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Jun 12, 2011 03:07 PM

Austin CH visiting downtown LA with toddler

My husband and I will be in LA for a Saturday nite wedding downtown and staying nearby. We have free time Friday night for an early dinner and are looking for suggestions. We also have a 3 yo toddler (she is used to nice restaurants like spago or four seasons but would need a place that takes reservations, early 5pm seating, High chair, relatively high noise level) and a we will have a car (though we will be battling traffic to get somewhere by 5 or 6). In Austin we have great Mexican, fusion sushi, dim sum, BBQ, food carts, but would love something different. Low end to moderate-hi price range is fine. We love Japanese izakaya, Taiwanese, chinese seafood (not just dim sum), offal, northern Italian, and pizza (maybe mozza?). I've heard alot about mo Chica but wonder if I could take my toddler there. Thanks!

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  1. In Downtown itself, you might enjoy Church & State (French bistro); Drago Centro (high end Italian in a gorgeous setting); the Gorbals (Scottish-Jewish from Ilan Hall, with a fondness for offal--but opens at 6); Lazy Ox (eclectic); Rivera (although Latin flavors are nothing new to Austin, John Sedlar's unique interpretations probably would be); or Spice Table (Singaprorean-Vietnamese from a Mozza alum). Except for the Gorbals, all are open at 5 or 5:30 and, except for Drago Centro, all have a relatively high noise level. I cannot tell you about the high chair situation, though.

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

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

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

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

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

    The Spice Table
    114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

    1. I suggest the lobster and some noodles at CBS Seafood or the chicken pot pie at Wood Spoon.

      Wood Spoon
      107 W Ninth St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

      CBS Seafood
      700 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      1. Solid places that serve that early include:

        Cafe Pinot
        Nickel Diner
        Daily Grill
        Rock N'Fish

        +1 on recs for the Gorbals, Lazy Ox (tho not sure what a 3 yo would eat there) & Spice Table

        Cafe Pinot
        700 West Fifth St., Los Angeles, CA 90071

        Traxx Restaurant
        800 N Alameda St Ste 122, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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

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

        The Spice Table
        114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

        1. >>I've heard alot about mo Chica but wonder if I could take my toddler there.<<

          As a rule, ethnic eateries in LA are very child-friendly, and Mo-Chica is included. In fact, the general atmosphere belies the level of cuisine served there. It's very food court-like and I'd be surprised if anyone even batted an eye if your toddler acted like one. The only down side is if you're looking to have a Cusquena beer with your cebiche or saltado, you'll have to settle for a chicha morada or Inca Cola, which is okay with me.

          3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

          1. I live in L.A and used to work downtown and my brother's family lives in Austin, so I've been to your great city many times. Will you have a car? I don't disagree with the previous postings. I'll just add a few suggestions for "best of" tastes if you can work them in.

            1) The al pastor and especially the hot sauce (salsa negro) at the Carnitas Michaocan taqueria north of downtown (above Chinatown) on the N/W corner of No. Broadway at 19th. They have very good carne asada, even better al pastor roasted on a rotisserie spit, but the highlight here is the hot sauce -- brickred, thin, smoky, complex, hot, spicy -- the best ever. Order at one window, pick up at the other, open 24-7. Yes, I know you have Mexican and Tex-Mex in Austin, but this is nearby and worth a taste.

            2) The pastrami on rye at Langer's Deli. Langer's is west of downtown on the S/E corner of Alvarado at 7th across from McArthur Park, and is directly across the street from a redline subway stop. Arguably the best pastrami in the country (I order it untrimmed and fatty) served on the perfect rye, soft in the middle and crisp on the crust. Unfortunately, they are closed in evenings and limited on weekends, and a sandwich isn't cheap -- almost $13 + tax and tip. But this may be the best in the country and thus the world...

            3) Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow -- This is an awesome dish, crispy, sweet, pungent, a bit spicy. Yang Chow is in Chinatown above downtown, and can be reached by the Dash shuttle vans or even walked. Yes, I'll get flamed for this, Yang Chow is Americanized, it isn't the "authentic" regional Chinese one can get in the San Gabriel Valley. But this is a great, tasty, delicious, addictive dish, worth checking out.

            Be sure to report back.

            Yang Chow Restaurant
            819 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012