Looking for nice downtown LA restaurant.... close-ish to the Ahmanson
I'm a subscriber to the Ahmanson and the LA Opera, both of which are in the Music Center, so I go regularly. My current "go-to" places are:
Chaya Downtown. It's next to Drago Centro. The food is good, with a Cal-Asian flair. It's quiet enough for conversation and the food is good.
Roy's. This is a bit further south. Excellent fish with a Hawaiian influence. It's also not noisy and not stuffy.
Border Grill. This is a new outpost of an old LA standby. I actually really like it for pre-theater food. it's casual and the food has been quite good on our visits. The downside is that it is pretty noisy.
All three of those places have a shuttle, which is why they are my regular pre-theater restaurants.
Other good choices are Lazy Ox (great food, but it is noisy if you are inside); Water Grill (some of the best seafood in LA, but it is a little more on the stuffy side); Morton's (probably my favorite steaks downtown); Pete's Cafe (good for salads and burgers, but has a very NY vibe, so it might not be a place I would recommend for a visitor from NY). Of those, only the Water Grill might have a shuttle. I know the other three don't. I don't think any of those should reasonably be considered within walking distance of the Ahmanson.
From the Ahmanson list, here are places I would avoid -- Kendall's, Cafe Pinot (it's a shame because it has a very nice patio, but the quality of the food has declined significantly), Nick & Steff's (overpriced steaks, that are done better at Morton's), Maria's (a decent chain Italian, but not particularly noteworthy), and Daily Grill (see Maria's, but this chain is for comfort food).
544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071
525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Jwsel's assessment is spot on.
If you want a 10-minute drive on Sunset Blvd., go to Le Freres Taix on Sunset & Alvarado for decent food, pleasant surroundings in the bar only, and a staff that understands Music Center proximity/timely issues.
Every night a different special. www.taixfrench.com
Very good wine list, at more than VERY fair prices.
Ideal pre-Music Center/Disney Hall area dining.
But of those within walking distance of the venue, Chaya, period!
525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
First and Hope looks great, sounds great, servers are lovely and efficient, it's in a perfect location. Food was downright bad. And expensive. The specials they pushed (deviled lobster tail that was utterly dry and overwhelmed with spice, Fried Green Tomato Napoleon, mushy and tasteless, the much heralded man n cheese --meh) were the worst things on the menu. The only decent dish was the rib eye. The donuts and shake dessert were OK too.