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Casual but great food this friday downtown LA

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I'm driving up from SD on Friday and won't arrive until 8:30 or so, staying at the Westin on Figueroa, any suggestions for dinner? I want terrific innovative food within walking distance of the Westin, something casual but upscale. Too much to ask for?

We are hitting Osteria Mozza on Saturday - any must do's or any please avoid? I'm really excited for Saturday night so no Italian on Friday.

Also on Sunday we are staying at the Palomar, the new boutique hotel, anyone have any thoughts on their restaurant, BLVD 16?

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  1. In reverse order: I'm inferring that you are moving from the Westin downtown on Fri and Sat nights to the Palomar which is the revamped Doubletree on Wilshire in Westwood for Sunday. Blvd 16 got some press when it first opened this spring, but I haven't read anything about it or seen any reviews or recommendations on this board since then. So my top recommendation for dinner on Sunday nearby would be Craft in Century City, which is only a mile or two away -- east on Wilshire, right (south) on Beverly Glen, left (east) on Santa Monica Blvd. and then you are adjacent to Century City. A lot of people love the set menu Sunday suppers at Lucques in the West Hollywood/Bev Hills/mid-city vicinity. Unfortunately, Nook is closed on Sundays. But Orris is open for Japanese/French fusion small plates -- a very highly regarded experience just west of the 405 freeway on Sawtelle -- they don't take reservations, but the wait shouldn't be bad on a Sunday and you'd get in immediately if you showed up early.

    For Saturday lunch, by far my top recommendation would be the renowned pastrami on rye at Langer's Deli, on the S/E corner of 7th and Alvarado next to McArthur Park, a bit west of downtown. Unless you wanted to drive east for fifteen minutes or so for dim sum. Note: If you weren't from San Diego, I'd be suggesting some taquerias, but you have plenty of Mexican options at home.

    I'm coming up empty for anything upscale but innovative within walking distance of the Westin that late on a Friday night. I think either Roy's or Cafe Pinot would be walkable. The newer, trendy places are more towards the eastern part of downtown, where you definitely do NOT want to walk. And while Friday evening traffic is worse going to SD from L.A., you never know. You might be better off planning your route so you eat while waiting out some of the traffic midway in the OC, or asking about somewhere off the 405 in Long Beach (and then you'd take the 710 or 110 up to downtown) or off of the 5 (the classic Dal Rae steakhouse?) on your way up.