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Downtown LA- What's not to be missed?!!

Staying at the Westin Bonaventure for a few days, what is not to be missed, cheap eats, lunch, dinner, fine dining, desserts, etc.. All cuisines!

I will have a vehicle if needed.

Please let me know what your favorite spots are!!

Thanks!

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  1. Langer's Deli home of the worlds best pastrami is five minutes away. If you don't want to drive the Red Line Subway stops right in front of Langer's. Well worth the trip. They are open daily till 4pm and closed on Sundays.
    http://www.langersdeli.com/

    -----
    Langer's Delicatessen
    704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

    1 Reply
    1. re: wienermobile

      I 2nd Langer's and add Wood Spoon.

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

      1. Wurstkuche - Pommes Frites and Sausages (I like the Buffalo the best)
        Wood Spoon - Chicken Pot Pie and Pork Burger
        Daikokuya - Ramen
        Lazy Ox - everything
        Cole's - Lamb French Dip, Sweet Potato Fries, Atomic Pickle
        The Gorbals - Sticky Toffee Pudding (I highly recommend you stop in just for this dessert if you don't have time for a full meal)
        The Varnish - Cocktails
        Bottega Louie - Capuccino and Pain au Chocolat
        Corkbar - Wine, Cheese, and Small Plates
        Water Grill, Drago Centro, Chaya, WP24, Roy's - These are all good options for fine dining, but it would be hard for me to recommend one over another without knowing where you're coming from, what you like, and how much you want to spend.

        Others can give you great recs for sushi in Little Tokyo if that's your thing - I'm no expert, but I think Sushi Gen is generally considered to be the best.

        Hope you have a fun time!

        -----
        Daikokuya
        327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Water Grill
        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        Wurstkuche
        800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

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

        Bottega Louie
        700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

        Chaya
        525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

        WP24
        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

        The Gorbals
        501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        2 Replies
        1. re: aching

          Adding Rivera for modern, latin cuisine. Mo-Chica for Peruvian and Sushi Gen for sushi - GREAT lunch specials. Sashimi plate alone is worth stopping by for

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

          1. re: bruinike

            Enjoyed Rivera's tasting menu with their wine pairing last night. Aside from the excellent food, drink and very attentive service, three things come to mind:

            Parking isn't so bad in this part of downtown. $5-$20 and many places offer valet or validate.

            Our kids will actually eat their way through a tasting menu. They may not like everything, but that goes for grown-ups as well. While my son didn't care for pomegranate foam, he liked sweetbreads - huh?

            Despite all the over-the-top electronic commercialism around the Staples Center (I personally hate crap like that), it appears there's actually a lot of good to great eats, all within walking distance.

        2. Assuming you are from out of town, I'm thinking Rivera.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mc michael

            Oh, how could I forget Rivera? Great for cocktails.

          2. Paletas at Paleteria La Michoacana

            Mochi at Fugetsu-Do http://www.fugetsu-do.com/

            French dipped sandwiches at Philippes http://philippes.com/

            Yucatan food at Chichen Itza www.chichenitzarestaurant.com

            Cemitas at Poblanas Elvirita

            Chef's Tasting Menu at Water Grill and Patina

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

            Fugetsu-Do
            315 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            Chichen Itza
            2501 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

            Paleteria La Michoacana
            14720 S San Pedro St, Gardena, CA 90248

            5 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              pass on philippes, go to Langers.

              1. re: ns1

                That was exactly my thought after I went to Phillipe's for the first time. And it still is, even though Langer's is almost triple the price of Phillipe's.

                1. re: mdpilam

                  As long as we are dipping into this, I was at Cole's the other night and saw a number of folks ordering french dips that looked pretty good. More to the point, I was at the bar and the drinks were righteously good. And there's various happy hour deals early in the evening. Later, for some serious drinking (after 8), you can go to The Varnish in the back and pretend you're in your Boardwalk Empire phase. But you don't have to dress like Buscemi.

                  http://colesfrenchdip.com/

                  -----
                  Cole's
                  118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                  1. re: mc michael

                    I really like Cole's. Phillipe's gets a lot more love on this site, but for me Cole's is a lot more convenient and feels a bit, well, cleaner (and I'm really not that fussy, but it does) - and the food is really satisfying! I like the lamb French Dip (with or without cheese) and the bacon potato salad or the french fries. My husband likes the cole slaw and the sweet potato fries.

                    1. re: aching

                      Phillipe's has great deals on good wine by the glass but Cole's has a hip vibe and real drinks.

