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Aug 20, 2009 01:16 PM

Bottege Louie or Vertigo Wine Bistro

I'm trying to figure out which place to try out with my friend. We went to POP champagne about a month ago and spent hours munching on okay/decent food and catching up on old times. I had been to POP before but just for dessert, so I knew it had the right vibe I was looking for and thought giving their dinner menu a try would be fine.

I'm looking for something with good food, good desserts (although if there's another good dessert place not too far from either location, I don't mind making another stop), and a decent environment. Somewhere I won't feel like we're being rushed out and can take our time eating. Drinks aren't that important.

I've been to Bottega Louie and am aware that it can get loud, but the place is pretty cool and the food wasn't bad at all. I think she might like it.

I have NOT been to Vertigo Wine Bistro, so I don't know what to expect except for the pictures I've seen and the reviews I've read-which haven't been too bad.

I know Vertigo is slightly pricier, but I think doable. Of course I like the idea of a "tapas" feel, just so we can try and munch on a variety of food without getting full. I'm looking for a way to get variety and quality or quantity.

I'm in the Highland Park area, so either location is fine for me. I'd prefer not to drive out to the westside or Hollywood, so any other recommendations in Pasadena/or Downtown are welcomed.

Another place I've thought of is Daisy Mint (but I think you should go wth more than just two people to taste more of the menu). I know there are a few place in downtown that are coming up, but I'm not too familiar with them.

Lastly, kind of cuisine-doesn't matter. She's pretty open to anything and I am too, so anything is fair game.

Thanks for the help!

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  1. FYI: Daisy Mint is a different genre than BL or VWB, just saying. It's much more homestyle and casual (ignore the chandelier, haha). It's also much cheaper. DM gets a lot of love on the Chowboards but I thought it was only okay, not a place to impress someone, more like a quick bite to eat with a roommate.

    In Pasadena I recommend Cafe Bizou, a very cute, French, hole-in-the-wall, with good food.
    Cafe Bizou
    91 N Raymond Ave
    Pasadena, CA 91103
    (626) 792-9923

    I'm drawing a blank on DTLA, although I'm a self-professed DTLA expert, I think it's the dessert that got me. The only place that I can recall having good food and good dessert is Magnolia near LA Live. It's reasonably priced, especially during happy hour, and I've read raves about their desserts, especially their homemade mint choco chip ice cream sandwich.

    Magnolia Restaurant
    825 W. 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    8 Replies
    1. re: SmokeyDoke

      Never been to Vertical WB. Been to Cafe Bizou, both in Pas and the valley, thought the food was okay, nothing great. Haven't been in Pasadena for a while, so not rec'ing anything there.

      But, try some place downtown, like LA Live where there are multiple places in one spot, pick a bar, Rivera has an awesome tequila selection, but may not serve tapas style, don't know. But have some drinks and peruse over the menu. If it's not your thing, move on to Rosa Mexicana's, or Corkbar, or Wolfgang's new spot. Or go out a little farther for Bottega Louie or Bottlerock or Provecho. You should be able to find something that looks good to both of you. Good luck!

      1. re: Phurstluv

        You could make a very good and tasty evening at Rivera by sitting at the chef's table/aka bar overlooking the chefs doing their thing, and strictly ordering appetizers/small plates, and never ordering a main. I did it and will do so again upon my return. And in fact next week if Bottega Louie doesn't turn out well, I will head here instead. Might be the best restaurant in downtown LA for the food and prices you are looking for.

        1. re: carter

          That's what I was thinking, carter, but haven't been able to do it yet myself. And I read he has a ceviche bar too!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Meet you there.
            Sedlar's food is realllllly good.
            Too bad many others have yet to find that out.
            You can have ceviche anywhere in the place, yet that counter/bar I mentioned has ceviche right in front of you. Perfect place to watch the action in the kitchen, ignore what is going on in the rest of the restaurant, yet eat sensationally.

            1. re: carter

              carter, we seem to share very similar tastes, so maybe you can help me out -- myself and three others ate at Rivera and each and every last one of us left not only unimpressed, but lamenting the sub-mediocre meal we had. Granted, a certain part of this was due to poor service/kitchen issues (when the mains came out, mine and a friend's were at the proper temp while our spouses were ice-cold ... and no one likes ice cold duck). That being said, nothing blew any of us away.

              I don't know, perhaps I had my hopes too high, but I was hoping this would be LA's version of Topolobampo/Frontera - lite. Instead we all left shaking our heads wondering what all of the hype is about.

              Help me get it ... was it just an off night?

              1. re: a213b

                I sat at the chef's table/bar area, so watched everything being prepared, so knew the timing of when the food was due, and the chefs also knew we were watching them do our food, and thus they understood the timing as well.
                We only ate appetizers, including the 2-type soup in the beeker, etc., so cannot attest to any issues regarding timing, or mains for that matter. John Sedlar can really cook, now whether or not his help can keep up, especially on a busy night, is another matter. Go to the website, post a comment, and have him or Bill Chait, his partner/co-owner get back to you.
                Regarding Topo/Frontera, doubt anyone in LA can top Rick Bayless in Chicago, as most think his food is the best Mexican in America, for a high-end place, even though not that expensive, but definitely catering to that kind of audience.

                1. re: carter

                  Do you get the chef's table by calling it in when I make a reservation?

                  1. re: bigtums

                    Yes, just ask to sit at the back counter/bar area where the cooks are doing their thing so their show can be a part of your evening's entertainment. Seats about 12 or so. Fascinating to watch food prep - much better than any show on the food network for up close and personal.

    2. Having never been to Vertigo, I can't speak to that...

      I really like BL - and would pick it far over Daisy Mint (aesthetically speaking).

      4 Replies
      1. re: The Oracle

        I've actually been to Daisy Mint too and was not impressed. BUT-I keep wondering if I missed something? It was an off night? Did I order the wrong thing?

        1. re: bigtums

          The first time I went to Daisy Mint, it was a great experience. Everything was spot on (it was a Saturday night). I was with a group of 6 and we tried a lot of different things. On my next visit, it was like I was eating at a different place - the food was drastically different (and not in a good way). It was a weeknight, so I thought it might be a fluke. But, on my next couple visits it was a similar (negative) experience. I kept hoping for food like that first time, but it never surfaced.

          1. re: The Oracle

            Question - is it Vertical or Vertigo?

            1. re: lizziee

              Vertical Wine Bar in Pasadena, upstairs on Raymond. Ok environs, fair selection of wines, no better, and food is ok. You will live to tell about it, but not worth a trip out of your way.

      2. How about The Must?
        5th and Spring.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cls

          Wow-the menu looks so interesting-the tater tots and their version of hamburger helper. It's spaked my curiosity that's for sure. Thanks for the tip!