Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Urban Eats @ Bottega Louie, Los Angeles

Bottega Louie might just be the macaron capital of California. This grand restaurant and full out patisserie sells over 70,000 a week at $1.75 a pop in a wide assortement of flavours like salted caramel, earl grey, pistachio and espresso.

For someone who has a giant sweet tooth, it was a splendid way to pass an afternoon ooohhhing and ahhhing my way through the desserts. We stopped in for an Italian-inspired tapas lunch, followed by some shopping in Downtown LA and picked up a few desserts to take home with us.

Maybe it was the architecture or the heritage buildings around us or the hustle and bustle of the restaurant that made us feel like we were in New York again.

It's a great place to people-watch as the crowd is a mix of tourists, bankers, office workers, families and couples sneaking away for the afternoon. Here's what else we spotted...
Pretty cupcakes with mini macarons on top
Beignets with Raspberry Filling were so plump they were begging to be squeezed and eaten. I wish you could feel the weight of one of these, it was heavy. The dough itself was airy and chewy without tasting like it came out of deep-fryer. I could eat these over and over.
The Eclairs, along with everything else is homemade in-house
Gift boxes of chocolate

More Desserts & Tarts
The large open dining room with classic white decor and marble floors and counters reminded me of an old bank. The space was actually a Brooks Brothers store before it sat empty for years. The owners of Bottega Louie gutted the store and spent over $6 million dollars renovating it from top to bottom. It's now one of the gems of Downtown LA and has had immense success over the past three years since its opening.
The French Onion Soup ($8) had a sweet onion broth filled with caramelized onions and Marsala wine and not too salty. The cheese was gooey and crispy with a mix of mozzarella and provolone.
Fried Calamari ($11) with Marinara Sauce
The Burrata & Roasted Vine Tomatoes ($11) was the best thing we ordered. The cheese was creamy and stretchy with big plump juicy tomatoes sprinkled with chunks of sea salt. The homemade pesto was a hit too.
We felt like we should have ordered something green and went with a small dish of Sauteed Spinach ($7). A little too bitter for my taste, but it was somewhat healthy.
The Portobello Fries ($9) are one of the most popular items on the menu and unexpected. The outside is battered, fried and then sprinkled with cheese and the inside is a chunky slice of portobello mushroom. It tastes best when smothered in the aioli that came with it. The Tuna Nicoise Crostini ($9) was an open face sandwich topped with potatoes, tuna, egg, onions and green beans, all bursting with flavour together.
Arancini ($9) were four fried rice balls with a bacon and cheese filling in a marinara sauce. I loved that they were petite in size and not in the gigantic format I have seen before. They were crispy bite size appetizers that were warm and soft on the inside with a smokey flavour from the bacon. Definitely one of my favourites from the menu.

Bottega Louie begs a visit for anyone visiting LA. Reservations are a must and we are told that at dinner there will often be a line-up out the door with a wait time of over 90 minutes. If you can't snag a table, grab yourself a box of macarons to go.

Bottega Louie, Los Angeles - 700 South Grand Avenue

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