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Best Steakhouse in Downtown LA?

What's the best steakhouse in Downtown, in your opinion?
This is for a mid-week guys' night out (we're going to Seven Grand later on).

Focusing mostly on food quality over drinks/ambiance. We'll be bringing our own wine.

I hear mixed things about Taylor's.
Reviews on Nick & Stefs are overwhelmingly - and distressingly - mediocre.
The Palm is okay, but I think we can do better.
So far the frontrunner is Pacific Dining Car, but I'm not entirely convinced their hideously expensive prices are worth it.

How is the Morton's downtown? I went to the one in Palm Desert but was sorely disappointed with badly cooked, lukewarm steak and miserable sides.

Note: I would much rather hit up Mastro's or Cut, but those are rather out of the way.

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  1. my choice would be in this order:

    nick & steph

    1. My choice would be the opposite:

      Nick & Stefs - which I think gets a bum rap and I'm not sure why.
      Morton's and Pacific Dining Car tied - although I tend to prefer non-chain places, so Pacific Dining Car wins over Morton's for that reason.

      1. I don't know why people think so highly of Pacific Dining Car, it's all hype. You get the same badly cooked, lukewarm steak and miserable sides that you got at the Morton's in Palm Desert. The only positive i can think of is that it's open all the time.

        I'd go with Nick and Stef's if you want to be in downtown or Taylor's.

        2 Replies
        1. re: holybull

          I don't get the Taylor's thing. It's fun, in a good but not great, relatively cheap, old-fashioned, not fancy chop house kind of way, but the food is merely okay for the price, at best. The steaks are about equal to those at Musso & Frank, but not anywhere close to the level of any of the better steakhouses around town.

          1. re: holybull

            Couldn't agree with you more about PDC. Overpriced, overrated--I'm over it.

          2. I had an amazing dinner at Arnie Morton's downtown - it's far better than The Palm; I haven't been to Pacific Dining Car. The steaks were fantastic and service was among the best I have ever had. I can't remember what sides we had, so they were probably fine but nothing amazing. The souffle dessert, however, was in fact amazing. After Mastro's, this is my favorite steakhouse in LA.

            1. I like Nick & Stef's for steak, always have, esp. in downtown.

              I like Pacific Dining Car for alot of things (mostly breakfast related), but I think going there for steak is a big mistake.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Nick and Stef's has gone down dramatically in the last 3-4 years...I dont' get the hype...it is good not great...and at prices that require greatness

                1. re: nyfoodjoe

                  Not necessarily disagreeing with you joe, but given the parameters of the OP ("Best steakhouse in Downtown LA"), I think Nick & Stef's is probably the best bet.

              2. I say go to the Pacific Dining Car. They never fail to deliver a great dinner or breakfast. I love the steaks and the sides and the service is great. They have a great wine list, a cool somalier and really kick ass margaritas. I've tried Nick and Stefs a few times and it always falls short. I don't care for Mortons. Taylors is a cheaper exp, but still a cool old style steak house.

                1. another vote for pacific dining car. have been going there for over ten years and have NEVER had a bad meal or bad service. great bar, too, especially for a guy's night out.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: justanotherpenguin

                    For what it's worth, the current issue of Saveur magazine is the steak issue. They list the Pacific Dining Car among the nation's seven best steak houses, at #6.

                    1. re: rednyellow

                      I have to believe that is pay for play. I don't get Pacific Dining Car, I hear breakfast is good but for steak or anything else my experience has been universally awful. Valentino always gets tops for food and service too and it's got to be the monthly wine dinners they host for editors and the like.
                      Taylors is fine. It's old school, but you get what you pay for, and at Taylors despite what the name implies, it's not even prime (read the menu fine print.)
                      The Palm can be good if you order big (i.e. porterhouse.) I have never been there though when the steak is not overcooked. Medium rare means warm red center...
                      Nick and Stefs can be good but inconsistent, but it's on par with Mortons. I would vote for either of these two as the best downtown though.

                  2. I agree with the critics of Pacific Dining Car, the steaks are nothing special. My suggestion is not really a "steakhouse" per se, but I had the best rib eye of my life at Roy's in Downtown L.A.

                    1. In order of meat and service:
                      Morton's may be the best meat in the downtown area, though it is often unpleasantly jammed and hectic.
                      Nick and Steph's has the best sides and sauces, though the prices are huge and the steaks can be uneven.
                      Palm (downtown) is overly bright, not all that comfortable, and high priced for admittedly adequate, though not spectacular, steaks.
                      Pacific Dining Car has consistently good service, though the meat is mediocre and not overly generous at extremely high prices. This is a great place for breakfast or, better yet, meals other than steak at 2 am.
                      Taylor's gets lots of points for price and retroness, but you won't remember the meat.
                      Never had the steak at Roy's but be prepared for lots and lots of noise.
                      Windows Steaks and Martinis deserves special mention because of the unsurpassed view, but the steaks are a sad letdown as is often the service.
                      Advice: if you really want steak leave downtown and go to Mastro's or even Arroyo Chophouse in Pasadena. Arnie Morton's in BH somehow seems better than the Downtown location - their act is more together and the meat seems superior, though I suppose it is from the same stock as Downtown.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Griller141

                        I have been to PCD, Taylor's and Nick & Stef's (N & Stefs a couple times). Of the three I would vote PCD. Taylors was amusing for its charm, but I agree you won't find the steak memorable. Nick & Stef's, I went a couple times to try to figure out the hype, but for me, at that price, I measure steak by whether you're in happy ecstasy at the first bite. I wasn't at Nick & Stef's, and also, when I saw the steak when it was served, I wasn't thrilled in anticipation like I feel at Carlito Gardel's (not in your area of interest but that's the ecstasy-type steak I am ,easuring by). I wasn't excited cuz it wasn't huge or incredible looking. PCD, the steak seemed more delicious to me, while not off the charts, but depending on what your crowd is into, I found the attentive service very enjoyable, if I so much as glanced at the waiter who was standing at attention by the wall, he would come see if I wanted something.

                          1. re: Griller141

                            It's an Argentine/Spanish restaurant on Melrose, a bit west of Fairfax.

                            Funny, but I've never considered Carlito Gardel to be a steakhouse, per se. I consider them more of place for sweetbreads, than fine cuts of beef.

                            Carlito Gardel
                            7963 Melrose Ave.
                            (323) 655-0891

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Kid brother loves their skirt steak, Sis-in-law puts away the filet medallions in wine sauce (and the Malbec) ...fettucine fruitti de mare was pretty good, but the appetizers excelled (stuffed mushroom, roasted garlic,...oh and the garlic/parsley fries)...and chimichurri (aka multipurpose sauce) which kept finding its way on to almost everything I ate.

                      2. IMHO...PDC is the best downtown...all prime and perfectly aged. i lunch here often.

                        i also lunch often at NICK and STEF's. not all prime. not always a great meal. service is spotty.

                        haven't been to MORTONs DT except for a the burger which is very good. i've never had a MORTONs steak i couldn't live without.

                        i like TAYLOR's, but you can't compare. it's a totally different steak.