3 Years at Bottega Louie

bottega louie

Where: Bottega Louie
Location: 700 South Grand Avenue, Downtown

I don’t spend much time downtown. Aside from the horrible traffic to get there (the 110 is never your friend); I’m rather prejudiced of the maze of one-way streets that greet you all around. I accidentally had the pleasure of turning down a one-way street once in downtown LA and let’s just say…that was an experience. While I’m still not a fan of its one-way streets, downtown LA has become something special and is on the up-and-up after recent and on-going restorations to the area. It’s still very much “sketchy” in many parts, but it’s become quite the hot spot for young Angelenos – particularly when it comes to dining.

So, when it was time to celebrate our 3 year anniversary, I wanted to shake things up and get out of my usual Westside to Mid-City proper comfort zone and head downtown to check out what I’ve been missing. After sifting through a few options, we went with a restaurant that’s been on my list for over a year now. I’d first heard about it on the blogosphere, later emphasized with an enticing photo on Instagram to keep its memory alive. A quick check and vet on Yelp.com to confirm legitimacy, and our agonizing decision given so many options, was made.

On the corner of 7th and Grand Avenue is the highly regarded Bottega Louie. Known for its exquisite patisserie, bar, and small market right before you enter the large warehouse-sized restaurant, it’s also famous for its weekend brunch. That didn’t seem to make it any less packed during dinner hours. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations (which really sucks – get it together!) we arrived just after 9:15pm, hoping to miss some of the Friday night rush. Dream on. Bottega Louie was still very much bustling and very loud. We did our best to occupy ourselves during the 40 minute wait for a table, by visiting the popular bakery to indulge in a few sweet treat souvenirs to take home – their renowned macaroons (for me) and a delectable milk chocolate bar (for him).

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{Rainbow of macaroons.}

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I don’t know how they do it given the size of the restaurant and how crowded it is, but just as they promised – a hostess comes and “finds you” to escort you to your table. This was cause for concern, what if they can’t find us and give our table to the next person on the list? (Enter “pissed-dom” if we get bumped, here.) Yet Bottega lived up to its reputation of chic impressiveness. They clearly note a description when you check-in (and would rather discreetly stalk you around the restaurant than deign to give out pagers).

Its open, achromatic, dimly lit space gives it a modern, yet relaxed feel; but its high ceilings and exposed design don’t bode well for the acoustics. It was a pretty loud venue, but evened out as the night went on (or perhaps I’d just lost some hearing). Our waitress was one of the best I’d ever had and the food simply divine. The portions were fair given the cost, though they can be rather “nickel and dimey.” Many of their dishes are priced a la carte. I ordered their chicken parmesan thinking it would come everything standard, when the waitress politely asked me if I’d like to order a “side of pasta” (really, you guys – who eats chicken parmesan without pasta!?!).


{Chicken parmesan…and yes, I ordrered a side of pasta.}

Bottega Louie is an expensive treat, but a perfect place for a special night out. While it has a few flaws, it’s one of my new LA favorites. I’m very much looking forward to checking out their famous weekend brunch next month for the first time and will report back soon. Until then, bon appetit!


PROS: Great atmosphere, delicious food, superb service, amazing patisserie (their macaroons are a must try), open until midnight.

CONS: No reservations, very loud, long wait times during rush hours, menu priced a la carte, parking can be tricky.

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{Vanilla, lemon, strawberry, rose, and violet macaroons to go. Divine!}

*please click header photo for image source, all others are mine.

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Labor Day Bloom

Location: 5544 Pico Boulevard

It’s funny how different your days feel when you aren’t in the throws of the normal work week. I wrapped up a well-rounded Labor Day Weekend spending last Monday (which felt like a Sunday and nothing like a day in the office) doing two of my favorite things: going out for breakfast and catching an early flick.

My boyfriend and I headed over to the much buzzed about Sycamore Kitchen to start-off a relaxing day; but unfortunately, management decided to give their staff the day off too. The cafe was closed. Kudos to them, not so great for us. Not to worry, we had an excellent back-up in my guy’s next suggestion. A short drive down La Brea, a right on Pico, and half a mile later we made it to Bloom Cafe.

I was happy within 15 minutes of grabbing a seat outside. First, parking was a breeze, which automatically makes me like any establishment ten times better than I normally would. Second, I had a latte in front of me that looked like this:

I was disappointed that they didn’t offer flavored lattes (what cafe doesn’t have vanilla syrup in stock – hello?) but adding a touch of agave nectar with a stir or two put me in a happier place. I went with a simple bacon, egg, pancake combo that came with a small salad lightly brushed with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I enjoyed it immensely and almost forgave them for that whole vanilla syrup mess. Almost.

An hour and a latte later, we made our way to the movies. This Labor Day’s flick: Lawless. Not much to say, other than I was entertained and thrilled to have been born during a time where showers are more of a priority. This would be a good DVD rental if you can wait a few months, but a great time in the theater as well if you’re looking to kill some time with mindless entertainment.

All in all, a solid, fun-filled and memorable 2012 Labor Day Weekend. All you need is a little pampering, some time with the girls, an evening in the cemetery, a night at the Bowl, and breakfast with your guy!