DAMA - new Fashion District restaurant focusing on "latin" cuisine

Recently checked out the new latin-inspired restaurant Dama, which is located in the Fashion District next to Rossoblu. Knowing nothing about the chef or the food, I went in with no expectations. Was pleasantly surprised!

Menu available in article here:
https://la.eater.com/2018/7/11/17561460/dama-restaurant-latin-downtown-los-angeles-antonia-lofaso-steve-livigni-pablo-moix

Setting: Beautiful space as you can see from the pictures in the Eater article. We arrived around 6:45pm and were seated on the patio in a wonderfully comfy booth. Large umbrellas gave us good shade while we enjoyed the courtyard between Dama and Rossoblu.

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Food: I enjoyed the food here. I wouldn’t say anything is ground breaking, but it’s solid food that made us leave happy. As you can see, there were some slight issues with some of the dishes. Service was also pretty good already. Sorry for the poor pics, as some of the dishes came to me last after passing them around.

  • Tostada - octopus and calamari were well cooked and tender; nice brightness to this dish; recommended and off to a good start
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  • Crispy Squash Flowers - filled with farmers cheese and goat cheese. These were tasty, but could have been slightly more crisp on the fry.
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  • Whipped Beans - the interplay of the creamy white beans and crispy pork was so good. Highly recommended.
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  • Corn - the cilantro aeoli took this dish up a notch, though I would have liked to see some char on the corn.
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  • Clams & Chorizo - only okay; this had some spanish cider in the broth which gave it an odd sweetness that I didn’t enjoy as much as the other people in my group; Bestia’s version is way better, so would skip this.
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  • Oxtail Taco - yum, hard to mess this one up
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  • Rib eye - 24 oz bone-in. Supposedly dry aged, but I didn’t get much of any funk. Still, it was really tender and tasty, despite the fact that the temp overshot our preferred medium-rare. Ordinarily I would send it back at $58, but after trying one bite, I didn’t bother.
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Wine Service:
We stuck to cocktails for most of the meal, only ordering some white wine by the glass towards then end, and then finishing with a bottle of garnacha. The somm was helpful in finding us a reasonably priced bottle and the service itself was very good (Schott Zwiesel stems, perfect serving temp, a good middle ground of formality). I like that LA restaurants are now paying more attention to wine service, as I believe it to be as important as the food.

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Bar / lounge: Othón and Ashley (formerly of Everson Royce Bar) are now working over at Dama. Some of the most hospitable bartenders I’ve encountered in this city! We stayed for after-dinner drinks…with the dark wood and the music, it’s a pretty sexy vibe for those who like “going out”. I would not say this place turns into a club-steraunt after 10pm, but does get more lively for sure. We enjoyed it, but your YMMV. Drinks themselves have a tropical or latin bent on them, and are quite diverse from refreshing to booze forward. Not quite up to Apotheke levels, but we enjoyed the 6-7 different cocktails we tried. Plus they have frozen drinks for the daytime heat.

Conclusion: So what do we have here? A welcome addition to DTLA. While I don’t think the food is going to set the FTC-world on fire, it’s mostly good, with some tasty bites. Will be interesting to see where the food execution goes from here. The patio atmosphere is pretty awesome and drinks are reasonably priced. Most importantly, our group of 5 had a fabulous time and it almost felt like a little vacation. Total bill was $75pp for the dishes above and plenty of drink. Get a reservation during the sunset if you can.

DAMA
612 E 11th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
http://www.damafashiondistrict.com/
(213) 741-0612

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Thanks for the report @DTLAeater. I was wondering why it sounded familiar; it’s from the Scopa Italian Roots team. We’ve always found Scopa to be fine for the neighborhood, but not a destination place. Interesting they’re switching from Italian to taking on Mexican food.

Yes, like Scopa, they were definitely going for restaurant with a bar scene concept once again. For me, that makes this a good alternative to ERB for a one-stop DTLA outing. Eat while you drink sort of thing.

I want this… i want all of this

Gave most of the menu a taste, albeit we snuck our order in around 9:50 pm (10 min before kitchen closing). With that in mind, none of the entrees were particularly remarkable. Pork was almost there but was overcooked and underseasoned.

I’m definitely inclined to give it and the fish another whirl at a more reasonable hour.

Agree the clams and chorizo are a definite pass in the future.

I did enjoy the bone marrow, the white beans, and the bocadillo. Given it’s downtown, a $4 taco should blow your tastbuds off, and sadly, this is not the case.

But, you can eat squash blossoms with farmer’s cheese like chicken tenders … so there’s that.

And the churros and ice cream sunday were delightful.

Great vibe. I’m definitely going to give it a second try.

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Any recent reports? Heading here for Sunday brunch in a couple weeks.

Enjoyed brunch with friends here over the weekend. Beautiful space and easy street parking on a Sunday (at least when I arrived at 11am). The shareable plates were variable in size, for example the aguachile was a small-ish portion, served with tostadas and saladitas, but the breakfast taco and potato taquito plates were massive. Enjoyed the dishes I tried, and good, strong coffee. Nice place to meet up with a group.

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Damn that looks great! Too bad that they are not open for lunch. looks like a good date place

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Definitely date worthy!

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Hi @chinchi - Thanks for reporting. Good info. What is the last dish in your photos?

The potato taquitos are in the last photo

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Ok, now I see. :slightly_smiling_face: At first it looked like something square. Looks tasty. How were they?

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They were tasty! And a much larger portion than I expected. Good for sharing with a group.

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