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Feb 10, 2009 07:22 PM

Best 3 Downtown Restaurants?

I am taking 1 out of the country teenage guest along with my own teenager and wife to the Mark Taper Forum. Where would you recommend taking them for a pre-theater dinner?

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  1. Depends so much what you are looking for and what your budget is. There are many options from the elegant and expensive restaurants such as Patina and Water Grill which are Downtown, to other more casual and moderate options in Downtown and nearby Silver Lake such as Aroma and Blair's, which are also excellent restaurants. Tell us what you are looking for, and perhaps we can help...budget, type of cuisine, formal or casual, etc.

    1. Whatever your needs and preferences, I'd recommend considering the Water Grill (excellent seafood with sometimes-outstanding beef choices and fine desserts), La Serenata de Garibaldi (seafood-focused fancy Mexican food -- one of Los Angeles' best and most-satisfying Mexican dining rooms -- in the nearby barrio), and, just for variety, the Pacific Dining Car (very good if expensive steakhouse, undoubtedly one of the best 24-hour restaurants in the country; you usually can't go wrong if you order simple things simply prepared -- steaks, prime rib, baked potato, shrimp cocktail, apple ice cream, etc. -- and you get a hefty dose of Los Angeles history with the deal).

      1. I recommend the Wood Spoon. It's more low-key but teenage friendly. Brazilian.
        I went to it before the LA Opera on a recommendation I got here on Chowhound. Loved it and go back all the time.
        On 9th street, just West of Main street.

        3 Replies
        1. re: megs8

          Thanks, the teenager is from Chile (she loves Brazilian style food), and the place sounds ideal.

            1. re: AMC1210

              Don't know that they take reservations...however...dinner opens at 6pm (which is about when I've gotten there to eat before seeing a show) and it hasn't been a problem.

          1. Best restaurant in the area is Water Grill, but it is expensive. Best ratio of quality:price is Roy's. Both have a free shuttle to the music center.

            1. Water Grill is good but I prefer Drago Centro - nice modern spin on Italian dishes (venison carpaccio and burrata apps are the yum!), Casa is good for contemporary Mexican and within walking distance of Mark Taper and Little Tokyo area has lots of different options too (on top of assorted Japanese fare from sushi to ramen to curries and shabu shabu, there's also Spitz for doner kebab sandwiches, and nearby Pitfire Pizza.)


              8 Replies
              1. re: AquaW

                Drago Centro sounds like the place my wife and I will try without the kids.

                1. re: AMC1210

                  yea, a little more adult-y; I think CASA will work in a pinch, nice food that's not too weird for the kids (and the flaming queso appetizer is a visual & tasty crowd-pleaser) - and you and your wife can get some festive drinks and not worry about having to drive to Forum after.


                  1. re: AquaW

                    Driving on the110 and festive drinks will have me walking to any good restaurant, but thanks for the tip.

                2. re: AquaW

                  I decided to give the girls a fine dining experience.and went to Drago Centro. Thanks for the tip. We had a great dining experience and the shuttle to the Music Center worked out perfectly.
                  Thanks again

                  1. re: AMC1210

                    Glad you and the kids enjoyed Drago Centro. That reminds me that I should take my kids next time. And did you have to arrange for the shuttle ahead of time? How long did it take to get to Music Center?

                    1. re: fdb

                      Shuttles stop just outside the Restaurant on Flower (you are able to see the shuttle from the Restaurant). It comes at 15 minute intervals. takes less than 8 minutes to get to the Music Center. The Music Center stop is just outside the Valet parking curb 50 feet from the theaters. We waited less than 5 minutes to return to Drago Valet parking. They charged $7.00.

                      1. re: AMC1210

                        Sounds very convenient. Thanks. I go to the opera regularly so this will help me next dinner plan.

                    2. re: AMC1210

                      Glad Drago turned out well for you and yours, can't wait to make a 2nd trip back myself.