“Housed in a retrofitted Brooks Brothers flagship, a roaring, gleaming-white deli/bar/brasserie fashioned from marble, brass and tile, Bottega Louie is the most popular downtown restaurant in decades, attracting crowds whose volume you may associate more with sporting events than with meatball sandwiches — it’s what Musso & Frank might have been, had its original chef been from Italy instead of France. The dining room feels like a brasserie but serves Sam Marvin’s American-Italian classics: sliced steak, eggplant Parmesan and a big, crisp, buttery chicken-breast Milanese. The bready, crisp-edged Neapolitan-style pizzas that come out of the big wood-burning oven are decent, if not quite up to the level of the city’s best. Bottega Louie aims to be all things to all people downtown, and it more or less succeeds — open early enough for breakfast and late enough for supper after the opera, serving elaborate meals and tasty snacks, with a vast takeout counter and an elegant bar, grand enough for a birthday, but with a small-plates menu even art students can afford. Bulgarini gelato is served in all of its various manifestations, and the pastry chef’s peanut butter terrine is already the stuff of legend. If you can get over the idea of eating spaghetti Bolognese where you used to buy your socks, Bottega Louie is an easy place to be happy. 700 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn., (213) 802-1470 or bottegalouie.com. Open daily 6:30 a.m.- (about) 11 p.m. Full bar. Takeout and prepared foods. Valet parking. AE, MC, V.”

Read the rest of Jonathan Gold’s 99 Essential LA Restaurants here