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It's hard not to be dumbstruck by Bottega Louie, a majestic food hall in a former Brooks Brothers flagship, a slab of urban renovation that suggests less downtown Los Angeles than Rodeo Drive. The enormous, double-height room, big enough to swallow a basketball arena, whitewashed and gleaming, has been restored to its early-century glory and staffed under what appears to be the guidelines of a USC sorority full-employment act. (Physically at least, it dwarfs both Balducci's and Dean & DeLuca in New York.) One corner of the premises is occupied by a market selling high-end cheeses and a tiny selection of the produce you might have forgotten to pick up at the farmers market. A long bakery counter sells breads and croissants and pastries to the breakfast crowd; a bar, with seating exceeding that of most gastropubs, sells snacks and sandwiches to go with the beer and cocktails. And at the rear of the space is a full restaurant, a dining room with the feel of a brasserie but a mostly American-Italian menu structured a bit like the one at Pizzeria Mozza: lots of small dishes, like stuffed artichokes, fried calamari, clams oreganata, and a dish of mushy peas with prosciutto that could have come out of the kitchen of any trattoria in Rome; crisp-edged Neapolitan-style pizzas from the big wood-burning oven in the corner, and old-fashioned things like eggplant parmesan, sliced steak and seasonal black cod roasted in parchment. Bottega Louie is the grand restaurant downtown deserves. See full review.
When it comes to knowing Los Angeles' food mainstays, those who are visiting for the first time could do themselves a big favor by studying episodes of TNT's Southland (which also happens to be the be... More »
Lingering on a Saturday morning, swabbing at a poached-egg raviolo with a chunk of fresh epi bread and contemplating the last drops of freshly squeezed tomato juice, it is hard to believe that Bottega Louie hasn't always existed, a modern... More »
The service doesn't just hop at Bottega Louie. It skips, jumps and pirouettes as a platoon of nattily dressed servers, runners, ballet-slippered hostesses and suited managers race across the marble f... More »
The service doesn't just hop at Bottega Louie. It skips, jumps and pirouettes, as a platoon of nattily dressed servers, runners, ballet-slippered hostesses and suited managers race across the marble floors. The energetic staff has a professional attitude and actual skills, both old school and uncommon to experience. No question about how all that crowd-pleasing cuisine flies out of the kitchen: The chefs are on view, there are no secrets here. Pizza makers toss and twirl at one end of the... More »
There's this Dean & DeLuca vibe in the space - clean white tiles, the market attached to the resto - except there's much more square footage than you'd ever see in NYC and the menu is Italian with a massive list of "small plates" made for sharing. No reservations, so be prepared for a wait for weekend dinners (you must queue up to put your name in, and then there may be an additional wait to be seated) - however, they have a fun cocktail menu in the bar and you can also order food there. I found the pizzas - which are getting a lot of buzz - to be competent, but the lasagne bolognese is heaven. Veggie sides are simple but delicious. High ceilings make for a loud room so be prepared to use your outside voice. Recommend the $7.50 valet since downtown street parking can be mildly sketchy.
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