My colleague Vittorio Marzotto and I had this beautiful burrata pizza for lunch at Bottega Louie in Los Angeles yesterday. The pizza was delicious- crispy/chewy crust, deeply sauteed, garlicky broccoli rabe, a pop of hot red pepper- all followed by the cooling sensation of the cold, gooey burrata cheese laced with salty-sweet prosciutto. The pizza was a masterpeice, and the restaurant itself is gorgeous.
We sat at the bar, which gives you a great view of the entire restaurant, the open kitchen, and the front marketplace/ bakery. The frenetic, happy energy in the place gives it an open-market feel, while incredibly high ceilings and the generous use of white marble make the space feel kind of like a cathedral. If it were a religious house- it would be a temple to deliciousness.
Perched at the counter, we had a quick bite to eat and a pleasant chat with the bartender. It was quintessential “Italian” to me… I could have been in Milano, or Roma, or any other cosmopolitan Italian city. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had my own resident Italian to chat with as well…
There’s no shortage of Italian wine at Bottega Louie either- we spotted one of our favorites in the cold case- the Coenobium of Monastero Suore Cistercensi, a blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Verdicchio. This is one of the most exctiting things to come out of Lazio recently- a project guided by Giampiero Bea (Paolo Bea’s son), and executed by the Trappist (Cistercian) nuns to the north of Rome. The wine is golden yellow due to extended skin contact, but is vinified in stainless steel. Coenobium is a rare wine as well- Neal Rosenthal’s website claims only 9,000 bottle make it to the US every year (about half the total production).
Overall Bottega Louie feels authentically Italian, while still remaining glamourously Los Angeles. In a day spent fighting traffic and searching hopelessly for parking spots downtown, Bottega Louie is an energizing, fun and playful pause.