A Rao Of Sunshine…

Rao’s is one of the toughest reservations to secure in NYC.

The 123 year-old joint has 49 seats, no phone, cash only, closed on Saturday and Sunday.

I made the cut once.

When I noticed that Rao’s Los Angeles, which is a replica of the venerable NY eatery, was on the dineLA list I thought why not go old school.

On Saturday evening we made the long and winding drive to Hollywood which would put you in a different state on the east coast.


Rao’s is a delightful dining experience.

It felt as if we were on the set of the Sopranos.

The classic music soundtrack was very entertaining.

Rao’s Bar

You enter into a dark, heavily air conditioned bar area with sports memorabilia and a small dining area.

The next room has several tables where the busy kitchen is located.

Rao’s Patio

We opted for the enclosed patio adorned with photos of actors who were prominent in mafia themed movies.

The large Italian family seated next to us looked straight out of central casting.

We selected the dineLA menu at $49 per person.

We were seated and provided a basket of warm bread and 2 glasses of Prosecco which was actually lovely.

Mozzarella in Carrozza

David ordered the Mozzarella in Carrozza, a fried fresh mozzarella sandwich.


It was a no brainer to chose the infamous Rao baseball-sized meatball made with ground beef, pork and veal.

The signature meatball was delicious, bathed in a classic red sauce.

Eggplant Parmesan

My main was the ballyhooed Eggplant Parmesan. The sauce and cheese were great, but the eggplant was tough. Personally, I think mine is better.

Penne alla Vodka

Instead, I shared David’s huge portion of delectable Penne alla Vodka with Marzano tomatoes, vodka and cream. It usually is served with prosciutto cotto. We asked for the meat to be eliminated.


Dessert was an uninspired cannoli…can’t compare it to Boston’s Mike’s Pastry.

Chocolate Gelato

The manager brought us over a tantalizing chocolate gelato.

I salute old school manners.

Case in point, the managers greeted everyone individually at each and every table and actually spent quite a while chatting with us.

Dining at Rao’s was fun and quite tasty.

Going old school can be delightful.

Rao’s 1006 Seward Street Hollywood, California. Valet parking ($12) and street parking available. Open for dinner nightly. Reservations on OpenTable.com.




One Comment

  1. Beth Martin says:

    Yummm. I wish I were there with you. Sounds easier to get into.

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