6 reasons to make beloved Italian import Dal Milanese your next LA dinner destination

Ossobuco is one of the Lombardy cooking highlights at the new LA hotspot Dal Milanese. Photo credit: Loreto Di Cesare
A browned veal shank placed on a white plate alongside risotto at LA Italian restaurant Dal Milanese.

Dal Milanese has been dazzling Los Angeles since March with original Milanese recipes as yet unseen in the city. The Los Feliz outpost marks a major expansion for the Luca Guelfi Company, best known as the restaurant group behind buzzy restaurants in Italy, including the ’70s-inspired Big Sur and casual Mexican spot Canteen.

Dal Milanese has been its most acclaimed yet, which makes the LA debut all the more exciting. Co-owner Saverio ‘Sage’ Principini picked Los Feliz because he felt the hip hillside neighborhood would serve as an ideal entry point for Angelenos looking for a taste of Lombardy, Italy. LA has no dearth of top-notch Italian restaurants; Dal Milanese is now adding to that bounty. 

Here are 6 thrilling reasons to dine at the Milan import.

1. LA marks the first US location of this blockbuster Italian restaurant group.

Filet mignon with a green peppercorn sauce and potatoes at LA Italian restaurant Dal Milanese.
Dal Milanese shines a spotlight on dishes from Italy’s Lombardy region. Photo credit: Loreto Di Cesare

Dal Milanese is one of 32 restaurants run by the prolific Milan-based Luca Guelfi Company. The restaurant group partnered with LA-based music producer and songwriter Principini in 2021 to open the original Milan Dal Milanese. It was immediately heralded by local press for its whimsical and creative takes on local dishes. Los Feliz resident Principini was certain LA was a natural fit for the expansion.

“People go out to Griffith Park—the glue of Los Feliz—and you meet other people and start talking to them, which is something very Italian,” he says. “I’ve been a part of this [community] myself with my kid and my wife for 16 years.”

2. Milanese dishes that further LA’s unending desire for Italian food

Los Angeles is having a love affair with modern Italian cooking, and the Lombardy dishes from Dal Milanese are only here to make that love grow fonder. Chef Emanuele Gasperini, who cooked at several Guelfi restaurants, is leading the charge in LA and preparing old family recipes. The ossobuco (veal stew) with a hearty brown sauce and fragrant saffron risotto is a highlight, as is the breaded veal chop with arugula and cherry tomatoes.

3. An LA-specific menu that showcases local bounty

Gasperini was inspired by the abundance of vegetables he saw at various Los Angeles farmers markets and quickly got to work preparing dishes specific to this location. Steamed asparagus with Parmigiano Reggiano is a standout, as is the smashed broccoli dressed in olive oil, garlic, and chile peppers. All of the restaurant’s vegetable dishes are meals on their own, Gasperini says, and should be ordered with a side of housemade focaccia.

4. Pasta party, Lombardy-style

A white sauce pasta dish called mezzi paccheri at LA Italian restaurant Dal Milanese.
Dal Milanese makes all of its pasta fresh daily. Photo credit: Loreto Di Cesare

Yes, pasta plays a big role on the menu, too. Dal Milanese makes its tagliatelle, ravioli, taglioni, and other pasta fresh daily. What really stands out, though, are the regional preparations. The mezzi paccheri has thick pasta with a cacio pepe-like sauce and blue shrimp, a recipe passed down through Gasperini’s family. The warm embrace of the fusilloni with broccoli, luganega sausage, and chile peppers has proved to be a crowd favorite, Gasperini says.

5. A wine list unlikely to be found elsewhere in the city

Principini doubles as the restaurant’s wine director and is only showcasing Italian wines at the restaurant. He’s sourced varietals from Lombardy, Tuscany, Sardinia, and Sicily—wines don’t repeat when they run out at the restaurant. Principini works with small producers and family-owned wineries across Italy, where wines are largely bottled on a small scale.

“I’m trying to give a presentation of the entire map of Italy with wines not readily available in Los Angeles,” he says. “In fact, I dare to say that about 75% of our wine list you will not find in other restaurants in LA.”

Next up: sourcing from a budding winery near Temecula to bring a local touch to Dal Milanese.

6. Hospitality that feels like dinner at a neighbor’s

The interior of the LA Italian restaurant Dal Milanese featuring wooden floors, exposed brick walls, and black tables and chairs.
Dinner at Dal Milanese is like a warm hug from your favorite neighbor. Photo credit: Loreto Di Cesare

In a post-pandemic landscape where time limits at meals have become the norm, Principini walks through the restaurant every night encouraging diners to stay longer. He particularly enjoys giving wine-pairing suggestions and insights on the menu.

“I’m here every night with my wife, and we love to welcome our guests and talk to them personally and give them a personalized experience of the place,” he says.

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Lisa Kwon is a reporter and writer focused on arts and food culture in Los Angeles, CA. Find Lisa on Instagram and Twitter.

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