Anima Pizza & Pasta
Right smack dab in the middle of Koreatown is Anima Pizza & Pasta, a restaurant that seems imported directly from Italy. It’s in walking distance of our apartment (think near Wilshire & Vermont) and we are so happy that it is! It’s actually in the same strip as another favorite restaurant of ours, so it’s twice the greatness. We discovered this gem late one night (think near 10pm) and we’ve been going back weekly ever since. The quality of the food far surpasses the dollar signs on their menu–it’s excellent food for a bargain.
If French food is love (and butter), Italian food is passion (and olive oil). You get a lot of both at Anima. From the wait staff to the chef/owner, they’re always more than happy to tell you about the dishes on the menu, the specials, and the perfect wine pairing. (Yes, they do have alcohol now!) All of their recommendations have been without fault, including the Emilia Romagna pizze bianche. This white pizza has mozzarella, prosciutto, shaved parmigiano, balsamic vinegar, and a bed of the freshest arugula that cuts all of the richness of the meat and cheese perfectly in half. The portions are more than generous and the amount of protein on dishes such as the Smoked Salmon pizze (a special) defines Italian hospitality.
Their gnocchi, whether you go pomodoro or arabiatta, is absolutely killer. The kind of food that makes you close your eyes, smile, and savor each flavor. Then you get that warm feeling in your belly, knowing that the food was truly hand-crafted. We always leave Anima in a great mood. The atmosphere, too, is fitting. There’s a quote on the wall (see picture below) and a huge old map of Italy as well. There are fresh flowers on every table and the music definitely fits in. The waiters treat you phenomenally and if you’re lucky, the owner/chef (we think) will serve you himself. We compare it to one of our Boulder favorites, Dagabi Cucina. It gives you that authentic feeling of a true dinner, and a wonderful place for a date.
But we don’t want to ruin the surprise for you. We will tell you that nearly every pasta option is under $10 with the exception of those with a bounty of seafood. We’ll also tell you to be mindful about how much bread you eat when you first sit down because their desserts, especially the creme brulee, leave you no reason to depart without that sweet final course. It is a complete meal from start to finish, highlighted by the fresh food and inviting atmosphere. I’m guessing their goal is to make you feel like you’re in Italy for a few hours, and they do a damn good job. Plane tickets to Europe are thousands of dollars, but Anima might just be a few miles away. We encourage you to enjoy this restaurant and stay hungry and fit!