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European foodie in LA

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I will be staying at the Westin on So Figueroa for a week in July and would like to find Japanese, Mexican, seafood, American restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. I am not particuarly interested in Italian or French cuisine but rather food that is not readily available to me in the Netherlands. I find the geography of the LA posts somewhat confusing so I apologize if this question has been asked and responded to in earlier posts. POY

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  1. Hi POY,

    Welcome to L.A. :) It's not quite walking distance (but very close if you wanted to take a taxi):

    * Rivera - Very good Modern Latin cuisine; outstanding Farmer's Market fresh Cocktails.

    As for great Japanese restaurants within talking distance of your hotel? There's nothing I can recommend. If you're willing to take a taxi, let us know, and we can add some recommendations.

    Enjoy~

    -----
    Rivera Restaurant
    1050 S. Flower Street, #102, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    1 Reply
    1. re: exilekiss

      "If you're willing to take a taxi, let us know, and we can add some recommendations."

      ____________________________________________________

      Or the downtown DASH. http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

      So, with that in mind, I'll let exilekiss recommend away! :-)

    2. Well, if you are staying at the Bonaventure and are set on walking, you are missing out on a huge slice of the LA dining scene. The one thing not to be missed downtown is a French Dip sandwich. Two places in LA claim to have originated it: Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet (closer to the hotel) and Phillipe (my choice, take the suway to Union Station then walk from there). Both have been serving it for about 100 years. I also like Ciudad, especially for happy hour, and it is a very easy walk. My favorite bar is the rooftop bar at the Standard, again as easy walk. It gets crowded and too hip, but I love being on the roof around sunset and watching the skyline transition from day to night.

      It may not get a lot of love, but I also like Roy's Hawaiian. He diluted the heck out of his brand by opening up so many spots, but I think the food is good and the prixe fix dinner is a good bargain. Patina is also a good call, an easy walk and a very pretty spot next to the Central Library, but I have not been in quite a while. You should walk over to LA Live, especially on a night when the Lakers have a home game. It is fun to check out the crowd. There are tons of chains there - mid to upscale - so don't expect great food. My pregame spot now is Lucky Strike. The have good happy hour specials and I like the sliders.

      Definitely do a search on the site for Little Tokyo and Chinatown recommendations. Both are long walks/short cab rides from your hotel. Phillipe's is on the edge of Chinatown, so the subway can get you there as well. If you have a car, I recommend venturing beyond walking distance. You can also take the subway out to Pasadena. I used to work in LA and walked around a lot after dark, and the area is very different at night. I have never had a problem, but be aware of where you are, and walking to some of the further spots might put you in a very bad area heading back after dinner.

      -----
      Ciudad
      445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      4 Replies
      1. re: ocshooter

        Okay, a taxi it will be. I like to walk to my restaurant but I think LA is spread out enough that walking does not appear to be a reasonable option for a week's worth of food. Your suggestions for restaurants within striking distance are welcome.

        1. re: ocshooter

          I second the recommendation for Roy's. The misoyaki butterfish is fantastic, and the food has Asian influences. In my experience, the Roy's branch in downtown LA is one of the best and most consistent. Water Grill is the other excellent seafood restaurant downtown. It is very expensive, but the fish and shellfish is top quality.

          If you want to try some regional Mexican, consider going to Guelaguetza for Oaxacan food and try the mole sampler -- chicken with several different types of complex mole sauces -- or my favorite, the pork tamales with mole negro or coloradito. Guelaguetza is at Normandie and Olympic. You can either take a cab (about $10) or walk to Olympic and take the bus east about 2 miles. The food is generally in the $10-$15 range per entree. (Rivera is supposed to be very good, so you might try that as well to get a sense of very high-end and expensive Mexican.)

          I also agree that you should check out the Little Tokyo and Chinatown recommendations. Better Chinese can be found in the San Gabriel Valley (cab ride) and I find the better sushi is on the westside or San Fernando Valley, but what you have near downtown is still probably better than what you can get in the Netherlands.

