Dama arrives in Downtown LA’s Fashion District tonight, July 11, with a rather lovely lounge and outdoor space and pan-Latin food from chef and partner Antonia Lofaso. Sitting across from Rossoblu, it’s been years in the making for Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix, who’ve opened everything from Black Market Liquor Bar to Scopa Italian Roots with partners Mario Guddemi and Salvatore Aurora.
The former banana distribution warehouse now boasts two levels: a wide outdoor patio that looks out into a courtyard and an upper dining room, lounge, and three-sided bar. Pink-hued banquettes, tropical pillow accents, and wicker chairs give the patio a breezy island feel ideal for wasting away long summer evenings. Tiled steps lead up to the second tier, a lush but dark cocktail den with shiny leather loveseats, vintage pendants, and more of that same Old World tiling. Carolina Wicker handled the main design work, with contributions across the team.
For dinner, Lofaso serves up crispy squash flowers with farmer’s cheese, an octopus tostada with charred summer corn and cherry tomatoes, and an oxtail taco with manchego and pickled shishitos. The Scopa chef draws from across Latin America, serving a bocadillo with crispy calamari, or a whole red snapper with escabeche. Meat mavens can order a 24 ounce with sweet pickled peppers and salsa verde, plus a rotisserie chicken or crispy pork shank. For dessert, it’s pretty easy-going with a topping-loaded Strauss soft serve, churros, or peanut butter cookies. Throw in some Tajin-dusted market fruit for good measure.
The drinks are huge component of the experience at Dama, with an emphasis on blended cocktails (to order, not from a slushie machine), low ABV aperitifs, and riffs on classic tropical sippers like a rum-loaded Presidente or martini-like gin Buenaventura with a tinge of white cacao. Wines put together by Scopa’s Taylor Grant hew toward Old World, with a solid Spanish glass selection boasting summery Albariño or a 2015 Listan Negro red from the Canary Islands. The full menus are below.