            2. Flame me, but The Original Pantry for one of the best breakfasts in LA.
              Open 24/7 for 85+ years...it's a LA traditon.
              (4 blocks from the Bonaventure)

              Went this morning and had the #3 breakfast (sourdough French toast, bacon, eggs, hash browns, coffee included & their house made salsa). Everything was perfect right down to their hash browns which at one time were considered the best in town. Guy sitting across me was having the country fried steak and eggs and he said it was excellent. I'll have to try that next time.

              http://pantrycafe.com/

              -----
              Original Pantry Cafe
              877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

              27 Replies
              1. re: monku

                if you like that style of breakfast and have not tried Nicks I'd highly suggest you go there. I have a soft spot for the pantry that has been taken over entirely after trying Nicks(kinda near chinatown)

                1. re: blackbookali

                  Uncle John's Ham & Eggs is more in the spirit and vein of The Original Pantry.

                  Nick's Cafe, in my opinion, is much better than The Original Pantry. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/727833

                  -----
                  Original Pantry Cafe
                  877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I'm with you about Nick's Cafe, but The Original Pantry just does some things that no one else does...grilled sour dough toast, sour dough French toast, cole slaw and their combination omelette is deadly.

                    -----
                    Original Pantry Cafe
                    877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                    1. re: monku

                      Hey, I'm not slamming the Pantry. I sort of like it in a quixotic way that I sort of cherish Clifton's ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        #3 breakfast at The Pantry is tough to beat.

                         
                        1. re: monku

                          I feel ill just looking at all that grease.

                          1. re: mlgb

                            You need something to sop up the excess alcohol...

                            1. re: mlgb

                              No grease what so ever. I knew someone would make mention of grease.

                            2. re: monku

                              At The Pantry I'm actually partial to their sourdough French Toast for some reason. It's usually a #2 and a side of French Toast.

                              By the way, for greasy spoon breakfast, have you ever tried Uncle John's Ham & Eggs? Hard to beat a plate of Chinese fried pork chops, two fried eggs, all served over a plate of fried rice.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I'm game....what and where is Uncle John's?

                                1. re: monku

                                  No website (that I I know of), but here are links to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

                                  http://www.diglounge.net/food/uncle-j...
                                  http://www.morelworks.com/la/eats.htm...
                                  http://blog.thethirstypig.com/2010/03...

                                  Uncle John's Ham & Eggs
                                  838 S. Grand
                                  (Inside the Stillwell Hotel
                                  )(213) 623-3555

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Thought I knew of every hole in the wall Chinese place in this town.
                                    I'll have to give Uncle John's H&E a try. The charsu and eggs looks good too.

                                    1. re: monku

                                      I thought they were on eighth street, between Hill and Grand? It's been a lot of years since I worked downtown.

                                      1. re: paprkutr

                                        They moved to the Stillwell fairly recently. I haven't been to either location, but there are always people there, which is a good sign.

                                        1. re: aching

                                          Thanks, it was always crowded when I was there

                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                      I love UJH&E, more than Pantry. Very busy during lunch. Old school greasy awesomeness.

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Uncle John's = Sam Woo + Denny's.

                                        -----
                                        Sam Woo Cafe
                                        727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          I don't know.
                                          The ham and eggs at The Pantry is a tough act to follow.
                                          No The Pantry ham is not greasy or watery.

                                           
                                          1. re: monku

                                            yeah but can you get a SPICY PORK CHOP BREAKFAST at Pantry!? With fried rice?!?!!

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              I had the spicy pork chop and eggs yesterday at Uncle John's Cafe....they will be closed for a Dec 25th till Jan 3rd....they're going to Hawaii for vacation.

                                              1. re: monku

                                                Spicy pork chops and eggs at Uncle John's Cafe

                                                 
                                  2. re: monku

                                    That looks delicious. But you said hash browns and these look like home fries, is that correct?

                                    I'm visiting LA for the first time in 4 years and am looking for everything from dives to hipster to higher end to cocktail lounges to rock bars. I was at Phllipe's last time, should I get to Cole's next month? Would Rivera be a good choice for a nicer/cool vibe dinner? Water Grill is def. more than I want to spend for a nice dinner. Coming from Boston if that helps. Thanks.

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

                                    1. re: Joanie

                                      You are correct about the potatoes pictured. Yes, Cole's is good for lunch or later in the evening. Rivera would be good. Especially if you like Tequila. There's probably a thread around about the new bunch of hip bars that have opened downtown since you were last here..

