A blog about Dining and assorted D's in Los Angeles

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Bestia - Best? Yeah.


Before I Delve into Downtown’s Bestia, I firmly Disclaim my worthiness as a food writer.  The clear Distinction between a restaurant reviewer and food critic is an insistent necessity here.  By Design, I Dine for a fully sensory experience.  Beyond the five natural senses, the sixth sense, that of energy is the one that is most personal, hence subjective, and is my Decider. As a Devoted foodie, the tastes, scents, textures and visible presentation of (Damn good) Dishes can wow without the X-energy-factor. That said, the life expectancy of a restaurant would be cut considerably if the vibration weren’t compelling.


Unless you’re within the Los Angeles rule of 20-minutes-door-to-door by-car, traveling Downtown for Dinner after work is an impressive commitment.  For Bestia DTLA, I’ve done it three times.  Each of the three was a charm.  Within nanoseconds of being within Bestia’s megalopolitan walls, I forgot the freeway and its accompanying tensions.  Bestia manages to be inviting without cozy Decor.  Definitely urban, the entire environment breathes life. A palpable charge abounds on high by industrial lighting and tall unfinished-looking ceilings, on low by the lively crowd of Diverse Diners.  Shiny metals contrast exposed bricks.  Things catch your eyes quickly.  The outside spaces, the long and happening cocktail bar inside, the floating booths, the wide open kitchen flanked by the garde manger and the mammoth pizza oven combine to raise your pulse.

Bestia means beast in Italian. The Dining experience at Bestia is an ode to a once sacred way that animals Died to become human food.  So unmasked is the animal that I’d hesitate sending my vegan friends.  There was a time that I allowed myself the comforts of chicken and beef for how little they appeared like the animals they once were. In those days, I turned my head away from whole fish.  At Bestia DTLA, there is honor and celebration in the preparation of meats and fish.   Go with more than one companion, and fearlessly share the Roasted Bone Marrow (Really? Yes.), the Grilled Octopus, or Mussels and Clams (an item rightfully urged by the garde manger chef). Try the Suckling Pig (I did) and the inspired Charcuterie.  Someone should order either the hint-of-sweet Pork Chop or the Deeply tasty Skirt Steak.  

The Bestia experience is not complete without at least one pasta and (not or) a pizza.  The obscenely rich and tasty Cavatelli, the hearty Fusilli with a lamb ragu and the flavorful Agnolotti with pine nuts and currants have been my favorites.  Chef Ori, formerly of Angelini Osteria, raises his own yeast culture for the restaurant’s “toast” and the pizza Dough that rises and falls for 24 hours before it enters the 900-degree wood-burning oven. The simplest pizza puts authentic Italian pride on your taste buds. 

Chef Genevieve, Ori's wife, helms the Desserts.  A Dinner so rich in antipasti, pasta and secondi leaves little room.  Nevertheless, my companions and I have tried most or all by now and have shamelessly Drooled over the Chocolate Budino tart and the calorie-laden ricotta fritters (I prefer its accompaniment – the gelato).  The less Decadent Crostata is lovely.

So I began by noting that food writing wasn’t my thing.  Clearly, I got carried away with taste sense memory.  The multi-regional Italian food, Distinctly Devoid of California cuisine layering, is Divine.  But I do Bestia DTLA no justice without Discussing the carefully chosen staff from the chefs and line cooks, to the servers and hosts, to the sommelier, and notably Julian Cox, the renowned crafty Drink mixologist.  Chef Ori possesses steroidal charisma and his assemblage of Dedicated employees send waves of positivity throughout the Bestia space. (See Facebook’s Bestia page to glean the community feeling. https://www.facebook.com/BestiaDTLA?ref=br_tf) Do you like a place that buzzes and hums? Not because it's cool to be there, but because the players believe? They play off each other; it's almost syncopated.

If you can, picture this: kids in a schoolyard beginning to turn Double Dutch ropes in order to build a rhythm before the jumper jumps in.  That’s exactly what occurs before the Doors open at Bestia DTLA.  The people who work there set the rhythm and we just have to enter.  I’d suggest jumping onto Open Table to get yourself a reservation at this hard to get Destination. And if freeways on a M-F fill you with Dread, plan ahead and snag a Saturday.

Go with people who are willing to try new tastes and have a taste for living!

You won't believe how I know these garde manger chefs but you can ask! (Please ask!) ;)

2121 7th Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90021