Bestia, Bestia, Bestia! You can’t be in LA without hearing it’s name. After seeing it in my Where Chefs Eat book I added it to my list of places I wanted to try. On arrival I realized how big a deal this restaurant is. I read about how on it you have to be to get a reservation, and my favourite from a tv show: ‘this better be good, I had to lose my Bestia reservation for this’. So with all of this in mind, I waited for the reservation window and managed to grab a table for Jax being here.
This restaurant is beautiful. A big ex-industrial space, it has beautiful booths, copper top bars and great lighting. You’ll also find an open kitchen which I am a mega fan of and a multitude of staff to look after you.
The menu is described as ‘a multi regional rustic Italian’ focusing on a ‘from scratch’ approach. What does that look like in reality? A great menu with a good mix of seafood & meats, pizza, pasta and veg. So what did we go for?
Charred shishito peppers: these had a saffron aioli and fermented citrus Serrano paste which smelt beautiful. Not quite what we were expecting when it arrived but to be fair, I think that we ordered so much we forgot what to expect.
Chopped salad: wonderful! Baby kale, lentils, salami, raisins and more. This salad was just gorgeous. I am going to have to work out how to replicate. It’s a shame I got such a terrible picture of it!
Mussels and clams: this came with nduja sausage sauce. I don’t think that needs any further description- add nduja and you have a little perfection. We fought the waiters every time they came to take this sauce: it was made for everything, especially the bread and pizza to be dipped in.
Lamb belly: this was on the specials. A thin strip of lamb belly, not covered in fat so quite light. I’m not a big lamb person but I could see why people loved it, and look how pretty it is.
Octopus: I can’t remember clearly what this came with, and my photo doesn’t help as I didn’t get quick enough to capture the plate (everyone was very quick to serve!). The octopus was grilled to perfection though. Actually from my pic, it looks like the salad, so maybe I have everything confused. I definitely had octopus again.
Salsa Rossa Pizza: is this pizza the best in LA? So far it is! This base is the best base I have had in a long time. You could have it just with garlic and olive oil and think it was the best thing ever. I’m pretty sure I could eat this every day. Next time I’m trying a nduja one, I think that will be divine.
Cavatelli alla Norcina: ricotta dumplings with pork sausage a very light pasta dish that actually came in a perfect size for a multi course meal
Branzino: whole fish stuffed with herbs. It’s not a fish I am familiar with but it was nicely done. Especially nice was it being deboned, it makes sharing much easier. Also nice, was my leftover fish tacos I had with it the next day.
Slow roast lamb neck: a giant piece of meat! As I’ve mentioned I am not a big lamb fan but this was so soft it melted in your mouth
To say the good at Bestia lives up to the hype is an under statement. I can’t wait to go back and try more. The staff will guide you through the menu and help you balance your meal so that you don’t create something too heavy/rich.
I also loved that when you looked over at the kitchen everyone looked like they were really enjoying their job – any time I’m in the kitchen you will hear a lot of swearing, so I love watching great chefs in motion.
The only ‘let down’ for the restaurant is around the wine. They operate in a style of keeping your bottle and topping you up instead of leaving it for you, while this isn’t a bad concept you need to be on it. I’m not sure if they just aren’t used to a group of Aussies drinking but they could have sold us more wine if we weren’t waiting for refills. If they match the attentiveness of everything else then this restaurant would be pretty much perfect.
While Bestia doesn’t go in the category of a cheap meal I would say it is good value. The dishes are perfectly put together and the ingredients are of the highest quality. For me, this goes in the category of a treat place, and I do like a treat.