          Also, while it is a chain and I will probably get some criticism, you might want to try California Pizza Kitchen for "California-style" pizzas. They won't resemble Italian pizzas very much, especially if you try BBQ chicken or Thai chicken. It just is a very California place. My European friends always enjoy going there.

          1. re: Jwsel

            must respectfully disagree with the recommendation of california pizza kitchen.
            imho, not a place to eat food.

        2. Look up La Serenata di Garibaldi...wonderful Mexican Seafood - doubt there's anything like it in Holland, or Europe for that matter. Well worth the cab fare.

          -----
          La Serenata
          10924 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

          1. The Ciudad rec is a good one. It's a pan-Latin place with good drinks. Water Grill has the best seafood downtown. I think it's walkable. Engine Co. No. 28 is sort of a good all purpose American restaurant not too far away.

            -----
            Water Grill
            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            Ciudad
            445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            8 Replies
            1. re: mc michael

              I was underwhelmed by Engine Co. No. 28 when I ate there and have not been to Water Grill is ages, but when I went, it was amazing. Expensive, but amazing.

              -----
              Water Grill
              544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

              1. re: mc michael

                For American, you're better off going to Pacific Dining Car. www.pacificdiningcar.com.

                Engine Co. No. 28 is like Bob's Big Boy, without Bob's.

                -----
                Pacific Dining Car
                1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I've had good crab cakes at Engine Co. And good ahi. And it's close to where OP is, but yes PDC is better. But it's a cab ride. And more expensive.
                  An interesting question is whether OP is better getting a steak at Prime in the Westin (where I have not dined) or trekking to PDC for one.
                  Bob's indeed. Let's not go there.

                  1. re: mc michael

                    Steak at Nic and Stef's or at La Bistecca, or if he wants to trek out to the Palm that's an option as well.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I would go to Morton's over any of those steak places. I especially find Nic & Stef's underwhelming.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        IIRC, Nic N Stef's has a good steak salad.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    Another option for American Bistro/Pub food is the Daily Grill. Yes, it is a chain, but I like the chicken pot pie there and they were the one of the first places Downtown to open up based on the condo crowd, and not relying on lunches and the Music Center or Staples.

                    1. re: ocshooter

                      If you want really good chicken pot pie, do NOT go to Daily Grill. Go immediately to Wood Spoon which is conveniently located downtown.

                      -----
                      Wood Spoon
                      107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                2. For Japanese within walking distance from Westin Bonaventure at 4th & Figueroa I recommend Chaya Downtown. The restaurant is technically fusion but if you sit at the sushi bar you can ask the itamae to serve you traditional omakase. Fantastic chow!

                  Chaya Downtown
                  525 South Flower Street
                  Los Angeles, CA 90071
                  (213) 236-9577
                  http://www.thechaya.com/downtownlosan...

                  -----
                  Chaya Downtown
                  525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  1. If you're interested in Korean, and are willing to take the rail line and walk a bit there's great korean off the purple/red line. Go from 7th st metro center on flower. You can get off vermont. If you go south on vermont a little there's kobawoo for their awesome pork belly cabbage wrap (bossam) and seafood pancake (hweh mul pajun). You will need a group for this. Further down vermont., there's awon for the sashimi rice bowl (hweh do bap) and the fish roe rice bowl (al bap). Even further down vermont before olympic you'll see the best korean bbq in town at Park's BBQ. There's also so kong dong for the best spicy tofu soup on olympic.
                    Off normandie, go north and then west on 6th. There's spicy potato pork neck soup at Ham Ji park and well as pork ribs. Next door there's icekiss for korean style shaved ice. There's also bonchon for korean style fried chicken on the corner. On the way back to the metro, theres a drinking place Dan sungsa which is full of nice korean bar food or anju to go with the soju.

                    -----
                    Park's BBQ
                    955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                    1. You can take the Metro Red Line subway two stops to Langer's Deli. The Pastrami there is the best you'll ever eat. It's really worth a visit. They do close at 4pm and are closed on Sunday.
                      http://www.langersdeli.com/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wienermobile

                        Very true...we've even gotten some New Yorkers visiting town to admit it's on par with Katz's..for New Yorkers on this thread don't throw stones...LA has good pastrami too!!