                                      1. re: Joanie

                                        What can I say, they call them hash browns.

                                        1. re: monku

                                          Deja vu? This is starting to feel like the Rueben/Rachel debate.

                                          1. re: monku

                                            It's just that we don't see real hash browns in New England too often (shredded then fried potatoes) so I got excited when I first read the run down of the meal.

                                            1. re: Joanie

                                              If you like the "shredded" style of hash browns check out Nick's Cafe. They freshly shred the potatoes then fry them.
                                              A detailed post on Nicks' Cafe
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/727833 hash brown potatoes

                                              As far as the Pantry goes, they've probably been serving it and calling it what they want since 1924.

                            3. You will be just a couple of blocks from Grand Central Market, where there are absolutely KILLER scallop tacos for $2.50 each. We just plowed around downtown the other day, had a couple each, and they are as tender and delicious as ever. When you enter from Hill, go way to the back and left and look for the place with the seafood sign (they also sell seafood).

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

                              1. Downtown:

                                Water Grill
                                Little Tokyo (Sushi Gen, Sushi Go 55, Hama, Komasa, Fugestu Do, etc.)
                                Wurstkuche

                                Short Drive:
                                Jitlada (Southern Thai menu only)

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

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

                                Sushi Go 55
                                333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

                                1. Phillipe's lamb french dip, empress pavillion for dim sum, Guelaguetza Restaurant (can't remember if it's close) for mole, definitely Langer's for pastrami. If you are willing to drive...Sushi Sasabune or Nozawa, Carney's Hot Dogs, and Dr. Hogley Woggley for BBQ. I lived 8 years in Los Angeles and then moved to Dallas with my Texas bred husband. We agree that HW was the best we've had with the exception of Texas Hill Country BBQ. You should also go to the Farmer's Market on 3rd and Fairfax. The Mexican place Lotteria...I think...gets written up a lot. We loved the Farmers Market. You might also want to check out Santa Monica's Farmers Market on Saturday. I think there used to be one of Friday too. I've never been, but Pacific Dining Car is downtown and people love it. It's kind of scenic.

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

                                  Sasabune
                                  12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                  1. Like the suggestions of Bottega Louie, Phillipes and Wurstkuche. I love the machaca at El Tepyac, it is an institution that you love or hate. I love it. You can try La Serenada de Garibaldi, for some nice seafood. If you don't mind driving about 20 minutes from where you are go to Bell and La Casita Mexicana, only good reviews on the board.

                                    -----
                                    La Casita Mexicana
                                    4030 Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201

                                    Wurstkuche
                                    800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                    Bottega Louie
                                    700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                    1. Forgot, I would rather go to Wednesday's Santa Monica Farmer's Market or Sunday's Hollywood one. Definitely go to the original farmers market on third street.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: paprkutr

                                        Which day is the Third Street farmer's market?

                                        1. re: artemis

                                          On Wednesday is the big one and they also have a smaller one on Saturdays.
                                          http://www01.smgov.net/farmers_market/

                                        2. re: paprkutr

                                          What are your favorite vendors? Apparently, NBC LA just did a "sting" and discovered that some vendors are passing off foreign produce as their own, and sprayed food as "pesticide free."

                                          http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39319593?...

                                        3. Great suggestions so far, adding a couple:

                                          Nickel Diner (don't forget the maple bacon donut).

                                          La Taquiza is just south of DTLA off Figueroa, and is one of my favorite taquerias.

                                          -----
                                          La Taquiza
                                          3009 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                          Nickel Diner
                                          524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                          1. How timely! Please keep the recs coming - I will be living in the Westin for two months on a very extended business trip. I won't have a car, but am a fairly savvy public transit taker (though I won't have time for long trips). I'm a long-time poster on the SF board, but know nothing about LA. Expense is not a significant factor, but I'm more focused on great and convenient chow than maxing my expense account. So, Drago Centro is great, but so are fabulous cheap eats, especially cuisines that aren't strong in SF and are in LA. I will be working long hours, so I need (and deserve ;) ) quality chow.

                                            Last time I was at the Westin, I ate at Drago Centro (delicious, fresh, and kind to a single diner, planning to return), and Bottega Louie (mediocre fried calamari, mediocre rock shrimp with pickles, mediocre chicken pasta, delicious asparagus with fried egg, and pretty darn good macarons).

                                            It looks like there are farmers' markets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays each week. I'm sure I will check them all out (and report back), but is one day better than the others? Do any of the days have prepared food?

