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Rivera vs. Church and State vs. Lazy Ox Canteen

I am having a hard time choosing between these three!
We are going to a show at the Staples Center and would like a restaurant this is walking distance.
I've looked at the menu for all three and, they all seem reasonably priced and well thought out but, what looks good on paper doesn't always pan out.
Please help with a suggestion and what I should order from the one you recommend of the three.

Staples Center
1111 S Figueroa St Ste 3100, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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  1. rivera is the only restaurant that is within reasonable walking distance to staples center.

    1. Lazy Ox is farther than Rivera, but still within what I think of as walking distance. Maybe not so much for Church & State. The restaurants are also very different. As far as food goes, I'd give the nod - by a longshot - to Church & State and Lazy Ox, probably in that order but they're pretty close - although very different food. For drinks, Rivera wins it hands down, but I think the food there is highly overrated.

      Church & State
      1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

      1. Rivera is within walking distance and my fav of the three. Combination of fantastic cuisine and the best bar in town for cocktails, spirits, and wines all around.

        The other places are great, I haven't been back to Church and State since the new chef took over, but Walter Mantzke supervised the changing of the guard and the menu is the same for the moment.

        All three are such different restaurants, but the Lazy Ox is more casual than the other and not quite at their level. It still is very happening though.

        At Rivera, the arabasque, chile relleno with buratta cheese, the tuna ceviche, the cochinita in sous vide, the kumamoto oysters with cucumber gel, tortillas florales, and John Sedlar's original mole are tried and true. I also dig the ribeye in the pimenton sauce w potatoes.

        Great rum, tequila, bourbon, gin, whiskies, and Weber Haus cachaca. Julian Cox's superb cocktails, and a thorough commitment to a fine dining service.

        1 Reply
        1. re: streetgourmetla

          i agree and will add the duck enfrijolada and the lamb chops to the list, but Sedlar really needs to come out with a new menu. His menu has been virtually the same since opening. The real reason I live there is Julian's commitment to offering new and flavorful cocktails with the coming of each season

        2. The only one I'd be willing to walk to & from (especially at night) is Rivera.

          1. Although my favorite remains Church & State, I fully agree with streetgourmetla’s Rivera recommendation and menu selections. You can’t go wrong with those. Albeit a bit pricey, $44 IIRC, you can also have an opportunity (if you haven't done so already) to sample some genuine Jamon Iberico de Bellota Pata Negra. Moreover, among the three, Rivera is the only one within reasonable walking distance. It’s literally a block away, whereas the other two are miles away.

            Church & State
            1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

            1 Reply
            1. re: degustateur

              I'm actually going out to dinner next week and it was between these three places. What if proximity to Staples is NOT an issue. Which is the most favorable and why?

            2. If you really want to walk between dinner and Staples, Rivera is the only choice. The walk between Lazy Ox and Staples is definitely two miles, and unless you know your way around downtown you're going to pass through some real sketchy areas. Church & State is farther away and you may pass through even sketchier areas. But Rivera is great. Go with streetgourmetla's food recs, definitely sample the cocktail menu, and you'll have a great time.

              Sarcasmsk: I live in downtown and have been to all three of these places a bunch of times. If proximity to Staples isn't an issue, I think Church & State is the right choice, hands down. It's easily my favorite restaurant downtown. Only caveat is that I haven't been since Manzke left. Between Lazy Ox and Rivera I'd probably pick Lazy Ox, but only because it's more fun and less formal, which is usually what I'm going for if I decide to stay in the neighborhood.

              Church & State
              1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

              1. Thanks for all your recs! We ended up at Rivera, which was just amazing. Sat in the Sangre room (or something like that). Great service. We brought one bottle of wine, and bought another.
                Small plates ordered were: tortillas, duck, braised short rib tamal, cevice, lamb chop, cod, quail, and the special small plates fish of the day. i must say that they were ALL very very good... the whole table was ooing awwing after every taste. however, my favorites were: tortillas (we all loved it so much we ended up ordering another one!), duck, short rib tamal, and quail.
                large plates ordered: chicken (so juicy and flavorful!), rib eye (cooked to perfection, with the most flavorful "crust" of seasoning), and sous vide (FANTASTIC as well). we all got to try a bite of everyone else's main dish and, again... nothing was less than stellar.
                we really loved this place and, my guests were all saying how they can not wait to come back again :)
                my group was not a "cocktail" type group but, i will be back to try some of their cocktails soon. i can't wait to go back myself!

                4 Replies
                1. re: banquisha

                  I forgot to mention the tamal, which I had for the forst time recently. It's amazing, a really soulful dish. Texture and flavor outstanding.

                  Great to hear your group had a fantastic time.

                  1. re: banquisha

                    Hi banquisha,

                    Glad you had a great time! :) Next time you should also try their Study of Flan (3 different types of Flan); fantastic dessert. :) And you definitely need to check out some of Julian Cox's wonderful cocktails. Hopefully Purple Rain is back on the menu (my favorite :).

                    1. re: banquisha

                      When you return, go with a smaller group, and sit at the raw bar, not sure of its exact title, but where the assistant chefs do much of the cooking/prep work that you can see through the windows on Flower. You will enjoy the show and food so much more, yet because it is an L Shaped bar, it is difficult for much conversation beyond a party of 2, maybe 3. but watching the food prepared, whether yours or anyone else's, is major entertainment, and much better than most shows at LA Live!!!

                      1. re: carter

                        The bar overlooking the prep area is called the chef's bar. They were booked when I called earlier in the day, so we showed up and initially got turned away, but eventually were seated here. Pretty cool and one of the chefs gave us a few pieces of that awesome jamon ibierco, doesn't hurt to be 3 gals dressed up before a show :P The maya puerco pibil sous vide, is awesome. The hostess is not the friendliest, but try to get the attention of some management and they'll take care of you.

                    2. I realize this is moot now, but for future readers of this post here's the skinny on the distance: Church & State about 2.5 miles; Lazy Ox about 2 miles; Rivera about 500 feet

                      Church & State
                      1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021