Bottega Louie

I felt just like a kid in a candy store when I walked into Bottega Louie in downtown LA today.  As you enter the restaurant, you are immediately hit with an array of tantalizing cakes, cookies, candies and confections, boxes and bows. It was sensory overload, a real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience. There were endless rows of glass cases filled with the most beautifully crafted French pastries, and a sea of pastel colored macarons as far as the eye could see. I fear not the carbohydrate, so I boldly entered and made my way to our table accompanied by my friends “the pastry girls”.

Before you get to the seating area you pass an open kitchen where you can view the chefs feverishly cooking and waiters buzzing and whirring about a mile a minute. Everyone’s attired in crisp white shirts and black ties. The seating area is a grand space; soaring ceilings with intricate crown moldings and stark white walls that act as the perfect canvas for all the brightly colored confections.  A wall of floor to ceiling windows lets the light stream in and creates a warm environment.

At the back of the restaurant is an open area with a pizza oven where diners can watch the cooks prepare the large variety of pizzas they serve. So about the pizza. We ordered the Bianco Pizza ($18) with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted garlic and arugula. Everyone kind of looked at each other quite disappointed. It was cheesey, but not in a good way, it was actually pretty soggy and the crust was not crisp at all. We think maybe we chose the wrong pizza, so next time I think I would select a pizza with a red sauce and hope for better results.

I did though, enjoy the Portobello fries ($10). The fries had a crispy, crunchy breading on them and it’s served with a basil aioli which was so good we put it on the pizza.

We also ordered the Lyonnaise Salad ($12) with frisee, watercress, shallots, chives, lardons and poached egg with a warm red wine vinaigrette. Had I not had the same salad at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon a week before, I may have liked this one better, but it greatly lacked seasoning and an abundance of oil seemed to drown out a lot of the flavor. Since Bottega Louie is a bakery, I hoped this would have been accompanied by some crusty French bread, but it wasn’t.

My favorite sandwich has always been the club sandwich ($12). I had high hopes that Bottega Louie would nail this one..but they didn’t. They’ve added hard-boiled eggs to their version. Maybe it’s my own personal taste, but for me it just killed the essence of a club sandwich. Again, maybe it’s just personal taste, but the homemade potato chips had no seasoning whatsoever. Some salt would have made these terrific.

I want to add that the service was extremely friendly and efficient. I love the environment they’ve created here. It’s light and bright, and a virtual feast for the eyes. If you love French breads, pastries and confections as much as I do, then this is a destination for you. I don’t know of another place in Los Angeles that has the variety and selection that Bottega Louie has. On my way out I did stop at the bakery section and purchased several items to go, and they were superb.

Bottega Louie  700 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90017  (213) 802-1470

16 Comments on “Bottega Louie”

  1. What a shame the food was not better. It was a distinctly different meal than your Keller post! The baked goods did look delicious though. Thank you for the honest review.

  2. Thank you Jennifer for your comment! It’s greatly appreciated.

  3. amyjurist says:

    Gorgeous pix! And yes, I’ve given them 2 tries now and won’t be going back. That pizza we had was so.. “nothing” as my parents used to say. and with that huge pile of undressed arugula just laying on top of it. so weird – it wasn’t wilted, or dressed or seasoned, or anything – like someone just opened that bag from trader joes and dumped it on the pizza!!!. Says a lot that we all took all our food home, and none of us wanted it and gave it all to gail for her husband to eat. Seriously my pasta was so BORING!

  4. Kim Demshki says:

    Looked amazing but I guess things aren’t always as they seem. Great photographs Sheryl.

  5. Clo says:

    Thanks for your candor without snark, a real rarity in food reviews online! The photos are lovely and alluring enough to invite me to at least give the baked goods a try.

  6. Dorothy says:

    “I fear not the carbohydrate!!!” Awesome quote!!! I am going to use it!!!!

  7. 3meals2snacks says:

    Goes to show while a picture is worth 1,000 words, the words are still important. The pictures are fabulous and mouth-watering. One is already my new desktop background. But taste that lives up to the visual impressions is, after all. food fundamental 101. Great, honest review. I bet Louie will take the notes under advisement.

  8. Jane says:

    Holy moly! This place looks utterly fantastic! If I ever make to L.A., I’m heading straight to it. The macarons alone . . . mama mia!

  9. What lovely spring colors!

  10. This post made me fish I lived in California! It reminded me of Eataly in NYC! I was in heaven. The picture of the macaroons made me want one so bad!!

  11. dandilion says:

    NO taste is the new healthy dining experience! Bring your own salt, condiments and seasonings? Did they have a customer inquiry to fill out on how the food tasted, asking for suggestions?

  12. Sure looks good! Your pictures are beautiful!

  13. Food Frenzy says:

    Congratulations! This post was one of the top 5 viewed posts on Food Frenzy for March 2012.

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