With hesitation(they don't need more customers) I would like to suggest visiting this small (seats about 25 inside) restaurant on the Balboa Peninsula.
We usually go to the Spaghetti Bender when in need of Italian food but last night we tried Abbondanza. We went there a few years ago when the space was owned by someone else and found it OK, but not really worth revisiting. It changed ownership 2 years ago and I believe is one of the best and most imaganitive and reasonable Italian places we have found in Southern Calif.
I had the Ultimate Meat Lasagna. With four cheeses, spicy Italian sausage (from Sabatini"s), and meatballs, it was fantastic. Absolutely too much to finish and ended up taking 1/2 of it home. My wife had the Sicilian Pasta with bell peppers, red onions, capicolle in an arrabiatta sauce.
People around us were eating the evening special of halibut which was crusted and served over polenta. Huge piece of fresh halibut that looked delicious. Most entrees run from $8 to $16 for the shrimp and scallops in a lobster creme sauce tossed with mushrooms, spinach, roma tomatoes, and capicolla. For $2 more you get a green or ceasar salad and 2 slices of very very rich garlic bread
Even though it was a Sunday night the place was nearly full of neighborhood people by 7:00 pm. About 15 additional people were in the outside patio.
I should not fail to mention the pizza. They have a wood burning oven and the pizza is thin made with a beer battered dough mixed with a bit of corn meal and rolled thin. It looked amazing and will be ordered at our next visit which will be soon.
I can kick myself for not going there sooner since it is so close to our house.
Address is 514 West Balboa about a block away from the Balboa Branch library and the Fire Dept. It is not open for dinner on Monday and Tuesday.