                        EAT EXPERIENCE ENJOY

                        1. Hi POY,

                          So I see you're willing to take a taxi now. :) With that being the case, do you have budgetary constraints for your meals, or are you seeking the absolute best / top-notch recommendations for "Japanese, Mexican, Seafood, American restaurants"? This will help us with recommendations for you. :)

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: exilekiss

                            This has been a wonderful response and I am looking forward to my time in LA. Another European foodie and I (I have shared these posts with him) would like to spend our last night at a top-notch restaurant. In our area, you can get a Michelin one star restaurant, three course meal for approximately 35-50 Euros ($50-$70?) From what I have read, three course set meals are not common in the States; most restaurants do an a la carte menu instead. That being said, we would like to have a memorable last night in LA at a restaurant with quality food and ambience.

                            1. re: POY

                              Since Los Angeles is an outstanding city for sushi, I suggest you take a taxi to West Los Angeles on your last night and try an omakase ("chef's choice" dinner) at one of our best sushi restaurants. I think the omakase at Mori Sushi (one Michelin star) is a top notch experience. Warning: It can cost up to $125 per person, but you can tell the chef in advance what your budget will be, and he will do his very best to accommodate you and your friend.

                              -----
                              Mori Sushi
                              11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                              1. re: POY

                                Hi POY,

                                I would second the suggestion from J.L. Since you're looking for a "top-notch" restaurant in L.A., similar to the Michelin 1 Star restaurants in Europe, and want something that you can't get in Europe (no Italian, no French), you might consider:

                                * Mori Sushi

                                It's Michelin 1 Star and Mori-san is one of L.A.'s finest Sushi Chefs. Be sure to ask for a seat in front of him at the Sushi Bar and sit back and watch his great knife skills and enjoy some of the best Sushi L.A. has to offer. As J.L. notes, let them know that you're working within a certain price-range and they'll accommodate you. :)

                                Besides that, I would recommend some great Japanese restaurants, but the cab ride might be a bit long/expensive, as they're down in Torrance (about ~25 - 30 min away from Downtown, depending on traffic). If this is OK with you, one place to definitely try is Torihei. Be prepared to enjoy some excellent Kyoto-style Oden and great Yakitori / Kushiyaki (Roasted Skewers of Meat and Vegetables over Charcoal). (Note: This place is inexpensive and very fairly priced :).

                                Lastly, if you're willing to spend a bit more above the $50 - $70 price range, and want a memorable restaurant with "quality food and ambience", you might also consider Providence. Providence is Michelin 2 Star and serves New American cuisine and outstanding Seafood dishes. Chef Michael Cimarusti shines with their Tasting Menus (5 Course = $85 / Full Tasting = $110 / Chef's Tasting Menu (the best, fully customizable) = $160).

                                Enjoy L.A.! :)

                                -----
                                Providence
                                5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                Mori Sushi
                                11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                Torihei
                                1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

                                1. re: POY

                                  I would recommend Hatfield's as one possibility for the last night meal. (If you go to my profile there is a link to my blog with posts about Hatfield's). Hatfield's has a very good 4-course prix fixe menu which (coming from Germany) covers in a good way what is creative "California" cuisine. Providence would also be a better (but also more expensive) option.
                                  I don't know the food scene in Netherland but at least in Germany there is a quite large Japanese community which has many options for sushi (and other Japanese) restaurants.

                                  1. re: POY

                                    michelin doesn't really understand LA. But for something in the price range and michelin worthy. You should follow Ludobites, which is a pop up style restaurant from a chef who's been trained by the best of the best French chefs. He's currently going to be in downtown until May. But he will likely pop up somewhere else in July. His food is highly creative and challenging at times. You will need to reserve online immediately before all the spots are filled up.

                                    1. re: peppermonkey

                                      Agree that Michelin Guide doesn't know how to deal with L.A.'s extremely diverse food scene, and the fact that the city's strongest suit is its hole-in-the-wall eateries...

                                      Ludovic Lefebvre's current stint at gram & papa's is all booked up, unfortunately.

