When I hear about an upscale restaurant in an unlikely location I make tracks. This was the case when a friend and I arrived for a late lunch which evolved into an early dinner at Michelangelo Italian Ristorante on the edge of Silverlake. The unusual corner structure has housed various less auspicious tenants. The effective re-design is an inviting cross twixt elegance and Bohemia. More importantly, the primary elements of quality dining are present.
Most elements of an extensive, somewhat expensive, a la carte dinner menu are available during the extended 12 ‘til 4 daily ‘lunch special’ hours. The management and service staff could hardly be more accommodating, and the kitchen prepares appetizing salads and starters priced from $4 to $7 and an impressive array of pasta specialties from $12 (meatless) to $15 with chunks of white chicken or shrimp. We shared a crispy hot order of fried calamari for $7, served with warm, freshly baked rolls and filled-to-the-brim glasses of well-chilled Pinot Grigio house wine, $7.50 per pouring. Our meal was a nice start. A generous serving of perfectly prepared to order, classic fettuccini alfredo filled the bill for me, plus enough left uneaten to fill a take-out box.
Panini (sandwiches) from $7 to $9 and a variety of $11 pizzas are also featured and the sole carni (meat) entrée, Tagliata, grilled and sliced tenderloin in peppercorn sauce, served with al dente steamed fresh veggies and roasted potato, $15, more than satisfied my companion. Appetites sated, it was easy to resist $8 dolce dessert temptations.
Add two steaming cups of coffee plus a well-deserved $10 gratuity, and our late lunch for two rounded out at about $70. Similar choices at dinner would add another $5 to $10 per person. First impression — Michelangelo is not exactly a value, but the enterprising place does provide an extremely pleasant dining experience—at a price.
Off street parking at “tucked-in” 2742 Rowena Ave. is limited, so there’s mostly street parking. Evening valet service is available.