The service doesn't just hop at Bottega Louie. It skips, jumps and pirouettes, as a platoon of nattily dressed servers, runners, ballet-slippered hostesses and suited managers race across the marble floors. The energetic staff has a professional attitude and actual skills, both old school and uncommon to experience. No question about how all that crowd-pleasing cuisine flies out of the kitchen: The chefs are on view, there are no secrets here. Pizza makers toss and twirl at one end of the cacophonous space; at the other, behind oversized glass cases, another team mans the candy-colored patisserie. Pastel-hued macaroons and Bottega Louie's own chocolate bars, on display in the prettiest of boxes, add holiday cheer year-round. From cocktails to comforting salads (iceberg lettuce!) to grilled chops and modern American sides (burrata with roasted cherry tomatoes) to the heaven-sent chocolate soufflé injected with crème anglaise, there's no getting through the entire menu. A Laker may drive up in his Rolls-Royce or a FIDM student may jump off his fixie: Everyone comes to Bottega Louie. 700 Grand Ave., dwntwn. (213) 802-1470, bottegalouie.com.
—Kathy A. McDonald