Tartine Bianco is permanently closed
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Tartine Bianco is the all-day, sit-down part of The Manufactory, the LA outpost of a San Francisco bread legend. It takes up a good chunk of the huge warehouse space (plus a bunch of the terrace outside), and at first glance, seems like the most interesting of the many eating options in the complex.
But while most of the food at Tartine Bianco is very good, with a couple of exceptions, it’s also not food that’s going to stick in your head for long after you eat it.
Predictably, most of the successful dishes are ones that come on bread. If you prefer biting into a crunchy loaf to ASMR, then you’re going to like it here. Starting with a plate of assorted breads is almost non-negotiable, and you probably want to add the warm ricotta to that as well. At brunch, almost everyone around you will have a patty melt on their table, and you should too. And while it’s weird there’s no pizza on the menu (considering one of the chefs runs a famous pizza place in Phoenix), you can order flatbread by the slice that will give you that pizza feeling if you need it.
Even if you’re not a bread person, there is one dish that’s a reason on its own to get to Tartine Bianco: The whole “hot” fish. It’s lightly coated in a spicy batter, fried, and served with giant croutons (because bread) and pickled beans. We aren’t ashamed to say we have stripped it to the bones on multiple occasions, but other than that fish, we haven’t found many reasons to make return visits here. Some of the more intriguing-sounding plates on the menu - sweetbreads with crispy red rice, rotisserie chicken with black garlic spaetzle - are perfectly tasty, but also pretty unmemorable.
You’re never going to have a bad experience at Tartine Bianco (unless you’re currently carb-free). But with only a handful of stand-out dishes on a very large menu, a dining room that never feels particularly buzzing, and service that’s friendly but has a tendency to go missing, it also isn’t worth going out of your way for.
Assorted Breads + Warm Ricotta
No offense to the celiacs of this world, but there isn’t much point in coming to Tartine Bianco if you can’t eat gluten. Fully half of the menu is served on some sort of bread, and the best way to start a meal here is to lean into that with multiple types and some house-made ricotta.
Smoked Trout Smørrebrød
If you want something more substantial on top of your bread, you have a lot of choices, but our pick is the smoked trout. The trout is all mixed in with the cream cheese, there are pickled onions on top, and we’ll take one for ourselves thank you very much.
The “Bianco” in Tartine Bianco is a famous pizza guy, but if you’re looking for full pies here you’ll be disappointed. Instead, they do thicker slices of pizza-like flatbread with fairly minimal toppings. They’re good, but probably best grabbed to-go in the market next door.
Up there with the city’s best patty melts, this one is rich, tangy, and a little bit greasy. If that’s the mood you’re in (and even if it’s not), you should get this.
Grilled Wild Blue Prawns
These are great. The prawns are slightly spicy, full of flavor, and come on top of a tasty carrot sofrito.
We’ve had this a couple of times - once it was underseasoned and boring, once it was everything you want a restaurant chicken to be. If you always order the chicken, you probably won’t be disappointed by this one.
Whole “Hot” Fish
But if you’re only going to get one large dish (and after all the bread you’ve already had, you probably are) it should be this one. It’s kind of like Nashville hot chicken, and the kind of dish that could end a relationship if you take the last bite without making sure that’s OK.