PRICE RANGE: $$$$
LOCATION: 222 S Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
RESERVATIONS: Book here
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Naan with burgundy truffle butter ($8), Octopus ($24), Branzino ($47)
Where do I begin with Otium… Well for starters it’s hands-down one of my favorite restaurants in LA. Right next to the Broad, Otium has one of the most stunning interior decors (picture green vines crawling up the restaurant walls, glass teardrops falling from the ceiling), coupled with trendy music by the likes of the Roots and Notorious B. I. G. Inside you can enjoy your food while watching the chefs work in the open kitchen, or outside on their gorgeous patio where you can enjoy cocktails by stone fire pits at night.
While we usually come here for dinner, we have also had brunch at Otium and the cocktails are amazing in case you needed any more convincing to go. That being said, it’s pretty damn expensive, so expect to spend $50/person at least.
My Birthday Dinner (4.17.2019)
I’m lucky enough to know Chef Tim Hollingsworth, and the dinner he prepared for us on my birthday was nothing short of spectacular (my girlfriend likened it to the scene in Ratatouille with the explosion of color upon Remy combining cheese and strawberry). As if I didn’t already think that Tim Hollingsworth was an incredible and creative chef, he really swept us all away with the 6 course dinner he prepared us.
Naan with Burgundy Truffle Butter & Caviar (10/10)
The first course we were served was naan with burgundy truffle butter and caviar. YUM. Believe it or not, I enjoy Indian food and naan is one of my favorite items. I guarantee you this is probably one of the best naan’s you will ever try! More fluffy than chewy, it paired deliciously with the funky taste of truffle. Add some caviar on top and sprinkle a little salt/black pepper and wow. Our expectations were very high after this first course (and of course, Tim did not disappoint).
White Asparagus with Black Truffle (8/10)
The second course was white asparagus with black truffle. More truffle?! Yes please. White asparagus is hard to come by, and its prime season is in April. Thank god my birthday is in April! For those who haven’t had white asparagus before, I’d describe it as sweeter and thicker than green asparagus. Of course, it tasted even more delicious with black truffle on top (as do most things).
Foie Gras ? with Rhubarb and Banana (7/10)
The third course was foie gras (foie gras in California!?!?!?) with rhubarb and banana. Banana? Yes, banana. At first I was a little bit skeptical, but once I took my first bite, I understood. The rich and buttery texture of the foie gras contrasted sharply with the tart flavor of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the banana. Mouthgasm for sure. After eating all of it (probably would’ve licked my plate clean if I was alone at home), we were all feeling pretty full yet very eager to see what Tim had coming next.
Turbot with Black Truffle (9.5/10)
Behold, my favorite dish of the night. Turbot with guess what… black truffle! With mussels surrounding the turbot, a spicy kick in the sauce, and the subtle taste of black truffle, we simply could not get enough of this dish. I need to ask Tim Hollingsworth for the recipe although I doubt he’ll give it to me.
Rabbit with Morel Mushroom Farci (8/10)
Now the fifth dish was also one of my favorites (who am I kidding, all of the dishes were my favorite). Rabbit with morel mushroom farci. We were told to be careful with the bones as they were very brittle, but I was so excited to eat it I plopped the whole thing into my mouth (not advised). I had never had morel mushrooms before, and I was surprised at their meaty taste. Along with the gamey flavor of the rabbit, it was an incredibly tasty dish.
Salt-Baked Chicken with Black Truffle (6.5/10)
The sixth dish was perhaps the most interesting one of the night: salt-baked chicken with black truffle. More black truffle!! Salt-baked chicken?? I’ve tried salt-baked fish but this was a whole other spectacle to behold. The flavors were so intense and so delicious (the hefty amount of black truffle on top probably helped). That being said, it was a little over whelming. There was A LOT going on, and the chicken was so tender it almost didn’t taste or feel like meat. This was probably my least favorite item of the night. But, needly to say, we were all very full by the end of this course.
Too Drunk to Remember Dessert (10?/10)
Now my favorite part of the meal…DESSERT! To be honest, at this point, I was pretty drunk and forgot to take a note of everything. But, there was some cinnamon ice cream, chocolate, and all 4 were just out of this world amazing. I think I almost cried when we ate the last bite of the cinnamon ice cream. So creamy, so smooth, just…speechless.
This was a specially-prepared birthday dinner courtesy of Tim Hollingsworth so most of this stuff probably won’t be on the normal menu. But, I think it’s still all worth including because it truly showcases the immense talent Tim has as a chef. And, as of this writing, the naan with burgundy truffle butter is on the menu! You’ll have to request the caviar separately ;). This was also a very rare and special occasion for me, but we have been to Otium previously, and I’ve included reviews of some of the menu items they have below.
Dinner Menu (10.18.2018)
So the last time we had a regular dining experience at Otium was on October 18, 2018. I enjoyed this dinner with my girlfriend sitting out on the patio. It was a pretty chilly autumn night but the heat lamps kept us warm (several glasses of wine also might’ve helped with that). Here are some of the things we ordered…
I would say this dinner was pretty seafood-heavy, but you’d be surprised to know that Otium is part of the Dock to Fish program. This means that they get freshly caught seafood from local small-scale fishing communities and then serve it to us at the restaurant! As a small business owner, I am all for supporting small businesses in any way that I can. And luckily, my girlfriend is a huge seafood lover which definitely pushed us to order more fish that night.
Octopus (9/10) & Big Eye Tuna (7/10)
The first of two appetizers we ordered was octopus with mole, habanero onions, sunflower seeds, and epazote oil. I’ve found that oftentimes octopus is overcooked, resulting in an overbearing chewiness that ruins the dish. This was not the case at Otium! The octopus was deliciously tender. We also ordered the Big Eye Tuna — a simple dish, but you could definitely tell the seafood was fresh.
Next, we decided to split two main courses, the first a branzino with cashews, celery, and riesling. Let me tell you… we cannot get enough of branzino. I could write a novel in my sleep about how much I love branzino. Otium’s branzino was already deboned (a big plus for the girlfriend), and it was delicious, so delicate, ugh… I need to go back ASAP. The only knock I could possibly have on this branzino was that it was a little mild. I know that’s typically how branzino is, but if I was trying to find fault somewhere that’s where I would go.
Pork Chop (8.5/10)
We also ordered the pork chop with asparagus, spinach, and radish. I am a huge fan of pork (my girlfriend, not so much), so it’s safe to say that I ended up eating the majority of the dish, which I had no problem doing so! Actually, as of this writing, this is the first time I am learning she is not a fan of pork. More for me! 🙂
The pork was delicious. It was tender, but not so tender that there wasn’t any substance to the meat. Overall, it was a high quality piece of pork prepared in a way that didn’t overpower the natural flavor of the meat. But, Chi Spacca is still my go to restaurant in Los Angeles for out-of-this-fucking-world meat.
As we continue to eat at Otium, we will continue to update our meals. Stay tuned for the next dishes we try! I have also recently learned that the naan dish with burgundy truffle butter is now available on the main dinner menu, so please be sure to try it — I promise it will not disappoint.Loading Likes...