Caffe Pinguini

4.8
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788 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
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 awarded with the "Marchio Ospitalita" Italiana - Seal of Authenticity". The seal distinguishes those restaurants with the highest quality of Italian hospitality.
What 788 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall2food1service2ambience4

I have loved Caffe Pinguini for a very long time. I go there for special occasions, such as my BD and so forth. However, this time, I just confirmed what I have been noticing. The food quality has dramatically gone down. We ordered some basic Italian fare, such as fettuccine bolognese and scampi risotto. The latter was horrible--the rice was uneatable--no flavor, hard to chew (not al dente). I added tons of parmesan to see whether I could eat it--I couldn't. The fettuccine was so-so. We brought our own wine and the corkage fees were 33 dollars! The highest of any restaurant! The price has become overpriced without any reason. I cook better Italian food at home. I usually make fresh pasta and what we ate didn't taste like that. I'm so sorry to say bye to what was my favorite place in the area. You guys became too infatuated with yourself that you forgot your craft.

DH
Denver
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Nice dinner with easy access to LAX dinner prior to a late night flight. Good food and excellent service

DR
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love Caffe Pinguini. Ambiance, service and food is always great.

OT
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Day After Valentine Massacre! By far, this was the worst dining experience I have ever had in LA. We arrived in time for our reservation at 7:00 PM. ONE HOUR LATER, no food had been served to us, not even the caprese salad appetizer! No explanations, no apologies, no amuse bouche, no complimentary drinks, absolutely NOTHING was offered to us for the delay. We balked on a few occasions, only to have our waiter literally shrug his shoulders as in "I have no idea what's going on." When we insisted on at least our salad, he came out with a plate of the most unappetizing looking slices of mozzarella and tomatoes--no dressing. That was it for us. We paid (and shouldn't have) for our wine and left. We were not alone in our misery. Two other couples seated in our area also had been totally ignored for the entire hour. One had eaten earlier and was waiting over 1 hour for the bill. The other was served as we were walking out, a little pass the one hour mark later. I hope they enjoyed their food, if not the wait. I have been to this restaurant on several occasions and am sad to cross it off my list.

L
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent. Very crowded but worth the wait.

k
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food, the service, and all of the staff are wonderful at this place. I love going there and always feel special.

TE
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The filet mignon was perfectly prepared, reasonably priced, and service was excellent!

HH
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Go to Italian.

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GB
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food2service1ambience3

Service was very poor. We didn't feel special on a special day. Waiter was just going through the motions. And was very expensive. No value

RC
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love Caffe Pinguini; very relaxed atmosphere, excellent food, great service. We ate dinner there on 14 February, Valentine's Day. It was crowded and after 1.5 hours, they clearly wanted to turn our table. Maybe a little rushed considering that we had a bottle of nice Tuscany wine, a first course, an entree, dessert, and coffee. But, an excellent dining experience.

G
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a delightful Valentine dinner here. The special menu had delicious offerings. The suggested wine pairing was perfect. Service was exceptional.

l
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Food, as always is outstanding. Service was excellent and enjoyed the experience a great deal. A neighborhood experience and I would like to keep that way. Overall excellent!

T
Los Angeles
129 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

a nice corner spot in Playa Del Rey and outdoor patio seating was refreshing, with the weather cooperating that lunch afternoon.

JB
Los Angeles
12 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Super authentic food. As good Italian as I've had in a long time. And the service was excellent. Recommend highly!

SJ
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Caffe Pinguini is a wonderful restaurant for all occasions. The service it top-notch, the food always amazing and there are daily specials worth trying. I love the burrata, mushroom risotto and steak with gorgonzola sauce. The wine list is extensive and the servers are knowledgeable and can make recommendations based on your taste and budget. Highly recommend.

ER
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Awesome food and service.
Thank you!!

