Caffe Pinguini
Caffe Pinguini

Caffe Pinguini

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.caffepinguini.com/
  • Phone: (310) 306-0117
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 6:00pm -10:00pm; Friday - Saturday: 6:00pm - 10:00pm; Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Gerardo
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Delivery, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: We do different kinds of catering from buffet to a full dining experience.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Culver Blvd
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Choose of street or valet parking.
A word from Caffe Pinguini
Italian owners, Tony Cotrufo and Enrico Fiorentini, both hail from Rome and have been serving fresh authentic Italian cuisine at their Playa Del Rey location since 1997. They offer homemade pastas, an excellent wine list, outdoor seating and daily specials.
Caffe Pinguini was recently awarded with the "Marchio Ospitalita" Italiana - Seal of Authenticity". The seal distinguishes those restaurants with the highest quality of Italian hospitality.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Caffe Pinguini reviews from OpenTable diners
78 reviews since July 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
95% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (61)great for outdoor dining (53)fit for foodies (48)romantic (42)special occasion (35)good for groups (19)notable wine list (18)great for lunch (13)great for brunch (7)late-night find (7)kid-friendly (7)hot spot (5)scenic view (4)vibrant bar scene (2)Show More
  • great for coulples
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    I had a romantic evening planned for my girl and this place provide us with the atmosphere, along with delicious food and great service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Back again.
    FrankVIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Did you ever go to a resturant that you love only to feel that the food tasted better than the last time you were there? We did!!! Amazing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • True Italian Flavor
    EricDetermined
    Dined on 11/12/2014
    Caffe Pinguini offers a true Italian experience while in Playa Del Rey, with fantastic food and service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not worth the drive
    love2eatVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    With so many Italian restaurants, there is no need to make the drive to Caffe Pinguini. It is a good spot if you happen to be in the neighborhood. There is a patio in front of the restaurant, but the inside is quite small without good air circulation. The menu is varied with typical Italian dishes. The bread could have been delicious if it was warm. The food needed more spice. The bus staff was wonderful, very attentive, however the waiter could handle only one thing at a time.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Neighborhood Gem
    Lprdgds
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    I love coming to this restaurant. The service is always good and the food is delicious. I feel lucky that I have restaurant as quality as this in walking distance
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    madaboutdining
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We drove up from San Diego to meet our son who was at LAX from Nashville and to take him out for a great dinner. Unfortunately, Caffe Pinguini was a disappointment. The Italian waiter was brash, hurried and clapped his hands every time he came to our table. The dishes we ordered were butternut squash risotto, vegetarian primavera pasta, linguine w/pesto and linguine with seafood. The best of the lackluster dishes was the pesto; all others were flavorless. The Caesar salad was bland, the Caprese Salad- good cheese, flavorless tomatoes. At 8:00 p.m., the restaurant was "out of" Tiramisu for dessert! One in our party liked her lemon sorbetto (they were "out of" chocolate sorbetto, too) and my chocolate hazelnut cake was a huge let-down.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect for the evening
    bunnyjaye
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    It was a lovely evening, having a long overdue dinner with my folks and my brother. It was a nice warm night and decided to have an evening of celebration! The food was excellent, as was the wine! Our server as well as the busboys were on top of everything and it allowed us to relax and just wallow in the evening! A great time was had by all (and I got to keep the leftovers!!! Bonus!!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    It is a vibrant place for dining but noisy indoors. I feel that we were rushed to order while the restaurant was not over busy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • birthday dinner
    ldytrvl
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    I chose this place because my aunt and I were celebrating our birthdays with our family and wanted to try something different. The staff was freindly and accomidating to everyones needs. It was a bit dark and candles were at a premium, but otherwise it was fine. Food was very good and we each got a birthday tiramasu!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A Great Find!
