I had always meant to visit this Beverly mainstay, but had my first real opportunity Friday when a karate match my son competed in at 88th and Ashland ran late and the other neighborhood places went dark on us (about nineish). We felt a bit scruffy entering this white-tablecloth establishment straight from the tournament. But the hostess and wait people treated us very well.
Is there a category of "American-Italian-American"? This place was a throwback to the kinds of places my folks would take us to as kids for "good food" dining experience. There was a wine list (I did not study it) and a stack of vinyl-padded menus at the table. The kids commented on the trompe l'oeil brick wall. The olive oil at the table was subpar (pure, perhaps).
The food: standard red sauce Italian, although my spouse ordered a broiled fish (tilapia) and braised spinach, which she liked. (Funny coincidence -- just yesterday we visited Hollywood Grill, one of kids' favorites, and they too had "tilapia" on the menu -- is there a surplus of this brand on the market? Is it a new name for some garbage fish?) My pasta dish was a bit dreary (overcooked vegetables and a surfeit of chopped-up garlic), but my sons liked their red sauce meals.
The price: $75 for three mains, three beverages and two appetizers. Seemed a bit steep for what we got, but appropriate for the atmosphere.
(Oh, don't forget if you, they have "complementary" valet parking in the lot, meaning you fork over a tip for the guy to drive your car twenty feet into an empty space. Plenty of no-tip street parking nearby, though.)
Franconello's Italian Restaurant
10222 S. Western Ave.