Soleto Serves Crunchy, Slightly Chewey Pizza | Downtown, Los Angeles

Pizza, pasta and fried cheese on Figueroa

There's a gap in Downtown's restaurant scene that falls between the hip haunts of Gallery Row and the corporate dining heaven that is L.A. Live.

The neighborhood is dominated by finance, centered around a skyscraper-lined stretch of Figueroa. Soleto, the newest effort from the folks behind Sushi Roku, is looking to fill that void.

There's continuous service in the giant restaurant, loaded with diners meeting for working lunches or after-work drinks. It operates from 11 in the morning to 11 at night; a bowl by the cash register is packed with diners' business cards.

Unsurprisingly, the menu doesn't break new ground. But Soleto does more justice to pizza than more-lauded Italian spots. The dough doesn't have the sour tang achieved at Mother Dough, but the texture, exceedingly crunchy and a bit chewy, is commendable.  

A word about the appetizers: The crispy mozzarella ($7) is exactly what we imagined it would be: deep-fried triangles of rubbery cheese. Does it stand up to the definitive version served at the restaurant we unapologetically consider the standard-bearer of the dish, Olive Garden?

Yes; yes it does. 

Soleto, 801 S. Figueroa St., Downtown; 213-622-3255 or