Sparrow: When the Ambiance and Food Align
“Because anything with truffle, right?!”
I had the opportunity to have a fur-baby-free night out, so I pulled up my expansive list of LA hot spots and found the relatively new Sparrow, which is located in the historic and gorgeous Hotel Figueroa and serves up modern coastal Italian – yes, please!
Ok let’s be honest, parking is an absolute b****! If you have an early reservation, you might be lucky to score valet parking or self-parking in the nearby lot. Otherwise, head down the road to try your luck in the nearby parking lots and garages. Either way, you’re going to be set back at least $30-$40. This is Downtown, after all, so what else can you expect.
That aside, I walked up to the stunning Hotel Figueroa and took a moment to enjoy the Instagram-worthy walkway next to the pool (you’ve got to make some time for that, preferably before you down a super filling but delicious meal!) We were running a little bit late, but the hosts were very accommodating and we made our way to our table. Around us was a stunning setting: high ceilings, an exquisite chandelier, and décor on point. It was the ultimate date-night setting.
Often with LA restaurants, the ambiance is fire, but the food doesn’t quite match the setting. And as we were instantly marveled at the furnishings, I knew this was the ultimate test. But before evaluating the fare, we had to start with some cocktails. I chose the Molise, which puts a spicy kick on watermelon and is literally set ablaze tableside (so get your phones ready)! There is also a generous selection of wines and spirits available, including the somewhat elusive Yamazaki – IYKYK.
The complimentary bread with tapenade, butter, olive oil, and balsamic was a delightful start to my evaluation. My hubby and I were with friends, and since sharing is caring, we were able to sample a few things off the menu. For instance, the Heirloom Tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella is a must; just mix the components together and it’s a mouthful of flavors. We also got the Tartufo Pizza to share – because anything with truffle, right?! It was pretty tasty, even though (total shocker) I’m not really a pizza fan. Looking at the mains, the pasta options were aplenty, but there was one particular dish which is highlighted for a reason. So even though the Truffle Reggiano was calling me, I went with the Bone Marrow Agnolotti. Hear me out: braised beef cheeks, roasted bone marrow, and horseradish Barolo reduction. This dish was very much worthy of the highlight and recommendation by our server. Lucky for me, I got to sample some of the Truffle Reggiano and it was delectable, too. The guys went with the Chicken Parm, which was so big it could have fed us all!
While waiting for our next round of drinks and trying to make room for dessert, I noticed the crowd was a mix of hotel guests and a very-LA scene. There were a lot of date nights going on, friends catching up, and business dinners. The ambiance was chic and elegant, though a little loud for intimate conversation, maybe because there was a guitarist circulating and serenading the tables to add to the Italian vibe.
My next cocktail did not disappoint! I chose the Sardinia with nitrogen-infused honeydew pisco. Again, our server put on a little show with a bubble. I’m not sure if all the drinks come with a presentation, but I was loving it, and I appreciated the warning before they began, so that I could capture the moment for my IG feed.
Now, I personally can’t leave such an enjoyable night without dessert. We got the Tiramisu and Bread Pudding Panettone. Let me tell you, that Tiramisu is the best in town. Really, it is something else (it’s even worth this double emphasis). I would come back just for that dessert.
Overall, it was a lovely evening. Even if you’re just there for a drink at the bar, you’ll have a great time enjoying the gorgeous pool views. But as my evaluation came to a close, I’ve got to say. . . dinner at Sparrow is a must – because the food really does match the scene.
Happy hour is Wednesday – Friday 3-6pm on the patio.
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