Bestia was widely considered as the top new restaurant in LA in 2013. Reservations were extremely difficult to nab for a prime weekend slot. However, I was able to nab something two months in advance.
You’re guaranteed to get lost on your first visit to Bestia. Located in a small nondescript alley in downtown LA, the hidden aspect only adds to the charm.
Walkway to heaven.
Like almost all restaurants in DTLA, Bestia rocks the industrial loft-like look.
But they do it well.
I spy a meat locker!
Bespoke! Essentially you tell your mixologist a few cocktail likes and dislikes, and they’ll craft up something to your liking.
Quick peek into the dining room. For you bloggers out there.. Bestia is incredibly dark and dimlit. Plan ahead as it’s extremely hard to snap pics without flash. Enough restaurant pics, let’s get started with the food…
Chicken Liver Crostino with Aged Balsamic and Sea Salt. At $8, it’s a bit pricey for what it is. Maybe I’m just spoiled with the amazing chicken liver toast at Animal. You know what? Just get this at Animal..
Next up on our crostino list, Smoked Mackerel Crostino with Burrata, Tomato Jam and Sea Salt. A brilliant idea which I had high hopes for. But it felt like an over embellished tuna sandwich.
A quick intermezzo of leafy greens. Bloomsdale Spinach with Shaved Beets, English and Sugar Snap Peas, Sieved Egg, Brignate, Lemon-Oregano Citronette. A very unmemorable dish. It sounds more sophisticated than it actually was.
Bestia’s famous Salumi platter. The amazing charcuterie is served with perfectly grilled bread and an amazing mostarda and pickled vegetables. Some amazing capicola, headcheese and pig jowl. Yum!
Kanpachi Crudo with Squid Ink Bottarga, Bread Crumbs, Chili Oil, Lemon and Scallion. Quite possibly my favorite dish of the night. Just an amazing demonstration of fresh ingredients done right.
Roasted Market Vegetables. Excuse the ugly picture, but the small cast iron pot was filled with simply roasted Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli and Carrots.
Roasted Bone Marrow with Spinach Gnochetti, Crispy Breadcrumbs and Aged Balsamic. It wasn’t until we finished the bone marrow that we soon discovered (because of the darkness) that underneath was edible gnochetti. Maybe I’ve just eaten too much marrow in my lifetime, but Bestia’s was underwhelming.
Our last antipasti and crostino, Veal Tartare Crostino with Shallot, Parsley, Lemon, Capers and Tonnato Sauce. My favorite crostino out of the lot. The tonnato (mayo-like) sauce pairs perfectly with the sweet veal.
Our first pasta arrives. Porcini Pappardelle with Hand-Cut Mushrooms Pasta, Mushroom and Artichoke Ragu, Poached Farm Egg, and Fried Spinach. Simply Umami. Topping the pasta with a perfectly poached egg was also an amazing touch. Touche!
Second, a Spaghetti Rustichella with Sea Urchin, Squid Ink Bottarga, Garlic, Calabrian Chile, and Breadcrumbs. Your classic uni pasta with an incredibly rich, buttery flavor.
By this time, my party and I were already incredibly full and quite possibly a bit buzzed from all the wine. But guess what? Here come’s the Secondi! A Roasted Half Duck with Sugar Snap Peas and Cippolini Agridolce. When this dish came, I just snacked on the sugar snap peas and the super tender cippolini’s. My kind of dessert.
What!? More food!? A Pizze Tartufo e Porcini, Black Truffles, Porcini Mushroom, Fior di Latte, and Grana Padano. I understand the high price of fresh black truffles, but at $25, this pizza’s a bit steep. And you know what? Being ridiculously full quite possibly made me dislike this incredibly rich pizza.
Excuse the ugliest picture ever! But the final dish of the night was the one I was looking most forward to, but I was too full to enjoy. Roasted Suckling Pig with Anson Mills Polenta, Spinach, Kale Chips, and Fruta di Speziate. I was able to fit in a small sliver, and boy was it delightful! The pig was well seasoned and had a butter-like tenderness.
On an extremely negative note, because our bill was comprised primarily of wine, we tipped accordingly (leaving a generous amount on food). However, upon leaving, we were given an ugly scowl/snarl by our server because she was dissatisfied with the amount. I tried to alleviate the situation by explaining to her the reasoning, but was only met with a lecture.
Food: 6/10 - I came in expecting the world (maybe it was because of the 2 month wait). But most of the dishes came up short.
Restaurant Environment: 9/10 - Maybe this is being nit picky, but the restaurant was just too dark for food photographers like myself. But other than that, a perfect place to eat.
Service: 2/10 - Well done until the very end. Would’ve also liked if she suggested that we were ordering too much food, but that’s a moot point.
Value: 6/10 - Spending ~$30 per entree dish (that I wasn’t even able to eat), probably wasn’t the best budgeting.