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Jul 30, 2009 02:54 PM

Bottega Louie - an Italian heaven? [Review + Pics]

Recently went to Bottega Louie in Downtown LA. The tall white walls and the decor reminded me of a type of heaven. Enjoy!

Review with pictures here:

Text Review:

For an afternoon of casual fine dining, we headed to Bottega Louie, an Italian gourmet market, patisserie, and restaurant located on the corner of Grand Avenue and 7th Street. Amongst the old and rubbish buildings of downtown LA, Bottega Louie or B.Louie, as Wesley calls it, stands out with its tall glass windows and brass trimmings.

The inside is even more grandiose; the first step and every step of Bottega Louie are taken on the marble floors amongst the high ceilings, white walls, and beautiful French trimmings. It was as if we walked into a culinary Italian heaven. First, we’re greeted with gold sealed cupcakes, cookies, and macaroons. Walk further, and we catch a glimpse of the gourmet market and its assortment of prepared foods for those who want a quick bite. Go deeper and we see the large and spacious restaurant bustling with lunch breakers.

When we took our seats, we were surprised to find that this place is actually affordable. Pastas are, for example, $8-$12, a gourmet pizza is $14, and the small plates (sides and appetizers) are $6-$8. This prompted us (a party of three with our friend, Lena) to order way too much food: one pizza, two fish entrees, and four small plates that weren’t that small.

Wesley's ice tea. Behind is the complimentary sparkling water provided at every meal.

First up came the pizza, a split of the Margherita and Napoli ($14). The tomato sauce and basil were delicious and the mozzarella cheese pulled off the pizza just like in the commercials. The other half, the Napoli, was uniquely infused with an olive taste. It also included red onions, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. We thought the pizza was a solid piece of pie, but the bread lining it was a bit soggy.

The batter of the Fried Calamari ($7) was light and crispy, but over salted. This was combated by the slightly citrusy marinara sauce.

The crispy Portobello Fries ($8) was paired with their special aioli sauce. Definitely give this one a try.

The bright yellow corn in the Local Corn with Majoram ($6) was crunchy and sweet.

The French Fries ($6) fell short in comparison to the other small dishes. Nothing special.

The Black Cod ($23) came out in a small surprise. It was wrapped in parchment paper and oven roasted with zucchini, roasted tomatoes, potatoes, roasted peppers, leeks and baby spinach. Paired together, the vegetables' aroma was infused into the fish. Evelina thought that the moist and flakey pieces of cod were fishy, but the lemon beurre blanc sauce that came on the side hid the taste. Wesley thought all the flavors of this entrée went well together and that it was a very satisfying dish.

The Escolar Grille ($23) was Wesley’s pick for best dish of the lunch. The escolar was soft, yet firm and flavorful. The Puttanesca sauce (which prompted Lena to scream in astonishment, “THE SAUCE,”) was the highlight of the dish. While it complemented the fish very well, just consuming the sauce by itself would put any of us in heaven.

After a short walk around downtown (we were sooo full), we headed back to Bottega Louie for Round 2: Desserts. The patisserie takes up two sides of the market. On one side are the breads and tarts and on the other are the smaller treats, such as the macaroons and cupcakes. After prancing back and forth, we sat down at the café with some coffee and our cute pink box of pastries.

The restaurant has good food, but what really sells us to B.Louie is the beautiful interior and service. Plus, this spacious building has a lot to offer. We can look to Bottega Louie for a unique dining experience, jars of their great pasta sauce, or an excellent espresso, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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

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  1. Great review and fabulous pictures! I had an early dinner there last week and LOVED it also!! The highlights for us also included the portobella fries plus the Trenne pasta (braised rib-eye with kale and triangle shaped pasta) and burrata with grape tomatoes-just slightly roasted. OHH...I almost forgot about the asparagus with sauteed eggs. YUM! The service was a bit slow, but the food was fantastic so we enjoyed out leisurely early dinner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Obessed

      Thanks! There were times where I felt dishes should be cleared - on the other hand a worker would fold our napkins everytime someone got out of their seats.

      I will have to give that asparagus a try!

      1. re: wesleywong

        for a much better rendition of that asparagus dish, have it as one of your three courses at sunday brunch at cafe del rey in marina del rey.

    2. I liked the restaurant food but what really sold me is their market. Love their macaroon, mac n' cheese, fresh mozzarella and delectable desserts there. The boy wasn't thrilled about BL, so I think it's going to be a solo affair with me and their dessert counter. :)

      Actually, after reading this review, I've decided I'm removing BL from my favorite's list. I was too quick to add it. Your review convinced me it wasn't as great as I thought it would be.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SmokeyDoke

        The food at BL is good and the prices are reasonable, however, the atmosphere makes me want to return. I do feel the pasta selection could be better but in the end I enjoyed my escolar.

