8343 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA | Directions 9004533.961647 -118.421018
Neighborhoods: West LA, Westchester
The best Italian food in SOCAL – Bottom line you want Italian food then make the trip here! This is by far the best place and my wife will never say no to Alejo's!
The fresh bread served with chopped garlic and olive oil will make the start of your meal wonderful! Try anything it is all good
From strip-mall spaghetti stop to local institution, this is home-style Italian food that won't break the bank. – In Short
It's all about sharing huge portions of garlic-heavy pizza and pasta at Alejo's. Many dishes feature green, white and red ingredients that mimic the Italian flag. Main courses include a tri-color pizza that substitutes pesto for tomato sauce, mixed gnocchi (cheese, spinach and portobello) with a marinara-Alfredo combo sauce and the house-specialty spaghetti and meatballs. At the Marina location, diners sit shoulder-to-shoulder at communal tables. Down the street, there are private booths.
Mediocre, but good for LA – My girlfriend and I have been twice, and it's been pretty good each time -- nothing mindblowing. We go for the strong garlic oil, for health reasons -- because the garlic seems to help clear minor infections. I had the pesto on linguine tonight, and didn't really like it. It was overcooked, and the pesto was either ground up too much, or something weird was up with it, because it's an eerie, watery green color. Be sure to request al dente, or it'll come out soft like I got it. I suspect this squishy-noodle is an LA thing, because it's happened to me before. Maybe I just look like someone who likes mushy noodles. (Yech. Get with it.) Despite these gripes, I suspect I'll be back, because, so far, it's been pretty tasty. Even this pesto, I ate 80% of the plate.
Previously, I had the eggplant Parmesan, and it was very good. The garlic oil is good - it's just mediocre olive oil with garlic, but it's so strong that the overwhelming spicyness disguises the plain oil. Likewise, the bread is so-so, but it's so fresh that it trumps other breads. A 30 minute-old loaf of any bread will beat an 8-hour old bag of expensive artisinal bread, almost every time.
That's the genius of Alejo's, and why it tastes homemade: it's simple, but gets to you as it's made, just like at home, or at a good restaurant. Unfortunately, there are too many restaurants that fail on that count, serving up cold bread, old pasta, and otherwise don't go through a final stage of prep and heating.
Real Deal Veal Parm – Determined to escape my four-day, extended law student seminar at a hyper-expensive LAX big-box hotel, I consulted the concierge for a local Italian recommendation.
"You know, something local? Nearby? Not Olive Garden?"
I just got a blank stare as she snapped her gum. "There's Mangy-something down in the Marina? Marina Del Rey?" Like I'm suppose to know that already.
CITY SEARCH came up with Alejo's on Lincoln in Westchester, just beyond a stone's throw from the airport and only $10 in cab fare from Century Blvd. As the other reviews here stated, noting fancy in terms of decor or atmosphere, busy and crowded, but honest, well prepared food served quickly and competently. And yes, the garlic oil and fresh bread are terrific.
While veal may be un-p.c., I happen to like it. A lot. And while it wasn't Provimi, the veal parm I had last night at Alejo's is praise-worthy. An honest-to-god, ample cutlet (not ground), at least 8 ounces, well-pounded, lightly breaded, light on the mozzerel. It was accompanied with a generous, steaming mound of perfectly cooked (al dente) and sauced spaghetti. Buono gusto!
At $13.95, a real deal for real veal. The downside was the pricey chianti classico ($6.95 per glass) that came in a tiny, 3.5 oz glass as brimming full. Would recommend a half-bottle or more for next time.
Next time? If I don't pass the bar this time, I'll be back for another seminar here at Soulless Central but at least I'll have Alejo's to look forward to.
Vampires Beware, Garlic Lovers Abound! – Alejos is one of those hidden treasures that all the locals know about and people in the know travels far to delve in it's scrumptous food. Located in a strip mall next to a doughnut shop, the Alejos sign proclaims its nondescriptness. However, once you enter the small restaurant the aroma of the food engulfs you since the open kitchen is right next to the dining tables. The restaurant is too small for a host so go in and sign your name on a clipboard. Bring a bottle of wine since this location has no liquor license. Once seated, dive into the garlic and olive oil dip with your bread. The garlic dip is a treasure trove for garlic lovers everywhere. Beware of filling up on the bread as you have to at least order the Alejos Chopped Salad. You can't go wrong in ordering any of their delicious pasta dishes ranging from spaghetti and home made meatballs, their tricolor ravioli, al diablo shrimp, to their egplant mama mia. Alejos also have a sister location in Manchester that is much larger with a liquor license. However, the charm of this small location is what brings countless people to this location over and over.
Good neighborhood Italian – The food is prepared in a simple but consistant manner. Everything is casual and Red Sauce Family Italian, very reasonable.
Grubbin! – Fantastic local Italian restaurant with great prices. Garlic dipping sauce is yummy, but make sure everyone else in your party eats it too; otherwise you stink. We dine in or take out; but we're always happy and fat after every meal. The End!
Craving Alejo's in Austin, TX – I moved back to Texas from LA in '96 and this is the restaurant I miss the most! The bread and garlic/olive oil that they bring you when you are seated is delicious -- just be careful not to eat too much to where you are too full for your meal! This is a cozy little spot -- nothing fancy, just homestyle Italian food. The portion sizes are more than plenty -- I never left without a to-go container.
Great Italian Flavor – Been here during lunch time and even took a date one time. The food is great. The bread and garlic-olive oil dip is awesome (try adding cheese to the oil). Although I do admit I hate the fact that I got full on bread the first two times I was there. I had the Alejo's chopped salad, which was only $7 & delicious! They did load up the turkey. Also had the clams-tomato sauce-wine-linguini plate. It was sooooo good. I had some left over, and took it to work the next day. Had it cold, and tasted just as good.
Like eating at my Italian grandma's – This place is so fun and tasty. Food is good, authentic, and reasonable. Staff is really friendly and attentive. You can kick back here and truly relax with friends. If you want contrived, silly food for American yuppies, try one of those chain Italian restaurants.
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