Last Friday, I had occasion to return to Promenade Ristorante for a pre-ballet dinner.
I often see inquiries on this board seeking downtown and Disney Hall-area dining suggestions, and I tend to see the same tired responses: Patina (great if you can drop $100/person I suppose), Nick 'n' Stef's, or Water Grill (again, great if you can afford it).
One place that doesn't get mentioned often (except, perhaps, by me) is Promenade Ristorante. It's located in the Promendade Plaza, which is directly across the street from the Disney Hall, at the SW corner of 1st & Hope.
Now, I must admit that I hadn't been there in probably a year. After my dinner on Friday, I realize what a mistake that has been.
I had one of the best pasta dishes I've had in a long time. It consisted of linguine, *perfectly* al dente, with porcini mushrooms and some tomatoes. Nothing fancy; just incredibly tasty.
And, as I said, the pasta was perfectly cooked.
One of my dining companions had the same dish and was equally pleased. The third had a very nice seafood risotto.
My dinner started with what is probably my favorite salad in town. Baby spinach, dressed (OK, slightly over-dressed) with a high quality balsamic vinaigrette, with pancetta, dried cherries and goat cheese. The combination of flavors and textures is just right. The salad is big enough for two to share.
They have a small but reasonably priced wine list. You can also bring your own; I forget what the corkage is, but I seem to recall that it's reasonable.
The service was very gracious.
In fact, we accidentally left a very precious photograph in an envelope on the table, but didn't realize it till hours later. After closing, they assisted us in searching for it in several bags of refuse, to no avail. The next day, however, they called to inform us that the busboy had found it (almost the entire staff had left by the time we realized what had happened) and they were holding it for us.
Anyway, the point of the story is how helpful and courteous the entire staff was in this episode.
Add in the fact that the food is much better than most Italian places I've dined at recently, and I can't understand why this place doesn't do better business.
So, I stongly recommend it to anyone with plans to dine in the area.
I've included a link below; however, the menu posted on line is either incomplete or not up to date, as there were several other dishes on Friday's menu (plus a couple of specials) that aren't on the Web.