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Feb 9, 2009 09:16 AM

Lunch in the USC area

We are going to see a play at USC in March, the Beggar's Opera. Our cousin's daughter is in the play. Can anyone suggest a nice place for lunch for us, and our out-of-town relatives?

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  1. I don't have a good idea of what you mean by "nice." If you mean a business lunch, with valet parking, attentive service, and multicourse food, you want to eat in downtown L.A. and then just take Figueroa south to USC. I'd recommend Water Grill or Roy's, with Cafe Pinot next to the library a great place if it is nice outside.

    If great, special food is the goal, my definite recommendation is Langer's Deli, on the S/E corner of Alvarado and Seventh, next to McArthur Park. (There is a validated parking lot one block east and across 7th on the north.) One thing to get there: pastrami on rye. Fantastic thick-sliced pastrami, rich and tender, succulent and superior. And the perfect twice-baked rye bread, crispy crusts, very soft in the middle. Share some crinklecut fries ordered welldone and start with a cup of the matzoh ball soup. Then head south, Alvarado will get you to Hoover, and down to USC.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      I purposely kept it vague to see what kind of response I'd get -- obviously not much. We are going to meet on Sunday, before the afternoon matinee show. I'd like to eat somewhere close (within walking distance of the campus), but if that is not possible, then of course, anywhere downtown would do. And you are right, by nice, I meant something a little causal, but not fast food. As cousins, we don't get together too often (weddings, mitzvahs, birthdays...), so someplace we could park, sit, eat, talk and laugh, and then go to the show.

      If the immediate area is not that great, then I guess we could go almost anywhere (Little Tokyo, Chinatown, or...???). And yes, Langers.


      1. re: Golem

        I think this might be tough. Langer's, I believe, might be closed on Sunday. Many of the downtown restaurants are not open for lunch on weekends -- they cater to the business crowds. If your goal is to park once, that is going to be difficult, though I am fairly unfamiliar with the inner campus, where the theatre is, and what parking lots or restaurants might be nearby.

        What direction will folks be coming from? A Chinese lunch at Yang Chow or a dim sum lunch at Ocean or another place in Chinatown might work if you are coming from Pasadena or the Valley, or better still dim sum or XLB in the SGV if coming from the east. Is El Cholo open then? Chichen Itza?

        1. re: nosh

          We've got people coming in from out of town as well as natives (us from the Valley, others from Silverlake). I'm not sure where the out of towners are staying, but I'm going to guess that it will be at one of the downtown hotels.

          If there is nothing "appropriate" in the campus vicinity, I would consider Chinatown. At least that is somewhat convenient.

    2. Have you tried Bacaro, on Union? I enjoy that place very much.

      1 Reply
      1. re: grendel20

        We are open to anything. What kind of place is it? Where on Union?

      2. If you want a super casual, walk to campus lunch, there's the 29the Street Cafe. If you want something a little 'nicer,' you'll have to drive a couple of miles north on Figueroa, between 9th street and 4th(ish). There are lots of restaurants there: Roy's, , Zucca Ristorante, Morton's steakhouse, and Engine Co #28. And by Staples Center there's the Liberty Grill and an ESPN Zone. I can't remember what other restaurants are open in that area, but quite a few are being prepped as we speak.

        1. If you want to park once and walk to the play, the only thing I can think of is the original Chichin Itza in the Mercado La Paloma, on the other side of the freeway. The food gets a lot of love here, though I've yet to try it. Yucatecan food is a mishmash of native and foreign cultures, which is why you find things like gouda cheese and Lebanese "kibi" in the menu. The location is not pretty-- think food court style. But the restaurant is still full service, with meals served on real heavy dinnerware (not paper plates) and the owner is really passionate about bringing Yucatecan food to Los Angeles (I saw him speak with Jonathan Gold at a Zocalo panel a while back)

          The most typical Yucatecan dishes are cochinita pibil and queso relleno.

          Lunch menu:

          Mr Taster