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        I would also agree with this assessment of Michelin in Europe. I use a combination of Michelin, SlowFood and Chowhound to plan our restaurant stops while traveling in Europe of the States. That is why a lot of the recommendations on this site look excellent; good food at local places frequented by people who like to eat.

                                2. Walking distance is not a happy thing, POY, I'm sorry. However, you'll be three blocks (500 metres) from the Red, Purple and Blue lines of the Los Angeles Metro. (I assume you're no stranger to rail transit.)

                                  From there your possibilities are much better. You can head up into Koreatown on the Purple or Red Line and go to Park's BBQ, which is 400-500m off the Wilshire/Vermont stop.

                                  Also on Purple/Red at Westlake/Macarthur Park would be Langer's (fantastic American pastrami, as good as anything in New York). Bear in mind that it is only open until 16:00 (i.e., not open for dinner).

                                  If you're up for an extended train ride, take the Blue line to Imperial/Wilmington, then get on the Green Line toward Norwalk and go one stop to the Long Beach Blvd. station. Walking distance (100-200m) is Plaza Mexico, which is chock full of good things. You can have a quite elegant Mexican meal at low prices at La Huasteca, or Oaxacan (say "wah-HAH-kan") Southern Mexican specialities at La Guelaguetza in the same plaza. Finish up with a dessert from Bionicos Zapopan (fruit salads dressed with sour yoghurt, raisins, granola and coconut) or a fresh-fruit ice from Paleteria La Michoacana.

                                  Ah, I love Plaza Mexico.

                                  If you go on the Red Line toward North Hollywood, you can get off at Hollywood/Western and eat some amazing Thai food in L.A.'s Thai Town. If you can tolerate very spicy food, I recommend Jitlada on Sunset and Harvard. Also good are Sapp Noodle Shop (boat noodles), Ruen Pair and Sanamluang, not to mention desserts from Bhan Kanom Thai.

                                  Umami Burger is located off the Red Line at Vermont/Sunset. Just off that stop is also Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada, which is not a bad place for a Baja California speciality, fried fish tacos dressed with cabbage, sour cream and salsa.

                                  If you take the Red or Purple lines to Union Station and transfer to the Gold Line toward East Los Angeles, you will find an astonishing number of great places to eat. It's such a popular "food tour" that Metro have published an actual guide to it: http://www.metro.net/news_info/public...

                                  -----
                                  Park's BBQ
                                  955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                  Jitlada
                                  5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                  Ruen Pair Restaurant
                                  5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                  La Huasteca
                                  3150 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                                  Plaza Mexico
                                  3100 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                                  Bhan Kanom Thai
                                  5271 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                  Umami Burger
                                  850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    Your subway directions are very helpful, thanks.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      Another possible choice if you're willing to Metro is Los Balcones del Peru. It's about a five minute walk from the Hollywood/Vine station on the Red Line. It's obviously Peruvian, which I assume is rare in the Netherlands, but well covered around LA. Could also meet your seafood request depending on what you order. (Plus you get to spot stars along the Walk of Fame on your way there from the subway.)

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        Some other good options for Mexican regional food closer to downtown are located in Mercado La Paloma, which is only two blocks from the DASH F route. For some 'modern' Peruvian, Mo-Chica is located in the same building. If you want another excuse to visit the Mercado, there are several museums in Exposition Park nearby.

                                        BTW here's a well hidden route overview map on the DASH site: http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/rout...

                                        For a quick, casual meal in a real old time LA setting, visit one of the Mexican food stalls at the Grand Central Market just north of the Pershing Square Red Line station. The short funicular Angels Flight is running again, in case someone recommends a resto on top of Bunker Hill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_F...

                                        -----
                                        Grand Central Market
                                        317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                        Mercado La Paloma
                                        3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                        Chichen Itza
                                        3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                        Oaxacalifornia
                                        3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                        Mo-Chica
                                        3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                        1. re: DiveFan

                                          Great suggestion on Chichen Itza (one of the best Poc Chuc we've had in LA) and one of our favorite Mexican restaurants around downtown along with La Serenata de Garibaldi

                                          1. re: Pathological Eaters

                                            just came back from Mexico and ate Poc Chuc there and loved it! Very excited to try this out!

