These spaghetti houses were around long before al dente became a household word.
Dan Tana’s, 9071 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (213) 275-9444. Style : Old Hollywood hangout serving substantial Italian food. Setting : red and white checks, tan celebs. Recommended : spaghetti with meatballs; cannelloni ; steak. Cost per person : $15-$35.
Emilio Ristorante, 6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 935-4922. Style: pleasantly passe, serving equal portions of pasta and Puccini. Setting : touchingly tacky. Recommended : zuppa pavase (chicken soup with fried bread and poached egg); chicken cacciatore. Cost per person : $15-$25.
Little Joe’s, 900 N. Broadway, Los Angeles. (213) 489-4900. Style : This former grocery store serves Italian food to the masses. Setting : lots of little rooms but kind of cozy. Recommended : spaghetti with meat balls; ravioli. Cost per person : $8-$15.
Matteo’s, 2321 Westwood Blvd., Westwood. (213) 475-4521. Style : Westwood institution where old Hollywood meets to eat food named after themselves and their friends. Setting : kissy, kissy. Recommended : Scampi Al Davis; Spaghetti Bolognese Ernest Borgnine; Mostacciole Walter Matthau. Cost per person : $25-$40.
Osteria Romana Orsini, 9575 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles. (213) 277-6050. Style : Fox hangout for power lunching. Setting : heavy traffic. Recommended : rigitoni; linguine with pesto; veal chop. Cost per person : $25-$35.