Today is: Thursday, June 13, 2024

Il Buco Paninoteca Restaurant Review


Giacomino Drago owns this little restaurant where, it seems, more customers speak Italian than English. The place is small, simple but very rustic at the same time. Drago's team makes pizzas as thin-crusted as those in Italy, along with hearty Neapolitan lasagna and other delicious homemade pastas, and such homey entrees as grilled
veal chop with roasted potatoes and spinach, osso buco and a delicious breaded chicken topped with fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.


As you walk through the front door, the often brash and crowded world of the sidewalk is left behind, and guests are whisked away into a softer, far more pleasing environment. The delightful pastel colors and earth tones of De Medici's décor blend perfectly with the classical musical accompaniment provided, and create an ambiance that is a perfect compliment to fine dining.


The general manager and his expertise in overseeing the operation of upscale dining establishments becomes immediately apparent, as members of his staff graciously attend to every guest in a helpful, caring manner that rivals the finest
service to be found anywhere in the city.


The food at Il Buco Paninoteca speaks for itself, and is well
suited to the most fastidious gourmet palate.

Carpaccio di Bue                                    Burrata e Prosciutto

Our waiter soon arrived at our table with a couple of fantastic appetizers, Carpaccio di Bue, a beef carpaccio with capers & creamy mustard dressing. The wide, wafer thin slices of carpaccio were rich in flavor and topped with arugula along with shreds of aged Parmesano Regiano and sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil. The peppery flavor of the greens went with the ripe cheese and aged beef beautifully.

Next we tasted the Burrata e Prosciutto, a creamy mozzarella cheese with prosciutto and sun dried tomatoes, indeed, tender and delicate. The Calamari Fritti, was also deliciously prepared with the best light arrabiata sauce, we loved this one as well.

Note that due to the fact we tried a variety of appetizers, we
asked the chef to make our portions in smaller amounts.

Carcioffini al Forno                                      Calamari Fritti    

The Carcioffini al Forno, baby artichokes baked in garlic and tomato sauce, was also a true delight, I was amazed how great the artichokes tasted, because they are not in season, and the last one was the Arancini, which is my favorite. Arancini consists of Sicilian rice cones that are stuffed with mozzarella cheese and peas, a nice starter for sure. All of these great and authentic Italian starters were particularly tasty and served wonderfully like the Southern Italian versions that I have become accustomed to.

Arancini, Sicilian rice cones that are stuffed with mozzarella heese and peas

There are different types of eating establishments in Italy, and Florence in particular. Trattorias and Osterias are far more casual than those that feature fine dining and
often serve their food on bare tabletops with unadorned drinking glasses. They
are a lot less expensive than the best formal eateries, which generally offer a
more extensive menu and usually do not serve a "house" wine.

In my opinion, perhaps one of the most faithful local portrayals of cuisine alta Italiano paired with a genuine regional ambiance was created by the Drago’s brothers.
Il Buco Paninoteca has been a Robertson quarter favorite for years, although
it was my very first time there, I truly enjoyed and plan to go back.

On the night of our visit, my guest and I were served a variety of trattoria specialties along with a marvelous Tuscan wine, Sangiovese, Monte Antico Rosso, which was reminiscent of a marriage of a fine Chianti Classico and a smooth Merlot. While there are less than a dozen wines on the list at Il Buco Paninoteca, the ones that are served are absolutely excellent and accommodate a wide range of tastes.

      Ravioli di Gamberi                            Insalata Di Funghi Portobello

The best, however, was yet to come. When our server brought our Ravioli di Gamberi, my guest and I were both captivated by the tempting aromas emanating from the huge platter that he presented on our table, this ravioli was black and white stuffed with shrimps and saffron cream sauce. I must say it was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. We enjoyed it very, very much.

The Insalata Di Funghi Portobello was a special salad served that night, with grilled Portobello mushroom, served with baby arugula, tomato, onion, fresh
mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette, a delightful and light salad,
perfectly done and deliciously prepared.


Next, our entrees have arrived, and I had the Ossobuco, it was replete with the haunting essence of freshly picked rosemary leaves and featured tender braised
veal shank served on a bed of soft polenta. This hearty and delectable dish was
served country style, and had both of us taking advantage of the informal
trattoria motif to dip chunks of their fresh-baked ciabatta bread into the
remaining gravy at the bottom of the plate so that none would be wasted.

Rib Eye Steak

Our final course was the Rib Eye, a grilled bone-in Rib Eye steak with balsamic
sauce and seasonal vegetables, another authentic and delicious dish that
only chef Raul could have prepared.

We wished we had the hunger to try one of their delightfully fragrant
thin crust pizzas, they look absolutely fantastic.

Torta di Fruta                                        Stefano’s Point

We were both so full by the time we finished our entrée that dessert seemed out of the question, but our server suggested that perhaps their special Torta di Fruta, a fresh fruit tart might be the perfect crowning touch to the meal. Dessert is created daily by their in house Pastry Chef Raul; in fact, many of the Italian restaurants buy their desserts here so they may also offer one of these delicious treats: tiramisu, cakes, and dessert of the day. We also got to try their Stefano’s point was difficult to argue, so we ended our evening at La Bottega de la Strada with a sweet sip and a crunch.

This restaurant is bound to build a strong following because of its unwavering commitment to offering its guests a true trattoria experience so bonafied that
diners may even be a bit surprised they are still in Los Angeles when they step
back out onto the sidewalk beyond its doors. Be aware that Il Buco Paninoteca
offers a great space for private parties and special events.

Il Buco's Talented Chefs

Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30AM-9:00PM, Sat 5:00PM-10:30PM

For map and location click Here!

For more information please visit their website at

Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx

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