                                      2. I think some folks underestimate how much of downtown LA you can cover on foot quickly, especially a European who's probably used to walking more than the average American. I walk from the federal complex at Alameda and Temple (near Little Tokyo) to across the street from POY's hotel (the YMCA) virtually every weekday. It takes me about 20-25 minutes. Pretty much any of the "downtown" restaurants mentioned in this thread will be within a 30 minute walk, although some of them may be a sketchy walk after dark, e.g., Wood Spoon, especially if you don't know the area and where to avoid. But anything west of Hill and north of the Staples Center will be safe at any reasonable hour. The concierge can also help with safety issues, I'm sure, but they're probably trained to be risk-averse.

                                        That said, if you're from the Netherlands, try a Korean place. The aforementioned Parks BBQ is a good choice and easy from the Metro. The Mexican selections in this thread are also excellent. As noted by others, the Chinese options 7-10 miles east of downtown are also unique (even in the US -- excluding China, of course), but are quite a bit less convenient than the other major options.

                                        -----
                                        Wood Spoon
                                        107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: JamesF

                                          If you end up in Little Tokyo, I might suggest Suehiro. It's basically a Japanese diner with a wide variety of stuff beyond the typical sushi, tempura, etc. that has typically been part of the Japanese restaurant outside of Japan. Huge menu. Cheap (<$10). I like the miso eggplant and peppers ("House Special") and the specials on the wall.

                                          -----
                                          Suehiro Cafe
                                          337 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                          1. re: JamesF

                                            Thank-you everyone, I am truly looking forward to my trip to LA. I will let you know where I ate when I return in mid July.

                                            1. re: POY

                                              Recommendations in walking distance (walking is good it builds the appetite!)

                                              Japanese-
                                              Octopus- Only about a year old but very good quality sushi and udon (try the Nabeyaki) at very reasonable prices. You could walk there in 6 minutes
                                              http://www.octopusrestaurant.com/pb/

                                              You really might want to consider going to little tokyo though with a taxi because it is something that you will not find in the rest of the United States and the city's best sushi. Sushi Komasa it the fresh fish we've had but keep in mind they are only open for dinner and do not take reservations. The Yellowtail sushi will MELT like butter in your mouth

                                              Komasa-
                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/restaurant-ko...

                                              Mexican
                                              Walking distance from your hotel really you have Ciudad and Rivera but they are more modern takes on traditional Mexican. We would recommend if you want to stay in downtown, take the metro to Union Station and cross the street to the Old Pueblo (Olvera Street). Golondrina has some more authentic Mexican cuisine as well as taquitos at Cielito Lindo.

                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/casa-la-golon...
                                              http://www.cielitolindo.org/

                                              American restaurants

                                              The Palm
                                              Our favorite steak in downtown LA and a historical steakhouse. Cannot miss an American steak, make sure to get medium rare to medium!

                                              http://www.thepalm.com/sitemain.cfm?s...

                                              Engine Company No. 28- A retrofitted fire engine station that serves good American fare especially Southern favorites (pan fried chicken, creole beans, etc.

                                              )

                                              http://www.engineco.com/

                                              Seafood-

                                              The Water Grill- The seafood here is exceptional and service impeccable. You will spend so make this your big night out. The Chilean Sea Bass with Japanese eggplant is unique.

                                              http://www.watergrill.com/

                                              Proost!!

                                              EAT EXPERIENCE ENJOY

                                              1. re: Pathological Eaters

                                                Disagree about Komasa. The food is unremarkable.

                                                Also, I HIGHLY disagree about using yelp as a reference on Chowhound, in general... You lose a lot a street cred with me if you start quoting from yelp.

                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  Disagree about yelp-tility , J.L.
                                                  I like to use yelp (and especially its iphone app) for the maps, hours, website links and pictures. As such I often put a link in chowhound posts to yelpsites. Not for the yelpers silly star ratings and ramblings ["So, OK, We were like..."] but for the solid info.

                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                    A point of clarification: My ire stems from using yelp for food recs and advice in general; yelp is OK for hard facts (location, hours etc.), so actually we agree, CiaoBob...

