Restaurants & Dining


Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown


Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown main course


Video - Meet Maria Alfano


Video - Maria on fresh ingredients


Video - meet John T. Savage, District Operations Manager



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Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown Los Angeles Dining Review



Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown, 615 Flower St., Los Angeles, CA. (213) 623-4777. Shown above is a cocktail lounge, and through the closed, glass doors is one of several dining rooms that features booth and table seating.  See the full menu on the website,



What stands out about Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown in the heart of Los Angeles, isn't the convenient location less than a block from the Metro Rail station, but the waiting line at this popular, new bistro. The luncheon crowd is beating a path to Maria's door as word spreads about L.A.'s newest offering. Scouring for places to return to again and again, Maria's Italian Kitchen offers an affordable menu with enough variety to fit the bill for customers seeking quality & value. Having dined at nearby Cafe Pinot (which was very good), I personally enjoyed Maria's lower prices and larger portions, and plan to return.


With open air seating in a light, bright 'take-out' cafe overlooking the chefs' grills, or indoor dining in a more formal setting with wait staff, the options fit your mood. Sometimes you want to be outside, so the glass-enclosed patio is ideal, offering al fresco dining for such occasions.


On my recent visit, I and a friend arrived like clockwork on Metro Rail's Blue Line from Long Beach, then wandered just steps to the restaurant. We opted for the full-on dining experience, and waited 10 to 15 minutes at the narrow entryway for the next available table. The lunch crowd comes around 11 a.m. and clears out by 1:30 p.m., so we relaxed and savored a late meal with opportunity to chat with our waiter, the manager and even Maria as the clock inched toward 2.


From a delicious, crisp Bruschetta starter, to Minestrone soup, Chopped Italian salad, Maria's Lasagna (for me), and the Chicken Piccata for my friend Mary, everything was expertly prepared.  Tables are set with wine glasses, cloth napkins filled with silverware, salt, pepper and a cheese shaker. With each dish arriving to perfection, it was unusual that neither of us reached for the available salt seasoning as we normally do in restaurants. That says a lot about the cooking.


"Everything is absolutely the best you can get," said Maria Alfano, who the restaurant was named after. A true Italian with a (Hoboken) New Jersey accent, the grand dame and mother of owner Madelyn Alfano, isn't just proud about the lasagna, panini or cannelloni. She raves about the recipes, quality of ingredients, and her daughter, of course. Not one to mince words, when she speaks, you can't help but perk up. This lively and entertaining chef in her own right started teaching cooking to her youngsters over 20 years ago in Brentwood where the business first began. "People loved our food so much, the word just spread," she said.


With nine chains under its belt to date, the newest addition in Los Angeles offers an added dimension to the city. Hearty lasagna, pasta, chicken, fish, salads, soups, cocktails and desserts all bring Italian flavors to a region surrounded by Chinatown and Olvera Street with its Hispanic influences & culture. Downtown L.A.'s revitalization and the addition of Maria's Italian Kitchen moves the city one step closer to the return of its glory days as a fun place to spend relaxing evenings and weekends.


On a cool L.A. night, Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown is ideal for a salad and pasta before an L.A. Philharmonic concert. With choices such as the Barbeque Chicken Chopped Salad that includes roasted corn, smoked mozzarella cheese and homemade Barbeque Ranch dressing; Asian Chopped Chicken Salad; or a house favorite, Chopped Antipasto with the finest Italian cold cuts and cheeses, the salad menu is comprehensive. There are approx. nine salad entrees with options such as grilled fish, chicken or Albacore tuna, and also smaller portions as stand-alones, or you can add a salad to a meal entree or sandwich. All Maria's dressings are homemade and are served fresh.


Not all salads are the same, as I discovered when biting into smooth, house-cured garbanzo beans in a delicious Chopped Italian Salad. Bursting with flavor in your mouth, I always assumed garbanzos are a texture food--but that was before I ate at Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown. Now I know that they can taste delicious, too! Accented with morsels of the finest imported Italian cheese, zucchini, carrots, Pepperocini and tasty, cured olives, the ingredients are lively amongst cool, crisp greens drizzled in a light vinaigrette. Add to the salad an appetizer such as Brushcetta with grilled bread, and you can savor salads like never before.


Salads are just a warm-up for the extensive menu of delicious, hot entrees served at this delightful addition to downtown Los Angeles.




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