First, a quick history on Venice Beach-to set up the scene of C&O Trattoria. It was developed early in the last century to be an exact replica to the original version, Venice, Italy . Those plans never panned out (although Venice, CA is still a sight to been.) That said its only fitting that at the entrance to Venice Beach there is an Italian Restaurant that celebrates all things Venice and Italian culture. C&O Trattoria has been a dining experience that locals from the west side of Los Angeles have treasured for years. The food is fresh, authentic and the outdoor dining area with the fake Venetian facades, dangling Christmas lights and loud Italian music add to the buzz and enjoyment.
C&O Tratoria is located on the inlet where Washing ton Blvd terminates at Venice Beach. The restaurant itself is just steps from the sand. There is an outdoor and indoor dining area although we definitely recommend the outdoor. The food is classic Italian, i.e. variety of pasta dishes, gigantic meatballs and fried calamari appetizers to name a few. Like Mexican restaurants that keep a constant flow of nacho chips before the main course, C&O comes around with fresh from the oven garlic knots. Be careful when ordering, the portions are enormous and most definitely you will have left overs. The wine selection is huge and the wait staff dawn the traditional white button ups and black slacks.
It’s the outdoor dining area that holds the most charm. The walls have fake Venetian facades leaving diners to wonder if they are really in the US or magically transported back to Venice Italy. However the BEST part of the dining experience at C&O is when they blast Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore”. Usually this happens around 8pm (although can be later). When the music begins the wait staff suspend their duties and collectively dance around the dining area singing along, holding their own glass of wine and cheering the various diners with their glasses of wine. Those seeing this for the first time will enjoy the spectacle, however it’s at this moment that it’s obvious that there are many Angelenos in the crowd as they know the C&O drill and often belt out notes louder than the wait staff. By the end of the song the whole dining area is involved swaying their bodies, holding up their glasses and attempting to sing along.
C&O is an awesome ending for those who have spent the latter half of the day on the Venice boardwalk and who are looking to end the day with a hearty meal. It should be noted there is another C&O just to the south of this location near LAX, however it is the C&O of Venice Beach that is the must see.