                                                2. re: Pathological Eaters

                                                  Disagree on Octopus. The food is completely unremarkable, and when Little Tokyo can be got to on Metro Rail (Red or Purple to Union Station, then Gold to Little Tokyo) there's no reason to eat at Octopus.

                                          2. Agreed the quality of Octopus will not touch Little Tokyo but that is the tradeoff to being within walking distance. The more your are able to peel of the layers of the LA and can drive/metro the more your can find but for visitors who may not access to these or feel comfortable diving into the jungle we've mentioned a few options.

                                            Agree about taking reviews on Yelp with a grain of salt....only posted the yelp link because Golondrina's website is down and Komasa doesn't have one... it should just be used for informational purposes and directions for our Dutch traveler!. Good point though, you do not want to rely on yelp only, unfortunately a lot of the quality of advice has gone down in recent years....

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Pathological Eaters

                                              Well, if it's only SUSHI you want to eat, then definitely Chaya Downtown -- blows any place in Little Tokyo out of the water.

                                              And, IMO, to say that Octopus is "unremarkable" is being too kind (and I'm only talkin' about the COOKED food). Blech!

                                              -----
                                              Chaya Downtown
                                              525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                            2. To help you further with using public rail transit, here's a link to my geographically correct Google map of MTA rail stations: http://tinyurl.com/25yz7l

                                              This other interactive map lets you zoom in and identify downtown LA buildings block by block: http://maps.cartifact.com/

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: DiveFan

                                                Another idea is to just call LA Yellow Cab at 877.733.3305 and they will pick you up and drop you off practically anywhere as long as you have a street address to give them...most time when we've used them they will come within 5-10 minutes

                                                1. re: DiveFan

                                                  Lucky you, when I've called The Cab is busy.

                                                  Seriously, this isn't NYC. If you want to travel only a short distance, some cabbies get a Major attitude.

                                                  1. re: DiveFan

                                                    Gets even worse if you want to use a credit card!

                                                    EAT EXPERIENCE ENJOY!

                                                2. This is a really interesting thread! Forgive me but I didn't read every word that everyone else posted, but I can't help but chime in. I have to echo the sentiment that it's hilarious to come to LA, especially as a foodie, and limit yourself to walking distance of your hotel. LA is sooooo spread out and if you just took a peep at the "99 essential restaurants" of our local Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathon Gold, you would see that we LA foodies drive serious distance for food. Why, today in fact I drove an hour for the "best" gelato.

                                                  Anyway, if I stuck with Downtown I would most definitely re-iterate CUIDAD. It's delicious, bold latin flavors. and the chef owner is kinda famous, was on Top Chef Masters this week. Don't miss the goat milk flan! Church and State is recommended to me by a lot of friends, I keep meaning to go there, and that would represent "California" chic cuisine. Chaya also meets your critereon--Japanese fusion. Actually, I'd suggest Katsuya instead, for really good sushi/fushion (at "LA Live, the obnoxious name for the area surrounding the Nokia Center)

                                                  Also at lunchtime you could walk down to the Grand Central Market which is kinda of a foodie' s paradise, though its a bit seedy. I especially like Sarita's Pupusas, pupusas are el salvadorean pockets of corn-meal bread stuffed with filling and topped with a cabbage slaw. Sound strange but are delicious and you probably can't find them in the Netherlands :)

                                                  Sooooo. If you were going to actually get out downtown (and you SHOULD!!!) The places that I would beg you to go are:
                                                  Jitlada Thai (and get the fish balls in green curry and the steamed mussels in green bath appetizer)
                                                  Katsu-Ya in Studio City (Yeah, you could go to the one downtown but the original is untouched by SBE corporation and just plain better)
                                                  Mo-Chica (Someone mentioned this, and they are totally right, get the Causa Del Dia and the Lomo Saltado!!)
                                                  Balcones Del Peru (I always take out of towners, more delcious Peruvian my favorite dish is the Arroz Con Mariscos)

                                                  And Korean BBQ isn't a bad idea at all because its very Los Angeles. But be prepared that in those places, the menu is confusing and the wait staff doesn't always speak great English, they aren't always so helpful.

