My cousin Gina is a regular now at BOTTEGA LOUIE. Considering that she lives in San Francisco, Bottega Louie is on her must do list whenever she visits Los Angeles. We’ve been trying to hook up for brunch here a few times but the timing never worked out. I made it a point to add it to my own list “to do” this weekend. When I posted it on my Facebook status on Friday, my cousin let me know that she would be going there for dinner that evening. Okay, rub it in. If I didn’t have plans already that evening, I would have asked to tag along with her.
Truth be told, there was one other reason why I wanted to check out Bottega Louie–their Gourmet Market. It’s not a market per se, but it boasts a section separate from the restaurant that sells gourmet everything–baked goods, picnic items, sandwiches, sweets and even champagne! On my “to do” list, in addition to going for Sunday Brunch, was to pick up a box of pumpkin macarons. You see, I was in Pasadena a few weeks ago for the 4th Annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon at the Pasadena Center. My friend Conjie and I stopped at Intelligentsia Coffee to pick up a cup ‘o joe. Well actually, we picked up a large cup of hot tea and their bakery display caught our eye, in particular, the macarons. Our favorite between the three we tried was the pumpkin macaron. I could see serving these with coffee or tea during Thanksgiving. They were moist, slightly chewy and full of pumpkin goodness. Almost better than a pumpkin pie. But I digress… The real reason why I bring this up is because I spoke to one of the baristas at Intelligentsia and he shared with me that the macarons actually come from Bottega Louie (he looked around to make sure that no one was listening when he told me this so I guess I’m not supposed to know). No matter. Bottega Louie was on my “to do” list so this became an even bigger incentive to check them out sooner rather than later.
We arrived in the early afternoon. I had called the restaurant about noon. BL serves brunch at 11:00am on Sunday. I was told that the restaurant was filling up quickly and that they do not take reservations. He suggested I come around closer to 2:00pm. I was okay with that, and had planned to fill up my waiting time exploring their Gourmet Market.
BL is located on the corner of 7th and Grand. There is a public parking lot behind the restaurant off of Grand Avenue which costs $5 on Sunday. BL sits majestically on the corner, with its name in Times Roman Gold, gleaming against its white exterior. We walked in and was quickly struck by the noise. The din in the restaurant was at a fever pitch, almost frenetic. I was a bit confused walking in. It’s a huge, open space. I quickly saw the Gourmet Market to my right. There was a cafe set up to the left which I deduced was for customers who just wanted a cup of tea or coffee and perhaps paired with a muffin or other baked item from the Gourmet Market.
My husband and I finally spotted the check in podium in the center of the restaurant. We walked towards it and I noted the open kitchen which faced the entire restaurant. High ceilings, minimal design, clean, elegant touches in gold here and there–simple in design and space. I still couldn’t get over the noise and because of the minimal design, there was nothing to absorb the noise. But the customers didn’t seem to mind. It was almost a party-like atmostphere and even more so, since today was Halloween and there were a few people who showed up in costume.
We were expecting to wait for a table and was surprised to see that we were going to get seated right away. They had asked for our last name which they wrote down on a small piece of paper and led us to a table with a 7th Street view. Our server, a lovely woman whose name I did not get, greeted us by name. I thought, what a nice personal touch. While she took our drink order (me a Cafe Au Lait, hubby an iced tea), busboys came by with a carafe of cold water (no ice) and poured each of us a glass of water.
We studied the menu in earnest. I was pretty hungry since it was close to 2pm. I was going to try the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup but I spied the Smoked Salmon Benedict and opted for that instead. The Smoked Salmon Benedict was prepared with poached eggs, smoked salmon, creme fraiche, red onions, sauteed greens over a potato pancake and lightly crowned with hollondaise sauce. As a side, I wanted to try the Portobello Fries with Aioli.
Hubby opted for the Meatball Pizza made with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and meatballs. This was his appetizer (LOL!) and he also ordered the Egg Sandwich–two fried eggs, American cheese and applewood bacon on a Kaiser roll.
The verdict? I loved my smoked salmon benedict. Eggs perfectly poached, salmon fresh and tender, potato pancake crispy and the hollandaise sauce was light and velvety, not heavy or lemony. The Portobello Fries were a great complement to our meal and were fried to perfection, not greasy. The Meatball Pizza was made with fresh buffalo mozzarella, the crust chewy. I loved it; hubby wanted a thinner crust but overall, the pizza was very good. Hubby enjoyed his Egg Sandwich, the egg wasn’t runny nor rubbery and overall, it had a great flavor.
We really enjoyed our meal at BL and will make a trip back to try out other menu items. In addition to Weekend Brunch, they also serve Market Breakfast, Lunch/Dinner, a limited menu called “Weekend 3pm-4pm”, Cocktails, Dessert and Take Out. You’ll need to visit their website to view detailed menus for each offering as well as hours of operations. They do not take reservations and it’s first come, first serve. As far as the Gourmet Market? Stay tuned for next post. It deserves its own platform.
700 South Grand Avenue (at 7th Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 802-1470 Phone