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Good espresso and good cheap Mexican in *DOWNTOWN* LA?

I'm in LA Nov 1-5 for a conference and sequestered downtown at the Grand. I've looked up LA-area serious coffee houses- places that have outstanding espresso, well-trained baristas, latte art, that sort of thing. I've found a few places that look impressive but none are remotely in or near downtown. I know this might be a shot in the dark and I'll survive on Starbucks at the hotel if I must, but I hope somebody can steer me to something better. Downtown, please.

As to Mexican- I am looking for a cheap-n-cheerful taqueria within a safe walk from the Grand. I know there's fast food in a nearby mall food court but I'd like a mami-papi operation that will slake my Mexican needs until I am next in the states.


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  1. Espresso @ Lost Souls Cafe - http://www.lostsouls.com/

    Good, cheap mexican @ Ana Maria or Tacos Tumbras a Tomas in Grand Central Market - http://www.grandcentralsquare.com

    1. Second Ana Maria's or Roast to Go at Grand Central Market. For coffee, try Banquette Cafe at 4th & Main, next to Pete's.

      1. For espresso close by on Grand, try the Red Cat Lounge at Walt Disney Hall. I also agree with Ana Maria's stand at the GCM, good stuff and massive portions


        1 Reply
        1. re: Ernie

          I agree with the Red Cat Lounge, they serve excellent espresso beverages and their staff is friendly. It's also a beautiful Gehry space.

        2. For Mexican at GCM, I prefer Tacos Tumbras. Their carnitas were less dry than at Ana's and their carne asada burrito was very juicy. I do like the gorditas as Ana's though.

          1. I agree with Lost Souls. What a great place not only for expresso.
            As for Mexican, I love Roast-to-Go (their Gorditas!) at Grand Central Farmers Market.

            1. Courtesy of ipsedixit:

              One place I really like is EL ANTOJITO, which is on Broadway and 8th St., just a bit south of the Jewelry District.

              I always go for the sopes. They make them fresh to-order (with fresh masa!), smeared with refried beans, topped with melted cheese and covered with chorizos. Messy, but good and only $2.

              Qdoba, BF, Rubios ain't got nothing on these guys.

              Call ahead and they'll have your order ready when you arrive, either to eat-in or take-out.

              Heck, I might go right now ...

              El Antojito
              824 South Broadway
              (213) 688-0885

              1. I second the Mexican stands at Grand Central Market... but if you really want a Chowish experience try the Yucatecan specialties at Chichen Itza in Mercado La Paloma. The mercado... a factory converted into a marketplace in the vein of Grand Central Market is a great destination on its own.... and is fairly close to your hotel.


                1. it's a bit of a hike from the WILSHIRE GRAND (which is where i assume you are staying)--about 15 minutes walking--to grand central market.

                  i do think it's worth it, but you might be pressed for time. i work around the wilshire grand, and i gotta say that the closest taqueria is FERNANDO'S TACO INN, which is up by the staples center--olympic and fig. it's not GCM, but it's still pretty good.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: scuzm

                    15 minutes of walking, Downtown, really isn't that bad. Especially if the OP is in town for 5 days and needs an occasional break from his "sequestering." That being said, there is a Metro Redline station at 7th and Figueroa (nearly across the street from the Grand). Hop on the train heading toward Union Station, get off at Pershing Square and exit the station from the "3rd and Hill St" exit and Grand Central is literally right there...

                    To the OP: If you head into Little Tokyo, which is also relatively close to the Grand/Downtown proper, you might want to try Senior Fish, which serves pretty good baja-style fish tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc.

                    Senor Fish
                    422 E 1ST St (Cross Street: Alameda Street)
                    Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    1. re: scuzm

                      I'm always trying to spread the good word about Fernandos. It is in the car wash on fig and olympic and i'd even venture to say it's worth a hike. This place was my go-to mexican joint when I went to school nearby [i.e., good place for quick eats that don't bust the starving student's budget]. Always a good sign when you see some suits from the nearby office buildings lining up.

                      1. re: SouthOCHound

                        I made it to Fernandos and gracias para ustedes!! Fantastic and very near the convo centre (where my meetings were). I also had pupusas at grand central market.

                        1. re: John Manzo

                          that's great! when i don't have time to make it to gcm, i love a little fernando's!

                          1. re: scuzm

                            Hey scuzm/SouthOCHound/John Manzo: What's good at Fernando's? Never been and would like to try it sometime...

                            1. re: weebie

                              my mexican coworkers really like the chili relleno and claim it is authentic. they use real torta bread for the tortas. a gringo that has spent some time in mexico thinks that the al pastor is medium, but ok.

                              i like the carne asada and the carnitas. i'm getting hungry just writing about it.

                              the beans must have lard b/c they are good and tangy.

                    2. for espresso, the redcat is probably your best bet. i think they pull their espressos a little too long, but it's the best downtown and it's a very pleasant space. please note that they are closed on mondays.

                      lost souls cafe is a nice little space, but i would not recommend it for a straight espresso.

                      you may also want to try tao organic.
                      http://mendocinofarms.com/ (click on tao organic
                      )it's located in the north end of the california plaza, which is just south of MOCA. (it's right next to mendocino farms, which is owned by the same people.) tao organic was recently closed for remodeling. i think their espresso is not as good as it was before the remodel, but it's drinkable. (they use barefoot beans if that means anything. the redcat uses vivace)

                      enjoy your trip

                      1. The Bishop Coffee & Gourmet
                        816 S Grand Avenue
                        Los Angeles, CA 90017
                        (213) 239-0411

                        7:00 AM - 12:00 AM Monday – Saturday
                        8:00 AM – 10:00 PM Sunday

                        South of 8th on East side of street at the bottom of South Park Lofts

                        * Pasquini coffee & espresso
                        * Harney & Sons teas
                        * Susina Bakery pastries (sweet & savory)
                        * housemade salads & sandwiches (on LaBrea Bakery bread)
                        * panini after 4PM