                                                  You might also try Shabbu Shabbu, a special type of Japanese pot-broth-swish cooking.

                                                  Did someone rec you Providence? Um, that's hundreds of dollars per person.

                                                  And you should probably get some tacos at some point, a serious LA thing to do. My favorite is Burrito King at sunset and alvarado in echo park, carne asada tacos, but there are places closer to downtown. Tacos isn't sit down food though, more like buy at a little truck and stand up and grub it down.

                                                  Good luck!! Report back!

                                                  -----
                                                  Jitlada
                                                  5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                  Grand Central Market
                                                  317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                  Katsu-Ya
                                                  11680 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                                  Katsuya Hollywood
                                                  6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                  Mo-Chica
                                                  3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                                  Chaya
                                                  525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                  Burrito King
                                                  2823 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                  Marisco's
                                                  718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: sarahbeths

                                                    I think the OP's strategy is admirable in that he is willing to take on this town on his own terms. Driving in LA IS confusing and trying. It's no vacation going to an unfamiliar country where I'd be driving in reverse-logic, where traffic is horrid, where there's 10 potholes for every dreaded billboard, where one rarely finds areas where streets run in a grid (think of Santa Monica Vs the rest of LA), and where driver hostility is the norm. I've been in similar shoes in Malaysia, and I had no fun at all - heck, just riding as a passenger was frustrating enough. The intensity of focus required while driving in a new environment like this leaves one feeling exhausted and frazzled.

                                                    I think another benefit of focusing primarily on one area is that you get to know it much better. And from the OP's method, he will probably get to know it much better than many Angelenos. It's like deciding whether you want to go on vacation and see small snippets and pieces of a country in a harried manner versus being able to take in a slice of life in one specific area, thereby being able to enjoy things and have more time to take things in at a leisurely pace.

                                                    If the OP can take in a full itinerary of food stops within via taxi, public transit (I give the OP high points for this - I haven't ridden a bus in decades), or walking, the OP has beaten almost every Angeleno at our own game - how to live life without a gas card.

                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                      Good point. How many of us won't travel East of La Cienega or West of La Brea unless we absolutely have to? The hassle of the commute undermines the rewards that might await us at the end of our trip. There's a lot going on downtown now. I do agree that localizing your efforts pays benefits.

                                                      1. re: mc michael

                                                        >>How many of us won't travel East of La Cienega or West of La Brea unless we absolutely have to?<<

                                                        Guilty as charged. I am awful like that...

                                                  2. I will just add that areas such as Little Tokyo and Korea Town are walker friendly as well as full of the aforementioned restaurant options . I'm looking forward to trying Park's myself. Soot Bull Jeep is pretty good but the decor is like a dingy coffee shop. My Korean friends always go to Chosun Galbee www.chosungalbee.com when they want to impress. You will definitely get dissenters on CH but the whole package is quite nice. The interior is beautiful and the service is very good. The panchan (appetizers) are pretty good but not their kimchee. Langers and Pacific Dining Car are both in very colorful areas that you might want to walk directly from the taxi, straight into the restaurant unless you are adventurous. Pacific Dining Car has hands down the best breakfast I've ever had. I love all their egg dishes. Breakfast is probably one of their most reasonably priced meals as well. Water Grill is excellent. It is about 1/2 mile from the Disney Hall and the Dorothy Chandler. There is a Red Line stop there. You're in the heart of downtown-City Hall, the courthouses, etc so it is definitely a walking area and pretty clean. I would second Providence as well.

                                                    -----
                                                    Water Grill
                                                    544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                    Soot Bull Jeep
                                                    3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                                    Pacific Dining Car
                                                    1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                                    Little Tokyo Restaurant
                                                    150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

                                                    1. The Grubs have lived in DTLA for many years, just a block or so from the Bonaventure. You’ve rec’d many great suggestions & my comments may be, sadly, more of a review than trailblazing.

