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Recommendations please

I'm heading back to LA -- for the 3rd time in 3 years on business the end of March. I will be staying downtown near the convention center and I won't have a car. My per diem is about $60 a day -- and that pretty much all goes to dinner. Last year I dined at: Mozza, Gorbals, Playa, Animal, Lazy Ox, and Rivera. The previous year I dined at Rivera, Bazaar, Chaya and drago Centro. What would you recommend this year? I might be dining alone -- solo female and I don't mind going into a restaurant alone, but I might have a coworker with me.

Thanks for your assistance!

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  1. By the time you get here at the end of March the new UMAMIcatessen in downtown LA should be open. It's a restaurant/deli/bar with separate eating and drinking all within one industrial open space. It will be a kosher-style deli called The Cure, an expanded version of Umami Burger, plus a 170-seat dining hall and bar with five different kitchens under the guidance of top chefs such as SF's Chris Cosentino. I can't wait.

    846 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014

    You also might want to check out Wood Spoon home of the great Brazilian chicken pot pie, Water Grill for great seafood has been remodeled and just reopened and the new Baco Mercat home of the baco, a signature flatbread sandwich that was developed by chef Josef Centeno. Tasty, orginal and affordable.

    Water Grill
    544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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

    Baco Mercat
    408 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

    4 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      Thanks for the information. I will keep an eye out for opening information about UMAMIcatessen. Woodspoon and Baco Mercat sound good. I've thought about Water Grill in the past but I think it is too pricey for my per diem.

      If you think of anything else I would love to hear the ideas. Thanks again!

      1. re: Disneyfreak

        Entrees at Water Grill run from about $26 to $36 (except lobsters & crabs sold per pound and their prime ribs), This is a link to their menu with prices.

        1. re: Disneyfreak

          I was not impressed with Baco Mercat.

        2. re: wienermobile

          Son of a Gun would be a good choice this year.

          La Serenada di Garibaldi in Boyle Heights, too.

        3. If you eat only one thing, it might be the congee with uni at Red Medicine, what a wonderful, yet noisy, joint.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Is there a downtown location for Red Medicine? I thought it was in Beverly Hills.

            1. re: Ogawak

              Please excuse my East Coast unfamiliarity, thought it was close, guess not.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                It's all relative. OP had previously dined at Bazaar, Mozza, and Animal so I would have recommended Red Medicine also if you hadn't...it's worth paying a little out of pocket for the cab ride IMO. Not much if you split with the coworker.

                1. re: Porthos

                  irrc, the round trip cab ride from downtown to BH would essentially decimate the entire daily per diem

                  1. re: Porthos

                    My first trip I was shocked at the cab fare round trip to Bazaar. Last year I was supposed to dine at Animal with a coworker -- who has a car, but the coworker had a last minute meeting. I really wanted to go there so I bit the bullet and spent the cab fare. I don't remember how bad Mozza's transportation was.

            2. Mo Chica is opening a new location in March on 7th St. Great Peruvian and won't blow your per diem.

              1. Colori Kitchen - Excellent Italian
                Aburiya Toranoko - Japanese izakaya

                4 Replies
                1. re: J.L.

                  I second Colori Kitchen, although some people may think it's in a bit of a sketchy part of downtown.

                  I'd also recommend Bottega Louie. It's a beautiful restaurant with decent pricing for your per diem. Must tries in my opinion are the portobello frieds and the lamb appetizer. Skip the souffle that I think they oversell.

                  Too bad no car this year, there are a few great new ones in the last year that are outside of downtown. But you should be good with the reccs here.

                  1. re: waterisgood

                    I don' t enjoy the jet-engine-level noise at Bottega Louie. The food is meh also.

                    1. re: waterisgood

                      respectfully strongly disagree with the recommendation of Bottega Louie

                    1. some close places are baco mercat, perch, and urbano pizza.

                      a place that i'm a big fan of but is a bit of a dive is el parian for birria. also chichen itza or mo chica at the mercado near usc.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cdub

                        Cdub -- I think I went to el Parian last year and got lunch to go since it wasn't far from the convention center. The food was great. I had had dinner at Gorbals and one of the chefs there told me about it. I think his mother owns it. I walk over made me a little nervous -- I'm not sure I would want to do it at night.

                        1. re: Disneyfreak

                          definitely not the nicest walk but great birria.

                          i wouldn't recommend walking to the mercado at night but if you can get there, chichen itza is great.

                          if you enjoyed lazy ox, i'd highly recommend baco mercat.

                          it also looks like umamicatessen opens tomorrow as well.

                      2. I like Mo Chica but if you are alone, and not familiar with the area, it might not be the best place because of the location. The Water Grill is also another excellent choice.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: funkycold

                          Their 2nd location of Mo Chica on 7th street is supposed to open in March. The hours of the El Mercado location might make it difficult for a dinner. I don't know what the 2nd location's hours are going to be. Great food though.

                          I'd second Aburiya Toranoko and add Laurent Quenioux's nights at Starry Kitchen assuming he's cooking there while the OP is in town.

                          Also, you could try to stay within your per dium by offsetting a relatively expensive dinner at Water Grill or Patina with a cheap one another night at Wurstkuche (great sausages and tons of beer on ton).