Ever since my breakfast at Julienne, I’ve become more inclined to wake up early for brunch. Getting dressed and driving out to a restaurant by 11am still doesn’t sound ideal in the beginning, but that quickly subsides. The minute I’m sitting against a restaurant’s window, I see the sun shining through the clouds, and a plate is placed in front of me, sleeping in no longer interests me. That was the exact scenario both TJ and I were in on a previous Saturday morning. I was invited to Osteria La Buca to try out their brunch menu and with little to expect, I hoped to be surprised. I mean, I got out of bed early for this—you too would expect nothing less.
Prior to blogging, I’ve enjoyed lunch at Osteria La Buca. Pizza and pasta on that occasion were perfect choices. This time, I wondered how the slight transition from lunch to brunch would fare. Food aside, the restaurant looks exactly how I remembered it. Maintaining its appeal through dark wood, high ceilings, exposed brick, and expansive windows the restaurant reads (and looks) like a perfect piece of property any real estate agent would want to represent. For me, it was simply an inviting space where I eagerly wanted to start my morning.
It only took a few moments with the menu and we were ready to order. It was an easy decision to flip to the drink menu and begin there. I started with the Straw Bomb ($11) which was made of a strawberry puree, bourbon, basil, lemon, and cracked pepper. As a person who loves sugary drinks, this cocktail was that exactly. The sweet strawberry was noticeable in each sip while the lemon added a citrus accent to enhance the taste. I was apprehensive about the cracked pepper, but it was so subtle that it was almost unrecognizable. TJ on the other hand ordered a drink that was a stark contrast to my own. His Maria Verde ($11) was comprised of Loft & Bear vodka, a tomatillo puree, lime, and Cholula hot sauce. This is the restaurant’s take on a bloody Mary with a twist of the tomatillo puree. I don’t care much for a bloody Mary, hence the reason why I didn’t order it. But for the person who loves them this could be a unique take on the drink.
In between sips of the cocktails, our dishes began to arrive. The first was the House Ricotta Toast ($9). Normally I laugh at the outlandish price of toast topped with a single item; avocado toast in particular. But when I ate this one, I had to eat my words. The nicely toasted piece of bread was smeared with a healthy serving of ricotta, topped with fresh blueberries, and drizzled with caramelized agave. The combination of the toast with the soft ricotta and the sweet agave was perfection. It was hard not to inhale this one, but TJ and I pretty much did that.
After the toast, I took bites into the Polenta Ricotta Skillet Cake ($9). A second appearance of the ricotta was a welcome repeat especially as this one was just as delicious as it was in the previous dish. What made it a plate—I mean, skillet—that I enjoyed was all thanks to the polenta. Moist and soft, the polenta was everything I could have asked to have. On top of that (literally), the swirl of the ricotta with an almost glaze of lemon jam and honey was a sweet addition.
The Pressed Porchetta Sandwich ($13) made with a poblano sauce and in between ciabatta bread was my favorite. I loved how the bread was crisp on the exterior with each bite, yet not too tough that it became distracting. The poblano sauce had a gentle kick of spice and the porchetta itself was so juicy and held the flavor incredibly well!
The last dish was the Neighborhood Pizza ($15). A baked egg rested over a guajillo sauce, a mild taleggio cheese, pancetta, and pickled pear onions. TJ sliced into the egg and the draining yolk became an extra ingredient. The thin base of the pizza and the thick crust was exactly how I would like it and the skinny pancetta gave the entire dish a hearty and semi-spicy taste. It was amazing!
Brunch at Osteria La Buca was absolutely delightful! I didn’t plan to fall in love with each dish, nor did I expect that even the most unassuming plates would win me over. From our small ricotta toast to our beautiful breakfast pizza we had such delicious orders to start the day. The meal was so pleasant that I can’t wait to return to find more dishes that I’m sure will surprise me just like the ones we had that day.
Address: 5210 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 462-1900
Hours: Monday to Thursday – 11:30am to 2:30pm and 6:00pm to 10:30pm, Friday – 11:30am to 2:30pm and 6:00pm to 11:00pm, Saturday 5:00pm to 11:00pm, Sunday – 10:30am to 2:30am (Brunch) and 5:00pm to 10:00pm (Dinner)
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Cool decor
- Street parking only