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Started working in Downtown area...need lunch advice

Hi everyone,

I recently started a new job and my office is off Central, near 14th or so. I've checked out a few places in Little Tokyo, which I love and have found a couple of interesting places to go but...I just know there has to be some hidden or not so hidden little gems around here, please help! What are some tasty lunch spots in this area? I'd especially love some Mexican suggestions but am open to all types of cuisine. Thanks!!

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  1. Grand Central Market seems to be a hot spot for Chow folks, particularly for fish tacos. I plan to hit the GCM when I start my new assignment downtown in April. Also, the following website will give you an update on exisiting, new, and upcoming restaurants in DTLA.


    1. There's a Senor Fish location at the end of the street where Little Tokyo is (422 E. 1st St.), there's also a Cuban restaurant there (right around the corner). I discovered these the last time I had jury duty downtown.

      1. Close to you is a branch of King Taco and El Cihualteco.
        GCM Mexican stands are more known for meat than for fish.

        If you can find parking nearby, we need a Fashion District chow reporter!

        In a more favorable traffic direction, Mike's Sandwich serves a good burger and roast beef sandwich on Armenian bread.

        Too bad DASH doesn't run down Central.

        Grand Central Market
        317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        King Taco
        645 E Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

        Senor Fish
        422 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Cuba Central
        114 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Mike's Hockey Burger
        1717 S Soto St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

        El Cihualteco
        2325 1/2 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

        3 Replies
        1. re: DiveFan

          El Cihualteco is a 20+ year favorite of mine. As a point of clarification, I believe it's Mike's Hockey Burger.

          1. re: DiveFan

            JAB, thanks for confirming I'm not going nuts. I'll update the title in the place link.

            Fisherman's Outlet gets mixed reviews on CH; I haven't been in forever.

            Fisherman's Outlet
            529 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

            1. re: DiveFan

              GCM is not just for meats!. The fish stand (near the massage place) makes great fish tacos ($5 for two fish tacos w/ rice and beans)! I always see people order the 7 mares soup from there but I've never had it. I think more people are starting to discover it because they hired more staff and there is a semi-crowd.

              One of the best deals in town is the Olive Branch in the Bonaventure Hotel. For under $6 you can get: a quarter chicken, tabouli, hummus, babba ganoush (sp), bread, greek salad, salsa, and chip. Everything is fresh and tasty.

            2. I live and work downtown. Here are my favorite places.

              Roy's. Upscale chain, one of my favorites nonetheless. The macadamian nut mahi mahi is terrific.
              Bar-B Kosher. Huge portions of good Israeli food.
              Tiara Cafe. Hit and miss and a bit pretentious (though casual), but definitely enjoyable overall.
              George's Greek Cafe (7th & Fig): The salmon and chicken gyro salads are delicious; everything else is iffy.
              Charlie Kabob (7th & Fig): Satisfying basic Persian food
              Senor Fish
              Cuba Central
              Lots of Little Tokyo places (Sushi Gen, Sushi Go 55, R22, Komasa)
              Angelique: more for the sunny atmosphere than the food, but the food is generally good enough.
              Blossom: Tasty Americanized Vietnamese
              Water Grill: For very-high-priced creative dishes with a seafood emphasis.
              Cafe Pinot: A solid restaurant focused on the business crowd.

              5 Replies
              1. re: aventinus

                Pasta Primavera, on 7th; lunch only, basic but tasty Italian;
                The Persian and Turkish places in the alley in the Jewelry District (off 7th at Hill? Broadway?)
                I've found the Guerrero Taqueria on 8th and Broadway to be pretty good, if kinda basic;
                Gill's Indian in the Stillwell Hotel (AYCE buffet lunch).

                Some more.

                1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                  If you want pasta for lunch you gotta go to Colori Kitchen.

                    1. re: HastaLaPasta


                      Colori Kitchen
                      429 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                2. re: aventinus

                  How is R23 lately BTW? I haven't been there in a while, as I wasn't too impressed on my last visit there several years ago. Am tempted to try it again (probably for dinner though), but only if still worth the risk (it's not in the greatest part of Downtown).

