Solo Dining: Cento Pasta Bar, Los Angeles
Why not take yourself out for a nice dinner?! It's a good way to treat yourself, think, and mix it up in a new or familiar city.
When looking for places to dine alone, especially for dinner, I prioritize finding somewhere I think will have a great ambiance. This ultimately translates to more to look at and engage with.
Where to dine solo in Los Angeles?
Last week, I tried Cento Pasta Bar located in Central LA. Non-descript from the exterior, you enter past a large hedge and are greeted with a charming outdoor seating area. There are lights draped all about, whispy trees, and seating areas with pops of red. After approaching the host, and specifying that yes, it would in fact just be one that evening, I waited patiently for my bar seat to be prepared.
After being escorted inside, I was pleasantly entertained by the open kitchen platform and the view of pasta and appetizers being skillfully made mere feet in front of me. I enjoyed watching the friendly banter as the chefs cracked jokes and worked seamlessly together.
Despite my prior research, I asked my waiter for a walk-through of the menu and his recommendations, to ensure I wouldn't miss out on a hidden gem.
He aided in my selection of a glass of wine and highlighted a few menu items that I already had my eyes on.
I started with the grilled octopus (a must for me whenever it is on the menu). If you like octopus, and even if you don't, I would highly recommend it. There was no fishy undertaste (a concern for many - including myself), it was charred to perfection - giving the exterior a wonderful crunch, and the fresh sides of romanesco, celery, and potatoes wonderfully balanced the starter.
Next up was the Spicy Pomodoro made with rigatoni and Calabrian chili, topped with a dollop of ricotta housing a small pool of basil-truffle oil. This course was amazing - I still dream of it. You can truly taste the care that is put into each dish, as the flavors and textures melt in your mouth. I also didn't find it very spicy, if that is a lurking concern. The portion size was generous, so I happily took half to-go at the end of the evening.
Overall, I would highly recommend Cento Pasta Bar for a group or solo dining experience.