    RustysDad
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Cafe Pinguini was a great find! We were seated immediately upon on arrival. Multiple servers attended to us, which was good, except that they got a bit confused at times...No big deal there. Food was excellent...Will look forward to going back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Average food. Rude terrible service
    Ptynpk
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    They say this is an "authentic" Italian place, but most everyone we encountered (except the busboys ) were terribly rude. It completely ruined the dining experience. We were made to feel that they were in a rush and that they wanted us to eat and leave as fast as possible. Apparently they had a large party and needed out table even though there were many empty tables inside. The food was ok, but ruined by the terrible service. There are Many fabulous Italian restaurants in the South Bay that I'd prefer to patronize.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • excellent italian restaurant
    Magia
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    I've been dining at Pinguini since ten years. It's always a great pleasure. Amazing linguini with seafood and fabulous mediterranean seabass. Dine in outdoor patio and 1 step to the strand! Marco
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • frequentdinerVIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    We made reservations here based on the strong review on Open Table. Caffe Pinguini is as terrific as everyone claims. While off the ocean, it is charming and the service and food were marvelous. We had the burrata salad (excellent), several of the pastas, and a lobster special. Everything was prepared perfectly; and the wine list far exceeded our expectations. We had a Stags Leap Syrah, but were torn given the large selection of excellent Italian reds. If you are staying near the airport, grab a cab and go.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Truly the best
    ScottiePVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    Amazing Italian food and surprisingly some of the best steaks I've ever tasted. Can't go wrong with either the filetto al Gorgonzola or the filetto al tartufo (in a white truffle cream sauce). Both melt in your mouth and are bursting with flavor. Other favorites are the linguine mare, swimming with clams, shrimp, mussels, and calamari (have a little left over in my fridge right now) And the rigatoni Gorgonzola. And the warm bread with olive oil, and the wine, and... Just go already! You won't be disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • MD-PDR
    MJD2inPDRVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    This is our favorite date night restaurant in our neighborhood. We love the staff and the food is always fresh and well prepared. We celebrated my daughter's birthday and when the cupcakes came out, the entire restaurant sang Happy Birthday. It was really a lovely evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • FrankVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Why do I keep going back? Because i love thief food and it is great!"
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Come for the pasta
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Appetizer (burrata) was amazing. Pasta was cooked perfectly and delicious. Pizza sauce was very good but dough a bit soft and the pizza was sitting in a bit of water from the cheese perhaps. The Sea Bass was the low point of the meal. While it had a nice crust to it from grilling, it was overcooked and dry.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A not so hidden gem....
    BionicBill
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Locals have known about Penguini for quite a while...but it is still easy to get into. Once there - inside or outside patio.....excellent Italian food ranging from pizzas to great pasta to traditional Italian standbys - - I had the Osso Bucco this visit and it was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love this place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    My wife and I have gone here a couple of times and love the place, the food and the energy. Although it's a bit loud, that's really part of the overall scene. If you like Gorgonzola, the Gorgonzola pasta is to die for.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fantastic!
    birthdaygirl71
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    A true favorite! We've been going to this place for years and just recently went for my Birthday dinner. Everyone LOVED their meal and the service was excellent. Great place for and intimate dinner or with a big group. You will not be disappointed!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A wonderful experience!
    Andrew
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This restaurant is a delight. Authentic through and through. Great menu. Terrific ambiance...
