Bestia – 2121 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Seemingly always booked up with reservations, this DTLA Arts District staple is a must visit spot for locals and tourists alike. Since opening back in November 2012, Bestia has been one of the most buzzed about restaurants! You wouldn’t know it from it’s industrial looking exterior but you will find some of the best Italian food in Los Angeles here.
Bestia is the product of the husband and wife duo Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. Menashe has experience working in the kitchens of Pizzeria Mozza, All’ Angelo, and Angelini Osteria. While Menashe focuses his attention on Bestia’s savory side Gergis takes on the role of pastry chef and creates unique desserts that center around using fresh local ingredients.
From our experience at Bestia we can confidently say it is worth the wait and trouble of getting a reservation. We booked ours exactly a month in advance and still had to settle for a time that was earlier than we had hoped. From the excellent service, interesting decor, and delicious food; we enjoyed everything! We will be back to try even more dishes next time but for now here is the breakdown of what we ordered.
Mussels & Clams
Their Mussels & Clams dish with their housemade spicy ‘nduja sausage, fennel seed, preserved lemon, and grilled bread was by far our FAVORITE dish of the night! Although in general we are both huge fans of mussels & clam dishes this one takes it to another level with the flavor added by the sausage. And the grilled toasty bread was perfect for soaking up that savory sauce.
The first of the pasta dishes we ordered was the Spaghetti Rustichella with dungeness crab, citrus, calabrian chili, thai basil, and onion seed. This was surprisingly more of a refreshing light pasta because of the bright acidity of the citrus and the fresh thai basil. They do give you a healthy portion of the dungeness crab also. If you are a big fan of crab you should definitely consider this dish but in our opinion this was our least favorite pasta of the night, feeling a bit flat and one note.
Of the two pastas we tried this was our favorite. This was flavored with Italian bacon, cherry tomato, green garlic pistachio pesto, burnt breadcrumbs and pecorino. Even with all those different flavors it was still a very balanced dish. We liked how the pesto was just dotted in different spots on the plate so when you happened to get some in a bite it would be a surprise. The burnt breadcrumbs were a nice addition to the plate giving an extra dimension of flavor. Definitely a must get pasta!
Grilled Whole Branzino
Although we are normally fans of branzino this dish missed the mark. The branzino served with pea tendrils, fried herbs, and grilled lemon tasted overly salted in certain parts while also completely unsalted in others. The greens in the inside of the fish were definitely too salty also. However we did like the addition of the fried herbs and grilled lemon. The fried herbs give a bit of texture and the lemon adds some acid and sweetness. Not sure if the seasoning was a fluke but we would pass on this dish next time.
Maple Ricotta Fritters
This dessert was the best way to finish off our meal. It was served with a maple butter ganache and a sour cream & huckleberry jam ice cream. The fritter itself was the perfect balance of fried crispiness on the outside and a light creamy interior. We definitely preferred the huckleberry ice cream over the maple butter ganache. The tart, sweet, and refreshing taste helped round out the dish.
Although we weren’t a fan of every dish we had, the experience as a whole was definitely worth another try. There are plenty more pasta dishes to try and their selection of pizza’s alone is worth another trip.