Dan Tana’s. Most people love it or hate it. Or you do what I did! Hate it, then love it.
My relationship with Dan Tana’s started 10 years ago. Really, it’s a modern love story.
For the first couple years we “dated” long distance (meaning I had take out on several occasions) and he consistently let me down. Watery, disconnected spaghetti bolognese, then uninspired yet over-spiced penne arrabiata. All of it left me thinking, “how is everyone getting off on this guy?”
I dragged my heels the first time I was forced to actually go to Dan Tana’s. It didn’t happen overnight but something changed once I was within those dingy walls and beneath those hauntingly low ceilings.
Why was everyone so happy in here… Why were strangers talking to one another, laughing with one another… wtf. This is LA, we don’t engage in that kind of dangerous behavior here. Moreover, why isn’t anyone complaining about the claustrophobia???
I was intrigued, but that didn’t change that Dan made some shitty pasta. Turns out, he doesn’t. He’s just not your guy if you want the best bolognese of your life. He can’t give you that.
What he can give you is the best damn chicken parmesan in Los Angeles. He can give you respite from the new and the glossy.
What’s magical about Dan Tana’s is that in 50 years it’s barely changed. It burned to the ground in the 80s and during the rebuild Mr. Tana was resolute about recreating his yellow shack exactly how it was. Shack integrity, if you will.
At first glance, Tana’s could seem like a Hollywood remake of a remake (of a remake…) But it’s not. He’s the real deal. Botox free.
Ultimately, at first, I could hardly stand him. Now, I love him endlessly.
You can’t script shit better than this.
Shrimp Parm Arrabiata – Order the appetizer portion and share it. Don’t play around. I know what you’re thinking, “but we’re getting the chicken parm?” Yes, you are getting both.
Fried Ravioli – They’re just fun. Pop a couple in your mouth and try to tell me that wasn’t just a little piece of fried funky fun.
Chopped Salad – You gotta get one thing that isn’t coming out of the oven or a pan. The boys in red jackets will happily customize the chop to your liking as well.
Caesar Salad – so good but absolutely not an option if you’re on dates #1-5. Why? Garlic.
Chicken Beckerman – Fried shoestring potatoes and onions mixed in with chicken. Not exceedingly mind blowing but definitely a Dan Tana’s fan favorite.
Chicken Parm – Two tips. One, order it well done (instant street cred.) Two, this is a LOT of chicken and it comes with a side of pasta. So share. Or just be that guy/gal that refuses to share and has the best lunch tomorrow.
Cappuccino Ice Cream – You’ve come so far. Don’t be a wanker and think you’re doing yourself any favors by skipping dessert…