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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bottega Louie

Downtown at 7th and Grand is a place that has some buzz, about what I don't know. It turns out it is a combination market/patisserie/restaurant/bar. There is a lot going on when you walk in. High ceilings and a huge spacious room organized into sections. A bakery on one side and a cafe/bar on the other. Heading towards the back you meet the hostess that stands before a great dining room and a wall/brick oven. The oven apparently gets to 800 degrees and should only take a couple minutes to cook, but mine took 20. I guess it was a busy day.
I ordered over the phone on the way in, which isn't ideal. It is not a pick up order kind of place. The lady rattled off some combinations that were all classic Neapolitan pizzas and all sounded pretty good. I ordered the Margherita. I parked outside the place and only had 4 minutes to get in and get out because thats how much a quarter gave me at the meter. To my pleasant surprise it looked like this:
A pretty beautiful pizza I would say. Very symmetrical in a haphazard kind of way. Actually if you look at the slice in the lower right quadrant its actually split evenly between sauce and cheese with 2 buttons of basil. Very cool.
Here is the bottom of the wood fired brick oven pizza.
Now the only pizza out here I can compare it too is Antica Pizzeria, which is a classic Neapolitan style as well. For starters Louie gives you a 14 inch pie. It is almost 16 dollars but they could have charged the same and just given you 12 inches. So the price is expensive but not ridiculous. Antica is cheaper however. 10 inch for $11. The crust was wonderfully thin and slightly charred in spots. It wasn't as crispy as I thought it would be though, it ended up having more of a chewy, tough texture and a little dry. The sauce and cheese didn't blend together as well as Antica did. Where there was cheese there was no sauce and vice-versa. I know this was kind of the idea. But the areas where they came together didn't have a real feeling of a happy marriage. The cheese they used seemed like a dry mozzarella and didn't have as light of a feeling as the sauce. The sauce was light and had a interesting flavor. It wasn't as pure as the fresh plum tomatoes at Antica. It had some spices in it, perhaps pepper. It was hardly sweet. It also had a more slow cooked taste to it, like it might have been cooked pre wood oven.
If you can't tell, I didn't like it quite as much as Antica, not to say Antica is all that because it's not. However, to compare Antica with Louie is something I do only because I can. The reality is they are on opposite ends of L.A. and they aren't really in competition. The flavors were unique and the crust was pretty good. Overall it was a great pizza, and I'm happy there is another place that serves this style. It is the kind of pizza; similar to Antica, that leaves a good, fresh, pizza taste on your mouth for the rest of the day.

UPDATE: I went back to Antic Pizzeria the other day and refreshed my taste bud memories. It is a lot better than Bottega Louie. I don't take anything back about what I said, but there is a much bigger difference between the 41/2 slices of Antica and the 4 I gave to this place. I'm taking the rating down a notch.

700 S. Grand Ave LA 90017
Price: $$
Bottega Louie on Urbanspoon

Bottega Louie in Los Angeles


  1. The oven clearly was set NOWHERE near 800deg throughout the evening: . I've returned a few times since then, and the purported 800deg-capable oven was always at less than 600deg. It's a decent pie, and there's only 1 Neapolitan beyond Antica so the point is moot.


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