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Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown

 

Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown main course

 

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Video - Meet Maria Alfano

 

Video - Maria on fresh ingredients

 

Video - meet John T. Savage, District Operations Manager

 

 

 

 


 
 

Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown Los Angeles Dining Review

 

Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown

Pictured: Chicken Piccata with grilled vegetables over a wood flame, and Meat Lasagna
 

Entrees at Mariaa's Italian Kitchen Downtown include a delicious rendition of Chicken Piccata with grilled vegetables, or a hearty Maria's Lasagna.

 

With over 30 entrees to choose from, it's tough selecting your meal during a first visit to Maria's Italian Kitchen Downtown. Traditional favorites such as Lasagna, Ravioli, Risotto, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Calzones and Pizza range in price from approx. $8.99 for pizza to $20.99 for Cioppione, billed as a "really delicious bowl of seafood".

 

With excellent service and someone always nearby, we didn't have to wait to order our meals. The restaurant is expertly managed with its customers in mind, thanks to the experience and knowledge of district manager John Savage, who launched the downtown Maria's, part of a chain of restaurants in Southern California. Savage has been with the company for over 10 years and clearly knows his stuff. The local crowd that fills the restaurant during lunch mostly work at nearby offices, and have only a short amount of time to eat. So the food servers prides themselves in taking orders quickly when needed, and a sizeable kitchen staff gets the dishes out just as fast. Not quite ready to order on the first round, our server came back again as we requested a few minutes later.

 

Logic and old habits kicked in as my friend, Mary, chose her favorite dish, Chicken Piccata. I am so glad she tried it, because we made a pact to share everything we ordered, and it was fantastic! The Chicken served in this meal is breaded so light, you really can't tell there's breading. Over a dozen capers are spread over the top of several generous portions of chicken breast that are covered in Lemon Sauce next to a bed of Linguine. Mary was good to her word, and gave me one serving of the chicken. It was flavorful--the capers provide just the perfect balance to a wine sauce that's smooth and easy.  Mary orders Chicken Piccata at most restaurants and has strong opinions about her meals. She sizes each dish by comparing it her own cooking.

 

"I really like it," she said. "I would order it again--it's very good."  She noted the chicken breast is perfectly cooked and  tender. The sauce is also notable for its light, pleasant, but not overpowering flavor. A generous pasta accompaniment is fresh and filling, but what really sets the dish off are the vegetables that will have both Mary and me heading for L.A. again soon.

 

Grilled zucchini, broccoli and carrots are served in what's described as "seasonal favorites" you can order as a side dish, but in this case, come with the Chicken Piccata. While the menu doesn't offer these veggies as a main meal, Savage said that there are no set rules on catering to guests' requests, except to strive toward making them feel comfortable and happy about your dining experience. "We like to think of diners as part of our family."

 

Sweet and succulent, the vegetables are not only glazed with an olive oil marinade, they are cooked over the wood grill. Even "anti-vegetable" diners should give them a try. I describe them as "candy" because they are so sweet and tasty, you could end your meal right then and there and be satisfied.

 

Maria's Italian Meat Lasagna is served and baked in its own oval shaped dish, with more than enough for Mary and me to split. Neither of us could finish our shared portions. The sauce is a rich tomato-based meat sauce with a sweet flavor and just a hint of salt. The finest cheeses are evident in this house favorite, which is freshly baked with hand-made pasta. For lasagna lovers, I recommend it with a caveat--enjoy the lasagna but save room for dessert! If you can't eat all your meal, take up your waiter's offer to "doggy bag" it.

 

 


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