Walking up to the restaurant I passed it once, ok twice. It was a simple oversight on my part, but there was no signage on the exterior. Once I saw the “3206” stickers on the top window I figured I found my destination. There were two tables outside with guests dining and laughing. I walked between them, opened the door, and the moment I stepped in I felt like I was somewhere else. It may have been the calming jazz music that made the outside noise seem so far away. It could have been the tiling that lined a few of their walls that made the morning seem more colorful. Regardless of what it was in particular, the combination of everything housed within the restaurant allowed the space to feel as if I was in a Parisian café.
Whatever it was, I loved it and I was glad to be in Bardonna.
I approached the counter where the waitress Clare helped me find a few items to order. I saw some plates catch my eye, but getting her opinion sealed the deal with confidence. Walking away from the smiling waitress, I sat against a pink cushion and pot full of plants. Fake of course—the plants not the cushion, but it still felt nice. As I waited for my food I took a few more glances at the menu and was given a cup and a wine bottle of water. The sun shined a little brighter into the restaurant as I filled my glass and it felt nice to be within the location. There was no haste from guests walking in and out and the ability to linger while having conversation seemed welcome. I drifted my attention from person to person listening casually to their conversations and it was a pleasant activity until my drink and food arrived.
To start, I ordered the Iced Matcha Latte ($5.50, 16oz). As corny of a food photog as I am, I asked to have the drink made two-toned in order to show the gradual color progression of the latte. A few minutes later and out came my drink and it was as pretty as I hoped. The latte began with a dark green color from the matcha powder which then trickled down into the white milk. After I stopped staring at the colors blending together and finished taking photos of it, I tried it. Within the first sips I was pleased to find that it wasn’t heavy on the matcha side which meant the flavor of the green tea powder was subtle even though the color was anything but. The texture was smooth and refreshing making it ideal on a hot day in Los Angeles. As I inhaled more of the drink reaching the halfway point in the glass I loved the taste of it. It wasn’t made too sweet to make it too sugary, and it was free from the gritty matcha taste that comes when a place doesn’t mix it correctly. I loved the latte here and that was clear from the empty glass.
Pushing my empty glass to the side I pulled the Ricotta Toast ($7) close to me. If you’ve followed this blog for a while then you know I have a love-hate relationship with hipster toast. I find it’s overpriced for the item at hand and think there are better options to have in its place. Seeing a variety of toast options on the menu, I decided to bite my tongue and give it a try at Bardonna. When the plate was brought out I noticed how simple it was.
“Not a bad thing just an observation, Danielle.” the frugal girl in me told myself.
I was clearly skeptical about it. Sure it looked cute, but would a single slice of toast be worth $7? I took a few bites in hopes of finding an answer within the layers. The wheat bread toast was topped with a whipped house made ricotta, house made seasonal peach jam, pomegranate seeds, and extra virgin olive oil. On its own the jam was light and had a refreshing taste. The peach attributes were easygoing so not to be too demanding on the toast or distracting from any other flavors within it. I really liked the taste of the ricotta. It was creamy and although it was barely sweet, leaning to an almost tasteless side, it was a great companion to the toast to accent the flavors of the jam. Combing it all the pomegranate seeds burst with juice as my teeth pierced into it to the point that the small seeds were the part that brought the whole plate together in the most delightful way. Yes, just like it was Mary Poppins. When it was all said and done, I had to admit that it would still be hard for me to navigate my hands to pull out my Visa card to pay $7 for toast when I know $7 can cover a meal at some restaurants. However falling in love with the taste of this toast and the quality of the ingredients, I started to understand the price point. As I continued to dive into it I had an undeniable feeling that I might order it again, at least once more if I’m being honest.
The last plate, my entrée, was the Chicken Pesto ($14). Out from the kitchen came a plate with grilled chicken, tomato, arugula, and pesto on a sourdough bread with a side of mixed greens drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. While Bardonna offers the sandwich with gluten free bread for an extra $2, I wanted to see how their sandwich on regular bread would taste. What I found was the bread was soft and it was clear as day the moment I placed my hands around the two ends to pick it up. As my teeth pressed against the ends to pull apart sections of the sandwich, I could quickly tell how much I liked it! The thin layer of pesto that began to sink into the sourdough bread was fragrant in its scent and taste. It’s was a delicious addition to the nicely sized slice of chicken that was moist within it all. Add to it, the tomato and the greens gave a fresh component of veggies that made the sandwich feel like the best way to have a lunch. It was easy to devour the chicken pesto and once I did I felt completely satisfied.
Once my lunch was done, I sat taking a few moments to reflect on the meal I had just enjoyed. A cold matcha latte, a seasonal ricotta toast, and a flavorful sandwich were delicious from start to finish. To have them all in such a cute and quaint shop with a little people watching only made the entire lunch better. I was happy to have such a nice few hours in Bardonna and wasn’t too eager to walk out back in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. So I didn’t. I lingered a little longer and didn’t feel rushed to do anything else.
- Food tastes great
- Nice location
- Friendly staff
- Street parking only