She Knows Best

Mamma is back, now with her own osteria

Every neighborhood has its essential restaurant–an unfussy spot that feels like an extension of your own kitchen. Osteria Mamma is that place for Larchmont Villagers, but it's worth a trip even if you don't live around the corner.

With their homespun Italian cooking and hospitality, Loredana Cortivo (Mamma) and son Filippo put Osteria La Buca on the map before its current incarnation. Now, after splitting with their partners, the two opened this bustling spot just a few blocks away.

Even if they can't drink wine with lunch or dinner (the liquor license is still pending, and BYO isn't allowed), loyal fans have been filling the restaurant from day one.

Cortivo's handmade pastas–long tagliatelle, ropes of black squid-ink trenette, and twisted gemelli–retain just the right amount of chewiness and starch to hold any sauce. Our favorite, reginette della Mamma ($16)–fluted ribbons with sausage, radicchio and a splash of cream to pull it together–is comfort in a bowl.

The rest of the menu is pleasantly familiar–arugula tossed with lemon vinaigrette ($8); thin-crust margherita pizza ($11); and grilled steak with sautéed spinach ($26). The obvious choice for dessert is a thick slice of fluffy tiramisu ($8).

Mamma wouldn't have it any other way.

Osteria Mamma, 5732 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; 323-284-7060 or osteriamamma.com