                                            Are there ever good food trucks near the Westin?

                                            Is there a Whole Foods best accessible by public transit?

                                            Is there a great salad/sandwich place nearby like Mrs. Winston's Green Grocery in Century City?

                                            Are there any areas of downtown that are dangerous? I have my street smarts, but I wouldn't want to stumble upon The Wrong Block.

                                            Thank you all so much for helping me make a home away from home.

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

                                            Bottega Louie
                                            700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                            28 Replies
                                            1. re: artemis

                                              I believe the closest Whole Foods are all the way in Pasadena and Glendale but The Grand Central Market has some things you might enjoy and is very close by.

                                              http://www.grandcentralsquare.com/

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

                                              1. re: artemis

                                                For the best sandwiches in the area Mendocino Farms is a must.
                                                http://mendocinofarms.com/

                                                -----
                                                Mendocino Farms
                                                300 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                                                Mendocino Farms
                                                444 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                  This looks GREAT! I can see eating here daily :).

                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                    Had the daily special shrimp po' boy today. While unlike anything I could find in Louisiana, it was absolutely delicious and without a doubt one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. Turns out I prefer the California-ized version of the classic po' boy, which some shreds of cucumber and onions in with the juicy shrimp, shredded lettuce and tomato. I also had the daily soup of chicken and veg - too salty but the veggies tasted fresh. I wouldn't get that again. And at the insistence of the kind man behind the counter, I tasted the israeli couscous salad with squash and eggplant - delicious and a bit smoky. My coworkers' sandwiches (the 3 kinds of pig one, and the goat cheese one, both looked great too. I love this place!

                                                  2. re: artemis

                                                    Artemis -

                                                    There is a Friday downtown farmer's market at the Bank of America plaza at Hope & 3rd - it's quite close to the Westin and has a pretty good selection of produce and prepared food.

                                                    I second the Mendocino Farms recommendation. You also might want to check out Starry Kitchen for fast & decent Bahn Mi & such.

                                                    Grand Ave between 3rd & 4th streets also gets a fairly wide selection of food trucks at lunchtime.

                                                    Good luck!

                                                    -----
                                                    Mendocino Farms
                                                    300 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                                                    Mendocino Farms
                                                    300 S Grand Ave Ste Lp40, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                    Mendocino Farms
                                                    444 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                    Starry Kitchen
                                                    350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                    1. re: scurvy

                                                      Thanks Scurvy. Doing some diligence, there's a very large thread on bad food trucks in LA http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693099 - are there any trucks that you recommend?

                                                      1. re: artemis

                                                        An excellent question.On my very long list of food trucks not worth your time: Patty Wagon, Flying Pig, Bool, Bull Kogi, The Schnitzel Truck, India Jones, Mattie's...most trucks are all concept and no flair.

                                                        You should try Kogi if you haven't already - their food can be lazy in it's same-ness, but the flavor is great and a singular LA experience. I also like the Dosa truck quite a bit, though it doesn't seem to make it downtown much anymore.

                                                        -----
                                                        Kogi
                                                        Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

                                                        1. re: scurvy

                                                          I agreed with Scurvy on his list of crappy food trucks. Kogi's quality control has been pretty bad as of late. Maybe because they have 4 trucks now... Then again I never really liked Kogi.

                                                          I do like the Dosa truck though. You should definitely try The Grilled Cheese Truck, Ludo Truck, and Lee's Philly.

                                                          -----
                                                          Kogi
                                                          Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

                                                    2. re: artemis

                                                      Inside the Bonaventure give the Oliver Branch a try. Lebanese pizzas and some good salads.

                                                      Across the bridge to the Union Plaza you can try Border Grill (in the Ciudad spot) when it reopens.

                                                      Rivera Restaurant yes maybe too far to walk but they valet.

                                                      Don't bother with the dimsum at Empress, it is not what it used to be.

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

                                                      1. re: artemis

                                                        I am a regular at the Wednesday farmers market at Pershing Square (6th and Grand) downtown. Quite a few prepared food vendors including Greek (kebabs and rice plates etc), Peruvian, Mexican (tamales), Salvadorean (pupusas), cheesesteaks etc. Also a great selection of Greek olives, feta etc. Not to mention all the fruits and vegetables.

                                                        There is also a good farmers market at 7th and Figueroa on Thursdays. Great sweet and savory crepes vendor at this market.

                                                        There is a good farmers market near City Hall as well but I can't remember whether it is on Thursdays or Fridays.

                                                        You can get to a Trader Joes on the metro red line (Hollywood and Vine stop).

