Thursday, March 3, 2011

Al Fresco Dining: Piazza at Zucca Ristorante (Downtown Los Angeles)

Shaved ParmesanOutdoors or patio dining area is pretty common for LA restaurants, but what about a restaurant where the outdoor area is now a whole other restaurant? Patina Group's Zucca Ristorante in downtown LA recently launched its outdoors dining area as Piazza, Zucca's more casual, inexpensive (prices range from $6-12) sister restaurant featuring a small but solid menu of antipasti, pizzettes, and pastas.

Lentil Soup
We started our dinner with the soup of the day: black lentil soup with bacon strip ($6),
The hearty bowl of soup is warming and filling on a cold night. It was flavorful without being too salty. The crunch of the bacon strip was a nice touch.

Next, a board of Prosciutto crudo, mozzarella e olive (parma ham, burrata, marinated olives) - $8
Burrata and Ham
We devoured the creamy burrata immediately and could've easily had another serving! The ham was fatty and flavorful, but I didn't get how the olives are supposed to interplay with the others.

Mele salad (wild arugula, fiji apples, gorgonzola, caramelized pecans) - $7
Arugula Salad

I loved the combination of the slightly bitter wild arugula with the sweet and crisp apples.

Carciofi alla Griglia (grilled artichoke, lemon mustard sauce) - $8
Grilled Artichoke

The artichokes were tender, and the subtle tang from the sauce balanced out the earthy flavor of the artichokes.

Zucca Pizzette (butternut squash puree, caramelized onions, goat cheese, speck ham) - $9
Zucca (Squash) Pizza

Being used to tomato-based pizza, the squash pizza seemed a bit dry, but the goat cheese helped. This pizza grows on you, though given the choice I will go with a tomato-based sauce next time. The thin crust here was good so the other pizzas should be pretty good.

Tagliatelle Pasticciate (meat sauce, cream, parmigiano-reggiano) - $12
Tagliatelle with Bolognese
This became my favorite with its creamy bolognese sauce and al dente pasta.
I had assumed all Patina Group restaurants had their pastas made somewhere and delivered, so I was pleasantly surprised when the GM told me that Zucca actually makes all their pastas in-house (and they also deliver their pastas to be used at a couple other Patina restaurants like Cafe Pino and Nick+Stef's).

Tiramisu (espresso-flavored ladyfingers, Marsala mascarpone cream) $8
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and Piazza's version does not disappoint. It was moist and the coffee:alcohol:cream ratio was well balanced.

Pannacotta con compot di bacca (vanilla custard with stewed berries) $8
Panna Cotta
I liked the texture of the custard here but personally found the stewed berry sauce a tad sweet. Less sauce would've been better.

Piazza serves teas from La Mill and I ordered the lavender earl grey ($6) to go with my desserts.
Tea Service

During the course of the dinner, we noticed the manager seems to be coming by and checking on every table. If the manager cares and pays attention, the service is bound to be better.
Something for the road: peanut brittle.
The prices at Piazza are very attractive given its solid food, ambiance, and service. If you need a good, inexpensive meal in the downtown area, Piazza should be on the list (especially when the weather decides to warm up).

Piazza at Zucca Ristorante
801 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 614-7800
Zucca Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: All food and drink was hosted.



How would you compare this to other Italian options in DTLA, such as Bottega Louie and Drago Centro? The price points here seem fairly reasonable.


Hi Darin,

For one thing, I think the prices don't really compare - it's much more reasonable here. The menu here is much smaller and simpler, while Drago Centro is more of a formal, multi-course meal. I think it's better than Bottega Louie par the price.

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