I have some wonderful memories from when I was a kid and a lot of them revolve around food.
My family loved to eat…we still do…and I remember eating out in great Italian restaurants with my parents, staying up late, falling asleep listening to them talking and laughing and eating late into the night. My head on the table or my mother’s lap, dreaming away, lulled to sleep by the hum of happiness, the smell of fresh bread and tomato sauce and a tummy full of pasta…bliss.
Little Toni’s in North Hollywood is just the kind of restaurant where memories like this are made.
This is a great, big, beautiful Italian family restaurant. With oversized red booths, long tables, dark corners and waiters who seem as if they have worked there for 20 years or more.
Little Toni’s is one of the remaining bastions of traditional Italian family dining in the Valley. A mainstay of the North Hollywood scene since 1956, it’s had 60 years to perfect its menu, its wine list and its sauces. And let me tell you I’ve been to more than a few Italian restaurants who’s advertising claims they have the best pizza, or the freshest bread or the spiciest sausage, but Little Toni’s doesn’t need to brag about any of that…the food simply speaks for itself.
With big tables, big portions and a really big menu, there is something for everyone at Toni’s. They even have a special Family Dinner with salad, bread, pasta and pizza, plenty enough for four hungry people and all for $35.95…you really can’t beat that.
In fact, the whole menu is very generously priced. Little Toni’s wants you to come back, they want you to become a regular. They want you to bring your friends, and to make this restaurant a tradition in your own life. When you feel like Italian food they want you to think “let’s go to Toni’s.”
And why wouldn’t you?
With most of the dinners under $14, including the soup or salad and delicious freshly baked bread, that’s a terrific deal. And with 16 pastas alone to choose from you could come back every weekend for a year and not taste a third of the menu.
In fact, wouldn’t that be an excellent challenge? Taste your way through Little Toni’s, try everything!
I can assure you everything I’ve tried is very, very good, in fact I’ve been enjoying the menu for years now, although I have to say I haven’t actually tried everything yet, but I am well on my way!
A favorite of mine is the Beef Ravioli, moist and plump, and huge and delicious. The Caesar salad is fantastic, my husband loves the spaghetti with sausage, and the pizza is really wonderful, thin and crisp with lots of really excellent cheese…no skimping on ingredients!!
I also love the lasagna, just delicious, and it’s really tough to find a restaurant that serves authentic lasagna with lots of slow cooked sauce, but Little Toni’s seems to slow cook everything!
It’s all made on the premises of course, and you can taste the love in the minestrone…you’ve got to appreciate a good minestrone. The meatball sandwich is absolutely the best west of New York City, and I have that on very good authority!
Little Toni’s is a magical rarity, both a destination restaurant and a neighborhood joint. A reasonably priced and generously portioned family restaurant with the type of dedication to food that you would usually find at a much more expensive establishment.
Because of it’s location in the NoHo Arts District you will be sure to see a lot of the theatre crowd, people pouring out of the theatres after a show or the actors out together celebrating, or local comedians closing down the place at 2am…also a rarity in L.A., late night dining…love it!
It’s always such a strange and pleasing mixture of families, dates and groups of friends sharing carafes of house wine, huge pizzas and desserts. The restaurant has been run by the same family now for 60 years, and in L.A. that has got to be a record. I have a very dear friend whose family has been going there together since the 70s and she still has to visit at least once every couple of months to avoid withdrawals.
Whenever I am eating at Little Toni’s, and just writing this review is making my mouth water for it, I always look around the dining room and expect to find Joe Pesci to glaring at me, asking me, “Do you think I’m funny?” A la “Goodfella’s.” It’s that kind of Italian. Authentic, busy, full of life and delicious aromas and very, very easy to get addicted to.
If you are tired of the ‘fusion’ this or the ‘microbrewery’ that and crave some good, honest, nostalgia inducing, comforting food in a relaxed and friendly environment where the excellent service and evocative, delicious food put and keep a smile on your face, then Little Toni’s is the place for you.
This restaurant just never seems to disappoint. Regardless of my mood or my reason for choosing it, I am always made to feel at home and the food is wonderful and plentiful. I always leave Little Toni’s happy, wrapped in a cocoon of deliciousness and reminiscence, a little fatter and always planning my very rapid return.
Do yourselves a very big favor and make Little Toni’s a new tradition of yours.
Tell them you nohoartsdistrict.com sent you, bring your NoHo Card and they’ll happily give you 10% off!