Downtown pasta bar Cento recently opened a new location at Birch in Hollywood, "Andare by Cento." Time to load up on carbs again!

In times of paleo and gluten-free diets, Andare by Cento goes against the current with its pasta-focused menu. As an Italian, I cannot but be grateful. While there’s more than pasta on the menu, the pasta creations of chef/owner Avner Lavi are definitely the highlight.

Roughly one year ago, Lavi opened Cento Pasta Bar, a lunch-only restaurant inside Santos Uy’s Mignon Wine Bar in Downtown. Since then, Cento has been offering a rotating menu of pasta dishes, ranging from traditional Italian specialites to more creative ones. WIth its high-quality ingredients and affordable prices, Cento won much recognition in the press, including a recent LA Times article.

RELATEDHandmade pasta at Knead, Downtown LA.

Now Lavi is replicating and expanding the concept by opening Andare by Cento, this time inside Birch in Hollywood. Birch is already a popular spot on this stretch of Cahuenga, between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, and Andare promises to bring even more traffic around lunch time. Compared to Cento, the menu is bigger, including more sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. The venue is also much bigger and brighter.

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By the way, the name isn’t just a random Italian word. Italian lesson of the day: andare means “to go.” That’s because the restaurant plans to focus on take-out, with delivery service and online ordering launching next week. Except for the pasta dishes—those are for dining-in only.

The room at Andare by Cento, Hollywood

Andare now occupies a bigger and brighter space than its “parent” restaurant, Cento Pasta Bar

What you should eat at ANDARE by Cento

Just to be clear, Andare is not a traditional Italian, just-like-in-Italy restaurant. For example, like in any self-respecting restaurant in LA, you will find an avocado toast (if you’re an avocado toast hater, please read this). This one has a pleasant truffle hint and very fragrant olive oil, although still not my favorite in town—this is my favorite. So don’t go and expect to find caprese salad, eggplant parmigiana,  risotto, or pasta all’amatriciana. There are other restaurants for that.

On a recent visit, the menu included three appetizers, three sandwiches, three pasta dishes, and two desserts. The porchetta sandwich made its first appearance at Cento and it was so damn tasty (see video below). Most items are in the $8-10 price range, making it a pretty affordable lunch break. Especially for a nice, spacious, and bright restaurant steps away from Hollywood Boulevard and other popular spots on Cahuenga Boulevard. And I didn’t even start talking about the pasta!


Ricotta Gnocchi ($10)

An Italian saying goes, “cheer up, mom made gnocchi!” I guess that’s because gnocchi make people happy, right? Well, these freshly-made gnocchi are served with a sauce of homemade ‘ndjua (spicy, but not too spicy, Calabrian-style sausage) and grana padano. All for $10, possibly one of the best deals in town. Plenty of reasons to be happy.

RELATED: Watch pasta master Jenn Louis making ricotta gnocchi.

Ricotta gnocchi are easy to make at home too. Jenn Louis showed us how, a while back. They are usually very soft and pillowy. The gnocchi at Andare by Cento won’t melt in your mouth quite the same way. They are still fluffy, but hold together more firmly.

Gnocchi at Andare by Cento

Sorry you can’t see the ricotta filling!

Fagiolini ($15)

I admit it, I had no idea “fagiolini” was a type of pasta. I was born and raised in Italy, I traveled around the country quite a bit, and I have books like “The Geometry of Pasta” on my bookshelf. Yet, when I first saw “fagiolini” on the menu, I only thought of green beans, because that’s what it means in Italian.

Avner Lavi must have a talent for discovering unusual pasta shapes. At Cento Pasta Bar, he introduced fidanzati, something in between fusilli and caserecce, to the LA pasta scene (Insider tip: if you are curious about fagiolini, you can find them at Guidi Marcello in Santa Monica).

Andare by Cento serves fagiolini with porcini and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, homemade sausage, and truffle. Now, these are not your supermarket mushrooms. We’re talking real, meaty, and flavorful mushroom chunks. At other restaurants, truffle sometimes ends up covering the other flavors. Here it’s more of a truffle hint, gracefully combining with the rest of the dish. The fagiolini pasta is more expensive than the gnocchi, sure, but still highly recommended.

Andare by Cento signature pasta

Fagiolini pasta with sausage, mushroom, and truffle sauce

Tiramisu ($8)

The tiramisu at Andare may be experimental, but don’t dismiss it without trying. Instead of coffee, it has Kahlua, a coffee-flavored liqueur (don’t worry, it’s pretty subtle). Instead of ladyfingers, a layer of Japanese-style mascarpone cheesecake. Not New York-style, but Japanese-style “cotton cheesecake” (watch video), which serves as a soft and fluffy foundation for the rest of the dessert. This tiramisu is meant to be shared, but the other customers won’t judge you if you eat it by yourself.

Anyway, the result is so FRESH and airy. I am sure your mom makes a killer tiramisu. You also make an excellent tiramisu (of course hers is better). The problem is, neither of you are here and I am craving some combination of cream-coffee-chocolate to finish off my meal. So I guess I’d go with this one!

Special tiramisu at Andare by Cento, Los Angeles

ANDARE’s take on tiramisu

That’s it from Andare by Cento. If you end up “going” (remember, andare = to go), make sure to post your comment or personal review below!


ANDARE by Cento
1634 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 960-3369
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11am to 3pm

First-Bite Reviews are first looks at recently opened restaurants. The author sampled the restaurant menu free of charge. Photos by Raffaele Asquer for Foodiamo, all rights reserved.


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