                3. Is the Yorkshire Grill still open? I thought their matzo ball soup was passable.

                  1. Surrounding downtown: Dino's, on the N/W corner of Pico at Berendo, a couple of blocks west of Vermont. A giant pastrami sandwich, good carne asada plate, fine burgers, but most people are eating the crazy chicken special, a marinated half-bird served on a bed of thin crispy fries with cole slaw and tortillas for about $5. A few blocks further west at Normandie is Papa Cristo's C & K Market for good, casual Greek.

                    North of Chinatown on the N/W corner of 19th is Carnitas Michaocan, arguably the best Mexican stand in town. Good carne asada, better al pastor actually carved from a rotisserie spit. Big burritos are less than $5, and they also do fine loaded quesadillas and nachos. But the incredible, amazing specialty here is their salsa roja, thin and rust-brown, smoky, spicy, complex and hot, my favorite in town.

                    For historical purposes there is Phillippe's, across from Union Station east of Chinatown, with their ever-shrinking dip sandwiches (the lamb or pork are much better than the beef). But for tasty, stuffed, satisfying monsters, cross to the other side of Chinatown to Eastside Deli, and give the hot beef and pastrami with peppers a try. For a funky diner favored by lots of cops, try Nick's on North Spring N/E of Chinatown. Breakfast served all day, BBQ a couple days a week, and known for perhaps the best grilled ham in town.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: nosh

                      Thanks for all the advice, I am hoping to get to Carnitas Michaocan tomorrow! It sounds perfect.

                      1. re: suzyshi

                        Please report back on Carnitas Michaocan.

                        I'll add a couple more to your possible rotation: On Central just north of 6th, there is Fisherman's Outlet -- big portions of char-grilled fresh fish served with a choice of teriyaki, cajun, or garlic and butter seasoning at very reasonable prices. Lines that move fast and covered outdoor seating at communal tables. Their fried fish, shrimp and scallops are also quite good, and there is another line on the right for seafood salads and cold items. A downtown favorite.

                        If you take Washington or the freeway directly east, on the west side of Soto you will find Mike's Hockey Burger. Great place! They do a special burger with a patty and a split dog, they do a good roast beef on Armenian bread, and their breakfast items and pastrami are also good. Order the fries welldone -- enough to share. Very friendly and extremely clean, great service.

                        1. re: nosh

                          Went to Carnitas Michaocan today for lunch...Thank you SO much for the recommendation, one of the best burritos I've had in a very long time! I did the al pastor and loved it. The salsa was incredible, I was afraid it would be too hot for me but I didn't have any problem. The smoky flavor was perfect. I dragged along a coworker who quickly commented that we'd have to work the place in on a weekly basis. I'm going to have to do my best to try something different next time but it might be tough.

                          1. re: suzyshi

                            I'd just like to add that I took a friend and tried out Carnitas Michaocan earlier tonight on nosh's recommendation, and your approval.


                            We got carne asada burritos, and nachos to share. Looking forward to going back to try out the al pastor. Just thinking about the red sauce is making my mouth water right now. Amazing recommendation. Thank you.

                    2. Joymart (in Japanese Village): Great combo lunch specials for $8-10. It's no R23, but good bang for the buck. Some times slow service though.

                      Of course, there's Daikokuya for ramen; HK Korean BBQ; Senor Fish for fish tacos; all along 1st St (?), in/near Little Tokyo.

                      1. Please do get a copy of this week's LA Downtown News, which also has its yearly restaurant guide as a bonus - always worthy of keeping at the office/home and asking about specific places as the situation arises.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: carter

                          BTW the online versions of the guides are here:

                          IIRC somewhere buried in LADN's web site is this informative interactive map:

                        2. Coworkers and I tried Cuba Central (corner of E. 1st & S. Central) for takeout. Everyone was generally satisfied w/ their choices (mojito chicken, shredded pork, shrimp), except maybe the Cuban steak (a bit tough). I ordered the Mojito chicken plate that came w/ choice of rice/veggies + few fried plantains and it was at least 6 out of 10. Portions were good. Not terribly greasy. Prices ranged from $7-12. I'd go back if in the mood.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pharmnerd

                            The food is decent at Cuba Central, but they take a long time to get your food ready, especially if you dine in. Takeout isn't bad if you call ahead.

                          2. I also Recomend El Cihualtecho, try the Al Pastor Buritto with double tortilla (YUou must eat with lemon and salt.
                            Another good spot is the Eastside Deli (ESMDELI.COM). Happy Eating