Anna's Tribute Dinner for Elmer
West Los Angeles
I was invited to Elmer Dills' tribute dinner at Anna's Italian Restaurant held in honor of his retirement, an icon in the business. He was surrounded by a number of his colleagues, accompanied by his wife-producer Lynn and his son, Peter, also a reviewer. In addition to a gathering of fans, he received a congratulatory certificate from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
In essence, the certificate read; "As Mayor of the city of Los Angeles and on behalf of its residents, it is a pleasure to extend my sincere congratulations to you on the occasion of your 40TH anniversary celebration as a reowned dining-out reviewer."
Anna's owners, Andy and Tony, were hosts for the evening which concluded with a champagne toast to Elmer.
Dinner consisted of a mixed green salad, followed with chicken & veal Piccata, and pasta, also string beans. Lots of wine, (Chianti and Pinot Griggio) was poured during the meal, and we ended dinner with cake and champagne. It was a great evening, and extremely intimate.
Anna's is a colorful place with three rooms that give you an idea of what Italian restaurants looked like in the 40's and 50's. People have referred to the restaurant as a loving neighborhood Italian joint where you might see Michael Corleone and the family out for dinner.
If I had to put a title on the place, it's my idea of a neighborhood treasure, noteably with caricatures on the wall of the waiters rather than celebrities, and they happily point to their cartoon-like face when asked. The booths are snappy looking and comfortable, under mideval chandeliers, mixed with "oil shaped lanterns." In addition, with every turn of my head I found something amusing.
There's lots of comfort foods on the menu and the portions are generous, so waiters expect to pack it up for your next day's lunch.
Some people just stop in for a pizza and glass of wine, or a Canneloni. But there are so many luncheon and dinner specials that paying a'la Carte would be wasteful. You can't beat the prices, for instance, when you order pasta, from about $7.25 to $12.50, a small salad or soup is included. Their daily lunch specials are $7.95, and there's one for each day. Choices on Monday are Beef Strogaoff on rice or Italian Sausages & Bell Peppers, (they all include salad or soup) Tuesday offers Chicken Cacciatore with spaghetti or Veal Marinara with spaghetti; Wednesday is Veal & peppers with spaghetti or Eggplant Parmigiana with spaghtti; Thursday they features Short ribs of beef with spaghetti, or Cannelloni with vegetables; and Friday the offering is shrimp Creole on rice or filet of sole meuniere with vegetables.
After 4:00pm, the Lire dinner can be had. On Monday you start with Provolone & Prosciutto with a "Bib" lettuce & Avocado salad, with a main course of Risotto Al Frutti Di Mare, (shrimp, lobster, scallops, and crab meat) ($12.50). Another Lire dinner is Chicken Breast Marsala with pasta, including an "Espresso" and scoop of Cappucino ice cream, (14.50).
Tuesday is the Buon Gusto menu, featuring Minestrone soup and mixed green salad, with Short Ribs of Beef and spaghetti, ($14.50).
Or for $12.50 you may have Melazae di Mare, (eggplant stuffed with shell fish). Coffee & Cappucino ice cream, and one of the owners will buy you a glass of wine.
Wednesday is classic, with Minestrone soup or dinner salad, also homemade Lasagna Verdi, ($14.50) or you may have Filet of Sole Meuniere with pasta, ($12.50). Then relax with that special cup of coffee and scoop of Cappucino ice cream
Thursday is famous for their Osso Bucco and Risotto Primavera dinner, starting with Minestrone soup or salad, ($14.50) or Chicken Sausages & Bell Peppers with pasta, ($12.50). Don't forget the coffee & Ice Cream!
Anna's isn't trying to be "gourmet." They want families to enjoy coming in for good food and prices that are affordable. Their sandwiches are especially popular, and their wine list from California and Italy is amazing. They have even counted the calories for Pizza lovers, taking the guilt away. Many have raved about the Eggplant Parmesan, that includes pasta, and a salad or soup, for $10.95.
Monday through Friday open from 11:30am; Saturday & Sunday from 4:00pm. 10929 W. Pico Blvd, West Los Angeles, CA; (310) 474-0102. Major credit cards accepted; valet & street parking