
    exNewYorker
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    I've been to Carolina several times and have always thoroughly enjoyed the meal. On this occasion, I found my entree and that of my date to be bland and uninspired. This is uncharacteristic of Carolina and left me feeling disappointed. Also, after ordering wine, the waitress forgot to bring it, and we had to remind her again after the meal was served. Again it is unusual for this restaurant, where servers are most often very attentive. This may have just been an off night, but Carolina has dropped from one of my favorite dining places, to "I'm not so sure that I'll go back again."
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Yummy
    vale
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    Authentic Italian dishes in a no frills environment. Very relaxing and enjoyable. Try the homemade gnocchi and you won't be disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • better than ever
    Jlstcui
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    My wife and I have been fans of Cafe Carolina ever since we discovered it about 8 years ago. It has become our go-to place for family dinners, and that's what brought us back on Saturday night. But this was the best its food has been in about a year or two. In some small way, I thought it had slipped when we last visited, but this was not the case on Saturday. The roasted chicken with figs was absolutely outstanding, and both the raspberry sorbet and the gluten-free cobbler with chocolate drizzle on the side were wonderful. Bravo!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Italianandpicky
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. Food was great, staff and servers were very friendly and accommodating. Will definitely go back and will tell others about this little find. Having food prepared from different regions in Italy, makes it very interesting. Like that the regions are planned out for the entire year.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Casual & friendly neighborhood gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Met friends here for dinner. It's a casual place with attentive service. We each had something different to eat and we all greed the food was good. Meat lasagna, although tasty, needed more sauce. Would like to go back and try other pasta selections. Food was fresh, simple and delicious. We will be back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • upintheair2muchVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    This was my first time and the food was excellent... The staff was very knowledgeable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Deee
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Recently found this place and it is a gem! Highly recommend, escpecially the gnocchi and the pizza. Still need to work my way through the rest of the menu and the regional specials are wonderful!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Cafe Carolina - AMAZING!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    This place is amazing!!! The food is outstanding and the service is stellar. If you love Italian - this is the place!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Dreadful experience. The kitchen is lost--courses not timed; food overcooked; and dishes poorly conceived and executed. Waitress and owner were clueless to the ongoing distaster. The excuse was kitchen was understaffed. Ask why the owner chooses to be a waitress at a supposed mid-scale restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Find
    DunkinVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    This place had us remembering when we were in Italy! All those little places in Italy where you had that great meal and promised to come back someday, well......this place will take you there.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yummy gluten free
    GFmama
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    I have celiac disease and find it challenging to eat out. The gluten free selection was great, I even had dessert. I highly recommend Cafe Carolina. Our server, Kim, was great. The hostess was also wonderful!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 21 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 27, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance3.8
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 184 reviews are from the Cafe Carolina reviews archive.
  • Nice neighborhood find
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    My sister and I were looking for a nice Saturday night dinner that had good food and not terribly expensive, when we came across Cafe Carolina. Our server was very pleasant and welcoming, recommended the flat steak which was unusually tender and flavorful, vegetable was steamed and still crisp and the accompanying Pinot Noir was perfect. We all decided to return again in the near future as the restaurant was perfect for special occasions or just a nice evening out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Twice in one week!
    Rocky5660VIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    You know it has to be good in order to go back twice in one week! Went with a group from work but for my last meal before heading back home, back I went. The Parma salad is so scrumptious it was worth the trip. Anything else you order, you can't go wrong. This time the past dishes were out of this world. Cant wait to go back to LA so I can go back!!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Favorite Neighborhood Restaurant
    MelincaliVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    I eat here about once a week--sometimes more. The food is great, the restaurant is run by a family, who know me by name, lol. They change their specials regularly to cover different regions of Italy. The cheesecake is to die for. The burrata caprese is probably my favorite thing there. It's so close to where I live, so it's very convenient as well. I have brought several of my friends there already.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent as Always
    lovemyfood
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Come here about once every two months. Always great food!. Gnocchi is special and the sole is consistently great. Enjoy the periodic foods of an Italian region. Great experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Deliciocia
    Lovetodine
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Very good food. Nice wine list Spinach salad good. Tagliatelle and chicken meatballs delicious. Both enough to share. A pleasant evening!!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • love it
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    i like the menu that features various regions of Italy. I don't know of another restaurant that does that. The owner is a very nice man. it is fun to speak Italian with him when he is there.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Hidden charges
    DuckieVIP
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    No fault with our food or service but we were surprised to see an extra charge on the bill for the vegetable we requested instead of potatoes. First, we have never been charged extra for this type of substitution, and secondly, shouldn't the server have told us when we asked for it?
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Cafe Carolina has great food!
