A hidden gem, the The San Antonio Winery is the last surviving winery located near the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Most wineries in California are now located in the central region of the state. This one is just off Alameda Street near Temple and Main in downtown L.A. for your dining and wine-tasting pleasure.
Family oriented, it is owned and operated by the Riboli Family, a major presence in Los Angeles and the wine industry community for over 90 years. Although most of their wines come from their vineyards in select coastal regions of California, they also handcraft their wine from nearby estate vineyards. As a long-time Angeleno, I remember hearing stories of wagons full of grapes traveling from the foothills of Glendale to the San Antonio Winery. Community members just recently re-planted those grape vines after the devastation of the 2009 Station Fire.
Inside the winery is a very good restaurant, The Maddalena. This is where courthouse and City Hall employees go to enjoy a delicious lunch, and now and then, a glass of wine. Dining is includes a full menu of Italian and other dishes. Be forewarned, the portions are generous. The only downside is you must order deli-style in their “line-style gourmet trattoria.” The fun part is that on the way, you will pass by two tables with full displays of each and every dish on the menu. So if you are unsure how to pronounce Chicken Parmiggiano, for example, you can just point to that plate when you place your order. Best of all, sometimes musicians stroll through the restaurant playing music and singing for the diners.
The wine selection is diverse and extensive, with the famous Stella Rosa the most popular. They also offer a complimentary tasting of up to three different wines per person, or “artisan series tasting” of three highly limited reserve wines for $8.00. Discounts are available with each purchase of additional bottles of wine, and it’s an excellent source for large parties and weddings. Banquet menus are also available.
Tours of the winery are scheduled every day from Monday through Sunday every hour on the hour. Restaurant hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is located at 737 Lamar St. in Los Angeles. Parking is on the street or in a nearby private lot around the corner.