Staying at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown LA - where to eat?
- adelly Dec 13, 2006 11:29 PM
we'll be staying at the westin from dec. 31-jan 2 for the big new years eve party. where should we eat? some places i've thought of are roy's (is there a dinner prix fixe? i heard the lunch is only $25), prime inside the bonaventure (but i don't eat meat - just seafood, veggies, etc...), water grill (though that might be too expensive). i'd like to go to japantown, but don't even know if it's walking distance and if they're open during those days. especially need a decent brunch spot. i don't want to have to buy fast food to survive those 2 days.
I really don't mean this be rude in any way (nor snide, for the matter), but do a search on these boards and you'll find lots and lots of recommendations.
Also a good site to start for basic info is the LA Downtown News publication. Link below.
Enjoy your stay.
Would avoid Prime as there are better steakhouses downtown, but do go to Little Tokyo to Daikokuya for ramen or Sushi Gen for great sushi. If Water Grill is too expensive, try Kendall's Brasserie at the Music Center for their seafood platter appetizer on a mound of ice - very fresh and quite festive. Roy's is too sweet for my taste (and I think a bit pricey for what you get). For more of the local resident vibe, you can get very good pizza at Pitfire Pizza (2nd & Main - very walkable) and I hear the nearby Edison Bar is serving food. Pete's Cafe (4th & Main) is another local's place worth checking out for great cocktails along with a pretty decent menu of classic American dishes or check out the small menu at the wine bar next door for sandwiches and salads. Tiara in the fashion district is also a good bet for quality veggie-friendly cuisine. Enjoy!
Roy's has a three-course dinner that had several options and used to be $30. I'm not sure whether it included their "butterfish" entree, which is excellent, but I believe it did include the molten-center chocolate cake. Price may be more now. I've enjoyed the Roy's where I've eaten, mostly in Florida.
Too far to walk, but right on the Red Line (limited L.A. subway that goes thru downtown) is Langer's Deli. Many think they serve the best pastrami in the country -- better than N.Y.C. It is not montrously big, and it costs about $10, but the hand-cut flavorful pastrami and crispy-crusted but soft-textured rye combine for perhaps the perfect sandwich. It is at Alvarado and Seventh (across from MacArthur Park), not open at night.
Close by, you are more likely to find tasty and inexpensive Mexican at the Grand Central Market stalls (Ana Maria? Roast 2 Go?) for carnitas than the faux places on Olvera Street.
Posters on this board diss Chinatown in favor of the more authentic, regional restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. But if you are coming from somewhere that doesn't have good Chinese, you'll get a kick out of Empress Pavilion for dim sum in a huge room on the top story of a small complex off North Hill. I always go away happy after eating slippery shrimp, eggplant in garlic sauce, and spicy wonton soup at Yang Chow. Both are accessible by DASH if it is running those days.
The Pantry is a longstanding L.A. institution a few (long) blocks south on Figueroa. 24-hour, known for huge portions and good free sourdough bread and cole slaw.
Little Tokyo is about a mile walk from the Bonaventure-uphill then downhill. Weekdays there is a DASH bus for 25 cents that stops on S.Flower Street behind the Bonaventure(ask where it is)Monday-Fridays 6:30am-6:30pm(but I doubt New Year Day). Weekend Sunday its the DASH DD(Downtown Discovery) but only runs between 10am-5pm.
LA Chinatown is about 1.3 miles north of your hotel. Empress Pavillion for dim sum. Will be crowded that Sunday/Monday 10am-2pm with a wait. They open at 8am. Decent regular Chinese food at Full House Seafood on Hill Street (across the street from Empress Pavillion) or Hop Li Seafood on Alpine Street. Very Americanized Chinese food (you won't see Chinese people dining at these places)at Yang Chow or newly remodeled Plum Tree on Broadway.
Next to Chinatown is Olvera Street(they will be open New Years Eve and New Years Day)which is the historic center of where LA began. Mexican restaurants and shops.
If you find your way to Union Station you will be right across the street from Olvera Street and edge of Chinatown.
