Experience contemporary Italian cuisine from the Drago brothers alongside some of the rarest and most valuable cars in the world inside the Petersen Automotive Museum. Born and raised in the Messina area of Sicily, the four Drago brothers, Celestino, Tanino, Calogero and Giacomino have owned and operated some of the Los Angeles area’s most prolific Italian restaurants. Featuring hand-cranked pastas, pizza, fresh-baked bread and more, Drago Ristorante offers elevated, yet authentic Italian fare and a heavy dose of classic Italian hospitality that the Drago brothers have been providing angelenos and visitors alike for over three decades.
Chef Celestino Drago has played an integral role in the ever-evolving dining scene in Los Angeles for over two decades. Originally from Sicily, Celestino is regarded as one of the pioneers of Italian Cuisine in the US and has become one of Los Angeles’ most celebrated chefs, with honors ranging from Food & Wine Magazine selecting him as a “Best New Chef” to being an invited guest chef at the James Beard House in New York on multiple occasions and was Food Fare 2014 Chef of the Year.
From his affable demeanor to his inventive and delicious takes on Italian fare, Chef Celestino Drago has helped lay the groundwork for Italian cuisine in America today.
Before launching his restaurant empire in Southern California, Celestino attended mechanical school in Italy while simultaneously working at a restaurant in the city of Pisa called Pierino. It was there that realized he “loved everything about the restaurant business.” Recognizing his culinary potential, the chef at Pierino worked closely with him and, in just three short years, Celestino took over as chef.
Few can compete with the authentic taste of Chef Tanino Drago’s culinary creations. Greatly influenced by homemade family recipes that he enjoyed during his Sicilian childhood, later accentuated by a culinary education in the eastern Sicilian village of Taoromina, Tanino reflects his philosophy that food is the spice of life. The son of a farmer father and a homemaker mother with an appreciation for fine, homemade Italian foods, young Tanino learned early to savor the precious bounty and delicate flavors of his homeland.
Calogero believes that an emphasis on customer service and building connections with diners is the key. Calogero’s other focus is creating authentic Italian food, as he quickly discovered that Italian cooking in Los Angeles was inauthentic to his taste. He set out to change this by creating more traditional elements and dishes, combined with fresh ingredients. Coming from a farm, the Drago Brothers acquired a taste for fresh and organic ingredients, which is why they won’t have it any other way.
They don’t believe in cutting costs by compromising the quality of the food to turn a profit. The Drago Brothers set out to show Los Angeles what true Italian and Sicilian cuisine consists of. Calogero has a very strong Sicilian influence in his dishes, exceeding expectations by providing the freshest seafood, house made pastas and organic meats. He takes a hands on approach when training his kitchen staff, and most evenings you will find him cooking up a storm and hustling out of the kitchen to personally hand your dish to you!.
Giacomino Drago is the youngest of eight children from the small town of Galati Mamertino in Sicily’s Messina region where the family grew and made almost everything they ate; from pressing olives to make olive oil, to making fresh cheeses, to watching his father make wine from their own vineyards.
Even before the age of 11, when Giacomino began cooking at the family’s area restaurant Portella Gazzana until the age of 16, Giacomino showed great interest in the family kitchen experimenting with risotto from locally harvested Porcini mushrooms, even though his first few attempts didn’t exactly pan out.