"I want to create the most comprehensive pasta program in the United States," says Evan Funke.

By Elyse Inamine
Updated May 24, 2017
Credit: © Alan Gastelum

“Bucato was a sophomore effort, and Felix is like grad school,” says Evan Funke of the Culver City restaurant he closed nearly two years ago and the new Venice one he just opened today.

That’s a big statement from the Italophile L.A. chef, considering all the accolades Bucato garnered. It came in at no. 8 in Los Angeles Magazine’s top 10 list back in 2014 and LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold’s praised the wonderfully untraditional cacio e pepe. Though you might recognize the focaccia, Felix is a whole new animal.

Credit: © Alan Gastelum

“I want to create the most comprehensive pasta program in the United States, presented in the most authentic manner, with full recognition and respect of the history and origin of each shape and its corresponding condimento,” says Funke.

Naturally, the beating heart of his restaurant kitchen is the dough room, a mad scientist’s laboratory of filled with flour, water, salt and nimble-fingered cooks. A dozen pasta shapes are on the menu now, from thick pappardelle to shell-like strascinati, but Funke hopes to crank out up to 20 as the staff becomes more experienced.

Credit: © Alan Gastelum

However, don’t think of Felix as just pasta—“I’m not focused on any singular item,” he says. “I’m more focused on everything being in harmony.” Rather, the restaurant is an ode to everything Funke loves about Italy—the deep-rooted traditions, the people of in northern, central, southern and the islands of the country.

Credit: © Alan Gastelum

There’s four rotating thin, slightly puffed pizza, with dough mixed by hand in a custom-built trough, and antipasti galore from honey dates with bagna cauda to mint-speckled fried artichokes.

“Felix is really a culmination of the last decade of my life, enriched by the country, its people and my own mentors,” says Funke.