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I was looking for a decent restaurant in the Little Italy area for dinner and came across L.A.B. (Live and Breathe), a place I had been meaning to try for some time. For some reason I always thought this was a vegetarian restaurant and was surprised to see that there was meat on the menu. Maybe it was just the name of the restaurant that threw me off.

Complimentary bread

I was surprised by how empty the restaurant was considering all the great reviews I’ve read about this place. There were only two other tables with customers so I was hoping this wasn’t an indication of the food. The restaurant is relatively small and features a tiny patio. Since the patio only seated about two two-tops, we were seated inside.

After ordering, they served us some warm brown bread. It was quite dense, but we all really enjoyed this, especially when it was dipped in the olive oil which had a garlic clove soaking in it. In addition to the bread, they also gave us a small bowl of warm spiced olives. I gave one a try and found it to be just okay, but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of olives. I don’t mind them in my food but I can’t really eat them on its own.

Braised veal ravioli with house made ricotta

After the server told us that the ravioli was her favourite item on the menu, three of us ended up ordering the Braised veal ravioli with house made ricotta ($19). I must admit though, I rarely ever pass up ravioli at Italian restaurants since it’s one of my favourite types of pasta. When the dishes arrived at our table, I felt a pang of regret because it didn’t look very appealing. It was pretty dark from the veal and it was more of a deconstructed ravioli since the veal wasn’t stuffed inside the pasta and the sheets of pasta were just sitting on top of the filling.

However, after taking a bite of the veal, all my feelings of regret melted away. The veal was very tender and had a great taste to it. It went perfectly with the house made ricotta. I also enjoyed the pasta, although I wished there were more than just three sheets of it. Overall, this was a great tasting dish. I just would’ve preferred if it was stuffed rather than deconstructed.

Papardelle alla bolognese

My other friend ordered the Papardelle alla Bolognese ($18). The Bolognese was made of half pork and half veal. I had a few bites of this dish and was quite impressed. The pasta tasted as amazing as it looked. The papardelle was cooked perfectly and the Bolognese was chunky and perfectly seasoned. Another hit!

Since the portions weren’t very big, we still had some room for dessert. However, after reading the dessert menu, nothing sounded very appealing, so we decided to skip dessert. Besides, there is certainly no shortage of dessert destinations in Little Italy.

Overall, we all really enjoyed our meal at L.A.B. The food was excellent and the servers were attentive. I find that there are so many restaurants in Little Italy, yet there are so few that are actually decent. L.A.B. is definitely one of the better ones – I recommend it if you’re in the area.

L.A.B. interior

At a glance:

  • Located in Little Italy
  • Entrees range from $18 to $25
  • Delicious pasta dishes
  • Portions aren’t very big
  • Ratings (out of 5):

  • Food: 4 stars
  • Service: 4 stars
  • Atmosphere: 3 stars
  • L.A.B. Live and Breathe on Urbanspoon

    1. Karen (Reply) on Thursday 1, 2011

      i had a great experience when i came here wit Fonso

      we both loved the food it was so yummy

      i wished i had bought more vouchers for this place:(

      • Jess (Reply) on Thursday 1, 2011

        At first I wasn’t so sure about this place since it was pretty empty when we came on a Thursday evening. But the pasta was really great. What a great little spot in Little Italy!