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May 12, 2009 09:48 AM

Bottega Louie: First Impressions [pic]

I was greeted by the pastry case when I entered Bottega Louie, cupcakes in gold containers on gold trays on white marble counter. I've been hearing about Bottega Louie as a great neighborhood joint so this expanse of sparkly bright white marble space was not what I had in mind. But I liked it. Being a Friday night at a new restaurant, the place was crowded. The wait for a table was about 35 minutes, and all the stools/tables at the bar were taken. Yet the immense space makes it feel relaxed and airy. After about 10 minutes we managed to snatch a table near the bar.

Most of the food is reasonably priced, with $8-12 pastas, $8 appetizers, and ~$15 entrees. The only expensive item seems to be the $40 osso buco.

I ordered a side of Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese - $8
These were excellent beets. Very fresh and sweet. The goat cheese was pretty smooth and creamy and the portion was not bad. My only quibble was that I felt the greens they picked were a bit too bitter for this dish. From this dish I already got the impression that they are using high quality ingredients.

It's hard to say whether or not one pasta dish would be enough for a meal since as it turns out the size of the portion varies between each pasta dish and not really correlated with the price either. This night we all went with the house-made pastas.

Trenne (braised prime rib-eye with Tuscan black kale) -$12
I think trenne gets the name from triangle+penne. The pasta was firm and was actually a bit browned outside - it might've been sauteed. I personally thought this made the pasta too firm and making it tiring to chew ... There was not much meat in this dish but the sauce and the kale was excellent - although some may think it a bit on the bland side. Despite the lack of meat, this pasta could've filled me up for dinner, but our next dish would not have.

Ravioli (homemade pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a light cream sauce with pancetta, sage & peas) - $12
Compared to the trenne, the portion for the ravioli was noticeably smaller, but I did enjoy this dish better. The pasta was al dente but not too firm and the filling was pretty generous. I love the creamy sauce and particularly the aroma from the sage.

The flavors of their house made pasta are subtle. They do not burst with flavor or kick your tongue with sodium, but I found that the taste is lingering and satisfying.

Definitely another great addition to downtown LA, and so close to Seven Grand too! There have been so many new places in downtown recently, I sure hope our city can support them. Bottega Louie is different. The space is nothing less than magnificent and who doesn't want a grab-n-go gourmet market near their office? The food is also held to high standards, though how much to order to get full seems to be a trial and error deal. Still, hope this one is here to stay.


Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

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  1. My wife, two friends and I had dinner at Bottega Louie Sunday and we enjoyed the great (albeit loud) space and some very good food (caponata, pastas, Kurobuta pork chops, chicken carcioffi, broccoli, roasted brussel sprouts...) at prices that are moderate,

    We arrived at about 4:30PM and didn't expect a crowd on a Sunday but we were wrong. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table but that gave us time to check out the deli and sample a coconut-passion fruit macaroon. The bar was busy too but next time we'll cross the street after dinner for some Scotch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ringo Gato

      I didn't get to try any of their pastries/desserts this time. The pastry chef is supposed to hail from Boule, right? How was that macaroon you had?

      1. re: burumun

        I am not sure where the pastry chef was trained or where he or she came from.

        The macaroon was light and delicate with a subtle taste of passionfruit complementing the coconut. It was also electric-bright in color as were the other flavors offered. I can add that for dessert we shared what I think was called a flat apple tart. When it arrived I was a little disappointed that it didn't seem to have many apples but I soon forgot that when I tasted how wonderful the pastry was itself.