As a kid, latkas, or potato pancakes, were something that I looked forward to every Hannukkah. What was not to love about the shallow-fried pancakes made from grated or ground potato with matzah meal or flour, egg, onion and seasoning? My grandma would make them for the holidays and I thought she made the best ones.
When we weren't eating latkas during the Jewish holidays, I would order them whenever we went to a Jewish deli because I just loved potato pancakes with sour cream or applesauce. They were not my grandma's but they would still satisfy me.
Now you no longer need to head to a Jewish deli to have potato pancakes because restaurants have integrated them into their menus for brunch, lunch and dinner. I recently visited three restaurants in Los Angeles that are very distinct. One is a neighborhood restaurant with a diverse menu, another is a wine bar and restaurant featuring Italian tapas and the third is a steak house. It would seem that none of these restaurants have anything in common but in fact, they all have a potato pancake on their menu. Each has put their own spin on the traditional potato pancake and made it work with their menu.
Bacaro is the Italian term for a simple simple restaurant or wine bar, typically found in Venice. And, in Italian, when you want to pluralize a singular word, you change the -o to an -i, for example bacaro becomes bacari. And in a way, that is what Bacaro LA, a wine bar in downtown LA, has done. They have multiplied and gone from the single Bacaro LA to multiple locations with Bacari PDR, Bacari GDL and Bacari W3rd.
Bacaro LA is an energetic, casual space with an international selection of wines and Italian-style tapas. It has been a favorite spot of USC students. And across the city Bacari PDR in Playa del Rey, is a popular neighborhood restaurant near the beach. In between the two, there is Bacari GDL in Glendale and Bacari W3rd, opening soon on West 3rd.
Standing alone on the corner of Vista del Mar and Culver Blvd, Bacari PDR is a wooden structure that looks like it was pieced together board by board. There is a small patio for outdoor dining and inside there is a bar and the main dining room, with a smaller dining area tucked behind the bar. All in all, it is not a big space and a bit tight, but there is a casual, comfortable charm to it.