Randazzo's Little Italy

Spaghetti with Sunday "gravy".
Spaghetti with Sunday "gravy".

There’s something irresistible about a red-sauce joint with attitude and a sense of humor. Especially when it’s got the goods to back them up. In true immigrant-made-good style, everything seems bigger at Randazzo’s.That includes boxer-owner Marc Randazzo, who may look like a bruiser but has a soft spot for his customers. He fawns over cute little girls and checks on tables to be sure everyone is happy. The main floor is home to a cozy bar tended by a sweet guy who keeps the pours large and the talk small. But it is the upstairs dining room where you want to be for a real meal. Centered on an open kitchen, it’s a shrine to all things Mafia, complete with The Godfather looped on flat screens. There’s also plenty of sports paraphernalia and a TV dedicated to whatever games are on.

If you’re getting the idea this place is not formal or fancy, you’ve got it. Truth is, you could dress in gold lame or flip-flops. And … a new concept for Randazzo’s … you can make reservations. No more waiting in long lines for a taste of Little Italy.

When it comes to the food, think rich. This is no place for dieters. Veteran waiters do a fine job of describing dishes and making suggestions. And though they’ll halve any order of pasta for kids, they don’t like to mess around with the menu.

Ambiance: Stepping into Randazzo’s Little Italy in its new and bigger corner spot on Miracle Mile is just so perfectly goomba. The dramatically lit, double-decker dining room is done up in crushed red velvet and gold-flecked curtains, crucifixes, madonnas and plastic tablecloths with the classic red and white check, only bigger.

What Worked

  • Delicious eggplant parmesan (a custom order from the kitchen)
  • Big, thick and deliciously crisp rings of calamari covered in a tangy Gorgonzola dressing
  • “San Genaro Italian festival” style sausage and peppers served hot and dirty-fried with a kick
  • Seafood salad with tender baby shrimp, clams, calamari and lots of scungilli (conch) brought to life by bright-as-the-beach lemon dressing and loads of fresh herbs
  • Bitter greens with orechiette, sausage and loads of garlic
  • Delicately creamy, super rich rigatoni with vodka sauce and big slices of prosciutto (named for Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini)
  • Restaurant-defining spaghetti with Sunday gravy – red sauce with long-cooked depth, a fresh tanginess and just a tiny hint of sweetness served over a mammoth platter of al dente pasta studded with dense, meaty, fist-sized meatballs and hunks of sweet and hot sausage
  • Crisp and crunchy, fat, overstuffed tubes of cannoli filled with the most luscious cream, a thick swipe of crushed pistachios and a few bits of candied fruit and chocolate chips