Nice affordable lunch downtown?
A friend of mine is visiting from out of town and I'm meeting her for lunch. I don't want her to know how miserable my downtown office life is (skyways, stores selling dusty umbrellas, the unrelenting sun). Can someone recommend a nice affordable lunch spot downtown that makes LA seem reasonably cosmopolitan?
You should do some exploring. Downtown might seem even more than 'reasonably cosmpolitan'.
Nickel Diner is a good start
Church and State
Any of those Little Tokyo Suggestions
The Grand Central Market
Bottega Louie (actually not sure if it's open for lunch)
bottega louie and drago centro (bottega is more affordable, drago has better food overall). the atmosphere and vibe of these locations def fit your "cosmopolitan" profile.
"Cosmopolitan" and "affordable" are very subjective terms, but in addition to the other suggestions (Bottega Louie being the best of them, IMHO, for what you seem to be seeking), I would add Wood Spoon and Blossom for very casual and inexpensive, and Drago Centro and Cafe Pinot for fancier and more expensive.
I live in Downtown and love it - it's sad to me that you're miserable! I think there's so much good stuff to be had here!
aching- plz do share your secrets!! i work in downtown and am always thinking how it's so lacking in the food area... which is why when bottega was a godsend for me since i work 3 blocks down and it's pretty much one of the very few decent places (IMO of course) downtown considering i don't even like alot of the food there!! doU have any suggestions for another lost soul?? perhaps u have some fav places that i haven't tried yet?? :)
I would also check out Tiara Cafe. Good food, affordable, cool vide, nice space. It almost makes you feel like your eating at some cafe in NY.
J.R. Bistro is very good for non dim sum Chinese. Very inexpensive. Try the scrambled egg shrimp. Superb. It's on the ground floor of the same building as Ocean Seafood.
I'm not exactly sure where you are, but Pete's Cafe has a very New York feel to it. I don't know what you consider affordable, but it seems like a reasonably priced lunch spot.
I also know that people will blast me for it, but The Farm at LA Live was pretty good when I ate there in March.
Roy's is probably on the more expensive side, but it is always reliable. The space is great and it definitely doesn't strike me as drab or miserable.
CBS and Full House, and even Empress Pavilion, in Chinatown are as good as most of the Chinese restaurants in most major cities in the US, (though they are out-gunned by the restaurants in the SGV, possibly the largest assortment of really good Chinese restaurants in the hemisphere!) .
The Little Tokyo suggestions are mostly good (I believe "that Italian place" is Capperi, though I don't know that I would have included it...); for izakaya, I think Izayoi is the more "cosmopolitan".