On the corner of 12th & Grand in DTLA sits barcito, an Argentine-inspired restaurant. The interior has a contemporary feel, with the Buenos Aries skyline on the wall and black and white checkered flooring. There is a full bar, a dining room and plenty of communal seating as well.
403 W. 12th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015
If you follow the LA dining scene, you may recognize the name barcito, but not necessarily for the food.
Owner and General Manager of barcito, Andrea Borgen, has made waves this past April by recently adopting a no tipping policy for his staff. All food and drinks are priced to cover all FOH and BOH staff wages. After working alongside Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in NYC, she wanted to bring the “hospitality included” workplace to LA. This way customers can focus on the food, ambiance, and their company while dining.
Uh oh. Doesn’t that mean the food is higher priced?
Surprising, huh? I was pleasantly shocked when I read the menu and saw how budget friendly the prices are (especially for DTLA).
It’s tough to get out of the habit of tipping (my server did such a great job, how do I not reward her?) but you just have to remind yourself, they are paid fairly.
Ok, enough with the money talk. Let’s get to the food!
Since I landed at 5 PM, I was just in time for their recently added Aperitivo Hour (5 pm – 7 pm daily). For $9, your choice of aperitif cocktail, beer with a shot or wine comes with a snack trio. The trio included walnuts, potato chips, and green olives.
For my aperitif cocktail, I chose the Rome with a View, made with Campari, dry vermouth, soda water and lime. I know Campari is not for everyone, but I promise the soda and lime cut out that bitterness.
barcito has a communal gastropub feel to it; the plates are intended to share with others. Since I had nobody to share with, I decided to try 3 of their most popular plates.
When I think of Argentine fare, I think of steaks so I started with the Steak Tartare, which comes with potato chips to dip. The freshly fried chips are smokey and tangy and pair so well with fillet mignon. The tomato vinaigrette is light and doesn’t take away from the meat.
Then I got an order of the Provoleta, seared goat cheese, charred lemon and French bread. The goat cheese spreads on the bread for a tasty treat.
My favorite dish by far was the Cordero, lamb belly medallions with spring onions. I cannot believe I’ve come this far along in my life and foodie journey to have never had lamb belly before this tasting. I’ve had plenty of pork belly but never really thought of lamb. Maybe it’s because we just didn’t eat much lamb growing up? Anyways, the meat on the medallions are crispy with that light grassy flavor, but the rendered fat is so buttery and soft. I could’ve ordered 2 of these plates.
I couldn’t leave with getting some type of Dulce de Leche dessert, so I got the churros. These are perfectly portioned to share. The churros are so freshly crisp, and the sauce was too die for!
After dessert, I reached into my wallet to leave a tip and had to remind myself not to! Old habits die hard! The food at barcito is great, and it’s budget friendly, especially for DTLA. So if you’re at Staples Center, or you just want to try the lamb belly, make sure to stop in!