Drago Centro

A new chef keeps this Downtown destination for Italian on top

By Jen Jones Donatelli

Open since 2008, Drago Centro was one of the early movers and shakers in what’s now DTLA’s red-hot dining scene—and it continues to pave the way with its cosmopolitan cuisine. This February, Celestino Drago’s contemporary Italian restaurant named a new chef de cuisine, Antonio Totaro, who hails from Puglia and definitely knows a thing or two about legit Italian eats.

At this classy, low-lit joint, pasta, surf, and turf rule. The menu offers a tasty trifecta of different pasta styles: fresh egg pastas like basil pesto spaghetti, hard durum pastas like farfalle, and filled and baked pastas like lasagna Bolognese. Don’t miss the favorite pappardelle al fagiano, painstakingly prepared with roasted pheasant and morel mushroom ragout.

Feeling indulgent? The five-course tasting menu showcases a rotating cast of seasonal ingredients, ranging from asparagus to Wagyu beef. Another fun experience is the tableside presentation of tagliata per due—bone-in ribeye for two, served with a melty-good truffle potato purée. Whole fish dishes are deboned tableside as well; think branzino or chef’s special salt-crusted sea bass.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian feast without a healthy accompaniment of vino. And you have plenty of options with sommelier Mark Sadr’s carefully curated wine list: 940 labels to be exact. Sadr estimates that Drago Centro has up to 10,000 bottles stored in its massive glass wine vault—something worth raising a glass to!

Speaking of raising glasses, a pour of grappa makes the perfect finish to your meal here. That is unless you’re in more of a gelato mood, in which case, you’ll still leave humming “that’s amore.”


Dinner: 5 PM–10 PM daily
Lunch: Mon–Fri: 11:30 AM–2:30 PM

price range

$18 (lasagne alla Bolognese) to $115 (tagliata per due)