K
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A neighborhood gem for Playa del Rey mavens, but also worth a drive to come here. Tender veal, beautiful fish dishes, good wine list, including Coravin pours from more expensive bottles than usual for by-the-glass. Highly recommended!

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a lovely place to come to. The feeling you get from visiting really does remind you of Europe. Small tables and couples stay for after dinner conversations, share wine, gelato, espressos. The food is fantastic, simple options but also complex. All with a very homemade, full flavor profile. Would always recommend.

d
Seattle
26 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience3

The food was fantastic. Even though we split an appetizer and had a pasta course done in 1/2 with a beautiful veal chop, the waiter argued that we were ordering too much food. He would not even bring the appetizer until we requested it from another waiter. I am glad we did because the food was fantastic.

C
Los Angeles
11 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It is always the best @ Caffe Penguini 💜💕

RD
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a pleasant luncheon...food great, service good.

IP
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Good food, excellent service! Bread was brought to the table right away and it was yummy! I love when they give you olive oil for dipping the bread.

OT
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was great. I Was there to celebrate a birthday and I put that on the notes. After we were done with our meal they brought a delicious pistachio cheesecake- with a candle . It was complementary and I did t have to ask. Super nice touch!!!

JK
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We went for New Year's Eve. We were not informed it would be a reduced menu and so expensive. Everything was 40% more than their regular menu prices. If I had known this beforehand, I would not have gone. We booked the resteraunt two months in advance and was not informed of this. If the prices were regular, I would have come back here. The food was good, but not worth the price. We don;t drink and our bill came to $140 for two ( the caprese salad was $25!!). Because of this, we won't come back here again. I don't like being ripped off.

LM
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this restaurant. A hidden gem in Playa del Rey.

t
Los Angeles
34 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a wonderful place for our New Year’s Eve dinner!
We sat on the lovely patio and ate excellent food. The service was terrific !

OT
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service and exceptional authentic food.

D
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Think it may have been under staffed for a busy evening. Otherwise everything was great! Food, wine, desert. Impressive

SM
Los Angeles
23 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant never disappoints!!! Always incredible food choices with excellent wines and superior service!! One of our forever favorites!!

I
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have been going to this lovely restaurant since it opened. My late husband 's family is from Abruzzi and so we felt at home, even though these owners are from Rome. Now my son and I go and bring family and friends. The owners kept everything open until we finished our late late lunch. And I was so grateful for their consideration. It's a wonderful place to have here close to the sea.
Melinda Dillon

G
Las Vegas
75 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

We've been here several times and have always had a good experience. The service and food was very good. Being the holiday season there was a large party seated behind us mid-way through than increased the sound level and made it more difficult to communicate but that is the case in these small cozy restaurants. It is a great spot in the neighborhood to go for a nice Italian meal. The pricing is on-par with many of the upscale restaurants around LA.

HB
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a wonderful experience. We celebrate special occasions or simply special moments.

J
Los Angeles
45 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and service and great flexibility with dish modifications for specific dietary restrictions, so nice.

DR
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a great experience. Good and friendly service, great food.

OT
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

One of the few places left in LA where old Italian hospitality and classic menu (veal, tortellini, risotto) . You’ll feel like you are somewhere else - which can be a nice change.

NB
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We sat outside and it was cozy without being either too warm or cold. The noise level was not problematic. The food was predictably tasty and nicely presented, the wait service attentive and caring. Two of us had the homemade spaghetti with tiger shrimp and loved it. The other person ordered a meat dish and said it was delicious. Caffe Pinguini remains one of my favorite restaurants, always a standout experience.

PR
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous! LOVE THIS RESTAURANT.....Client throroughly enjoyed the lunch!!

TV
Houston
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

This restaurant is a longtime favorite. Meals are good to very good, the service excellent and the ambience perfect for PDR dining options. Well return again and again.

LA
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely, warm atmosphere. Outdoor patio. Excellent staff and the owner greets guests at the door.

CK
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food, great service and pretty outside experience.

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