You might want to try Philippe's, the self proclaimed home of the French Dip sandwich. Since 1908 another LA institution kind of across the street from Union Station at 1001 Alameda Street. Also home of the 9 (nine) cent cup of coffee. Very casual communal table dining place with sawdust on the floor.
They should also be open that Sunday and Monday.
The Original Pantry Cafe an LA institution has been there for 80+ years and a great place for an all American big breakfast...make sure you get the the grilled sour dough toast with your breakfast. They have daily chalkboard specials and steaks and chops.
http://www.pantrycafe.com/ (4 blocks from the Bonaventure)
All excellent suggestions.
If you like sushi you can take the A-line DASH to Sushi Gen, in the Little Honda plaza on Alameda and 3rd, near Little Tokyo. It's pretty unanimous on these boards that Sushi Gen has the best sushi in downtown LA. If you're going for lunch and want to try their amazing sashimi special (highly recommended), either go early (right when they open at 11:05 a.m.) or late (about 1:30) or expect to wait a while for a table. Otherwise you can just have their great sushi (albeit for a heftier bill) at the sushi bar.
Then after sushi you can try the Pinkberry-like "If" (formerly "Fiore") in Little Tokyo. Sample a couple of their four flavors, but try the "sour" flavor if you like Pinkberry.
Definitely try LANGER'S and PHILLIPE'S, as mentioned above. PRIME is worth checking out for the view, the food is just average. If you only eat seafood, splurge one meal and go to the WATER GRILL, it is just wonderful. TRAXX, in Union Station, has good food in a unique setting, one of the most beautiful buildings in LA. Just take the subway to the last stop, Union Station, and enjoy a meal in the glorious lobby. THE STANDARD HOTEL has a good restaurant in it's lobby, and a drink at the bar on top of the hotel is a must. Amazing views. Finally, I enjoy ZUCCA., which has excellent Italian.
Great suggestions, albeit a bit overwhelming. I guess I forgot to add that I am actually from LA and not a visitor, so my needs are actually limited to eateries within walking distance of the bonaventure. i would love to go to little tokyo but am unsure of how far the walk will be (and walking in downtown isn't all that fun) and if they'll be open during those holidays. i'll always have the cafes and restaurants within the hotel, but who would really want to be stuck with that? the water grill might work for dinner (though i dont know how good it still is, without michael cimarusti), but i'm really more concerned about lunch/brunch.
if your SO is a sports fan, look to casey's or grand ave sports bar to watch the usc game on the 1st...casey's is a usc hang-out so if you go in there with a michigan hat...you've been warned....
I really like Roy's. It isn't cheap, exactly, but I think you get real value for your money. The food is consistent, and I've always found the service to be most accommodating and professional, which is (unfortunately) not something you find every day.
You're also across the street from Ciudad. Opinions are decidedly mixed on this board, but I like it.
The coffee shop in the Standard hotel ain't bad for a burger or sandwich.
A decent option for breakfast/lunch is the Yorkshire Grill, an old-fashioned luncheonette on 6th Street near Grand. Nothing fancy, but they do a pretty good pastrami sandwich, and they also serve breakfast (though I've never had). Probably a lot cheaper for a plate of bacon & eggs than any hotel dining establishment.
If you happen to like beer, the brewpub on the roof of the Bonaventure is really great.
The subway IS walking distance from the Bonaventure and can get you to Thai Town (Vermont or Western Stations). There are lots of great Thai restaurants within walking distance. I personally like the Bamboo House on Hollywood Blvd at N. Edgemont...
If you go there tell the proprietor, Tina, that your friend Chris Bushman sent you. She will make sure that your meatless meal is incredible.
Walking from the Bonaventure to Little Tokyo or the fashion district is no problem, though Chinatown could be a bit far. The DASH is great for coming back if a one a one way walk is all you're interested in. Ciudad can be great, no doubt, and Water Grill is still top notch. Also, the coffee shop at The Standard hotel is very good and is nearby.