There’s no need to traverse the Atlantic to wine and dine like you’re in Europe. Instead, head over to Baldoria, a “European style aperitivo tapas bar, only a bit more American,” describes owner David King. Though his name may be King, he acts like anything but – a decade-long local, the friendly and attentive owner can be found humbly seating and serving patrons at his restaurant throughout the week, living a mere 200 feet away. Baldoria aims for casual comfort, and their no-reservations policy is part of this concept. The space is “very casual, everything’s meant to be movable — only with higher quality food than the traditional bar menu,” explains King. They aim to move away from “ubiquitous grease and salt” and instead offer up scrumptious concoctions including chicken and waffle tacos (for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays) and Lil’ Tokyo steak pizza made with miso marinated flat iron, yuzukosho, shiitake, and shishito. Equally impressive is Baldoria’s cocktail menu, which boasts a request-only Earl Grey Dog — King’s take on the old fashioned.
“We infuse moonshine with loose earl grey tea in a pressurized chamber which creates more volatile aromas without astringencies,” explains King. They then put the infusion in a white oak barrel and let it sit for eighteen days for a “nice vanilla roundness”. The drink is then cut so as to lower the proof, but it remains a “very boozy cocktail,” with sugar added to take its final form as a reinvented old fashioned. To put it simply, “you’re lucky if it’s ready,” quips King.
Setting Baldoria even further apart from the traditional DTLA bar scene is the fact that all of the restaurant’s products are locally produced — they churn out their own syrups and infusions. This combined with its unique, alluring ambiance that caters to conversation, wine drinking, and casual hangouts is what’s giving other Downtown spots a run for their money. Still, the local bar community is “supportive as opposed to competitive,” remarks King, who collaborates with Everson Royce Bar from time to time. Baldoria attracts a wide range of customers, from young adult Angelenos to Downtown creatives.
Though the crowd is most usually locals, all are definitely welcome. Baldoria — in Italian, it means “revelry, a great time,” and that’s exactly what you get here.
Written by Lucy Rogers-Ciaffa
Photographed by Robiee Ziegler