California / Italian / Restaurants/Bars

Cento Pasta Bar

When I had lunch to myself on a recent work trip, I decided to take myself on a little date. And ain’t no date better than a pasta date, amirite? I had done a bit of research and learned that one of the best spots in DTLA (where i was staying) was a pop-up of sorts called Cento Pasta Bar. The menu is limited, fresh, and changes weekly. Sounded perfect.

I sat down at the bar because that’s where one sits here. There are two tiny bistro tables, but all other seats are at a u-shaped bar that surrounds the area where all the cooking takes place. Don’t bother asking for a menu. When you do, you’ll quickly learn there is none. The chef will tell you the appetizer special of the day and the four pastas they’re dishing out that week. They also had some wine specials but I declined since I was on the clock.

I wasn’t going to get an appetizer but couldn’t help myself when I heard it was burrata. The baguette was warm and perfect and the burrata has that great texture we know and love. I wish there was just a bit more flaked salt on top, but otherwise delish. I ate the whole thing. Oops.

The tortellini in cream sauce looked good, but the sauce seemed a bit too heavy for a workday lunch. I couldn’t go pass out after. There was also a ragu that looked incredible, but it was topped with a mound of burrata. Since I already wolfed one of those down, I decided to go with the beet spaghetti. It had a bit of ricotta and chives sprinkled across the top. I loved how the chives and beets worked together – and, yes, that spaghetti had a distinct beet flavor – and also how perfectly al dente it was. Again, I could have used a smidge more salt, but it was otherwise great. And how beautiful?!

If you find yourself in the downtown LA area, this is a great place to try. No pretension. Just pasta.

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