Skip to main content

Bacari GDL is the Restaurant/Wine Bar of Your Dreams

Bacari-GDL
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Something amazing just happened in Glendale, California.

The up-and-coming neighborhood just north of downtown Los Angeles now has its very own Bacari restaurant: Bacari GDL. Small plates of wood-fired, freshly-made dishes from local ingredients, impeccable yet relaxed service, and a bar you won’t believe welcome you to your new favorite spot in town.

Bacari GDL is nestled in The Americana at Brand, a beautiful outdoor mall with landscaped grounds, a giant fountain complete with choreographed water and music shows, and shops like Tiffany’s and J. Crew. Despite all this literal Americana extravagance, Bacari GDL looks, feels, and tastes like you’ve just wandered into a cozy, family-owned hole-in-the-wall tucked down some serpentine Venetian street. There’s a reason for that: Bacari GDL is family owned, and bacari is Italian for a Venetian tavern known for serving cicchetti— small plates.

Bacari GDL scallops
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Family first: the Italian way. Brothers and co-owners Daniel and Robert Kronfli are restaurant mavens it seems. They started with the original Bacaro LA with executive chef and fellow co-owner Lior Hillel near University of Southern California; it remains a staple of USC life. Then they opened the Playa Del Rey location, Bacari PDR, then Nature’s Brew a cafe in downtown LA, a line of incredible sauces, and now the Glendale Bacari. The younger Kronfli, Robert, is a mere 29 years old, but he’s been at this a while–as an undergrad he started an underground supper club at USC that became so famous, even newspapers were covering it.  

robert and daniel kronfli, chef lior hillel
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The food is, in a word, heavenly. And offered at ridiculously reasonable prices. It’s a blend of Italian and Mediterranean cuisines that reflect Chef Hillel’s Israeli roots and the Kronfli brother’s Lebanese heritage. Born in Israel, Chef Hillel graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris before landing stateside in New York. His talent and experience are obvious in each dish: inventive, simple, and absurdly delicious. By the time you finish your meal, stuffed to the brim, you’ll lament the empty plates and wish you could just start all over again that moment.

The ingredients suggest the food should be so rich you can only manage a bite or two–instead, it’s flavorful, complex, and entirely edible. Take their Lobster and Crab Mac n’ Cheese: the pasta is homemade, the lumps of lobster meat are generous– its decadence should be too much to have more than a bite but Hillel carefully balances everything and it’s gone in moments.

Bacari pizza
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The rabbit ragu is delicate, perfectly cooked with pasta you will covet; the oxtail in doah (traditionally Egyptian) spices will leave you wondering why you ignored oxtail for so long. The pizzas, along with most of the dishes, are all made in the 10 foot wood-fired, stone oven in the kitchen. The dough will blow your mind: subtle, allowing you to enjoy the stars of the show, like the Bacon and Double Cream Brie Pizza. It manages the perfect thickness and crispy-to-doughy ratio, sure to please anyone. Do not forget to get the Lamb Pops, served on the bone in a parsnip puree that makes you realize what a hero the unsung parsnip actually is.

Some of the menu items have made the trek from the original Bacari, like the Bacari Burger and Mac N’ Cheese, but most of the Glendale menu is all new.

Bacari
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Small plates conjure up images of each person politely fighting for bird-like bites, but Barcai GDL’s portions are generous. Plus, you get to sample so much more of the menu. For two people, it’s a good idea to order around five or six plates, but you’ll no doubt crave more. Give in.

The bar is carefully stocked with a great selection of wines at great price points: if you’re looking for something fancy, they’ve got it. If you want just a nice table wine that you can sip, they’ve got that, too. Here’s the real kicker though: at absolutely any time, you slap down $25 and you get an open bar for 90 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. An open bar that includes house reds, whites, champagne, their homemade sangria, and beer. Or, if you’re a cocktail person, make it $30 and you can get all well cocktails thrown in.

Bacari Black Manhattan
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bacari GDL feels like a calm respite from the crazy world: you’re allowed to sit and luxuriate in your food, drinks, and conversation. The service is attentive, but good at reading the table. It’s a small, intimate space, artfully designed with repurposed wine bottle chandeliers and a wine box wall Robert did himself.

Despite the splendid atmosphere and high end dishes, there’s nothing pretentious about this place: it embodies and fosters things we all love, great food, great friends, great conversation.

Elizabeth Dahl
Elizabeth Dahl is a southern girl in the heart of Los Angeles who lived far too long before learning what an incredible food…
Pick the right types of cocktail glasses: What you need to know
Your guide to different types of cocktail glasses
Martini glass with shadow

 
Serving up cocktails is about an entire sensory experience: not just the taste of the drink, but also its smell, its texture in your mouth, and its appearance. And while a delicious drink will be something to enjoy however it comes, taking some time to think about how you present your drinks can really heighten the pleasure of a special cocktail. For cocktails, even more so than other drinks like fine wines or interesting craft beers, a certain amount of ceremony and embellishment is part of the fun.
So, one reason to think carefully about the glassware in which you serve your cocktails is so you present your drinks well. In the right glass, a drink looks its best, whether you're showing off the beautiful green of a gin basil smash or highlighting the delicate bubbles of a kir royale. A good glass should feel weighty and pleasing in the hand, like a heavy tumbler that's perfect for enjoying your scotch. And good glassware feels good when you sip from it too, with a lip that's not too thin and flimsy but also not too thick and chunky.
But glassware isn't only about looks. The right glass will help to channel the scents of a drink, which is a hugely important but easily overlooked factor in enjoying a drink. Much of what we think of as flavor actually comes from our sense of smell, so you want to use this sense to its best effect in your drinks by making sure that your cocktails have room to breathe. When you go to take a sip of a drink, you should get a waft of delicious scent to prepare you for the flavors that you're about to enjoy.
There are seemingly hundreds of styles of cocktail glasses, though, and trendy cocktail bars often use gimmicks like serving drinks in unexpected containers. We'll walk you through the essentials of what works and what doesn't when it comes to glassware so you can up your home cocktail game to something even more special.

Basic glassware for every home bar
Tumblers

Read more
Spam can actually make an elevated meal — this industry pro tells us how
Your guide to cooking with Spam
L&L Barbecue Spam Misubi

 

Spam has been frowned upon so much historically that there's a junk folder named after the stuff. But that's being unfair to the so-called mystery meat, the product of a rationing-era-turned-staple for certain cuisines. The product turned 87 this year, and we figured it was time to celebrate it by examining the role it plays in great Hawaiian food.

Read more
A rum rested in cold brew casks to impart delicious flavors of coffee
Santa Teresa Arabica Coffee Cask Finish marries the classic flavors of rum and coffee
santa teresa arabica finish 1796 coffee cask jpg

Coffee and rum is a classic combination -- used in everything from a spiced rum coffee to a rum espresso martini -- and now a new limited edition rum is being released which incorporates the flavors of coffee via cask finishing. Rather than adding coffee flavors to a rum after it has been finished, which typically results in a very sweet spirit, the Santa Teresa Arabica Coffee Cask Finish is finished in casks which have previously held cold brew coffee.

The brand Santa Teresa 1796, the oldest rum producer in Venezuela, is known for its high quality rums which have a very low sugar content, making them more of a fine sipper like a quality whiskey than like the typically sweet spiced rums you often find on shelves. To add the flavors of coffee, the brand's popular Santa Teresa 1796 Solera rum spends an extra three months being finished in American white oak casks. These casks were previously used to a age a rum-based cold brew coffee, so leaving the rum to finish inside them melds the flavors to something special.

Read more