Just off La Brea and Melrose lies a restaurant called Franco on Melrose that may have not been on your radar, but head through their unassuming front kitchen (New York City reminiscent) to their delightful airy back patio restaurant with twinkly lights and charming intimate bar. The La Brea Melrose hustle soon melts away.
On a Thursday evening the seats filled up and we couldn’t have been more suprised by the authentic Italian ingredients that evolved throughout the evening. The simple fresh ingredients as with every real Italian meal speak for themselves. Franco on Melrose, just four years old, provides a special venue with exceptional food. Even Chef Franco came out all night to check on guests.
Chef Franco de Dominicis, originally from a small southern seafood rich Italian town on the Amalfi coast, blends his Italian cooking influences with the California lifestyle. Previously Chef Franco ran the whole food scene at the Biltmore. The lengthy Italian menu offers a plethora of options, but we encourage you to start your night with some of the following: Fried Squash Blossoms with ricotta cheese and a red sauce, Calamari Fritti so crispy and light, and the Polpette (Pork and Beef Meatballs).
For salads, stick to the Italian delight, the Burrata Caprese with heirloom tomatoes and pesto OR the Carciofi with shaved artichokes, arugula and a zesty lemon olive oil with shaved parmesan cheese.
Pasta, pasta, and more pasta! There are so many sinful options, but our most memorable bites included the thick pasta layered meat Lasagna, and the spicy Fusilli served with pork sausage beef meat ragu. If you are sharing portions, find room for the house made Gnocchi and the Butternut Squash Ravioli.
Brasato di Manzo, the Braised Short Ribs of Beef with Cremini Mushroom and Pancetta, rainbow carrots, and wine reduction is still on our minds. The highlight of our evening was truly the deliberate use of every ingredient to create flavorful simplicity, like being back in Italy.
Nearby we saw guests nearby devouring Branzino, New York 14 oz steaks, and Black and white Homemade Linguine with Lobster and Shrimp. Drool.
In true Italian form, we managed to find room to sample the warm oozing chocolate lava cake complete with berries and pistachio ice cream along with Panna Cotta topped with berries. Both excellent dinner finales.
Come be seduced in the secret hideaway or book a special event in their private room. Inspire you culinary palette with Chef Franco’s Italian heritage, experience, and vision.
6919 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Valet $7 or street parking
To lazy to go out, you can even order some of their dishes online for delivery.
All photos courtesy of Melissa Curtin.