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Sep 17, 2009 10:04 AM

San Antonio Winery and Maddalena Restaurant

I'm trying to plan a girls' day out, and am thinking of a wine tour and lunch/dinner at the San Antonio Winery. I've not been able to find any recent posts about the winery or their restaurant, Maddalena. Has anyone been there recently? How's the quality of the food? If there are better suggestions for food in the Downtown L.A. vicinity, please feel free to let me know. We are, by no means, picky eaters, and are willing to try any type of cuisine. Out of respect for some of the ladies, who are government employees and have been affected by the furloughs, let's keep lunch/dinner at $30 per person (not including drinks).
Thanks very much for your help!

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  1. San Antonio Winery is a bit kitschy, and is popular tourist stop for chartered bus tours. The food reminds me of "updated" Clifton's fare. But if you *have* to do a wine tour in downtown LA, then San Antonio Winery is probably your only choice.

    Other places in/arond downtown that you might want to consider are Taix, Chichen Itza, Yxta and maybe even head out to Olvera St. and try a place like La Luz del Dia.

    Finally, while it might stretch your budget just a bit, I think Traxx would be a cool place to hold a girls' day out.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Agreed... we used to go all the time when I worked in Vernon for company things and found the food overly rich, salted and overall uninspired... Wedding food basically...

      I however LOVE LOVE the wine shop... great selection of spirits and the guys really know their stuff... ask nicely and they might even sell you some awesome Mexican wine. :)

      Ipse gives great suggestions... lemme give you some more that are not too far from the area...

      * Wurstk├╝che if you want to go for an edgy irls taking over a guys spot kinda vibe

      * Urth Cafe in the Artist district for feeling like you are in the gritty city, but without TRULY leaving your comfort zone

      * Homegirl Cafe for a good healthy food and helping my sisters out good karma feeling.



      Homegirl Cafe
      130 Bruno St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Thanks for the tips! One of the girls loves the wine from there...go figure...and wants to do a wine tasting there. I'm, by far, not the best wine connoisseur, so am in no place to suggest another venue. Perhaps when my skills get better, I can suggest another location in southern California.
        I have been to Taix and Traxx...very good suggestions! Will have to look for more info about the your other suggestions. Thanks very much!

        1. re: ipsedixit

          All good suggestions, but Chichen Itza is closing/has closed the 6th street location.

          The wine tour and tasting is a great idea, but I agree with ipse, the food's not stellar.You might consider doing the tour and tasting, and eating somewhere else. I love the Traxx idea. And Olvera Street is right across Alameda. You could walk the block of Olvera Street, and either eat there, or go across the street to Traxx. Taix isn't really in downtown, although it's only a 5-10 minute drive and the food's good.

          1. re: lil mikey

            I don't mind that any of the dining locations are within a 15 min drive from the winery. So long as the food is good, I'm there!

        2. How about Corkbar?

          Urth Caffe can be good for coffee and bakery goods but the food is overpriced and not really all that great. The lines can be ridiculous.

          403 W 12th St, Los Angeles, CA

          1. I'll back everyone up. I was there a couple of weeks ago, and the food wasn't bad... but wasn't good. Other descriptions seem accurate. The wine tasting was fun. The wine tour was a nice, small explanation of winemaking. Nothing fancy, but nice enough.

            1. San Antonio Winery does a very nice tasting and it's free (3-5 wines as I recall) which fits anyone's budget. I believe they also offer another level of tasting ($9?) where you sample San Antonio wines that are smaller production and/or high-end. As you may know, San Antonio is the winery name but really an umbrella for a range of wine lines that run the gamut from entry-level to high-end Napa Cabernet. So some of the wine geeks in the group may want to spring for the high-level tasting. Agree the store is terrific and the restaurant isn't stellar. According to the website, tours are given weekdays 12-2 pm on the hour, so that will work better for a lunch meeting.

              Traxx is a good recommendation for lunch, as is Yxta, which is a little farther away but has better parking -- there's a lot and according to the website there's valet parking at lunch for $1.

              3 Replies
              1. re: barham turner

                Thanks very much for all of your suggestions. I think the girls will want a lunch/dinner that's a bit more refined than quick-service Mexican food...Taix, Traxx, and Corkbar sound great. Wurstkuse sounds interesting...the girls would have to feel like carnivores that day, though the idea of Belgian fries with homemade dipping sauces sounds awesome to me! I couldn't find an online menu of Urth Caffe...though the consensus says the desserts and pastries are better than the food. Now it all depends on whether we do this on a Saturday or Sunday, as most of the suggestions are closed on Sundays.

                1. re: attran99

                  Yxta isn't quick-service. It's a sit-down that's surprisingly nice inside and they make some killer margaritas. The food is better than OK but it's not earthshattering (though I still maintain that their al pastor is some of the best I've had in LA).

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Thanks, DU. If you say it's good, I'll take it into consideration. I'm planning this for next month, so we'll have plenty of time to decide.

              2. if you are doing this on a weekend, check to see if they are having entertainment in the restaurant. when we've gone they've had a jazz guitarist, and it has been very, very nice. the food is very passable (definitely not "picky" quality), but a great way to enjoy your time, and you can buy wine by the bottle in the restaurant after you've tasted and figured out what you want. also - very reasonable. (the food is NOT mexican, btw.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: justanotherpenguin

                  It's steam-table Italian, and worth every other penny... that said, I'll eat an old football if you put tomato sauce and enough cheese on it, especially if there's wine on the side. But it is not what you'd call special-occasion food. We have been there exactly once, for an Alfa Romeo Club thing, so it may have seemed better than it was.