                                                        Food trucks can be found sometimes on Tuesdays at 3rd and Grand and on Fridays outside the downtown Ralph's supermarket at 9th and Hope. Check the Twitter feed findlafoodtrucks before you go or the individual Twitter feeds of the trucks you are interested in. I've eaten at Ta Bom (Brazilian) at 3rd and Grand and Manila Food Machine (Filipino) at 9th and Hope.

                                                        Second the suggestion of Mendocino Farms - I go to the on Flower and 5th - love their sandwiches, salads and soups! For something different, you could also try Starry Kitchen.

                                                        -----
                                                        Mendocino Farms
                                                        444 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                        Starry Kitchen
                                                        350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                        1. re: artemis

                                                          Special question - what is open on Sundays??? I'm trying to find lunch but it seems nothing is open down here now.

                                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                                  Thank you all but I am without a car. The Nickel Diner looks walkable on a normal day, but unfortunately I don't have the time right now. I may need to look into delivery options.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Nickel Diner
                                                                  524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                  1. re: artemis

                                                                    "Thank you all but I am without a car."

                                                                    As Adam Sandler said in the Wedding Singer (with slight paraphrasing) "Gee, you know that information... really would've been more useful to me *earlier.* "

                                                                    No cabs downtown on Sunday? Is that typical? I always see a lot of cabs in that general area when I'm down there.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        So instead of the old dine and dash you are suggesting the dash and dine then? ;-D

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          I'm just trying to be helpful ...

                                                                          :-)

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            or maybe: Dash and dine and dash...

                                                                        2. re: Servorg

                                                                          Fair enough. It's funny the things that I can expense, and the things I can't. It is much easier to expense a $60 meal than a $30 cab ride to a $20 meal. They really fight cab costs ("there surely was a closer restaurant!") but don't bat an eye ordering $20 worth of room service eggs for breakfast. After all, it IS the closest. Yeah, the people in charge aren't Hounds. Some of my coworkers have cars and I will make them take me to some of these great recs, but I'm on my own today.

                                                                          I'm pretty much chained to my office both in terms of self-transport costs and most especially time, so anything I can't walk to is probably out of my reach. I'm hoping things will calm down at some point so I can venture out further and explore all these wonderful suggestions. I'm looking forward to visiting Mendocino Farms several times this coming week - only around the block!

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Mendocino Farms
                                                                          300 S Grand Ave Ste Lp40, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                          1. re: artemis

                                                                            I don't believe a cab from a downtown office to any of these restaurants would be more than $10. And the DASH is really inexpensive. Get to know the DASH routes and the world (at least the world of downtown LA) will be yours.

                                                                            1. re: artemis

                                                                              not that i recommend them, but there also pirate cabs around that would probably take you anywhere downtown for $5.

                                                                  2. re: artemis

                                                                    Bottega Louie.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Bottega Louie
                                                                    700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                                                2. El Parian for carne asada and birria (goat). Just North of the 10 fwy.

                                                                  Between the 2, I'd choose Langer's over Phillipes. Phillipes has "missed" in quantity & quality the last couple times I've gone.

                                                                  1. What does everyone think about Church & State?

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

                                                                    1. A big vote for Lazy Ox in Jtown (Little Tokyo). Everything there is good. They also have a happy hour.

                                                                      Also in Jtown: Mitsuru cafe for imagawaki. It's so good.

                                                                      Also a big vote for Rivera.

                                                                      Starry Kitchen for lunch, and they are also open for dinners on Thurs and Fridays. It is Asian fusion--Asian fused with Asian, not Asian fused with Western. Love it.

                                                                      Soi 7 for Thai. It's right next to Bottega Louie, which I don't care for, except the pastries/sweets.

                                                                      Blossom for Vietnamese.

                                                                      I still love Water Grill, but it just keeps getting more and more boring for me. Except for their wide oyster selection.

                                                                      In the mall underneath City National Plaza (where Drago Centro is), there's a food court, which includes Lemonade: good salads (mostly non-lettuce), and hot foods, and of course, lemonade. Lemonade is a small chain. Another chain, an Indian chain, is Saffron. I don't think it pretends to be authentic, but it's a good fix if you're in downtown and you want Indian food.

                                                                      Los Angeles history: Clifton's Cafeteria. Ok, you're not going there for the food. Think history, and kitsch. Also, the ownership just changed hands, from the original family since inception in the depression, to a new owner. There will be tweaks to the menu, and changes to the upper floors, You'd be getting in before the changes.

