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I’m not saying a roaring fireplace is a sign that a restaurant is going to be great, but when I spotted one in Bari, a Puglian restaurant in Beverly Grove, it awoke a seasonal euphoria within me that set the tone for a fantastic meal. Not everything on Bari’s menu is a home run, but there are more hits than misses, and it’s also refreshing to be in an Italian restaurant in LA that doesn’t serve the same Northern and coastal standards as everyone else. There are only two pastas - and the slightly bitter, al dente orecchiette is a standout. The rest of the menu leans largely on traditional Puglian meat skewers. The bombette, which is thin pork shoulder wrapped around caciocavallo cheese, is sweet and salty, and the octopus is notably tender and perfectly-charred. We also recommend getting involved in their cheeses, some of which are imported daily from Puglia and taste great spread across house-made focaccia. Every element of Bari, whether it be the warm Earth-tone aesthetic, the meat and cheese heavy menu, or the aforementioned roaring fireplace, seems designed to comfort and relax you. And this winter, that’s exactly the atmosphere I’m looking for.

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