It is not often that you find the perfect combination of great art, food, people and architecture all together in one place. However, in LA, anything is possible and it just so happens that this perfect nexus exists between Hope and Grand in downtown LA. Here you will find Otium, one of the most perfect restaurants imaginable in a courtyard of ancient Olive Trees. Occupying the same courtyard is the Broad Art Museum, which just so happens to be next door to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and just down the street from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. When you combine any one (or all) of these venues together, you are in for a great day in LA.
If you have not heard, the Broad Art Museum with its 2000 pieces of art is open to the public for free. Apparently the word is out, because unless you have reserved your free ticket in advance, the line to get in can stretch nearly around the entire honeycomb-like veiled structure. But it does not really matter, because everything in this unique vortex is supercharged with international high-voltage energy, making even the wait in line great entertainment.
No matter how many times you view the Walt Disney Concert Hall it is like seeing it for the first time. This is the same with the Golden Gate bridge, the Eiffel Tower or other wonders of architecture that are transformed by light and look completely different based on the time of day and the season of the year. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is simply out-of-this world, it is as if the building is alive and fully capable of sailing away at any moment, but for the time being it is content to reign over this part of LA.
Exceptional is defined as unusually good or outstanding. This is exactly how I would characterize Otium. Everything about this restaurant is exceptional. The entrance to the restaurant is through a grove of Olive Trees, across a crushed stone walkway this is reminiscent of approaching an Italian Villa. In the shade of the trees are couches and chairs around stone fireplaces to accompany relaxation, laughter and good times. The restaurant exterior is a combination of rustic wood and darkened glass. Inside is a perfect open space of light, air, stone and wood. Everyone here it seems is under the same Otium spell of relaxation and enjoyment. And yes, the food is as exceptional as everything else, with creations that actually defy imagination and are works of art themselves. The Spinach Fusilli is just one example of many inspired creations. This dish is like nothing you have ever seen or tasted before with golden rich egg yolks and Crème Fraîche crowning a mixture of green spinach fusilli pasta, clams and bacon. You can just imagine the salty, sweet, creamy and crispy perfection of tastes and textures achieved with this pairing. Equally stunning in presentation and taste is the Mille Feuille dessert. This beautiful, multi-layered masterpiece includes vanilla cream mousse and hazelnut praline creamy perfection in between layers of toasted brown, crunchy phyllo dough.