La Buca Design Party
The decor of a restaurant isn't always something worthy of a party, but in the case of venerable Los Angeles eatery Osteria La Buca it is. La Buca previously had one of the smallest dining rooms in LA, making reservations difficult and privacy impossible. The small space used to be a turn-off for some diners. The food always was terrific, with mama churning out simple pastas and pizzas in portions that left you stuffed, but some just thought it wasn't worth the hassle.
Many rejoiced when word spread that the space next door would be turned into a proper sized restaurant and many eagerly awaited the opening. Finally last night I was able to see the fully functioning space (a few weeks ago I ate there but one stairwell was closed and the current lobby/former dining room was not complete).A lot of people have already talked about the wine bottle chandeliers. Under them, the downstairs bar/dining area is comfortable and open. The lobby features pictures hanging across the wall where the kitchen once opened into the dining room. The upstairs is the real draw though, with an open skylight, large fireplace and voyeuristic views of the dining room below. My only complaint was smelling like smoke from the fireplace.
Food included bruschetta, mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, ham and cheese sandwiches, fried risotto balls, pizzas (cheese, artichoke, sausage, pepperoni) and eggplant parmesan.
Mama held court, greeting guests and spreading her Italian mama-ness throughout the party.