A New York restaurant group known as the Smile is opening its first Los Angeles location today. The Arts District restaurant, called Di Alba, will serve an Italian-inspired menu of pastries and salads, and will maintain daytime hours, a relative rarity in the trendy neighborhood.
A menu highlight is the array of focaccia with various toppings, a kind of spin on the ubiquitous fancy toast. Some options include the Amalfi, with San Marzano tomato sauce, fior di latte mozzarella and basil; the Bianca, with fontina, taleggio and trumpet and oyster mushrooms; and the Breakfast focaccia, with smoked salmon and the expected accoutrements.
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The lovely desserts are made in-house and include various cakes and cookies. It's a grain-heavy menu, but efforts have been made to offer gluten-free options for both sweet and savory.
For some reason the restaurant is launching under a Shinola sign, but no matter. The row of establishments is lovely in a brick-and-metal way, with Italianate flourishes such as terra-cotta pots full of herbs and outdoor seating. Sort of the typical L.A. strip mall but with a new haircut. The perfect place to eat the new avocado toast.
827 E. Third St., Arts District. (213) 620-6244, eatdialba.com.