A few years back, Matteo Ferdinandi and Angelo Auriana opened Factory Kitchen in a 1920s warehouse, offering northern Italian cuisine with California influences. Just recently, in the same building, the duo opened Officine Brera, which serves unadulterated northern Italian cuisine in L.A.’s downtown arts district. Officine means workshop in Italian, and Brera is a neighborhood in Milan. With their standout “factory” and “workshop” restaurants, the two Italians are offering sophisticated food in an eye-popping setting. The job of converting the raw Officine space, once the home of the Los Angeles Gas Company, went to design firm Form, Environment, Research (FER) Studio. The result is a stunning environment where guests can enjoy watching and eating food crafted by chef Auriana.
Here is the exterior entrance to Officine Brera.
On comfortable days, guests can enjoy a seat on the patio. A cor-ten steel canopy was created to serve as a contemporary interpretation of a traditional pergola.
Raw and Beautiful
Here is a long-shot view of the semicovered patio, which was carved from the warehouse space.
A shelving unit for holding glasses becomes a focal point when lit. Just beyond is a space set aside for private dining.
The rear dining area, which seats 25, is separated by sliding custom bifold doors for events.
Dark and Light
FER Studio chose to maintain the exposed 35-foot-high open-steel truss ceiling. Skylights along a central spine flood the room with natural daylight. At night, amber and gold-tone pendant hanging lights generate a warm glow.
Another angle of the dining room. Guests can view action in the glass-enclosed exhibition.
A close-up look at the kitchen from the guests’ perspective. The kitchen, which includes a wood-burning flame grill and rotisserie, serves as the focal point of Officine Brera.
A Worker’s View
A view from the kitchen looking into the dining room.
The menu is divided into several sections, including fried, cured and cultured. From this section comes Lardo Al Pepe, consisting of cured pork back fat, chestnut honey, arugula, candied walnuts and pink peppercorns.
In the rice, wheat and grains section of the menu you’ll find Nastrini Del Miracolo, which consists of pasta with “butcher’s table” meat ragu.
A favorite of the wood-grilled section of the menu is this pork shank with aromatic herbs and thyme potatoes.
Got a Spoon?
A standout dessert is this torrrone, consisted of honey and nut nougatine semifreddo, warmed fudge sauce and Amarena cherries.
Another must-have dessert is cannoncini; house-made puff pastry horns, vanilla cream, kumquat marmalade and pistachios.