Slow and steady may win the race, but at Bestia you must run fast to snap a table. More like trying to book three months in advance for a table of four on a Saturday night… A few lucky ones will benefit from a last-minute cancellation to eat at the bar at 11PM — One man’s mistake is another man’s meat. Bestia is a Los Angeles staple, just like Hollywood Boulevard or the Double-Double Animal Style – some will tell you they’re overrated, but you cannot not try them. And as far as the overratedness is concern, we’ll agree to disagree. One agnolotto is enough to convince us of Bestia’s success, with its braised oxtail and rustic cocoa sauce that has an even more powerful taste than the adjoining Mast Brothers. The uni Spaghetti Rustichella is a crowd-pleaser with a decadent marine aftertaste, think The Big Blue in the Adriatic. The liver toast and chicken gizzards pay homage to chef Ori Menashe’s background, as he grew up in Israel before coming back to LA to train at Angelini Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza. Bestia’s blockbuster is undoubtedly the roasted bone marrow served on top of teeny-tiny spinach gnocchetti with aged balsamic. To help it all go down, the sommelier Ryan Ibsen knows his craft and his bottles, and will tell you a few table-side stories while you’re trying his suggestions. A first-timer at the next table will order pizza (made in the same huge wood oven as Sotto’s), but you know better: now’s the time for desserts prepared by Genevieve Gergis, the chef’s wife and Bestia’s co-owner. A strong chocolate budino reminiscent of Nancy Silverton’s (except this one is finished here with a dash of olive oil and fleur de sel), fried-to-order zeppole with coffee ice-cream, or another plate of Pici al Sugo di Agnello because it’s just so damn good.

Address: 2121 E 7th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 5-11PM, Friday-Saturday 5PM-midnight

Menu: bestiala.com

Reservations: (213) 514-5724 or OpenTable

Style: Italian

Price: Pizzas $15-25, pastas $16-25, entrées $23-29

Neighborhood: Downtown

Best for: Dinner