Viva Italia! If you love everything Italian, then look no further than Tirovino.
Everything about this place is Italian. The owner, Maurizio La Rosa, is Italian (Sicily). The head chef, David Giani, is Italian (Tuscany). The excellent menu of small plates is Italian. And the impressive wine list is all Italian.
Based on multiple experiences at Tirovino during the day and in the evening, this place is a hidden treasure. Here is why: the food is great and the majority of the wine on their wine list is available by the glass, and they’ll open the four bottles that aren’t if you purchase two glasses.
Wines by the glass: 46 / $6 – $18
Wines by the bottle: 50 / $18 – $100
Like many of the restaurants/wine bars on Melrose, Tirovino is relatively new. Open since the spring of 2011, it is located on the strip’s eastern end, just a couple of blocks from La Brea Avenue. It has a great outdoor patio that opens into the long narrow interior of the restaurant. Like Cellar 55, it is easy to find a seat at Tirovino during the day but can become packed for dinner. On the weekends, there is live jazz music.
Tirovino has two unique and memorable features in its decor. The first is a wall sized photograph of La Rosa’s hometown in Sicily. A must see. The other is what this column is officially dubbing “The King’s Table” — a table for ten that looks like it was stolen out of a medivial Italian castle.
Now the wine!
Keeping with the theme of Kings, the most outstanding of the various wines tasted was “the wine of Kings” — the 2006 Oddero Barolo (Italy > Piedmont > Piedmont DOCG > Barolo). Nebbolio is a notoriously tannic grape, so it is ideal to give the wine at least ten years to soften, yet this 2006 was alreadly remarkably balanced.
Here are the other wines sampled, all worth the price of admission. In fact, every variety of wine tasted at Tirovino has ultimately been ordered twice.
2008 Gaja Ca’Marcanda Promis, IGT (Italy > Tuscany > Tuscan Coast > Maremma > Ca’Marcanda)
2006 Corte Lenguin Corvina Blend, Amarone Classico della Valpolicello (Italy > Veneto > Vento DOCG > Amarone della Valpolicello > Amarone della Valpolicello Classico)
2006 TorCalvano Sangiovese, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Italy > Tuscany > Chianti > Vino Nobile di Montepulciano)
2006 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo (Italy > Piedmont > Langhe > Langhe DOC)
2008 Jermann Vinnaioli Pinot Nero Red Angel on the Moonlight (Italy > Friuli-Venezia Giulia > Venezia Giulia IGT)
The last one had to be tasted for the name alone — Red Angel on the Moonlight! It is a little young, but not half bad.
Happy tasting at Tirovino!