      2. The box of pastries looked so good! I noticed that you mentioned macaroon...but in the picture, it looked more like a macaron...could you please clarify? And how were the desserts? Your pictures were awesome!

        5 Replies
        1. re: attran99

          You're right - it is a macaron (will edit it on the blog). The desserts great - the eclairs were head a great rich flavor (the vanilla has a chocolate filling and vise versa). Also the Napoleon had a nice flakiness to it and the filling was heavenly. For the macaron - I'm was barely a macaron virgin so I couldn't really judge. Their cookie was mediocre and I didn't have the cupcake but the other Panda said it was good.

          1. re: wesleywong

            Went to BL recently and also had as similar round of desserts but found their Macarons seriously lacking... they were dry, gummy and the flavors lack luster..


            We also got take out from them last month (by the time I arrived, the market was closed. :( ) and they messed up my order and what we did get was good, but not great as I hoped.... I love that it's open late and that you can get a nice drink.... the room is also BEAUTIFUL... but we don't see ourselves in a big rush to return...


            1. re: Dommy

              I agree. The space is really cool but most of the food I've had there has been only okay. The pizza especially was very mediocre even though our server bragged that it was better than Mozza's. The portobello fries are really tasty, though.

              1. re: mollyomormon

                Went for the first time last night..liked the pizza,a half margherita,half sausage...nicely charred and tasty crust(almost unheard of in LA), but i felt the mozz wasnt right...tasted a little rubbery. A very nice waitress first told me it was mozz imported from Buffalo,NY..not kidding..Naturally, i was confused so i asked the hostess who said they make it fresh...Coulda fooled me....the Portobello fries were excellent..crispy and crunchy outside and juicy inside..the restaurant is quite elegant yet surprisingly affordable..definitely worth returning when in the mood for a downtown experience.

                1. re: lapizzamaven

                  whatever mollyomormon wrote, +1

                  This place is so far from Italy anything but the space is darn lovely and the pret a manger section, jammed with sweet baked nothings, is great for a lunch/brunch spot.

                  Dinner? No thanks.

        2. Nice review - Thanks. We had some of the same items you mentioned and very much enjoyed the food and service. I am a little surprised that the noise level has not been mentioned. Although everything else was excellent, the restaurant was loud enough to make me hesitant to return. Basically had to yell to have a conversation with my wife.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bllrdfam

            I'm shocked at how low the standards are in Los Angeles and this includes the press. I shared a pizza here with my colleague when this joint opened and it was bad to mediocore. The crust had no flavor or body and the cheese was bland and the sausage was flavorless. I also tasted some of the pastas and i have to say everything was tated like it was made at a catering hall in New Jersey. This place would be torn to pieces by New York diners and the press.

            1. re: josh L

              Maybe the food has gotten better since you were last there. I wasn't overly impressed when I visited (within six weeks of opening) but I would certainly check it out again.

                1. re: josh L

                  josh L . Couldn't agree with you more. The food there is not good at all, but the building looks nice. But, for architecture, you're better off just walking a few blocks north to admire the Disney Concert Hall.

              1. The space is beautiful, but LOUD. Be prepared to shout throughout the meal. This is not a place for grandma with her hearing aid.

                Service was nothing short of outstanding on all levels.

                The burrata is delightful: a good-sized creamy ball with grape tomatoes.

                Pizza is completely unremarkable. A waste of appetite in my opinion.

                The asparagus with a fried egg on top is quite good. The creaminess of the egg yolk goes well with the asparagus.

                Portobello fries are meh. Once the novelty of a mushroom fry wears off, they're just okay. Dipping sauce is basically tarragon and mayonnaise.

                Anchovies are a let-down. They were marinated, but seemed overcooked. The meat was very dry. Served over a tomato that was tasty, though.

                Overall, this is a place I'm glad I've been. The prepared foods section looks very inviting for a takeout lunch option. And there are still several items I'd like to try. I'll be back, but won't rush back.

                2 Replies
                1. re: lil mikey

                  Food was okay, had lunch yesterday, but my ears are still ringing from how loud it is there! I really couldn't tell you much about the food, I spent all my energy reading lips and trying to hear.

                  1. re: lil mikey

                    I went there in the middle of lunch and didn't really find it loud. Then again - I'm Chinese and we have a reputation for loud restaurants. Maybe I've adapted?

                    Next time I'm there I'll give the asparagus a try.