If there’s two things everyone in LA knows about Sotto, it’s cocktails and pizza. Sotto’s meatballs, Italian wine, cannoli’s, and handmade pasta are not to be forgotten either, but the buzz about their fantastic craft cocktails and traditional Neapolitan pizzas is what peaked my interest about visiting this LA foodie favorite.
I recently had a family member in town, my aunt actually, whom I consider one of the most worldly women with an excellent sense of taste in more ways than one. So being that her taste is similar to mine (yes… refined, impeccable, noteworthy and such) I can always count on her willingness to partake in a good ol fashioned, LA culinary adventure whenever she’s in town. Our requirements are pretty simple: must have notably delicious food, a unique vibe, buzz, and a decent wine list. It’s been clear since their opening that Sotto has made quite the impression on Angelenos, so it was finally time to make my way down to this cozy basement joint and show an out-of-towner how we chow down in this town. When one is trying to impress someone with their knowledge, it can be risky to take someone to a restaurant one has not yet visited, but by sheer intuition I had faith that Sotto would not disappoint.
As mentioned, one of the major highlights at Sotto is the fantastic cocktail menu created by the wonderful and talented Brynn Smith and Ingrid Nelson; their incredibly creative cocktails are featured regularly by my girl crush and name share-er Caroline on Crack, and if you’re at all in the LA foodie/bevie scene you know what Caroline says, goes. Admittedly my discovery of their recent fall cocktail menu is what initially sparked my curiosity, but after a little research I discovered the key, the way to my heart if you will, and that was the discovery of Sotto’s obsession almost OCD like need to create an authentic Italian culinary experience. From hiring Neapolitan craftsmen to build their artisanal pizza oven, cranking out various hand-made pastas, to making probably the best meatballs LA’s ever seen… it’s evident that the people who make Sotto’s magic possible are clearly not messin’ around.
Between the “underground” basement feel , low ceilings, candle light, wood beams, and the smell of fresh bread and italian spices wafting through the air, Sotto is very reminiscent of a New York eatery, making it all the more appealing to the average Angeleno senses, but the most notable aspect of Sotto is the friendly/family/”let us take care of you” atmosphere. From the moment you walk in prepare to be completely and properly taken care of – find Brynn or Ingrid at the bar ready and willing to help you discover your cocktail, your waiter or waitress more than happy to discuss necessary items for ordering, and of course Sotto wine director Jeremy Parzen walking around ready to share a taste of whatever bottle of wine he has in his hand. **I highly recommend you try the “pizza wine” more properly named Lettere – it’s a fizzy red wine that’s not that easy to find but Sotto carries Lettere and it is to die for.** From meal to attitude the entire Sotto experience is so quintessentially Italian, but fear not they also showcase and embrace their true Los Angeles roots. Sotto is a Los Angeles favorite by locals and visitors for clear reasons – it’s just one of those places that is always guaranteed to please and entertain. Whether you visit with a date, your mom, your friends, your business partner, or your aunt, Sotto is a consistently fun, unique, “feel good” adventure.