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2nd Floor Restaurant Bar & Grill

865 S. Vermont Ave. (James M. Wood Blvd.) Send to Phone
213-388-3880
No one else cooks Italian fare like this in Los Angeles.

Cuisine
Open
Dinner Mon.-Sat.
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2nd Floor Restaurant Bar & Grill, Los Angeles, CA

2nd Floor Restaurant Bar & Grill Restaurant Review

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About the chef: Those of you who have met Stefano Ongaro during his many years on the Los Angeles culinary scene might only know him as a restaurateur/general manager. But, actually coming from a family of chefs, he loves to cook. If you ever start talking food (and wine) with him, the conversation will last long into the night. Ongaro insists on saying that he is not Italian but Venetian. The reason why? The Città dei Dogi has its own regional cuisine. Ongaro is proudly representing his native land at the only Italian restaurant in Koreatown --- a daring proposition backed up by the establishment’s Korean owner, Mike Kim.

About the décor: The illuminated street sign will help you spot the restaurant, located on the second floor of a simple mini-mall. There are no frills to the interior and terrace: a bar and lounge at the entrance, and dark wood tables and chairs in the dining room. However, the reason to go to 2nd Floor Restaurant Bar & Grill is the food, not the décor.

Likes: the homey, tasty and flavorful cuisine. Live music from Thursday to Saturday.
Dislikes: All the dishes on the menu are appetizing. Choosing is a dilemma.

About the food & drinks: Faithful to his roots, Ongaro has composed a menu with true Italian tastes, with no influence from any other parts of the world. Many items are homemade: bread, sausages, mozzarella and, of course, the pasta. Start with the Cognac chicken pâté, followed by “sarde in saor.” It may be a simple dish of fresh Mediterranean sardines with sweet and sour onions and golden raisins, but it brings a straightforward pleasure to your taste buds, one you can understand, and therefore enjoy more. Wrap the crab meat, with Bosc pear, endive and lemon vinaigrette, into a leaf of lettuce for another one of these moments. The zuppetta with Manila clams and sausage ragout is a good dish for sharing but be selfish when it comes to the house-made tagliatelle with pulled roasted rabbit and, yes, fresh mint. Of course, any Italian restaurant has octopus on its menu. Here, Ongaro and chef de cuisine Steven John Short serve it grilled, then flambléed with Cognac on a bed of fresh English pea purée, sprinkled with paprika. If this is enough for the night, come back for the roasted quail, stuffed with spinach ricotta cheese or the house-made sausage, paired with braised baby pork ribs flavored by braised Savoy cabbage. For dessert, we have not yet decided which is more appealing to our sweet tooth: the profiteroles filled with pear ice cream and topped with caramel or the polenta pudding resting on a lemon emulsion. As you can imagine, Ongaro has put together a wine list with many Italian labels. We appreciate the many choices by the glass. The cocktail program and the bar menu are still more reasons to return. As we know Ongaro cooks at home, we can only envy his wife and children who get to eat his food every day. If you're going to be the only Italian restaurant in Koreatown, you'd better do it well. Well done, Stefano!
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