Good cheap eats in downtown, (around 4th/Hope St)
I recently started work here in downtown LA and am looking for some good, cheap eats, preferably near my office which is on the corner of Hope and 4th. I was hoping someone could recommend some place within walking distance as I'm not familiar with the bus systerm quite yet and don't have enough time to get my car out and drive somewhere.
Currently, I've just been wandering around looking for food, but have found nothing great yet. I hope there's more than just fastfood around here! :)
Thank you so much!
I worked on 4th and Hope for several years and here are a few places I thought were decent and within walking distance:
Ana Maria's and Grand Central Market for chile relleno burritos, flautas, tacos, etc.
Mendocino Farms for specialty sandwiches (but go early or late because as David Kahn expertly mentioned, the lunchtime line is much too long)
Korean BBQ Plus in Bonaventure Hotel
For Italian, Cafe Prezzo on 5th and Figueroa and Mangia Mangia underground at 5th and Flower
Weekly downtown Farmers Market on 5th St has good rotisserie chicken and hot dog booths
Going south on Grand near Biltmore Hotel before 6th St is a French dip sandwich shop, I like their roast turkey dip
On 6th and Grand, Emerson's cafe has good salads and sandwiches
Gas Company tower cafeteria on 5th and Grand is OK for hearty lunches
In the downtown financial district, really good food is generally costly. There's lots of good cheap food nearby, but mostly you have to drive (or take the subway) to get to it. Of course, there are exceptions. The ones I can think off off the bat are as follows.
The Grand Central Market (http://www.grandcentralsquare.com/ ) is pretty close to you, and is the Mack Daddy of downtown cheap eats. You can easily get two meals worth of food for less than $5 at Ana Maria's, Roast to Go, and/or Tacos Tumbras A Tomas. My favorite is the carnitas burrito or the gorditas at Ana Maria's. (I know it's gauche to link to one's own posts, but I don't have the energy to retype this: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/69805#380947 .) The problem with the GCM is that it can sometimes be a challenge to find a place to sit down and eat.
Closer to you, and more costly, I think the sandwiches, etc. at Mendocino Farms (http://www.mendocinofarms.com/ ) are very good. You have to go early or be prepared for a savage line.
Maybe too much of a hoof for you, and not really all that cheap, is Farid (635 S Broadway, (213) 622-0808), which has good, reasonably inexpensive middle eastern fare. Although the address is on Broadway, it's in a weird little alley (St. Vincent's Alley, or some such) that is like a little hidden oasis in the middle of the Jewelry District. Pretty good food though.
Finally, El Rancho (223 W 5th St., (213) 680-1013) is something of a downtown LA tradition. Sort of a dive, but I actually kind of like their green chili burrito. Hard to say it's really good food, however.
Hope this helps. Maybe others will have additional suggestions. After 15 years working downtown, I am now resigned to driving to lunch at least a couple of times a week. When you reach that point, post again, and I can give you a much longer, more interesting and varied, list of great cheap eats within easy driving distance.
re: David Kahn
I had a really tasty Carne Asada Burrito today at Tumbras A Tomas. It was greasy though but full of goodness.
-Aside from the $2 tacos at Grand Central Market I think the best foodie deal has to be at the Olive Branch in the Bonaventure Hotel. For under $5 you can get a quarter chicken, salad, tabouli, hummus, garlic sauce, chips and salsa and bread! But the wait can be really long, 20 min on a good day. Not because a lot of people go there but because they make things fresh and service can be polite but slow.
- 7th and Fig: the greek place gives you a 10% discount if you still have your student ID. They give you a lot of food and its really good.
- LA MALL (City Hall): A great sanwich place called the Pastry Place. A really hearty sandwich with two sides only costs $6.50. It's enough to feed two people.