HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


1 day alone in downtown- on the go

Hey all-

I will be spending all day (all three meals) being a tourist in my own city Wednesday. I would like to eat in small coffee houses, little cafes or on-the-go. Beyond the market, where can I go? Any good coffee houses?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I really like the Banquette Cafe on Main. They have a great happy hour with wine and cheese plates--they have some spicy south american wines and serve up a yummy burratta, as well as tasty pressed sandwiches with various salamis/cured meats. It's cozy and the staff is very friendly.

    400 S Main St
    Los Angeles, CA 90013
    (213) 626-2768

    1. Happy hour at Pete's is a good option. Little Tokyo is probably an even better option. There are some noodle houses (I'll leave it to someone else to recommend one because I am admittedly not an expert on ramen) and there is Sushi Gen, which has first-rate sushi. You might also consider going just north of downtown, into Chinatown. Phillippe's is an LA institution that is mentioned widely on this board. (Note: it's in Chinatown but it does not serve Chinese food)

      1. On 9th on the edge of the fashion district, I like Tiara Cafe (Fred Eric whimsy in a funky fairy-tale setting) and Wood Spoon (A little Mom and Pop Brazillian place with a clean, casual modern interior).

        For a coffee shop, I love the little, tiny Bishop Coffee and Gourmet at 816 S. Grand. Tasty homemade treats like curry chicken salad and soups from scratch. They also have great baked goods. It's very small so, unless you're at one of the couple outdoor tables, it's maybe not the best hang out coffee shop ever.

        Whenever considering a DT restaurant always double check the hours they're open.

        1. Big fan of Phillippe's. Saw-dust on the floors, long tressel tables, french dip sandwiches and killer spicy mustard (which my dog broke into and ate last time I brought a jar home). Sometimes lines can be a little long for ordering -- but worth the wait if you have time. If you're from here, though, maybe you've eaten here already.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bite bite

            I actually kept track when I was eating here a lot. Never waited more than about 20 minutes from walk-in to chow-down. It does, of course, seem like an eternity when your famished and all you can smell is french dips.

            1. re: cant talk...eating

              Good point. Lines can be long but always move fast (not like Reel Inn -- grr).

          2. Try a French breakfast at Angelique, pho tai at Thien Hong in Chinatown, or maybe carnitas at La Luz Del Dia in Olvera Street

            1. Mercado La Paloma! It's just south of Downtown (west side of Grand north of Adams). Sort of a spruced-up warehouse/food stall place with Latin Am. artisanal items as well. As I sat scarfing down my pollo asado from Chichen Itza (Yucutan food - see other posts. MMmmmmm), I was staring longingly at the menu itmes pictured for what appears to be an (Iranian? help - I shoulda asked) lunch cafe - okra stew, celery stew, chicken in pomegranate. Totally out of place deep in the heart of Mesoamerican L.A., so obviously worth trying! Get the aguas frescas at the Oaxacan place right when you walk in. As for coffee - better get that elsewhere!

              See: http://www.mercadolapaloma.com/direct...

              1. Maybe this isn't a little enough cafe for you, but Traxx is so good and if you take the subway, you get to see Union Station, Olvera St. and Chinatown and still be able to transfer to the market.

                1. Mendocino Farms for a great sandwich at the California Plaza. Get a torta or some pupusas at the Grand Central Market on Broadway. In little Tokyo there are some great little window cafes offering street fare food like gyozas, croquettes, etc.

                  1. If you want a little cafe that's been around for a long time in little Tokyo, Suehiro. Plate lunches are cheap.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mlgb

                      Agreed...Suehiro Cafe has pretty good daily lunch specials. IIRC, you can have either of two choices or a combination of the two, for pretty cheap...and reasonably fast, too.

                    2. Angelique Cafe, Senor Fish, Grand Central Market (especially the Tacos, Tumbras, y Tomas stand).

                      1. Sushi Gen for lunch! GO early...

                        1. To go: imagawayaki at Mitsuru cafe in JTown. No matter how full I am, I can still stuff in a couple of these freshly made red bean buns (for lack of a better word). Warm, a little chewy, a little sweet, such comfort food.

                          1. Thanks everyone! I have been to quite a few of these places (and agree with the recs) but think I have decided with Angelique for at least one meal.