What to Eat at Soleto, Now Open in Downtown

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Soleto's pizza bianca with garlic chips, spinach, and fresh mozzarella Photo: Soleto

Innovative Dining Group, which made its bones with slick Japanese concepts like Katana and Sushi Roku, has been veering west over the years, with the openings of BOA Steakhouse, French Coast-themed Delphine, and now, Soleto Trattoria & Pizza Bar, a 3,500-square-foot Italian now serving Downtown.

Manned by chef Sascha Lyon, who is no stranger to polished European concepts, having been chef at Manhattan's Pastis and Balthazar, as well as the exec kitchen commander at Delphine, the restaurant replaces Patina's Zucca, centering on a 360-degree bar overhung with a mobile of light fixtures, clad in wood panels, table, and chairs, with bare brick walls and hardwood and mosaic floors. The room also includes an open kitchen and pizza bar, and there's over 1,000-square-feet of al fresco patio on its flank.

The menu is meant to be no-fuss, with a straight-forward selection of authentic panini, pizzas, antipasti, salads, pastas, and meat courses, including classics like spaghetti puttanesca, rigatoni ragu with house-made sausage, branzino Milanese, meatballs al forno, and Caesar salads.

As noted, there is a certified Italian invasion in our midst this summer. Hopefully helping Soleto to distinguish itself from the pack will be dishes like its thick bacon-topped 801 Burger, a potato and bacon pizza, fontina fonduta, white pies laden with garlic chips, and libations like the restaurant's own limoncello.

The restaurant is currently open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and for dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. Check out Soleto's lunch, dinner, cocktail menus and wine list online.

Soleto, 801 S. Figueroa St. Downtown. 213-622-3255.