I went to Vito in Santa Monica (corner of Ocean Park & 28th St) last night (a Wednesday) around 7:30pm. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was back in NJ with their decor (very old school Italian restaurant feel) along with the people (most other diners were well over 50 and just had a NJ or east coast look about them). The service was great. Our waiter was very nice, my friend is the chatty kind, so he chatted him up about how he was from NY, then went to Julliard in NY to study voice, was on Broadway for 13 years, and now he does voice work for the studios during the day and waits tables at night. The waiter also chatted a bit with a couple sitting near us who seemed like regulars, and he was actually drinking wine along with them.
We had the Caesar Salad for 2, which they make right at your table. We asked them to use the traditional raw egg instead of mustard. I've had such a hard time with Caesars in California, but this one was perfect!
Friend got the special bone-in-rib eye, came with some veggies and a little potato onion pancake thing, and he devoured it. The rib eye came with a peppercorn sauce all over it, which they didn't mention beforehand, but I tasted a piece and it was really good. (FYI if you go, you might want to specify no sauce or a particular kind of sauce.)
I got the penne arrabiata which was fantastic. Perfectly cooked and spicy.
We each had a glass of the house cab.
I think the total was right around $100, which I kind of think is a bit high for a place that has a very middle class feel and [great] middle class menu, but the food was so good and well done, so in that sense it's worth it. I will definitely go back.
Also, they gave us a VIP card. It gives 30% off your entire bill - food and beverage! - any time you visit. I don't know why we got it, maybe because we both talked to the waiter about NJ (where we're from), or maybe because we're on the younger side and they want more younger people in there?? I'm not sure, but I like it!