PRICE RANGE: $$$$
LOCATION: 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
RESERVATIONS: Book here
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Sfincione, Fiori di Zucca, Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe
Felix Trattoria in Venice was on my list of need-to-go restaurants for a while, but it’s damn near impossible to make a reservation! Opened in 2017, Felix Trattoria has certainly caused a buzz within the LA foodie community. Chef Evan Funke’s take on traditional Italian cuisine is one to behold, and his long-awaited return to the LA restaurant scene after being chef at the Rustic Canyon, then at Bucato, rightfully excited many. Hell, the Wall Street Journal even wrote an article about pasta that was basically a piece about Felix.
Moreso an ode to Italian cuisine, Felix is best known for its pasta and divides the pasta dishes into four regions of Italy: northern, central, southern (mezzogiorno), and “delle isole”, otherwise known as island pasta from the likes of Sicily or Sardinia. Leave your lame ketogenic diet at home for a night out at Felix or don’t bother going.
Reservations open 30 days out, and man do they fill up fast. Located on Abbot Kinney, the trendy hipster street of Venice, the interior of the restaurant is surprisingly more homey than I would have thought! In fact, Funke himself has described the interior and menu as him “channeling his inner grandma.” With charming green floral wallpaper, midcentury modern chairs, and wooden floors, I definitely felt a cozy and intimate vibe. But perhaps the most interesting part of the night (besides your lovely company, of course!) is the temperature-controlled glass room where you can mesmerizingly watch your pasta being handmade right in front of you.
We had the pleasure of dining there on May 3, 2019, and sat in the back room known as the “nonna” room – this is the room with the vibrant floral wallpaper, but it doesn’t have a view of the pasta lab. If you’re opting for a more intimate and quiet dining experience, I would definitely request dining in this room. Otherwise, tables with a view of the pasta lab are by far the most popular, as you might get the chance to watch even Chef Funke himself whirling together the spectacle that is pasta-making at Felix.
Now on to the food…
Focaccia siciliana with rosemary, sea salt, and olive oil.
We rushed to order this dish because our waitress told us it was the last one they had that night, and given that it was our first night dining at Felix, we all jumped at the opportunity. Wow… this was quite the way to open our dining experience. The bread is warm and incredibly fluffy with the perfect amount of drizzled olive oil. It’s safe to say we were sad to see this dish go once we ate it all. The one complainer at the table was my girlfriend, who said that it was a bit salty. I love salt so I ate her remaining half and carried on with the dinner 🙂
Fiori di Zucca (10/10)
Squash blossoms with crema di ricotta
This was by far one of the best appetizers, quite possibly one of the best I’ve EVER had. The ricotta filling is insane, while the outside textures of the squash blossoms are so crunchy and delicious. I basically fought with the other members of my table over who would get the last bite! Best yet, it wasn’t that filling, and we were ready to eat the rest of the (many) dishes we ordered.
Polpette della Maestra Alessandra (8/10)
Pork meatballs with salsa verde and parmigiano reggiano
Now, if you’re an avid follower of this blog, as you should be, you know that I LOVE meatballs, and really just about anything meat. But any time the menu has meatballs (or brussel sprouts), I’m ordering them. However, given that I’ve tried so many meatballs from a variety of Italian restaurants in LA, I’d say that while these are good, they fall short of spectacular. Of course, I might just be a meatball snob, but hey! That makes my opinion all the more credible… right?!
If you’re looking for THE meatball in LA, Jon & Vinny’s has some killer meatballs.
Diavola Pizza (7.5/10)
Diavola pizza with fior di latte, pomodoro, salame piccante, and olio santo
Alright, so if there’s something I’m even more of a snob about, it’s pizza. There’s a reason why Felix is best-known for their pasta (because they’re truly out of this world) but the pizza is nothing to rave about. The sauce is a little overbearing, but they do a great job with the crust. There are definitely better pizzas you can find in LA (Pizzeria Mozza is one of my favorites), but that said, who really comes to Felix for the pizza? It’s all about the pasta!!
At this point, we were all pretty impressed with the meal we had so far. But still, we were all waiting for the pasta, which like many others, is the main reason why we decided to go to Felix. “Omg” is the first thing I said when they brought out our pasta dishes. And then there was silence…because we were all so focused on stuffing this pasta into our mouths as fast as humanly possible! Chef Funke, you have truly outdone yourself. Each dish is sparing with the sauce, but in the best way possible – so much flavor in each bite without overwhelming the taste of the pasta itself.
Ragù bolognese “vecchia scuola” with parmigiano reggiana aged 48 months
Remember how I said that Felix divided their pasta dishes into four regions? So the tagliatelle is one of the “Pasta del Nord” and boy, does it do Northern Italy well. The tagliatelle is delightfully thin, soft, and clings to the sauce in the most delicious way. The aged parmesan also adds a wonderful dimension to the dish. Definitely order if you’re a fan of meat in your pasta. I guess the only fault I could really find with this dish was its hefty price ($48). But, that’s a common theme at Felix.
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (10/10)
Cacio e Pepe with black pepper and pecorino fulvi
This is one of the “paste del centro” and also my favorite dish of the night! Our waitress beforehand raved to us about how it has an almost overbearing black pepper taste, but it’s so damn good that you just don’t care. Well, I for one LOVE black pepper so I found this dish to be absolutely incredible. Jolts of black pepper with each bite coupled with the sharp cut of the cheese, I’m salivating just writing this. This is more “pepe” than “cacio”, but they absolutely nailed the “balance” between the two.
Tagliata di Manzo (8.25/10)
Ribeye cap with patate fritte, wild arugala, and parmigiano reggiano
Alright, so now you’re probably thinking, “too much pasta, not enough stomach room.” But I’m not one to dismiss secondi especially at when I have the chance to dine at Felix. Luckily, my girlfriend was too full from all of the pasta so the Ribeye ended up being my personal entree. This was cooked wonderfully at medium rare and the only thing I wanted was more of this mouthwatering juicy deliciousness. The salad and potatoes pair really well with the steak and I would definitely order this again in the future.
Torta Caprese (9/10)
Flourless chocolate cake with gianduja and hazelnut croccante
If there’s something else I think Felix should be known for, it’s their desserts. Their flourless chocolate cake is divine. Unlike many flourless chocolate cakes you can come across, this wasn’t too dense at all, but instead incredibly light and fluffy. A great dessert to ease you out of the hefty carb-loaded meal you just ate for sure.
I would say that the tiramisu was my favorite of the night, but I feel like that’d be a disservice to Chef Funke. I’ll just say it’s because my inner fat kid is rearing his chubby head and I adore sweets maybe a little too much. Although I’m not one to usually order tiramisu, this was by far the best tiramisu I have ever had. Ever. Large enough to split between my party of 4, it was so deliciously smooth, silky, moist, and not too sweet. Felix’s tiramisu, I reluctantly admit I have dreamed about you since that fateful night.
Felix Trattoria definitely lived up to its hype, and I’m looking forward to dining here again and trying more pasta dishes, especially because I have yet to try the “paste del mezzogiorno” and “paste delle isole.” Stay tuned for my next trip to Felix and wish me luck in finding a reservation!Loading Likes...