Hyper-attentive staff and one serious menu lend Drago Centro a formality ideal for special occasions and crucial client dinners.
Celestine Drago's fourth LA restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking City National Plaza, where an outdoor patio suits warm weather dining. Inside, the modern glass wine cellar in the open — near-mandatory for new restaurants — accents the room's dark hardwood floors and gritty stone walls.
The food is Iron Chef Italian. Start with a melt-in-your-mouth foie gras crème caramel with baked figs, or langoustine carpaccio with pomegranate and micro herbs. Then savor rustic, rich pasta standouts like oxtail ravioli (recipe here), pumpkin cannelloni with hazelnut butter, and pappardelle with roast pheasant and earthy morel mushrooms.
Heartier entrees include lamb osso buco, squab with focaccia stuffing, and truffle-crusted chicken breast. A hefty global wine list is tailored to big spenders, but a welcomely high number of bottles can be had for under $50. If you can squeeze in dessert, opt for the doughnuts with poached pears and brown butter gelato.
525 S. Flower St., Downtown (213) 228-8998
Price: 3 (out of 4) Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Parking: Valet on Figueroa or self-parking in the underground garage (entrance on Flower). First three hours free during dinner hours.
Scene: Silver-haired suits, well-heeled gourmands and groups with something to celebrate.
Hot seat: Enjoy look-at-us exclusivity in the semi-private Flower Room, separated by glass from the main dining room.
Best bets: Foie gras crème caramel; pumpkin cannelloni; papardelle with roast pheasant
Nearby: Library Bar; Seven Grand; Provecho
Privacy, please: Housed inside a former bank vault, the ultra-secluded private dining room features a live video feed from the kitchen.