The South Park district in downtown Los Angeles is getting more and more exciting with two new restaurant openings. One of them is Soleto, an upscale Italian restaurant from the IDG Restaurant Group which took over the old Zucca space. Soleto is run by Executive Chef Sascha Lyon who is also in charge of the kitchen at Delphine.
I say it's upscale, but Soleto has a pretty great happy hour (M-F, 3-7pm), especially where the food is concerned. There were quite a few items that were all really cheap and good! The portion sizes are quite good as well. Here are some of the happy hour items we tried:
Shrimp Oreganato ($5)
This Sauteed Calamari with Anaheim chili and tomatoes is also only $5!
I also recommend the Charred Cauliflower, Grana Padano, parsley ($3)
You won't really find duplicates from the happy hour menu here. The popular appetizers include Grilled Oyster Mushrooms, grana padano, white truffle lemon vinaigrette ($12)
Meatballs Marinara al Forno ($8)
Other than the housemade limoncello and sangrias, Soleto also has a pretty interesting cocktail menu. The Gondola with cognac and their housemade kumquat/orange cello was too strong for me to start the night with while hungry. I enjoyed the Smoked Blossom made with Right Gin, lillet blanc, grilled orange, vanilla syrup ($12), and of course you can't go wrong with a Godfather.
We tried their various salads including the grilled vegetable salad topped with feta cheese, the Chop't Italian Salad mixed with beans, mortadella, salami, mozzarella and all kinds of other things that everyone loved. Another favorite was the Caesar Salad: romaine, parmesan crisp, grana padano ($14.50 for a large with chicken)
Their pizza crust had airy, crunchy edges. If you love eggs, be sure to get the Potato and Bacon Pie with fontina cheese, garlic cream, scallions, thyme ($14)
The General Manager's favorite pizza was the Spicy Smoked Speck, Fresno and Anaheim peppers, onion ($15)
The pasta selection is small but diverse, from pumpkin filled raviolis, to rigatoni with meat ragu, and Angel Hair alla Checca topped with herbed goat cheese ($14)
Usually I don't pay much attention to the secondi at Italian restaurants, being a pasta lover, but this is obviously a habit I need to change. The Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak with truffle fries, garlic gremolata ($22) at Soleto was definitely worth getting.
The Branzino Milanese with arugula, lemon, grana padano ($20) is a good choice if you want a lighter entree.
There once was a period where I would crave tiramisu every week, and Soleto's version reminded me why I love it so much. I was already stuffed but couldn't stop taking bites of it.
They gave us little bottles of their housemade limoncello (made with Everclear) to take home
801 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Disclosure: this meal was hosted