Written by Paolo
LOS FELIZ—It’s 10:30 a.m. and Paolo Seganti has front-loaded his day with breakfast and carting his kids to school. He’s just come back from haggling with vegetable and flower vendors downtown, where he shops regularly for his restaurant, La Pergoletta.
He has time for a cappuccino before firing up the kitchen.
Seganti’s eyes smile through exhaustion as he recalls the past eight months since he and his wife, Carlotta, opened La Pergoletta in one of Hillhurst’s coziest mini-malls.
Business is good and he and his staff of eight—plus Carlotta when she’s not wrangling their five kids at home—have worked out a manageable schedule. He’s backed by his brother, Elia, who has a string of successful La Pergolettas in Brazil. Here in Los Feliz, Seganti’s restaurant feels as if he has welcomed you into his own Italian home.
It’s hard to catch Seganti’s accent unless he’s talking about his food. Words, like “spaghetti,” slow down as his tongue grabs onto the consonants. He says he grew up in Modena, Italy, home to balsamic vinegar and Ferraris and where much of his culinary inspiration was born.
“My Lasagne Bolognese is second to none,” says Seganti. “When I make my food it’s true to tradition.”
Seganti’s hearty dishes approach perfection. You’ve never had a meatball before you’ve tasted La Pergoletta’s. And then there are his 24 sauces, to match with hand-made pastas, which will leave your palette spinning in a gastronomic wonderland. Of course, there are specials and delicate desserts just like his mother used to make.
An actor by trade, Seganti considers La Pergoletta another chapter in his purposeful life that’s included boxing, motorcycle racing and modeling for Chanel and Armani.
Over the years, his successful acting career—including TV roles on soap operas, ER and CSI, and film roles in L.A. Confidential and Tea with Mussolini—kept him from his family. That all changed after Seganti and Carlotta rustled their family to Italy for some life-defining family time.
“It allowed me to relax around them,” Seganti said. “I spent two years with them in Italy, and I decided I can’t do without this anymore.”
Now back in Los Feliz, he works just a few blocks from his craftsman home, and is grateful that the neighborhood’s discerning palates have welcomed La Pergoletta.
“I never waited a table in my life until I opened my own restaurant,” says Seganti. “I feel bad when there is a line, but it makes me feel good because if they are waiting, it means they like my food.”.