Look at the menu--you’ve seen it all a thousand times before. There’s minestrone, chicken cacciatore , our old friend eggplant parmigiana. The veal saltimboca , the fettuccine Alfredo and the linguine with clams aren’t much of a surprise. What’s for dessert? Need you ask? You have a choice of cannoli , spumoni, zabaglione or “cake of the day.”
You probably think you know what the place looks like too. Close your eyes and you visualize red-and-white checked tablecloths, bottles of straw-covered Chianti hanging from the ceiling, white candles sputtering on the tables. Well, you’re wrong. Cafe Rimini, near La Cienega at 476 S. San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 655-9249, is a little neighborhood restaurant, but it’s a quietly romantic one. The tables are covered in pink cloths, fresh flowers sit on the tables, candles flicker in elegant glass holders. The music is soft, the service is pleasant.
And that’s only the first surprise. For while the food may not be innovative, the quality is quite high--and the prices are quite low. At dinner, a generous plate of spaghetti with meat sauce (more meat than sauce--you know the kind) comes with either soup or salad and costs $7.50. Veal piccata is $11.50. And at lunchtime you can get it all for a few dollars less. Where else are you going to get a cloth napkin at these prices in this part of town?