After checking into my hotel in Los Angeles (and traveling for over nine hours) the first order of business was lunch. We asked our hotel concierge, Amy, for her best lunch recommendation. She whipped out a map of downtown L.A., her highlighters and said, "Girls, I know just the place for you, it's called Bottega Louie. I am not even going to give you an alternate choice, because I know you are going to love it."
Amy told us the restaurant was a ten minute walk from the hotel. After being cooped up on a plane for six hours we decided we could use the walk.
Bottega Louie is located at the corner of Grand Avenue and 7th Street. You can spot it about a block away thanks to the brightly colored bakery treats in the windows.
We stepped in and were magnetized toward the bakery counter. There was a literal rainbow of French style macaroons.
There was also a rainbow of cupcakes and beautifully packaged chocolate bars.
I didn't take photos of all the pastries, but there were also fruit tarts, chocolate cakes and eclairs.
We turned the corner and headed towards the hostess stand. The hostess took us directly to a table for two in the window. We had a great people watching view.
From our seats we realized the magnitude of the restaurant space. It has white walls, white ceilings and no art work, so it really feels huge. To me, it had the style of Manhattan restaurant, but with ten times the space.
From our table we could also see the pizza oven.
Next to us a group of ladies were finishing a pizza pie that looked incredible:
As we perused the menu our waiter, Greg, came over and introduced himself. Turns out he's from New Orleans, but was displaced after hurricane Katrina. He moved to Las Vegas and then to L.A. He's a writer, a blogger and a film maker. Needless to say, we loved him. Check out his blog here.
Greg took our drink orders and quickly returned with my ice tea and my coworker's green tea Arnold Palmer. With our drinks came a saucer with what I like to call drink condiments!
Since we were positively ravenous we ordered quite a bit of food. In fact, Greg commented, "wow, ladies, that's a lot of food."
Our first dish was a small plate: asparagus with a fried egg. This is one of my favorite dishes in any restaurant, but this version was exceptional. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and had just the right amount of char. The egg was delicious and when I cut into it, the bright yellow yoke ran across our greens and upped the delish factor.
Next were the salads. My coworker order the bocconcini salad which was arugula, basil, red peppers, yellow tomatoes, red onions, bocconcini and fresh mozzarella cheese. She also asked for a healthy dose of black pepper.
I ordered the arugula salad which came with red onions, a generous portion of fresh parmesan cheese and a lemon dressing. We both licked our plates completely clean.
For the main course we decided to split one of their outstanding looking pizzas. We selected the mushroom, which was garnished with Italian parsley and a generous amount of garlic. My stomach is growling just thinking about it again. It was amazing. The crust had just the right dough to crisp ratio, the blend of cheeses was creamy, the mushroom flavor was strong and the garlic packed that final punch.
I loved every single thing about Bottega Louie. I love how clean the restaurant design was. I loved that it felt like Manhattan, but with more breathing room. I wanted to lick each and every one of my plates clean and I wish we'd had room for dessert! We made a pact to go back for wine and dessert, but we never made it. One of our fellow conference attendees admitted she went to Bottega Louie four of the five days she was in L.A. Honestly, we can't really blame her.
I'd put this lunch at Bottega Louie in my top ten best meals of all time.