Good Times at The Palm Restaurant

Craving a good steak in downtown LA? Next stop, The Palm Restaurant!

Some college friends and I were having a reunion, and out of 7 guests, I was the only local – which made me automatically responsible for choosing the restaurant. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time researching good places in downtown LA, since we all know that there are a ton of restaurants in Los Angeles.

We were looking for a downtown Los Angeles steakhouse with homey atmosphere, fair prices, kind and helpful staff, and of course, delicious food.

When I heard about The Palms Restaurant, the first thing to catch my attention was that the place has history to it. This is not just some kind of made-up marketing story. Just listen to this: it was founded way back in 1926! It’s a family business that started almost a century ago and is now owned by the third generation. One thing this tells me – these people love what they do and care about their guests, who keep coming back for years and years.

It is no secret that new places open in LA all the time. Many close down very fast because there are simply too many restaurant options available, and if there is nothing special about the place, it will probably not work out. However, others manage to hook loyal customers who continue to return time and time again. I was getting the feeling that Palms fell into this second category.

Inside The Palms LA

Inside The Palms LA

Don’t try your chances with walk-ins; just reserve it!

It took me seconds to imagine how many regulars this place must have and I decided to book a table for 7 right away through their online reservation system. Just next to the general reservation window there is also a section for planning a private dining event, which I find quite handy. I booked a table for 8 PM (working hours of the Palm Downtown LA are 12 AM till 11:30 PM).

Easy to find but hard to park

As a local, I knew it would be totally impossible to find a parking spot in the area, so I decided to take a cab. Besides, none of my friends were going to drive their cars to the restaurant. This was probably one of the wisest decisions I made. The Palm is located in a very busy area with no free parking space. If you are not getting dropped off or coming by train, you will have to pay for parking in the lot next to the restaurant or valet. If you decide to use valet, remember to ask a hostess for validation – it cost me 9 dollars with validation. Finding the place is not an issue at all, as long as you are in the Downtown area. The restaurant is walking distance from the Staples Center and next to Nokia at 1100 S. Flower Street.

The hostess greeted us kindly and escorted to our table right away.

Old Hollywood feel with romantic ambiance  

It took the waiter about a minute to show up at our table. It is worth mentioning how well the staff is trained and the level of their professionalism. We felt at home immediately as he addressed us, and it almost seemed like he was our friend and culinary guide for the evening. We ordered drinks and started enjoying the atmosphere. The wine selection is quite extensive.

Caricatures on the walls

Caricatures on the walls

Just like I said before, the place has a history to it. The founders, Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi, are of Italian origin. When they came to the US back in 1920, they decided to open up their own Italian restaurant and named it Parma, but because of their accents the registration desk misheard the name – and the two partners became owners of a new place called The Palm. Their reputation as a steakhouse took hold and kept them on the top for years. The business is still run by the same two families – the third generation of owners are Bruce Bozzi and Wally Ganzi. Sitting in a place like this resembles talking to a very interesting person who has amazing life stories to tell.

The motto of the restaurant is, “the place to see and to be seen”. Quite true it is. When The Palm Los Angeles opened, the founders decided to make it stand out and required all the guests to be dressed according to a very formal dress code; ties and jackets were mandatory. These restrictions were loosened by the third generation of owners to attract younger clients, but the principle remains true, and people do look tidy and dressed up in this restaurant. Besides, celebrities love The Palm, so you never know who you might see sitting at the table next to yours.

I can’t say that there is something very unique to the indoor ambiance of the Palm, but whatever it is it creates a very pleasant feeling. Portraits of celebrities painted on the walls, mood lighting, wooden furniture and table settings creates a complete feeling of an old-school, prestigious and respectable place to be, although not too fancy. By the way, outside seating is also available.

(Another great restaurant to check out is Bestia Los Angeles – another Italian-inspired paradise where meat lovers won’t be disappointed!)

What’s on the menu at the Palm Los Angeles?

  • Appetizers – The Palm DTLA offers a great choice of appetizers, over 10 dishes that vary from Colossal Lump Crabmeat Cocktail or Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail to Carpaccio of Beef Tenderloin. I must note that for a steakhouse, there is too small of a choice of meat or veggie appetizers; almost everything is about seafood. Also, some of these appetizers contain raw or undercooked products so it is worth asking a waiter before ordering if you think you might have a problem with that.
  • Salads – A choice of 6 salads. Nothing exotic or too fancy. Among the offers are classy Caesar Salad, Mixed Green Salad and something called Iceberg Lettuce Wedge. Enough said, we didn’t expect a steakhouse to be very creative about its salads, but I must warn you that the Lettuce Wedge is simply huge! A friend of mine who ordered it said it was delicious, but could not finish it on his own. Is it good or bad? You decide.
  • Classic Italian – Here come traditions. If you want to get a taste of what Palms Los Angeles is about, try something from their special classic Italian sauce menu. You should try chicken or veal parmigiana or go for linguine and clam sauce.
  • Steaks&Chops – The Palm’s pride is aged USDA Prime beef. It is juicy, tender and full of flavor. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, a fillet mignon, a prime New York steak or a rib-eye steak it is going to be delicious! Seafood lovers will appreciate the chance to add half a lobster to the meat of their choice by ordering a Surf&Turf.
  • Seafood – Be it Ahi Tuna, Lobster, Salmon, Crab Cake, Seabass or Swordfish, it comes fresh just hours after leaving the sea, and arrives at your table blackened, broiled, sautéed or peppercorn crusted, made just the way you want it to be.
  • Vegetables&Potatoes – A wide choice of sides available in individual portions as well as family sizes include Creamed Spinach, Hand Cut French Fries, Brussel Sprouts, Hash Brown Potatoes and much more.
  • Signature dessert – I love sweets and always try to leave room for dessert. Choosing was painful because of a great selection that The Palm offers. Flourless Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Layer Cake and New York Cheescake all look amazing and I will definitely be coming back to try all of them.

 

 

When waiting is worth it

After looking through the menu, chatting and asking each other for advice (turned out some of us have already had experience eating at The Palm in other cities), the choice was made. For a starter, I ordered a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. Choosing an entrée turned out to be a challenge for me, so I went with the Surf&Turf (fillet mignon and half a lobster) topped with the Bearnaise and Chimichurri sauce. Since all entrées there are a la carte, my friend and I decided to share a side of Goat Cheese Whipped Potatoes. The waiter seemed very confident taking the order even though there were 7 of us and some were still not decided. Judging from my previous experiences this order was quite complicated and I expected some mess-ups. Well, did not happen. He recited everything in exact order and that is when everyone felt that this night was going to be flawless.

palm logoThe starters came in about 10 minutes. The crab cake was simply supreme, nothing like I have tasted before. It was not greasy, but instead very balanced with seasoning and simply delightful. But I am not one of those picky guests, while one of my friends is. Whenever we went to eat out he would find “defects” in everything that’s on his plate. His choice of appetizer was a bacon wrapped scallop. To me, his best feedback was when he finished the dish and remained silent. We all waited to see what happened when he was done eating, and there he was, smiling quietly and anticipating the entrée.

My lobster and fillet mignon came about 10-15 minutes later. The dish was huge and I realized that this time I might not have enough space for a dessert and started to regret ordering that side. The meat was cooked to perfection and was as tender as I expected. Needless to say, it went amazingly well with the sweet lobster and Chimichurri. Filet mignon literally melts in your mouth, which defines success given how hard it is to cook. Since I was still planning on that dessert I only got to try a bit of goat cheese whipped potatoes, which were good, but could not compete with what I had tasted moments before.

After finishing with main courses and feeling completely satisfied with food and service, our party decided to go for a few desserts. Obviously none of us were hungry, but we had to give them a chance. Just a couple minutes after the order was made, a Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, and Chocolate Layer Cake were carefully set on our table. We took a bite of each and could say that the night went great.

A sweet aftertaste

Back in the Day

Back in the Day

There is no place like home. In terms of food this statement is not always right and my experience at The Palm restaurant proved it. My friends and I hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years and we had a lot to talk about. For us, it was important to be able to enjoy each other’s stories accompanied by good food and atmosphere. I have to say that the waiting staff at The Palm Downtown LA managed to handle this in an excellent manner. It seemed like the food was serving itself. The waiter didn’t bother us at all and there was nothing to complain about to him.

The Palm’s menu is not something unique or outstanding. They serve classy steakhouse type food, and the quality and presentation of it is definitely worth mentioning. The plates and silverware were clean; the food on the plates did not speak of creativity, but definitely looked fresh, flavorful and professionally made. Looking back on our night at The Palm, I can say that it was one of the best dinners I have had in DTLA so far, thanks to top-notch products cooked by talented cooks and served with professionalism in a very appealing atmosphere. There are many other things on the menu I would love to try to find out what they taste like. I think that The Palm is equally suited for a business lunch, a romantic date, or a loud group celebration.

By the end of the night we were offered to become members of the 837 Club, which is a VIP program with various benefits and discounts for restaurant patrons.

To sum it up I can only advise you to feel free to indulge yourself and give this great place a chance to impress you. I rate the Palm Downtown Los Angeles 10 out of 10! See you there!

 

Love LA dining? Redbird – owned by Neal and Amy Fraser, previously of Grace restaurant – should be on your list as well!

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