Nestled on the corner of 12th and Grand, just a stone’s throw from the Staple’s Center, sits barcito. Make no mistake about this Argentinian-focused, haute spot: while Latin flavors run through barcito’s veins, the menu holds elements of classic American comfort to make just about any patron feel right at home. In similar fashion, a novel drink menu sports a broad selection of specialty cocktails, including beer and wine cocktails, that pack a hell of a punch.
Oh yeah, the vibe here is ‘very LA,’ with groups sporting everything from chic formal wear all the way down to well-worn hoodies. The place perfectly caters to all crowds, agendas, and lifestyles that intertwine amidst the hustle and bustle of DTLA. The long bar is perfect for groups and party-goers, while pockets of candlelit tables catering to date nights and intimate groups.
barcito’s food menu is just large enough to provide strong variety, but small enough for each dish to have been perfected over time. The attention to detail shows in a starter as pure and simple as bread & butter, where barcito’s grandma’s bread holds simply the perfect hearty texture made all the more beautiful with a cultured butter topped with sea salt. Throw in some ultra-premium serrano ham and fresh burrata and you could almost call it a night. But of course, barcito goes much further than that.
Empanadas are undoubtedly a staple here. Whether shredded pork, ground beef, or artichoke heart, each comes with its own distinct presentation, but all go perfectly with a bright & creamy chimichurri. Bridging the elements of Argentine and American cuisines are items like the Breakfast Salad, where chorizo, avocado, and perfectly fried egg come together atop fresh greens for a dish suitable for any health-crazed millennial who also has a refined palate. Going even further into Americanized, yet globalized fare is the hot chicken sandwich, where an ever-so-light breading locks in an ever-so-juicy piece of chicken, accompanied by a colorful carrot and purple cabbage slaw and a creamy, spicy honey-infused sauce. And if you come at the right time, the animal-style fries are an upscale take on their namesake, with tender shortrib and chimichurri putting an intriguing spin on things.
barcito backs up its name with a strong drink lineup. Each cocktail incorporates elements of timeless classics with a touch (or sometimes a heavy dose) of something new. Take the flower street, where vodka, lavender-vanilla, lemon and egg white come together to create a slightly sweet taste and bold character. Their house-made shandy, with citrus-blonde ale and ginger lemonade go down smooth, as does a beautifully mixed spritzer with Aperol, lemon and sparkling wine. Other cocktails feature ingredients such as pez powder, maple and tajin, with new concoctions arriving on a regular basis.
Whether you’re at barcito for food, drink, or both, the dulce de leche churros will undoubtedly make your night. An airy batter with deep pockets houses more cinnamon sugar than thought possible, and – as if that wasn’t sweet enough – an addictive dulce de leche sauce turns a good dessert into a knock-out dish.
barcito is located at 403 W 12th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Open 11a – 11p Sun/Mon, 11a – midnight Tue – Sat. Avg. out-the-door cost for small plate, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$60/person. For more info call (213) 415-1821 or visit barcitoLA.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.