Food & Drink

Downtown's ode to Italy (and wine)

Though being cut from the same cloth, members of famous clans still tend to exert strong individuality -- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. honors the First Family of Politics with his distinct enviro-focus, while Drew Barrymore honors the First Family of Acting with her distinct flashing-boobs-at-Letterman focus. Doing its own thing while still honoring family, Drago Centro

In a stone-walled, curved ceiling'd, black Murano chandeliered former Bank of America, Centro's helmed by chef Celestino Drago, of the family behind Drago Ristorante, Enoteca Drago, Celestino, il Pastaio, and Panzanella; like each of them, it offers its own tweak on high-end Italian, dosing recipes culled from small Itali-towns with shots of Cali modernity. The menu's split in two: "bar food" (salted cod puree w/polenta chips; roasted quail filled w/foie gras and truffle polenta) for the front lounge and its modest patio, and more extensive selections for the main room and its larger outside space, from wheat spaghetti w/ pork jowls, to hazelnut-buttered di zucca pumpkin cannelloni, to risotto w/red beet puree & spot prawns ("See Spot run...down your shirt"). Drinks follow suit, with classic Italian cocktails (Negroni, Americano, etc) abetted by "Nuovi Classici" like the gin/pomegranate/red bell pepper/mint "Tempi Moderni"; meanwhile, the 1000ish-strong global wine list is showcased in a 16ft-tall glass monolith, fitting for a substance that makes you act like those monkeys from 2001.

For private events, the bank's old vault has been stylishly converted, complete with a flatscreen showing a live feed from the kitchen -- though you can display strong individuality by changing it to Home Fries on TBS.