Like that kid in second grade who wore a suit to school and carried a briefcase instead of a regular old backpack, Felix arrived fully formed. You knew that kid was going to be a hedge fund manager, and when Felix opened on Abbot Kinney, it was instantly clear that this was going to be one of the best places to eat pasta in Los Angeles.
That’s due in large part to what you see as soon as you walk into the dining room: a glassed-in, climate-controlled pasta making room so serious it would put Martha Stewart’s gift wrapping room to shame. Order one of the ten or so regularly-changing pastas, and watch as people deep in concentration make your rigatoni - and inspect it for flaws with the intensity of dog show judges - before it heads to your table. Once it’s there, be prepared to not hear anything anyone at the table is saying while you enter a fugue state of noodle nirvana.
But just because Felix treats pasta making like a religious ceremony doesn’t mean you won’t have fun here. This restaurant understands the way that most of us want to eat now - casually, sharing everything, with the ability to book a table six weeks in advance or just walk in tonight and get a spot at the bar (although the best times to do that are pre-7pm and post-9pm). The whole place is loud without being rowdy, and is consistently packed with Venice locals and people from across town who’ve heard the gospel and have braved the 10 for dinner. The waitstaff are helpfully opinionated, and will translate the mostly-Italian menu, steer you towards their favorites, and be genuinely nice while doing so.
When it comes to food that isn’t pasta, there are a lot of other options - most good, some excellent. The sfincione focaccia is the greatest bread we’ve ever put in our mouths, and they’ve clearly sold their souls for the secret to the perfect meatball (we suspect it involves frying). The pizzas and entrees are both solid, but entirely acceptable to skip in favor of ordering more things that come out of that temperature-controlled room of wonder. Just know a meal here doesn’t come cheap - when you’re paying $20 for a bowl of pasta, things add up quickly. They’ve got to pay those air conditioning bills somehow.
Some restaurants just f*cking get it, and Felix is one of them. It already feels like a place that’s been open for years - exciting but not painfully cool, and focused solely on the fact that you’re here to eat and have a good time. A thing which is pretty much guaranteed.
We eat a lot of bread, but we are confident in saying that this is the single best bread we’ve ever eaten. A round of salty focaccia that comes out warm and soaked in olive oil, and somehow tastes even better the next day with your eggs (on that note, order an extra). We may or may not have started referring to this as sex bread.
A meal at Felix will not be a nutritionist-approved one. But you could, in theory, make a gesture towards health by starting with a salad. This one involves bitter chicory, dates, pine nuts, and a lot of cheese on top.
Every Italian restaurant in town has meatballs on the menu, but it’s hard to find any as good as these. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside, covered in parmesan, and sitting on top of a delicious salsa verde. Get them.
No one is coming to Felix for the pizza, but no one is going to be disappointed if one ends up on the table. Thin-crusted and puffy with minimal toppings, they’re like what you’d expect to find in a neighborhood spot in Italy.
Onto the real reason you’re here. This spiraled pasta is one of our favorites, with a simple basil pesto and your weekly recommended serving of cheese. If we had to pick a favorite pasta here, this could very well be it.
But then again it could also be the amatriciana. The guanciale is crispy and salty, the tomato sauce is surprisingly light, the rigatoni is perfectly al dente, and oh look, we ate it all without stopping to breathe.
A thicker spaghetti that comes coated in a sauce that’s more pepe than cacio. Occasionally it comes out with an amount of pepper that ends up overpowering the cheese, but more often than not, they nail the balance.
This involves oversized orecchiette (although we’ve also had it with the skinny capunti you see here) with a spicy sausage ragu, bits of broccolini, and (again) a mountain of cheese. This is the one to get if you like serious meat in your pasta sauce.
A giant, charred octopus tentacle that comes with also-charred spring onions and cherry tomatoes. If you’re looking to add something without carbs to your meal, this is a good choice, but really - you should just order another pasta.
Do you have daytime fantasies about the butterscotch budino at Pizzeria Mozza? Then you’ll want this adult-version-of-pudding thing too.