                                                      For walking distance & non-eurocentric, do not miss the 1st recco you rec’d – Rivera. Cutting edge, Mexican/Latin small plates & flat-out delicious. Ciudad is also a good call – great drinking hole, excellent pan-Latin cuisine & across the street!

                                                      If you’re lollygagging about the hotel at lunchtime, by all means venture over to Grand Central Market. (Exit 6th floor overpass toward the YMCA, walk past the Y across Hope, upstairs (or escalator) across Grand, downstairs past the water plaza to Angel’s Flight (now open again, y’all) for $.25 funicular ride down to GCM’s doorstep. Do not eat before going & gorge on amazing Mex street food. Ck past posts for GCM reccos, but El Grubo thinks Maria’s Seafood’s fresh fish tacos are the stuff of dreams.

                                                      Not much great Japanese w/in walking distance, but pick up a DASH map from the concierge & for $.50 each way you can take the B to the A & find wonderful choices in Little Tokyo. Grub-san likes Izakaya Haru Ulala for pubgrub & Kokekko for all things chicken on a stick. Note DASH stops running at 6:30 or so.

                                                      For that last one-star meal, even tho it is Italian, you can do no better than Drago Centro, again across the street (5th) from you. While their regular menu is very good, their tasting menu is the best the Grubs have experienced since the Puck-Hefter heyday at Spago. Knocked our socks off.

                                                      -----
                                                      Haru Ulala
                                                      368 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                      Grand Central Market
                                                      317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                      Ciudad
                                                      445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                      Drago Centro
                                                      525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Mr Grub

                                                        OP, Mr. Grub knows whereof he speaks. Take heed.

                                                      2. I have made a reservation at Cuidad for my first night in town and the Water Grill for my last night. I assume there will be no issues seating me at a table as a single female and look forward to sampling California wines as well as the food. For the rest of the week I will choose from the generous list the LA foodies have provided. Thank-you

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: POY

                                                          As a frequent (though male) single traveller, I have to say that LA is second perhaps only to Houston in this country for restaurants who know how to cater to single diners. You won't be shuttled to the bar unless they are truly, truly slammed, and they won't resent you if you sit alone at a two-top.

                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                            Good to know. I do not suppose there is a good sports bar near by to watch the soccer matches and have a decent burger/meal?

                                                            1. re: POY

                                                              There's a sports bar in the Millennium Hotel on Pershing Square. Couldn't tell you if it's still any good, though. You'll find the best places to watch the football will be Latino places, but the commentary will be in Spanish (which is frankly better) and the food will run more to Mexican than to American.

                                                        2. For food you wont find in Europe, I think the Pacific Dining Car is a great breakfast choice and a fine steak house too - classic old american restaurant.
                                                          Animal on Fairfax, and on buss route, might be a great choice for amazing food and modern takes on american classics.
                                                          Langers for pastrami is a great choice.
                                                          Musso and Frank on hollywood blvd. for a martini and old hollywood vibe
                                                          Any of the previous mentioned mexican spots would be good

                                                          -----
                                                          Pacific Dining Car
                                                          1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: rednyellow

                                                            "Animal on Fairfax, and on buss route..."

                                                            Would that be the "kiss of bacon" by any chance? ;-D>

                                                          2. LA is big; I was not prepared for how big downtown is. That being said, I have gotten out each night for a meal: Ciudad for Happy Hour where I had my first mojitos, and several more. Loved the Grand Central Market and breakfast at Louie on 7th. Went to the Water Grill and had blue crab cakes and swordfish; quite good and reminded me of a European restaurant with the quality of service and ambience. Going with a group tonight to the Ca Pizza Kitchen but have to say the Monday night Benito Box at Chaya has been my favorite. I will hit a Mexican restaurant and steak house to finish off the week. I have an evening flight on Saturday so I will have an early lunch in the area.
                                                            You can eat well in LA and within walking distance of a hotel. I am grateful to the posts on this site because they guided me to restaurants worth a visit.

                                                            -----
                                                            Water Grill
                                                            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                            Grand Central Market
                                                            317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                            Ciudad
                                                            445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                            Chaya
                                                            525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                            Pizza Kitchen
                                                            1633 Potrero Grande Dr, Rosemead, CA 91770