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Small, comfortable, delicious around downtown or on east side?

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My boyfriend and I are meeting on New Years in LA, staying downtown. We are coming from long flights from Europe and Asia, so I'm looking for an intimate place that is well-regarded and not big or too formal, preferably downtown or on the east side. (Need to avoid Italian and Cantonese.) I've been looking at the past threads and most of the places that are making the "best" lists are a bit bigger and more imposing than what I am hoping for. Mexican would really be my first choice - I am thinking about Malo, maybe, because I love the tacos but it's still a bit bigger than what i had in mind - but if somebody has a favorite candelit neighborhood hole in wall, I would love to hear about it. Many thanks.

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  1. I think Woodspoon is the perfect fit for your criteria. Its a minimalist modern hole in the wall downtown and helmed by an amazing woman-chef. Its Brazilian cuisine and absolutely delicious.

    http://www.laweekly.com/2008-07-03/ea...

    1. I'm not sure if sushi fits your menu choices, but R23 fits the "downtown, candlelit, intimate, well-regarded, divey, etc." criteria.
      http://www.r23.com/

      1. Bar C
        Barbara's at the Brewery
        The Alcove
        Little Dom's

        -----
        Alcove Cafe & Bakery
        1929 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        Little Dom's
        2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        Tapas & Wine Bar C
        428 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Barbara's At the Brewery
        620 Moulton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90031

        1. Malo is not what I'd call intimate. While we like it, Malo's usually quite loud and chaotic. What about Canele, Rambutan, Palate, or even Urth in the Arts District downtown?

          http://www.canele-la.com/
          http://rambutanthai.com/
          http://www.palatefoodwine.com/
          http://www.urthcaffe.com/
          http://www.yelp.com/biz/urth-caffe-lo...

          All are pretty cozy, though Palate may be crazy on New Year's. And none are Mexican, sorry! Good luck!

          1. the park on sunset, it's tasty and close to downtown.

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            The Park
            1400 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

            1 Reply
            1. re: tooth

              The Park's a great idea too!

            2. klarue,

              Your post says your are "meeting on New Years" ... does that mean you'll also be "eating" on New Years?

              if so, I'd double check to make sure the recs you've gotten so far are open.

              But of the ones that have been listed, I would strongly suggest Wood Spoon. Other options would be Cafe Metropol in downtown LA, or even Larkin's in Eagle Rock. And a bit further north (and east) in Glendale, but worth the extra drive, is Palate.

              Enjoy your stay.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                thanks so much! this is so helpful. i will definitely call and see who's open for new year's eve - that is when we'll be eating so it might limit me a bit. but i'm sure we'll find something from this great list!