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Hip Trendy and Good Food? Downtown Recs

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I'm going to the Seven Grand whisky bar downtown Saturday night for a birthday. Trying to find somewhere to eat no more than 10-20 miles off that is young hip trendy but still under $30 per person and yummy food . Well...doesn't necessarily need to be young or trendy ( just threw that in for good measure) but yummy food and can accomodate a table of 8. Nice wine list a plus. Any recs please?

address of bar we will be at later that night
515 W. 7th St 2nd Fl (between Grand and Olive)
Downtown LA

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  1. 30/person is going to be hard.

    Might try Ciudad, which would probably be a good fit with your criteria.
    www.ciudad-la.com

    Or maybe Royale, but that's definitely pushing your budgetary limits.
    www.royaleonwilshire.com

    Luna Park might also work, but that's a bit farther east (but then 20 miles is a large area to work with).
    www.lunaparkla.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Good God, not Royale! You'll spend way at least $50 (and probably closer to $100) a head, still leave hungry, have a mediocre meal and a splitting headache from all the 50 Cent they've blasted throughout your dinner...

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'm not completely sold on the food at Ciudad, but it's at least decent and all the other young people around my office love it. I think it's a great choice for something like this.

        Another fun, popular choice is La Golondrina on Olvera Street, probably a mile away. I'm always happy there. I think the food is great and underrated. It's more homey and less pretentious than Ciudad--a better choice if you think things might get boisterous.

      2. Ten to twenty miles is a lot of ground to cover. We could be giving you restaurants in Long Beach or Santa Monica with that criterion, you know. I'll keep it closer to Downtown.

        I like WoodSpoon, the little Brazilian place on Ninth, but that's the evening of the Saturday night events when guests must be on the list to circumvent the restaurant's lack of a liquor license. You might call the restaurant to see if your group can be added to the list: (213) 629-1765.

        Blossom is sort of the Vietnamese version of WoodSpoon, a cool little laid-back storefront with decent food for hipsters. The pho would be laughed at in Little Saigon, but it's better than most of the stuff in west of the 110. The service is friendly, and the prices are good.

        http://www.blossomrestaurant.com/

        There's lots of eating in Little Tokyo, though sushi is likely to be more than $30 per person, and the famed Daikokuya could never fit eight in on a Saturday night. You could try one of the less crowded Japanese eateries along First Street, or you can try Sohoju in the Japanese Village Plaza for lighter versions of Korean dishes in a hip, design-forward space.

        You could just start a barhop instead and take advantage of the eats at other Downtown bars. The Redwood Bar & Grill has a fairly extensive menu, as well as that oh-so-fun pirate theme. (Okay, so it's a little more like a Red Lobster-circa-1986 theme. It's still fun.) The Edison has also added food, and I'm told their offerings are pretty good. My Edison-loving coworker described their Tesla burger, which sounds suspiciously like the famous Father's Office burger.

        http://www.theredwoodbar.com/
        http://www.theedison.com/

        This might not be a bad idea; I personally find the Cedd Moses bars are entertaining for about an hour, then it's time to move on. Sadly, Seven Grand, The Golden Gopher, and Broadway Bar are all starting to show the limits of Moses et cie's creativity.

        Outside of Downtown, there are a few good options in your budget with easy access to Downtown:

        Chichen Itza on Sixth Street in MacArthur Park fits in your price range, easily accommodates large parties, and is a straight shot into Downtown. Gingergrass in Silver Lake fits your price range and can likely set aside a large table with ample advance notice. Rambutan Thai in Silver Lake wouldn't win awards for the food, but it is a very sexy space, and it's a quick drive down Sunset into Downtown. (Of course, if you're coming past Pasadena, I'd say stop off at Saladang Song instead. Sexy space and fantastic food.) Cha Cha Cha on Virgil could just make the cut for $30 with judicious ordering, and it's pretty much always a party there.

        http://www.chichenitzarestaurant.com/
        http://www.gingergrass.com/
        http://www.rambutanthai.com/
        http://www.theoriginalchachacha.com/

        And of course, there's always Korean barbecue in Koreatown. That's a sure-fire way to get the evening off to a good start.

