949 South Figueroa
213-623-0014 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              213-623-0014      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

LOS ANGELES — La Bella Cucina, conveniently located near the convention center, is an inexpensive Italian option when you’re craving carbs after a long day at E3.

The casual restaurant and bar features a diverse menu of appetizers, soups/salads, pasta, pizza and seafood. But several of the offerings are marred by either over or under flavoring.

The Pizza Bianco ($5.95) is their take on garlic bread. It’s a personal-sized pizza crust topped with what appears to be jarred, minced garlic. Fresh garlic would be a much better option, as the scoops of jarred garlic tend to overpower.

I was hoping to try their gnocchi ($11.95), but they were out when we went, at 6 p.m. Monday.

The farfalle botega ($9.95) was my final answer — bow tie pasta in cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, chicken and fresh spinach. Somehow, this dish was bland. I don’t know how you can make a tomato, spinach, chicken, cream sauce dish bland, but I was unscrewing the cap off the pepper to add some flavor.

The rigatoni quatro formaggi ($8.95) was also a bit bland and off tasting. Would not order again.

The restaurant offers dozens more pasta options ($7.95-$13.95), 14 specialty pizzas ($7.95-$14.95) and even a seabass with capers dish (market price).

La Bella Cucina has excellent, attentive service, a good variety of food and drink, and a very casual atmosphere in a neighborhood that can easily break the bank.

The food isn’t that great, let’s be honest. But it was filling and fairly fresh and wicked cheap. If you’re hankering for Italian, you could do worse.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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