Maggiano's is in the new shopping center at 3rd and Fairfax. It turns out to be a chain of 18 Italian restaurants with a rich Chicago heritage. I had dinner last night, and -- surprise -- I was really impressed. The food was good and cheap, the portions enormous, and it does satisfy a sort of void in the LA food scene.
The ambience is actually fairly pleasant - dimly lit with large red nagahyde booths and checkered table cloths. The portions are massive; a regular size portion of pasta feeds four and a half size feeds two, but the prices are quite reasonable (those large dishes cost an average of about $15; it would be quite easy to leave comfortably stuffed for $10-20 a person without alcohol). I guess the concept here is similar to the Bucca de Beppo chain, but the food is actually much better. The food is straight ahead southern Italian cooking, which is always pleasant enough once in a while. Recommended.