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Dinner near Los Angeles Union Station (Train Station)?

I am picking up 2 friends from the train station tomorrow evening, and would like a recommendation for a great place to have a sit-down dinner. The place does not have to be fancy, just good food and nice atmosphere to have conversations.

Ideal if restaurant was walking distance from the train station (if possible)

One of my friends recommended El Paso Inn, but he is not a Chowhound. What is houndworthy in this area? Please... nothing like Phillipes.

Any worthy Mexican restuarants?

I am looking for a place to spend no more than $20/pp.

Any good Mexican around here?

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  1. Of course, there's Traxx, right there inside the train station.

    8 Replies
    1. re: slacker

      Is Traxx a suggestion of a place that you MUST eat when you are in the area?

      From my experience, anything in a train station or airport is tourist food.

      Please explain.

      1. re: justified

        Traxx is very good, a real restaurant that's considered a need-to-try place in the downtown area. it is certainly not some public transport generic stomach filler.

        1. re: slacker

          Thank you for the recommendation and I apologize for coming across as doubtful.

          In the event that my guests desire food in the more "ethnic" direction, for example Mexican food, is there anyplace in the area worth considering, that is not a tourist trap?

          Thank you in advance.

          1. re: justified

            Olvera Street is literally right across the street. If you do a search on "Olvera Street" you'll find recommendations for Mexican restaurants.


            1. re: justified

              Olvera Street is right across the street. The large restaurant there is La Golondrina, it's pretty good, they have delicious mango margaritas. Olvera Street can be pretty touristy but I think good food can be found there, I think others who have eaten at more places there can give you a better recommendation. You might want to search the board for Olvera Street.

              1. re: slacker

                I must ditto the suggestion of La Golondrina. Best of the places on Olvera Street. Get the chicken mole. It's the best.

              2. re: justified

                I'd say if you're trying to avoid touristy you'd be better off at Traxx rather than Olvera Street.

          2. re: slacker

            Absolutely, Traxx is a great restaurant and it couldn't be more convenient.

            (We *are* assuming you're talking about Union Station ... your OP wasn't specific ...)

            Traxx Restaurant
            800 N Alameda St Ste 122, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          3. There's no way Traxx fits your $20/pp budget. All the entrees are over $20...and that doesn't include tax and tip, and any appetizers or desserts you might order.

            Ditto on the recommendations to walk over to Olvera St. The big restaurant there is touristy, but actually quite good.

            1. Maybe someplace in Chinatown... or Olvera Street. The train station, like train stations everywhere in this country, is in a truly terrible neighbourhood and you wouldn't want to be walking too far. The Twin Towers (Los Angeles men's central jail) is directly across the street. Think about what's around a prison and you'll see the problem.

              Traxx is good -- very good, even -- but way more than your price point.

              Drive to Chinatown or Little Tokyo.

              1. On Alvera street El Paseo is good (not sure if El Paso and El Paseo are the same place). I had their Albondigas soup and gorditas. Both were excellent. Definitely doable with your $20/pp budget. Service is prompt too but I've only been for lunch.

                1. Technically, you can sit down while eating, but I doubt you'd consider it a "sit-down restaurant," but Phillippe's is right around the corner and it's a fantastic place.

                  1. olvera street is cool but a slightly themed experience.... it actually used to be chinatown before the chinese were dispaced to the current chinatown, so its a sort of reimagined historicism...

                    if you want an OG/ authentic food cultural experience, union station is just west of east la.

                    just take first or second street street east across the bridge and you're in mexican central... why not check out the giant 3 story mercadito on 1st and lorena just east of the evergreen cemetary... it will be one of the raddest cultural experiences ever... go to the 3rd floor for three dimensional mariachi... i can't vouch for the food. it looks pretty typical. but there are lots of eateries on the second floor, you can try cactus fruits, there are tons of taco stands and trucks at night as well... normally i just go here for beers after taking visitors to la china poblana for a cemita and tacos baja ensenada for fish tacos... this of course will require driving...

                    another option is to head west on wilshire and hit la parilla... and get that big stonebowl of meat 'n' cheese 'n' beer 'n' goodies...

                    traxx is really good too, but more fancy (it actualy has many mexican fusion elements). its in the 10-15 dollar app. 20-30 dollar entree range of restaurant...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: modernist

                      Olvera Street is a reimagined place (very L.A!) with the irony being that Olvera Street and the surrounding plaza is steeped in history. The first Chinese settlement was on the north end of the plaza at the Grenier building in the late 1800’s. The first settlers to the area, prior to Chinese, where primarily mestizo and Afro-Mexican mixed race. Italians, French moved into area later as well. The area was under Mexican rule till mid 1800’s. The history of the area is so fascinating…but I digress!
                      Oops! Just noticed that OP is probably already eating somewhere…but would agree with Golondrina or Traxx.

                    2. Lots of good Mexican around there as other have pointed out. Our favorite is La Golondrina Cafe.

                      Phillippe's is sort of an LA icon. See here for all the cool details...

                      1. As observed, there is TONS of Mexican right outside the train station. I think there is an interesting aspect to Olvera Street, no matter how strange and/or kitschy it may be. Otherwise I agree with the Chinatown suggestion.