Barcito - Bistro, Cafe, & Wine Bar
Monday - All Night
Tuesday - Friday: 4:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Saturdays: 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
As the skyline in DTLA grows so does the neighborhood of South Park, more and more skyscrapers are going up around the L.A. Live area, instead of the preferred Bunker Hill. This is quickly becoming LA’s version of Time Square, with nightly entertainment, fine dining, and a movie theater. So, obviously, it is packed with tourists during the weekends, and on weekday games, so where are the locals?
South Park is not only the neighborhood by L.A. Live, but it is also home to some of the best restaurants in DTLA- Broken Spanish, The Palm, and the historic El Cholo. They’re literally across the street from L.A. Live, break away from the usual and you’ll find a local beloved gem- Barcito.
A cafe, a bar, and a restaurant boasting Argentinian fare, Barcito is rare and that’s good. Firstly, South America themed restaurants are sparse in DTLA as it is, the most recent one to open might be considered Dama in the L.A. Fashion District, but Barcito has been here for 3 and a half years, winning the hearts of locals and claiming their stake in representing the culture of Andrea Borgen’s roots.
Buenos Aires, Argentina has a very rich history and culture, and while Andrea’s concept for Barcito comes more from her experience in New York, she’s really bringing it all home within the walls of Barcito. One of the main points that makes Barcito a standout place is the fact they don’t accept tips, instead a gratuity percentage is calculated into everyone’s bill, and there isn’t even a tip line printed on their receipts to drive the point further. This is an establishment that has the majority of the opening team members still on board three years later, something industry workers know, is very rare.
They take care of their employees, the gratuity thing is a common practice in a lot of countries throughout Europe and South America, and we can’t put into words how much this aids in customer service. The waitstaff here is nice to you because they’re authentic professionals, not because their next meal depends on your generous tip or attitude. That’s how Barcito has gained most of their business, that happens to come from repeats or loyal regulars.
Paying homage to Buenos Aires was an important factor for Andrea’s launch into being a restauranteur, that’s why upon entering guests are immediately greeted by the dining section adorned with a wraparound, black and white cityscape of Buenos Aires that leads the line of sight directly to the left, and thus the bar. Barcito is the type of place you could spend all day at, that’s why they open their doors right at 11 am, offering coffee from Bar Nine (another gratuity free establishment), lunch, and as the day descends a pretty generous Aperitivo Hour, but more on that coming up.
We have to touch on the music, being that Mariana is Colombian, the jams playing at Barcito immediately tugged on her heartstrings and only further authenticated Barcito’s culture. It’s South America all up in your face and a new happy place for her. Okay, moving on…
The coasters on every table and at the bar include the mantra under which Barcito operates, “It’s never too late for coffee. It’s never too early for cocktails” which also highlights the judge-free environment Barcito has created.
Aperitivo Hour at Barcito goes on all night on Mondays, on Tuesdays - Fridays from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm. The menu is well rounded and includes versions of plates on their actual menu, cocktails for all pallets, boilermakers for the quick drinkers, and wine options.
The cocktails are classics but the theme seems to be light, refreshing, and crisp, they use classic liqueurs like Campari, Aperol, and Cocchi. The three options for boilermakers really stood out to us, plus the quirky and fun names make them even more fun to order.
The wine options come as on-tap versions and they even threw in Prosecco for those who come in feeling a little bubbly.
A snack trio is gifted to all, but if that’s not enough for you the Bar Snacks selection will be your go-to. A fine sampling of the regular menu items, we must warn you it might make you want to order outside of the Apertivo menu. Which in our humble opinion, is what a well-rounded Happy Hour food menu should be.
Right, now, on to what we ordered!
The HHC Team Sipped On:
M: It’s a solid Spritz, kind of hard to mess up on their end, but I think I waited too long to drink it. I liked it enough, can’t put my finger on what it’s missing, maybe more Aperol? Still, a well-done Spritz.
Rome With A View
A: This drink is incredible, it has all my favorite things in it- Gin, Campari, and Vermouth. You know I live for the bitters.
M: This is the herbal drink of the menu, it has very earthy tones, I can taste them all. The pineapple definitely takes the backseat here. Very new to me, I think I prefer the Spritz.
A: It’s like sipping on a garden, a freshly watered garden, I love it. I think the flavors combine well, the bitter flavors are evened out well by the pineapple. I can’t pick a favorite now, this is too hard.
Gaucho Handshake: Fernet + House Beer Lager
A: I am a Fernet fanatic, so you know I had to go for this when I saw it. I can only describe House Beer as the easiest beer I have ever had. This is a solid combo.
The HHC Team Shared:
M: Lovely greeting, not a fan of olives, but the nuts taste like Chicharron! Plus, who could hate free food?!
A: The black pepper chips are bomb, and yeah I have to agree, no one could ever be upset when receiving a free snack.
M: These are like, the better versions of cheese sticks, like way better. It’s quality cheese, you can tell in the flavor and texture. I liked the cilantro creme they come with better than the marinara.
A: I agree the cheese was fried right, the batter is crispy on the outside and the Provolone is gooey on the inside. Not a big fan of the sauces on the side, but eating them plain is good enough for me.
Animal Style Fries*
M: The only difference is that they’re not served with meat, I thought it might have something to do with the aioli, but alas. They’re good, a little heavy on the pesto for me, I think I’d prefer the regular ones more.
A: As an In-N-Out connoisseur, I can’t say I dig these, but I am also not vegan, so… For someone with that diet, these might be heaven.
M: The wedge of lime on the side is traditional of South America. It’s very buttery, the pesto is prominent, I can resonate with the Brazilian aspect of the flavor as a half-Brazilian.
A: The wedge of lime is a nice touch, it’s what I think it needed, glad I didn’t have to order it. I like the fact they’re not the usual wing option you would get anywhere else, it’s not the common flavors of bbq, buffalo, or teriyaki, this is unique and very different and tastes good overall.
Fried Chicken Slider
M: The Hawaiian bun is perfect! It has spice, but it is not spicy. I love the seasoning, all the flavors are there for it being such a small size. They offer a bigger version on the dinner menu, I am very tempted...
A: To me, these are a perfect size. I like the pickled cabbage slaw, it’s not a mayo base that a lot of times people use, the fact it’s pickled gives it a middle eastern flare I adore. The chicken is cooked right. I am not lying when I say this is the best chicken sandwich I've had in recent memory.
The Overall Experience:
Overall Score: 4.7/5
Happy Hour Score: 4.9/5
If you’ve been looking for a Happy Hour with the professional customer service of a casual dining establishment, that’s not pretentious and can satisfy different people in a group- Barcito is the place for you. The warm greeting of South American culture stretches from the entrance to the bar and on any given night, you’ll find the patrons that live nearby- hold Barcito in high regard. To have both your patrons and employees like you so much- well like we said, it’s rare. With Barcito, there’s a good reason for it, and we encourage you all to go find out.
We’d like to thank Andrea, Jamie, and the rest of the staff for allowing us to come in and review Barcito on a rainy evening in January. If you ever find yourself in South Park or perhaps at L.A. Live pay them a visit- we promise it’ll be worth your while.
Thanks for reading, and as always…