Alto Palato: Pizzas, <i> Panini</i> and Pasta for Late-Nighters


When Pazzia closed in January, Mauro Vincenti, who also owns the posh Rex il Ristorante downtown, vowed to reopen soon. Well, it’s taken a bit longer than anticipated, possibly because he kept changing his mind about what to do with the vast high-ceilinged room in West Hollywood. Since his French bistro next door--Fennel--had, as he put it, gone back to France, the Roman-born restaurateur now had both spaces to consider.

At first he planned to relaunch Pazzia in the back and then install a more casual, less expensive place called Alto Palato (high palate) in front. But when he reopened, Alto Palato had expanded and Pazzia was no more. Gone back to Italy maybe?

For the next week or so, the front remains a construction site while Vincenti adds an espresso-gelato bar, a take-out and deli counter and another wood-burning pizza oven. Front and back will offer the same trattoria-style menu, but the bar area will stay open till 1:30 a.m. for late-night pizzas and panini .

Meanwhile, the kitchen in back is busy turning out thin-crusted pizzas, rustic soups and simple pasta dishes at very affordable prices. And already tables are filled with homesick Romans and Milanese tucking into rigatoni all’ amatriciana, grilled prime rib and homey crostata (open-faced fruit tart).


* Alto Palato, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 657-9271. Open weekdays for lunch, Monday-Saturday for dinner. All major credit cards. Valet parking. Appetizers, $4-$9, pasta $6.50-$9, entrees $11.95-$16.95.