Thursday, January 27, 2011

Piazza by Zucca Ristorante

My friend Andrew and I try to get together every few months and have dinner together. I don't get to see him often, but when I do we're able catch up quickly and the hours seem to fly by in a matter of minutes. We used to limit our dinner excursions to one of two places: Marix (known for their amazing kick-ass margaritas) or Lala's (known for their amazing sangria). At our last dinner (at Marix, natch), we promised each other to start dining out at different places. When I got the invitation to check out Piazza by Zucca Ristorante, Andrew was the first person who came to my mind that I wanted to invite to dine with me.

Piazza is the outside patio at Zucca Ristorante in the flourishing downtown neighborhood of Los Angeles. The menu consists of antipasti, panini, salads, pizzas, and pastas. The best part? None of the food on the Piazza menu is over $12. It's a great place to go after work and share a few small plates and some pizza.

We started with a robust Chianti - the Castello Di Montasero Chianti, Italy 2007 ($47/bottle) to get us in the mood. This wine is part of the restuarant's Decade of Wine event which runs through February 6th. To start the new decade, they are offering their favorite wines at an excellent value. After the 6th, the price will go back up to $65/bottle.

Decade of Fine Wine Menu

Andrew Loves Wine

The bread basket was a delight for carb-loving Andrew. It came with everything from breadsticks to crackers and focaccia. Bread heaven.

Bread Basket

Next up was the Prosciutto Crudo, Mozzarella e Olive ($8). I'm a sucker for burratta. It paired beautifully with the salty prosciutto and was great to snack on with a breadstick. I love olives and since Andrew isn't a big fan, I got to keep the salty, marinated olives all to myself. I'm a lucky gal.

Prosciutto Crudo, Mozzarella e Olive 1/24/11

The Romana salad ($7) was romaine wedges dressed very lightly with a Caeser-style dressing. I wish there had been a touch more dressing, but I appreciated the chef's restraint. I also wish there would have been more of the wonderful polenta croutons, but it's probably a good thing that there were only two. They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside with a hint of Parmesan flavor. Outstanding.

Romana Salad

I was quite impressed with Calabrese pizza ($9) which was topped with a zesty tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, crumbled sausage, sliced red onions, and fennel. The crust was thin and crispy, just the way I like it. The perfect bite had all of the toppings in one mouthful.

Calabrese Pizza

Our last savory course was the Tagliatelle Pasticciate ($12). Normally I shy away from cream sauces, but this only has a touch of cream. The pasta was fresh and our waitress Cheryl told us there is a little woman who slaves spends her day making fresh pasta for the restaurant. This was a little heavier than what I was craving so I let Andrew have at it. He's a bit of a pasta whore.

Tagliatelle Pasticciate

Although we didn't order it, we were treated to a beautiful panna cotta with berries. The custard was smooth and light and sweet, but not too sweet. It was perfect with the berries that were slightly tart. The dessert with a glass of Dolcetto was the perfect way to end the night.  

Panna Cotta

Because of its proximity to Staples Center and the Nokia Theater, I highly recommend checking out Piazza as a great way to get your evening started!

*All food and drinks were comped. Opinions are my own
Piazza by Zucca Ristorante
801 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 614-7800

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Unknown said...

Yum! That bread basket looks like bread heaven!

vanillasugarblog said...

well well. ms thing. aren't you a lucky lil devil. all paid. i have to admit, ok, i'm jealous, there i said it. ;-)
fabulous meal w/ good friend = awesomeness

lynn said...

this sounds delicious and i, like dawn, am jealous!! i'm always looking for places to eat downtown, esp. now that i've recently fallen in love with the regal movie theatre down there.

Confessions of a Northern Belle said...

WOW.... I want everything you posted a picture of right now for lunch. After the gym and shoveling my car out of the snow (which took 30 minutes) that food looks like heaven!

Joanne said...

Where can I find a little old lady to sit around and make pasta for me all day?? Hmm. Looks like a delicious meal!

Erica said...

This place sounds fabulous! I love a bread basket that comes with different choices. And the fresh mozzarella on the pizza looks just awesome. I'm a thin crust girl as well.

Amanda said...

Looks like a great meak!

susan said...

i love living vicariously through all your food adventures. this is just one more restaurant (thanks to you), I am putting on my "must try" list!

Maria said...

Italian is my favorite! Looks delicious!

Diana said...

Thanks for the tips! The Calabrese will be MINE tonight.

And fine, maybe it'll be Christina's a little bit too.

Wonder if we can get a side of just the polenta croutons...

Allison [Haute Box] said...

Whoa. That pasta looks chronic good!

marla said...

Great review Esi, looks like it was a great idea to try somewhere new!

lisa is cooking said...

Sounds like the menu is full of great values. And, I want to grab that burrata off the screen! Speaking of pasta whores, yes, I'm one. Looks like a great meal.