When I made plans with some fellow Tori fans to attend the three LA shows at the end of the tour, I set a goal to go to at least one nice meal in Los Angeles. I did some research on hottest restaurants in the area and polled some friends either who currently or have previously lived there and the obvious must visit was Bestia for some top notch Italian fare. I thought a reservation would be impossible, but lo and behold there was one 5:15PM reservation waiting for me on OpenTable.
We got there a bit early, and ended up with some time to kill in the area. We managed to stumble across a tasting at Our/Los Angeles, a local distillery under the global Our/Vodka brand. Such an interesting concept. It’s a global recipe with local variations in the type of grain used to make the vodka. The evening was a collaboration with the team from Eight Fold Coffee. The vodka was smooth and combined with the espresso was just what we weary travelers needed to gear up for the night ahead.
We went back to Bestia, where the restaurant went from closed to packed in a matter of minutes. There was quite the cocktail menu to get things started. A couple of us went with “The Contessa” – vodka, prickly pear spirit, housemade strawberry water, lime and cucumber. Perfect refreshing beverage to accompany the meal.
The server recommended that we get 6-8 dishes to share among the four of us – but as our four became three, we ended up going with few dishes. We also were not super hungry, having eaten our way around Los Angeles (a post for another day.)
What we did decide on to start included the Lobster Crostino, which was squid ink aioli, pickled chilies, opal basil and citrus. When you cut into the basil, the flavor really popped. Between the chilies, the basil and the citrus you’d think there might be too many flavors at play, but somehow it all managed to work. My friends were also a big fan of the Calamari alla Plancha, which was coraline, watercress, charred oyster mushrooms, chili oil, pine nuts, aged balsamic and basil.
For main dishes, I was heartbroken to see that the bone marrow pasta I’d read about online and even had a conversation at the bar at the J.W. Marriott that morning about was not on the menu. Just after we ordered, our server came back over and said that was not the case as they did have it! We couldn’t pass it up. The dish included spinach gnocchetti, crispy breadcrumbs and aged balsamic. Hands down the highlight of the meal for me.
Unable to make up our mind on pastas, we ended up with two others as well. There was the Casarecce al Pomodoro, which was twisted semolina pasta, tomato sugo, housemade buttermilk ricotta and basil.
Finally, we tried the Tortellini di Mortadella, which was brown butter, lentils, spinach, pistachios and fresh thyme. The mortadella was a subtle addition. The brown butter sauce was a light option to a true pasta sauce and let the simple yet flavorful ingredients in this dish really shine through.
We were all sadly not hungry enough for dessert. Just one of many reasons I’ll have to make a repeat visit next time I’m on the left coast.
Bestia – 2121 7th Place, Los Angeles – 213.514.5724