                                                                      Farmers markets: they all have tons of prepared foods.

                                                                      Re trucks: sometimes some park up on Grand Avenue, where Starry Kitchen is. Sometimes down on Hope and 9th-ish. You just gotta follow them on twitter or FB. It's kind of hard for them to park in downtown, though. There's nowhere near the Bonaventure where the trucks can park. But there is a regular one behind the library on Hope st, it's middle eastern/mexican. It's ok. It's a big draw bc it's pretty cheap.

                                                                      Bars. If you drink at all, then downtown will be your playground.

                                                                      Coffee: Groundwork.

                                                                      Re scary areas: downtown is very mixed now. Yuppies are walking their dogs at one end of the block, and then mid-block it's the skids. But you will clearly know it when you are there, and will prob be able to see Yuppie area in a short distance. One tip: you prob won't want to drive on San Pedro between about 5th and 7th at night, by yourself. Prob not during the day either. Nor drive on 6th, crossing San Pedro. That's the heart of Skid Row (6th & San Pedro). Lots of ppl on the street, sometimes unexpectedly walking onto the street while you have the green light.

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

                                                                      Clifton's Cafeteria
                                                                      648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014

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

                                                                      Bottega Louie
                                                                      700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                                                      Starry Kitchen
                                                                      350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: lurker

                                                                        Thanks lurker. I grew up in the bayview in SF and went to school in the tenderloin, so I'm very familiar with the "this block is ok but don't cross the street into the next block" concept. I really appreciate your specifics.

                                                                        Is Jtown walkable from the Westin, or is it more of a cab/bus thing? I went to Japan a few years ago and am really looking forward to experiencing LA's jtown, which is much better than SF's.

                                                                        Is there any Korean downtown worth eating at? Sometimes one really wants bibimbap.

                                                                        1. re: artemis

                                                                          All the K food worth having is west of downtown along the Wilshire Blvd. / Western Ave. / Vermont Ave. / 8th Street / 6th Street / Olympic Blvd. / Normandie general area that makes up the heart of K town.

                                                                          1. re: artemis

                                                                            You can take the metro red and purple lines (underground subway system) to Koreatown (Wilshire/Vermont and points west).

                                                                            http://www.metro.net/

                                                                            1. re: artemis

                                                                              Jtown is not walkable from the Bonaventure. We have handy dandy minibuses called Dash, with many routes. Cost is 35cents, and they run frequently during business hours, but schedules vary after 5pm. http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

                                                                              I think someone already mentioned Sushi Gen in Jtown. I also like Toshi Sushi and Sushi Go 55. However, the best sushi in L.A. is in the westside. I think Fugetsu-do was already mentioned--their mochi is awesome, the best. And I can now attest to their mochi being good even several days after purchase.

                                                                              For Korean food in dt, there is Seoul Jung in the Wilshire Grand hotel, as mentioned below. I haven't been there in multiple years, so can't say much about it. There's also a fast food Korean place in the Bonaventure food court, I think it's still there, if you get desperate.

                                                                              Don't know when you're coming, but DineLA restaurant week is coming up: http://discoverlosangeles.com/restaur...

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Sushi Go 55
                                                                              333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                              Toshi
                                                                              15489 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                                                                              1. re: lurker

                                                                                I'm moving into my home away from home (the Westin) next week, so I will be in town for Dine LA! I have a generous expense account, but I appreciate a good deal regardless.

                                                                                1. re: lurker

                                                                                  "Jtown is not walkable from the Bonaventure."

                                                                                  Respectfully, I disagree! We walk to Little Tokyo all the time from 9th & Grand, which is further away than the Bonaventure. I guess it depends on what each individual thinks is a walkable distance, but to us, it's totally fine. However, I would never do it at night without my husband, and even with him it's important to choose the route carefully. Our preferred route is north on Grand and east on 2nd Street. It's definitely worth doing - I think I already mentioned this above, but the Lazy Ox Canteen is really great and unique - and I LOVE the ice cream mochi at Mikawaya in Japanese Village Plaza.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Mikawaya
                                                                                  118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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

                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                    It's walkable today.

                                                                                    But certainly not Monday (or even Tuesday).

                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                      That's true! Sometimes we change our route so we don't have to schlep up Bunker Hill - it feels REALLY steep when it's hot out. =)

                                                                                    2. re: aching

                                                                                      Do you walk to Jtown from 9th & Grand for lunch? The OP is asking for what is practical, logistically reasonable. Sure you can walk it if you want, but it is not very practical to do so for lunch unless you have a lot of time to spare for lunch.

