Car-less conventioneer CH ISO great food
Hi LA CH-ers -- New Englander here, coming out for a convention in late May. I've been to Los Angeles a few times but always get stuck at expensive, somewhat stuffy and "safe" travel guidebook business dinners, and while that food has been amazing at times, I'd love to branch out on my own on this trip, CH-style. But I could really use some help.
Could you recommend some unpretentious spots with great food that aren't too terrible of a cab ride from downtown...staying at the Westin Bonaventure. Priorities are quality food, no uncomfortable "scene," inexpensive or moderate. Anything goes in terms of cuisine, good Mexican would be a particular treat, but Korean, Southwestern, Vietnamese, *real* "California," anything else special to the region would be much appreciated. (We can't get banh mi around here, for example. Or In-n-Out burgers, for that matter.) I'd also splurge on excellent West Coast sushi. Thanks so much, and I'd be happy to reciprocate if you ever drop by the NE board. :)
Just a little info on being at the Bonaventure: you're 2 blocks from the Red Line at 7th/Fig, so you have access to the Metro rail network. A few suggestions include:
Red Line - Westlake/MacArthur Park Stop - Langer's for a pastrami on rye. It'll run you about $11 for just the sandwich, but it's been argued that it's the best in the country.
Red Line - Vermont/Beverly - Koreatown - there are myriad recommendations on this board, and many people more knowledgeable than I.
Walking - Grand Central Market is located between Hill and Broadway where they intersect 3rd and 4th. Very inexpensive, lots of street mexican food along with random other latin, asian, and american style food.
There were some threads focused on the train lines a while back. This is the Red Line one, but you can search for the others as well.
Besides the red line (subway -- very limited) and the bus system, the way to get around downtown is the DASH system, small buses that run about four different routes and only cost 25 cents. Mostly during daytime hours -- I don't know how late they run. But they will make outer parts of downtown, Chinatown, and Little Tokyo accessible. L.A. is NOT a cab town -- you can get picked up at the hotel, but it may be difficult to get back.
Great, thanks nosh and Diana. I am probably mostly dealing with weeknight dinners, unfortunately. Maybe one daytime excursion. But you've given me a better understanding of what neighborhoods I can easily access and that will help w/searching the board. Anything to avoid marked-up room service or another boring business dinner. :)
You're not far from Olvera Street, which is touristy but actually has good Mexican food. Do a search for Olvera Street on this board and you will find a lot of recs. I also like Senor Fish in the downtown area for tacos, but Olvera Street is definitely more fun. I'm not that familiar with the sushi options downtown, but Izayoi has good lunch specials. Actually, you may want to do a search for Little Tokyo on this board. I believe all of these places are reachable via DASH buses. Some of these places are probably within walking distance for daytime, but there are sections of downtown that aren't safe to walk alone at night.
One weeknight dinner place to consider, which would be both easily accessible and provide a very L.A. experience, is Traxx at Union Station. I cannot vouch for the food, but there are plenty of hounds who've been there. If it's a warm evening, their outside patio looks particularly inviting.
My sushi recommendation, in nearby Little Tokyo, is Sushi Go 55. Sushi Gen is also a favorite of many locals (also in Little Tokyo).
Right across the street from your hotel is Ciudad. The food isn't the greatest, but there are some good options, and it is a very L.A. place without being a scene at all.
800 N Alameda St Ste 122, Los Angeles, CA 90012
445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Sushi Go 55
333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Take the Red line to Hollywood/Western and walk the six or eight blocks to Jitlada, for fantastic Southern Thai food. Or go to any one of a number of pretty good Thai places in that area. Or go to Paru's, for Southern Indian.
And I second the recommendation for Yum Cha for lunch. (They close at 5, and don't have much selection after 3 or so.) Also, CBS (also in Chinatown) probably has better Chinese food than you'll find in most of New England.
If you take the Dash in the evening, be sure to check the schedule; IIRC they stop running fairly early. You can always take the red line back, though.