Little Anthony’s was a decades-old restaurant at the corner of Richmond and York, catering to the semi-affluent crowd of Bay Streeters and Sheraton Hotel guests, not to mention some of the wanderers post-show from the theatres in the area. But after years of the same, it was time for a change. A drastic one at that.

Taxed with transforming the DT institution, Andreas Antoniou did a massive flip of the space, a similar change to last year’s Mediterra-becomes-Estiatorio-Volos evolution. The previously simple spot is now rife with contrast. Beautiful large windows provide an airy and vibrant light that bounces off the bright orange seating. Marble bar tops are effortlessly chic, and standing shelves house simple decor items like wash pails and vases.

Little Anthony’s held it’s grand re-opening Wednesday night, which doubled as a fundraiser for Second Harvest. Some menu items, like the exceptional arancini – Italian rice balls packed with herb flavour like rosemary and sage – and simple gnocchi were tasty bites. The house-made porchetta – slow-cooked for 12 hours – served with cucumber relish and a syrupy jus melted away in your mouth.

Andreas’ vision with Little Anthony’s is to hone in on the mid-range dining niche. Providing an upscale meal without the upscale price-tag is part of the idea. For instance, wines – which are often marked up 300-600% on lists – are likely to only see a double list price. Perfect for those who want to enjoy a bottle with some classic Italian fare.

Now, of course, Italian restaurants’ ubiquity in the city is unparalleled. But we can’t fault L.A. on being “another Italian restaurant opening” because it’s not; it’s merely an overhaul and update to something that once was…an exceptional one at that.

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