                                                                                      1. re: lurker

                                                                                        Yes, I do. But in any case, the OP said lunch and dinner.

                                                                                  2. re: artemis

                                                                                    There's a great shabu-shabu place (reservations recommended) called KaGaYa at 418 E 2nd Street (2nd and between Central and Alameda in Little Tokyo, triangle-shaped strip mall). It's a bit on the pricier side, but considering they give you around 6 courses (2 appetizers, soup, shabu-shabu, porridge/noodles from your broth, and dessert), it's really an excellent deal. They have bar-style seats, which would work for a single diner, and I believe you can get there via the Dash A.....

                                                                                    http://www.menuclub.com/californiares...

                                                                                2. The Korean restauant inside the Bonaventure Hotel is still open. Used to work nearby and often had the bibimpap.

                                                                                  1. For cheap try some of the stands in the basement of the Grand Central Market, between Broadway and Hill near 3rd St. For odd try Cliftons, Broadway near 7th. Don't miss the sashimi lunch special at Sushi Gen on 2nd between Cental and Alameda, but get there early or wait forever.

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

                                                                                    1. Don't miss Water Grill, and it's only a 5 minute walk from the Westin. Head SW on Fig to 5th... after dinner take a little tour through the historic Biltmore and if you're a bookworm, Caravan books is also next door . The Westin is also in walking distance of LA Live with the always exciting Katsuya, head SW on Fig to Olympic about 15 min or grab a cab for $5. For lunch Mendocino farms is fab, Roy's at 8th and Fig is consistently great seafood....except for Mendocino farms, these are all seafood places. Farmers Markets with various street food are Thursdays 9-2ish at 7th and Figueroa and Fridays 11-2ish at the Bank of America plaza 333 S Hope St ......Mortons at 7th and Fig has awesome oysters and I think they have steak as well..lol

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

                                                                                      Katsuya - Brentwood
                                                                                      11777 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood, CA 90049

                                                                                      Katsuya Hollywood
                                                                                      6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                                                      1. It's notable that only one person has mentioned Patina which is surely one of the most striking restaurants anywhere, and in the architectural jewel, the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I've not eaten there in several years. How is it foodwise?

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                          I've only been to Patina once, but I was so distracted by my companion, I only remember the incredible cheese cart. When you're in love everything is wonderful and delicious.
                                                                                          I did'nt see any mention of food trucks either ....

                                                                                          1. re: OmChef

                                                                                            "When you're in love everything is wonderful and delicious."

                                                                                            Hey, you didn't happen to write ad lines for Loves BBQ at one time did you? ;-D>

                                                                                            When You're in Loves...
                                                                                            The Whole World's Delicious

                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                              LOL! no, but I will add that 'love' can keep you from an otherwise great restaurant, I've not gone back to Patina because it reminds me too much of the path I didn't take.

                                                                                              I've never been to Loves BBQ, but I'm hoping you can provide a review,...? What type of BBQ is it?

                                                                                                1. re: mc michael

                                                                                                  'weak' is how I would describe my experience with BBQ, would luv some recommendations on different types of BBQ.....

                                                                                                  1. re: OmChef

                                                                                                    Not sure if you saw this previous (recent) BBQ thread or not? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7208...

                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                      thanks!
                                                                                                      now if I could just find some bone in tofu...lol! I'm not terribly carnivorous, but I do cook a number of animals for others and BBQ is universally luved

                                                                                        2. Colori on 8th and Olive is very good home style Italian and about a 10ish minute walk from the Westin, it's also near the Macy's plaza at 8th & Flower, a Rite Aid on 7th & Flower and on 9th & Flower an excellent Ralphs Fresh Fare Mkt.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Rite Aid
                                                                                          5575 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: OmChef

                                                                                            That Ralphs is too hip ,especially after about 10 pm. The eye candy is something.

                                                                                            1. re: mc michael

                                                                                              It is a fabulous Ralphs, and it's not called 'fresh fare' for nothing...
                                                                                              they also have an incredible cheese selection and La Brea breads baked in house, including the oh so yummy multigrain

                                                                                              1. re: OmChef

                                                                                                Fascinating. Ralph's in norcal are rare and completely forgettable, just like a regular Safeway. This Ralphs sounds nicer than the ones I am familiar with.

                                                                                            2. re: OmChef

                                                                                              Colori is great -- real Italian for LA. and don't forget it's BYOB which is a plus -- you won't be forced to drink gut wrenching bottom of the barrell chianti.

