Like its dishes, DTLA’s DAMA Fashion District is the South American fusion brainchild of executive chef and TV personality Antonia Lofaso and restaurateurs Mario Guddemi and Salvatore Aurora, two Italian cousins behind Black Market Liquor Bar and a few other sophisticated places in Los Angeles. Not to mention cocktail gurus minds Steve Livigni & Pablo Moix.
One of the most visually appealing DTLA restaurants, DAMA’s physical location and Cuban art deco design demands attention. Thankfully, DAMA’s aesthetics is not the only thing positioning it as the best of the best restaurants in DTLA. The food rightfully puts it in contention for one of the best Latin American restaurants in the area. “DAMA,” wrote the Los Angeles Times, “earns your trust by being consistently good.”
DAMA’s influences has been described as “pan-Latin” and for a good reason. Lofaso has created a carefully curated menu from her numerous influences in South America, and the result is both familiar and yet distinctly DAMA.
If you’re in the fashion district or just about anywhere in DTLA, we suggest starting with the following.
The Whipped Beans are a must, and anyone who is experienced DAMA would agree. Mixed with crispy pork, cotija cheese, and pickled onions, the rich and creamy dish comes alongside crispy tortillas to make an unforgettable appetizer and/or starting dish. This perfect blend of flavors and textures will leave you wanting more and making DAMA Fashion District number 1 on your places to dine list in DTLA and all of Los Angeles.
Crispy Pork Shanks
One of the restaurant’s most sought-after specialties. It’s so perfectly cooked and crispy that the meat just falls of the bone. Served with lettuce cups, pickled vegetables, and avocado cream, this dish has become the highlight of many a dinner.
Clams and Chorizo
Tenderly cooked clams cooked in a delicious chorizo and topped with basil, rosemary, and oregano. The flavors perfectly come together in the flavorful sauce, which makes for a perfect dipping sauce. We guarantee you’ll order a second helping of bread.
Pacific Banana Co Sundae
This one has some history behind it as a reminder of the building’s past as a banana packing house, but it’s also worth checking out just simply for the taste. Made from organic soft-served ice-cream and topped with caramelized nuts, this tub goodness is the perfect way to cap a fine meal.
DAMA puts the breakfast in breakfast taco by offering an explosion of flavors from its creative mixture of pico de gallo, collard greens, oyster mushrooms, avocado cream, and fried egg available only on it burnch menu. This concoction alone is reason enough to wake up early on a Sunday and head over to DTLA for brunch.