    EmmyLu
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    The food at Cafe Carolina was really good; lasagna was particularly tasty, as was the bruschetta. A region of Italy is highlighted each week, which is fun.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicate flavors of Northern Italy
    LoriH
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    This restaurant has been in the neighborhood for over ten years, but I only recently discovered it when I did take out last month when I was looking for a good pasta with pesto. The food we took out was so great that we had to try it again. This time we dined in and were really pleased. I ordered the fish special with mint and orange sauce with red peppercorns. It was served with sauteed spinach with just the right amount of garlic and other spices. Wonderful! My friend ordered the pasta that he could personalize and finished every bite. We are going back again soon to sample the fantastic flavors of Northern Italy. I think I have found my new favorite Italian restaurant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wow! How else can this be described
    Rocky5660VIP
    Dined on 6/3/2014
    When someone mentioned this place, it sounded like something that was sure NOT to miss when in LA. Its a place in a location that has many ethnic options and I wouldnt have stopped given the location but put on the breaks, what a find! Every visit to LA this has to be a MUST eat here place. The food was unlike any Italian I have ever had and the portions were large and the price, they arent charging enough..... Tell your friends so they can tell their friends, this place is worth the drive. Coming from Denver, wish we had something like this here....
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Neighborhood Gem
    DickarooVIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Great quality food and very reasonable prices. Service is ALWAYS extremely pleasant. One of our favorite regular places.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • disappointed on Mother's Day
    Kamster4
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    We were hoping for better service and food. The dining room was about 1/3 full, not busy at all for 12:30pm brunch. Food took about 50 min. to arrive...no explanations/apologies. We ordered a Chicken Crepe, a Mushroom Crepe, two Nutella Crepes, a Chicken Cesar salad, and French Toast. Very small servings. French Toast was black at the edges and corners, I was reluctant to ask for a new order; didn't want to wait another 50 min. But it was pretty burnt so I did ask for a re-do. The new ones were not burnt, but were very soggy and mushy in the center. The other dishes were ok. We didn't get a good feeling here. I was hoping the owner or chef would come out to ask if everything was ok, but no one did. Waitress was very unconcerned.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • WoodlandHills
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    The food was very good, so was the service. The wait staff were very friendly. The noise level however, was terrible. We were a party of Six,we couldn't speak to each other from one end of the table to the other. They need to fix that!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DeliciousItalianFood +gluten free!
    LinnD
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    I just discovered this gem. It's great food and gives the option of real gluten free Italian food if you need it. The only downside is as the evening progressed it got louder and louder. We left around 8pm and we could barely hear ourselves talking. Come early for dinner if you prefer a quieter ambiance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Cafe Carolina
    Foodie49
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    Surprisingly excellent food, and not just the average menu choices, for a neighborhood Italian restaurant. Service was a little slow, considering I went in the middle of the week and it wasn't that busy, but not that slow and the server was knowledgable and very friendly. I'm not really familiar with the restaurants in that area but I would say it's a "find"
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 4/16/2014
    We love it here. The food is authentic and well made and the staff is very friendly.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Surprising little gem and
    beachfolks
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Surprising little gem and worth the drive from the beach. Very popular spot and the staff cares very much for your satisfaction. We are definitely going to pay a return visit
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cafe Carolina 4-5-14
    SteveVIP
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Cafe Carolina is always good. The main part of their menu hasn't changed in years, and regulars may find their favorite dishes not as exciting as when they first tasted them. However, new customers should be impressed with the great, fresh food. The have an affordable wine list. Service is good
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Top notch neighborhood Italian
    WlatravelerVIP
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    A surprise find in the Valley, excellent and authentic Italian with charming setting and personality. Very busy the night we came but the staff was extra nice. Absolutely NOT corporate, this is a chef's own place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    Robin
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Our first time there and I would say the food wasn't that flavorful and the bread was very plain. I had beef medallions with spinach and potatoes, one of their Specials and my husband had their Marsala chicken and said it was only fair.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was deliscious!!
    dhartVIP
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    We will definitely be going back for the amazing food, and can't wait to take my Italian father. We were all thrilled with our pasta dishes. Everything was perfect.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Evening away
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/18/2014
    Three and a half years and I finally decided that I could leave my daughter with her papa and have a girl's night with one of my closest friends! I chose Cafe Carolina, never having been there, based on location and ratings (about a midway drive and excellent reviews.) The restaurant did not disappoint! The food was delicious - I enjoyed a ravioli -special for that night. I'm not easy on pasta... don't go with the typical level, preferred mainstream.... and this was right on key! My friend's pasta was also terrific... one with a pink sauce (that she sometimes makes at home) and she was impressed! The staff was all very friendly and eager to help. Overall, it was a wonderful way to spend my 1st girl's night out!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place to dine with friends
    WendyVIP
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    We've been to Cafe Carolina several times now, and have enjoyed our evening there each time. The food is great tasting, and it's been nice having different regional specials every month during their "tour of Italy". The service is prompt and very friendly -- we really like the atmosphere of the restaurant, and even when it's quite busy the noise level is reasonable, making it a great place to have dinner with friends when we want to visit over a leisurely dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.