Soleto - Happy Hour
by Maren Swanson
I envy the Downtown Los Angeles lifestyle; everyone walking with purpose, unending options for drinking recreation and there's just a completely different type of energy than my WeHo neighborhood. As much as I would love to frequent a city with over 100 happy hours, I find myself lazy when I consider the lengthy, congested drive down the 101 South to rendezvous with DTLA. However, sometimes if something is good enough, you just make the extra effort.
With my weakness for pizza and buzz of a great happy hour, I couldn't resist the idea of checking out Innovative Dining Group's new Italian concept, Soleto - even if it meant leaving my comfort zone.
The moment I entered Soleto, I immediately noticed the grandiose bar as the focal point of the restaurant. Afterwork bar guests crowded the oval showcase of liquor bottles and not an open seat was to be found, so my friend and I choose a high top table nearby to feast our eyes on people watching and conveniently, the happy hour menu. The quirky and mis-matched lights, high ceilings, business suits and antique details of the place made Soleto feel slightly New York to me - ah, the benefits of escaping to Downtown LA!
Made from the skins of Sorrento lemons, Limoncello is usually served as an after dinner cordial, but with the addition of ginger ale to lighten it up, Soleto's Limoncello Sprizter for only $3 was a great start to our meal. Next, we dove into ordering some tapas with the $5 shrimp oreganato, $8 antipasti platter and $4 white bean hummus. Our shrimp oreganato was served skillet style with hand-torn croutons; butter, garlic and pungent aromas made even my mouth feel naughty. The hummus was simple, a more conservative dish than the last, but the elegant antipasti platter was sublime. A melange of grana padano parmesan, marmalade, salami, prosciutto, broccoli rabe and golden toast points were my food pornography collection come to life.
I knew I couldn't leave without trying one of their wood-fired pizzas, so we continued our meal with the Spicy Speck Pizza (not on the hh menu). The pizza was delivered to our table hot out the oven and and stayed true to its name: spicy (we were warned). To wash down my next slice, I opted for the $3 white peach sangria. The summer wine cocktail was a great balance for the hot-head chasing pizza fanatic in me. A side order of the grilled oyster mushrooms with a white truffle lemon vinaigrette was aromatic and savory, but parts of the dish tasted a little on the salty side. Lastly, I relished the the fresh beets tossed in a light vinaigrette and sprinkled with small pillows of herbed goat cheese - just lovely.
Next time, I will try sitting in the patio area. A quick peak outside promised views of the architectual skyline - formidable.
Without a moment's hesitation, I can promise I will be back. Soleto's first impression of great food, ambience and service will no doubt rally me back for return visits, however, next time I'm trying trusty Wilshire Boulevard.
801 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
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