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • charming and relaxed
    barron
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Convivial, hospitable even on a crowded Saturday night. Food and service were very good but what stood out was the wonderful atmosphere of the restaurant the makes you feel welcome.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • babs
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Food is outstanding. Very creative dishes. Service was terrible. Slow. Slow. Slow.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dayle
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Always love this place. Sea bass is delicious. Yummy desserts. Ask for outside table.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love the food & service
    Alval
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I am never disappointed with this restaurant! I absolutely love the food, service and atmosphere. The server always helps with great wines with dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Caffe Pinguini
    FrankVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    If you like Italian food this is a must. I loved the Linguini Mare with red sauce and my wire loved the chicken milanese. Delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious welcome home dinner
    Skinnyfoodie
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    My husband flew into LAX after 2 months in China and I wanted to have a nice date with him before joining the traffic jam back to the Inland Empire. Pinguini was a real find. 15 minutes from the Tom Bradley terminal but a world away. I had the filetto-al-tartufo, it was flavorful, tender, perfectly cooked, my dear husband had the special Main Lobster spaghetti and it too was amazing. We finished with a walk on the beach. This is a wonderful place for a romantic date night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • jtodd
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Caffe Pinguini never disappoints. A wonderful place, great food, great service,
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A gift
    HappyNana
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I recently invited my daughter and granddaughters out for a ladies lunch, in hopes of establishing a new family ritual. My goal is to introduce my grandchildren to fine dining and all of the expectations that go along with the experience. I chose Caffe Pinguini because I wanted them to experience linen napkins and table clothes, something different from the normal eating routine. We got so much more. The service was impeccable--it set the tone for the girls, ages 7 & 3 and they rose to the occasion. The staff was warm and treated us like family. The best part is that the food was amazing. Fresh, flavorful and also artistically presented. Everything was perfect and I truly believe this establishment should be rewarded with your patronage.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great spot
    Tomas
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Very simple, little spot. Great to bring a date to.
    Special Features:
    romantic, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • outstanding restaurant
    alazar
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    The food was really good and they accommodated to my request prior to arrival. Would definitely go back
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice place
    TravelingJoe
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    A very nice place for dinner. The owners are on site operating the restaurant. Wonderful attention to detail a very good experience each time I come.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Truly a treasure.
    Oreoqueens
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I've driven past this place many times and never knew what I've been missing out on. The food is fresh, authentic and masterfully put together. The servers almost seem authentic too. I had the pesto pasta with chicken added and I'd have to say probably one of the best pestos I've had in a very long time! We shared several appetizers including Caesar, buffalo mozzarella, and eggplant wrapped in mozzarella. The Caesar was the best!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Business lunch
    ProfessionalCouple
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Competent, unobtrusive service. High quality food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice but Pricey
    olie
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Took my wife here for our anniversary. The place was romantic old school Italian with a good menu and wine list. I had the fillet a tartufo, which was excellent. The linguini al mare was also quite good. The prices were a bit higher than expected based on the yelp rating, but not outrageous considering the food and location. Too bad there is no view given that it is so close to the beach.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lunch at the Beach
    DianeHVIP
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Delightful alternative to chain restaurant for lunch with a client. Caffe Pinguini is sophisticated and impressive for the first timer. Eat inside or out but out is definitely the treat here. Suggest it definitely.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Romantic Italian by the beach!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    A nice, non rushed evening with our friends. Great food, service, atmosphere and delicious WINE!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 41 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 24, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 115 reviews are from the Caffe Pinguini reviews archive.
  • Impressed
    tshfm
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    The ambience was great, very attentive service, the bread was delicious and we really enjoyed our meals. We will definitely be returning. Parking is an issue if you do not like valet and the bar has wine and beer only. Neither an issue for us as it is walkable and we love wine!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Perfect Dining Experience
    cksmith8
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The delightful Italian brothers and their staff took great care of us from the minute we arrived. Between the four of us in our party, we had perfectly prepared, generous portions of Wild salmon, Chicken Eggplant Parmesan and Veal Marsala and a delicious fresh green salad. The bread was a treat in itself. The olive oil, produced by the family in Italy, is wonderful. The food was presented in a beautiful fashion. The wine was superb. Most important was the warm welcome we received at this authentic Italian establishment. We felt as if we were honored guests in their home which was filled with classical Italian ambiance. Cafe Pinguini is at the top of our list of favorite dining experiences.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great reason to drive Playa del rey
    duckwoodVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Great northern Italian food. I had the butternut squash risotto it was buttery and the squash was firm to the bite. I say my friend also enjoyed their'Chilean sea bass; since they clean their plate.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate