Lago D’Argento Pizzeria is a hip new Italian restaurant in Silver Lake on Hyperion Ave., next to the successful Barbarella. Both owned by Anat Escher, the two restaurants share the same kitchen, bar, and rest room facilities. The only thing that separates the two restaurants is an open doorway off the bar. But, don’t let the familiarity of the two confuse you. Lago D’Argento is a separately managed, and unique space with only those things in common with the more established Barbarella.
The restaurant somehow manages to pull off a down to earth elegance that is not always easy to accomplish. Decorated by the very talented Escher, the restaurant is painted in a flat black paint, with murals, or recipes, or constellations painted on the walls and ceiling in white, giving the look of having been written with chalk. An entire wall is decorated with shelves holding bottles of wine, and the front of the restaurant is a floor-to-ceiling window, with a glass front door which is propped open, letting in the delicious night air, keeping the atmosphere relaxed.
Lago D’Argento doesn’t give off an early impression of being a kid-friendly environment, in that the décor suggests a vibe that is geared for date night, or an evening out with friends, but it is quite accommodating for children, with a menu featuring $6 kids’ meals, which include beverages, and a canister set at each table containing crayons just waiting to decorate the white butcher paper table covers.
From the time we entered Lago D’Argento, we were attended to by a sweet, helpful, hospitable serving staff. They were very attentive, and quite knowledgeable of the menu, sharing with enthusiasm their favorite signature dishes.
Wanting to try something from the bar that is a Lago D’Argento favorite, upon the recommendation of Lydia, our server, I ordered the Ginger Cucumber Martini. Not a regular fan of the cucumber, I went into this completely open-minded, willing to try the things they are proud to promote, and I was happy that I did. I discovered the real reason for the creation of cucumbers. The Ginger Cucumber Martini was perfectly shaken, with a subtle hint of cucumber flavor that is very well complimented by ginger. Lydia shared that all of the bar ingredients are fresh, and homemade, all the way down to the simple syrups they use to make many of their cocktails. The attention to detail extends well into the bar.
Lago D’Argento offers a Beer Sampler, with four different beers of choice from their selection of beers on tap. We sampled St. Bernardus, Delirium, Franziskaner, and Allagash, with our favorite being Delirium, brewed from a 350-year-old brewery in Belgium.
The Caprese is a delightful antipasto consisting of fresh pesto topped with a fabulous Burrata made locally, with oven-roasted vine-ripened tomatoes, served with a crispy crostini. With a flavorful blend of ingredients, it is delicious and light, whetting your appetite for more.
Never, in my life have I found a carrot dish that would stand out amongst the entrée with which it is served, but never had I been to Lago D’Argento, where such a dish exists. Their Charred Carrots are clearly the best use of that particular garden root I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Topped with the local Burrata, and adorned with toasted almonds and fennel, set against the sweetness of the brown butter honey, this dish could only be made better by a sprig of fresh mint on top, and their talented chefs see to it that the Charred Carrots don’t go without.
An Italian staple is a good Gnocci, but what makes their Spinach Ricotta Gnocci stand out from the rest, is that theirs is made without potatoes. Wheat-based, the Spinach Ricotta Gnocci is made with a three-meat Bolognese, which has a pleasant little bite of spice to it. It is tender, and very dumpling-like, more so than a traditional potato-based gnocci. The fresh-grated parmiggiano reggiano sets it off well.
If you’re looking for a hearty dish, the Meatballs al Forno are made with a house blend of beef and pork, in their homemade marinara sauce, and topped with a golden-baked mozzarella and Parmesan breadcrumb blend, served with crostini. The flavorful meatballs are about two inches in diameter, and are very moist, and tender, taking in the robust marinara sauce.
A sweeter dish, the Lago di Pasta is made with the meat of a sweet braised short rib, handmade noodles, Parmesan breadcrumbs, and are adorned with a hint of orange zest. An absolutely delicious pasta dish.
Anat Escher’s Barbarella restaurant used to serve a few Italian menu choices, but could not offer quality pizzas, her kitchen lacking the equipment needed to facilitate such a crowd-pleasing staple. With Lago D’Argento, she upgraded her kitchen to include pizza ovens, so that she could offer gourmet pizzas to a hungry clientele. With handmade pizza dough, all fresh herbs, vegetables, and natural ingredients, you can enjoy a beloved pizza dinner without feeling badly afterward, for having consumed too much of a bad thing. The pizzas at Lago D’Argento are perfectly blended with quality sauces and cheeses, featuring fresh meats and vegetables, making their pizzas stand out amongst the competition in quality, flavor, and nutrition.
Three examples of pizza excellence include The Truffle Pizza, which is topped with shaved fontina cheese, mushrooms, and covered in a blanket of fresh, whole arugula. Their Carnivore Pizza boasts quality salami, a delicious and generous homemade fennel sausage, whole pieces of lean, crispy bacon, and mozzarella cheese. But as good as those two are, our favorite by far is their Bianca Pizza made with shaved fontina cheese, mozzarella, sliced smoked Gouda, Parmesan, and topped with toasted, crispy sage.
Usually preferring a thicker crust, we were not disappointed that their pizza dough was more of a hand-tossed variety, rather than being deep dish. The flavors of the ingredients stood out more than anything else, and we weren’t left with the heaviness of having eaten too much bread. And even though there is no shyness in the way of cheeses topping their pizzas, they are conservatively added, so that we enjoyed a stronger essence of vegetable and herbs, complimented by the cheeses, rather than taken over by them, as is more commonly done with American pizzerias. Each pizza could easily feed two, and even more, depending on your appetite.
Their dessert choices are simple. They offer a decadent Trio of Chocolate Mousse that is almost too pretty to eat. Almost. You fall under its spell and dive in,
fork first, and you never want to come up for air. Likewise, their traditional Tiramisu is delicious, with a light essence of coffee balanced nicely by the shaved chocolate.
| Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse |
There is a quality, and an attention to detail that is evident at Lago D’Argento, and their excellence was enjoyed by a diverse crowd that really started to fill up the place at around 8:00. With a remarkably affordable price point, pizzas and entrees ranging between $9 and $13, $8 cocktails, $10 martinis, and $6 desserts, Lago D’Argento is a welcome addition to the Los Angeles dining community.
Lago D’Argento is at 2611 N. Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. Open daily from 4:00 – Late. Valet parking. Call 323.300.5500 for group reservation information, or for curbside pick-up.