                                                                                            3. I know that others have mentioned it, but in my opinion, the one don't miss restaurant in downtown, has to be the Water Grill. Yes it's pricey, but you will not find better seafood anywhere.

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

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                I agree, and the Water Grill tasting menu includes, in addition to a wide array of excellent fish and seafood, outstanding desserts as well as (on one memorable occasion) a fantastic small steak as the final savory course.

                                                                                                -Harry

                                                                                                1. re: Harry Niletti

                                                                                                  Just had another superb dinner at Water Grill. Food, service and ambiance all top drawer. Even on a Sunday night all of the fish and seafood seemed pristinely fresh and delicious!

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

                                                                                              2. You must have dinner at Colori Kitchen on 8th between Hill and Olive. It is excellent Italian in a brick walled casual restaurant. Bring your own wine...no corkage. Also, the best meal I have had in a long time was at the Lazy Ox Canteen...but make a reservation. They are always booked....For BBQ I like Spring St. BBQ in Chinatown. I also love most of the food at The Gorbals. The chef won Top Chef on Bravo a few years back.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Colori Kitchen
                                                                                                429 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                                                                                                The Gorbals
                                                                                                501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: RobertC

                                                                                                  You still there? Well, anyway, a couple of trailing thoughts. Yxta is a terrific modern Mexican restaurant, open for lunch on weekdays, in a neat building, at 6th & Central. Just a few minutes' ride on eastbound Rapid bus 720 from 6th & Main to the 6th & Kohler stop, one block west of Central. Just don't try to walk this one, though it's not that far , walking would take you through the heart of Skid Row.

                                                                                                  There's no Whole Foods really close to downtown. The most transit accessible Whole Foods from downtown would be the Pasadena store at 465 S. Arroyo Parkway, one block south of the Del Mar station on the Gold Line light rail. Maybe there's some similar store closer in.

                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                  Del Mar Cafe
                                                                                                  712 S Del Mar Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                                2. I fifth the reco for Wurstakuche. Great food at great prices. Try the mango jalapeno hot dog and grab a cold one while you're at it. They have a nice selection of beers. Take a look at my blog for a picture of their tasty hot dog. http://gourmetmiser.blogspot.com

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Gourmet Miser

                                                                                                    And Urth has that seriously cool crowd.

                                                                                                  2. Favorites overall:
                                                                                                    Drago Centro
                                                                                                    Water Grill
                                                                                                    Patina

                                                                                                    Some downscale favorites:
                                                                                                    Mo-Chica
                                                                                                    Wurstkuche
                                                                                                    Sushi Go 55

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

                                                                                                    Sushi Go 55
                                                                                                    333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                                    Wurstkuche
                                                                                                    800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

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

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                                      I second your choices for downtown favorites overall, but I would rank them with Patina first, Water Grill second, and Drago Centro a clear third, but still very good!

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

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

                                                                                                    2. Check out Urth Caffe in Downtown for some seriously tasty desserts. The pumpkin pie is to die for!

                                                                                                      http://gourmetmiser.blogspot.com

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Gourmet Miser

                                                                                                        And coconut custard if they have it!

                                                                                                      2. This is to thank everyone who contributed to this thread. I visited for a week last month, mostly staying downtown for work, and thanks to your recommendations this was one of my best eating trips in recent memory. (I live in Vermont, which is fabulous in many ways, but as a former NYer I do miss big-city food culture.)

                                                                                                        Highlights: The sushi lunch at Sushi Go 55 was really lovely; the creampuff for dessert from Beard Papa was absolutely sublime. For creative small-dish cuisine I found The Lazy Ox much more interesting and substantive than The Gorbals, but the sticky toffee at the latter was memorable. (I do like a good dessert...) My coworkers and I also enjoyed the Nickel Diner and Wood Spoon: satisfying food, appealing rooms. The other highlight of my visit, fwiw, was the Oaxacan food at Monte Alban - outside the scope of this thread, but wow.

                                                                                                        So thanks for your kindness, strangers..

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Monte Alban
                                                                                                        11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                                                        Sushi Go 55
                                                                                                        333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                                        Nickel Diner
                                                                                                        524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

                                                                                                        The Gorbals
                                                                                                        501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: rasalhanout

                                                                                                            So glad you enjoyed your trip! I too am a big fan of the Lazy Ox and the sticky toffee pudding at the Gorbals.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            The Gorbals
                                                                                                            501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013