Pumpkin Ravioli, Centanni, Venice, California

Among the many restaurants in LA’s culinary cosmos, one type that typically lacks is the independent local hangout. Centanni, opened about a year and a half ago in Venice, is just such a place on an indistinct stretch of Lincoln Boulevard, offering quality Italian cooking, everyday prices and warm staff. The cooking is Italian comfort food: heirloom tomatoes with buffala mozzarella, over a dozen panini (the polpette, with homemade meatballs, looked particularly good), salads, pastas and secondi (main courses). We tried the ravioli di zucca (pumpkin ravioli) sauteed with butter, sage and parmesan, and really couldn’t have been happier, especially at $12.50.  

Another bonus: for now, at least. Centanni is working on its liquor license, so for now it’s free BYOB.