        Whatever you do, call and make room for your big party, even if the restaurant is not one that normally requires reservations.

        -----
        Redwood Bar & Grill
        316 W 2nd St Ste 202, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Blossom Restaurant
        426 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        Wood Spoon
        107 W Ninth St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

        Chichen Itza
        2501 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

        Gingergrass Silverlake
        2396 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

        Sohoju
        350 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Cha Cha Cha
        656 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

        The Edison
        108 W 2nd St Apt 104, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Rambutan Thai
        2835 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

        Saladang
        363 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

        1. I'm not too familiar with Downtown, so I'll comment on what I've experienced based on the suggestions already given.

          I love Luna Park when I want fun. That is definitely in your price range.

          Gingergrass is another nice option, quaint space with a nice menu.

          My only comment about Korean BBQ is the smell stays with you all night.

          7 Replies
          1. re: brekkie_fan

            The Korean barbecue smell stays with you if you go for a charcoal grill. Translation: Stay away from Soot Bull Jeep. Honey Pig is great, a good alternative to the endless slabs of bulgogi and galbi, with big plates of black pork and wild boar, finished with spicy rice with seaweed thrown right on the inverted grill. No fumes as it's more like a griddle. There's another place with grills like it in the Chapman Market on Sixth, but I don't recall the name.

            I'd pick that over the overpriced, bland food of Luna Park anyday. I love Luna Park when I want to waste money on a poor dining experience. My most three most vivid memories from Luna Park: the hostess' asking us if we had a reservation when there were only two other tables filled (when your restaurant's empty at 9:00 on a Sunday night, does it matter?); my friend's picking through her plate of moules frites, more than half of which were still closed and therefore bad; and our fighting to have said dead mussels that were subsequently sent back removed from the check. Good times!

            -----
            Honey Pig
            3400 W Eighth St, Los Angeles, CA 90010

            1. re: Woolsey

              I don't think I've ever had seafood there, but that's unfortunate that it was such a terrible experience. We've always had a good time (in both LA and SF locations) when we go. It's comfort food in my book. Oh, and my only guess for the "do you have a reservation" is for those who book on OT.

              1. re: Woolsey

                I was at Luna Park a couple of weeks ago before a concert at the El Rey and the food was just not very good. We had a decent heirloom tomato salad, a pretty good version of poke and then those horrible mussels. The mussels were so terrible that they really overshadowed the rest of the food since none of it was great. And it wasn't cheap either. I think the bowl of mussels was nearly $15 which would have been perfectly fine if they weren't bad. I was a little sad because I've had much better food there in the past.

                1. re: Woolsey

                  ime, doesn't matter if it is charcoal or gas grills for kbbq...but the smell will stick to you like white on rice all night. =)

                  1. re: wilafur

                    There's really no point in grilling Korean BBQ meat over a gas grill ... it just becomes sort of a glorified science experiment using a bigger bunsen burner.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      it is damn fun reliving my HS science experimenting days.

                    2. re: wilafur

                      Honey Pig, my recommendation, has neither a gas nor a charcoal grill. There's no open flame at all, which is why I recommend that. The grill there is actually a convex griddle, like an inverted wok, and we didn't smell at all, unless a bit of kimchi breath counts. They specialize in pork, and you don't even get rice until the end of the meal, when rice seasoned with chili, sesame, and seaweed is brought out and actually thrown onto the grill to cook with the leftover flavoring from the meat.

                2. Eyeballing the recommendation of Masa from the cornmeal pizza thread, that looks like it could be good. It's being added to my short list...

                  http://www.masaofechopark.com/
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/447103

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                  Masa of Echo Park
                  1800 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026