Bestia is located on a street/alley way that is reminiscent of being in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. The same boldness and vivacity of the meatpacking district exists here. Just around the corner from Bestia is the Bread Lounge that is producing some of the most delicious artisanal bread in the city. And a few blocks away, Yasmin's Church and State is thriving. And across from the Toy Factory and Biscuit Lofts where Church and State is located, Urban Radish, a farmers market grocery, is soon to open its doors. Along with other food spots, galleries, cafes, and bars, including Pie Hole, Wurstkuche, and Urth Cafe, the Arts District has become an inimitable contender in Los Angeles for the most sought after food, drink and cultural resources, and Bestia is holding a very unique place in this milieux.
In the picture, you see the space as you enter the restaurant---the bar with red bar stools (cocktails created by Julian Cox), exposed ceiling and brick walls. Crystal, who was formerly at Mezze, Mike and Micah's superlative mediterranean restaurant that closed down some time ago, warmly invites you as you enter from an outside patio area. With a kitchen tooled with an open fire grill and red-orange wood burning oven, Chef Ori produces memorable dishes that you crave to have time and time again. Before the recent seasonal menu changed, Chef Ori prepared a hand-harvested diver scallop crudo that was simply dressed with lemon and chili oil. The simplistic genius of this dish was Chef Ori's use of squid ink bottarga that is micro-shaved on top of the scallops. The contrast between texture and color made this dish explode. The pan-seared octopus and calamari along with any other salad on the menu are worth ordering. When it comes to pastas, you can't go wrong. My recent favorites have been the squid ink spaghetti chittara with scallops, calamari, wild fennel pollen, and chili-fennel sofritto and tagliolini al'ortica, hand-cut stinging nettle pasta, mushroom ragu, poached farm egg, and fried nettles. For secondi, you must order the grilled whole orata with a side of wood-burning oven roasted market vegetables. Pastry Chef Genevieve bedazzles our sweet tooth with her truly divine chocolate budino tart, with salted carmel, cacao crust, olive oil and sea salt, among her other sweet creations.
As real estate developers further invigorate the Arts District, we will see more brilliance shine from this emerging neighborhood with burgeoning culinary and cultural forces to be reckoned with by the rest of the city. In the meantime, I will continue to inhale the brilliance emanating from Bestia whenever I'm embarking on my sensorial journey of eating and drinking on this sensational side of town.
Bestia is located at 2121 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA, (213) 514-5724, hours of operation: sunday - thursday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., friday - saturday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Find at www.bestiala.com.