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In LA for work Sat - Tues.....where to eat alone?

I'm heading into LA this weekend for a 4 day work trip. I'll be staying in downtown LA and won't have a car, so I'd like to stay around that area for dining. So far I've made reservations for myself at Le Comptoir on Saturday night, but other than that I'm lost.

Any recommendations for places that are great for a 30-something woman on her own to eat dinner? I will eat anything, really, just want to go places that are good for one - think counter service or bar seating rather than white table cloth by myself.

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    1. IMHO, Bottega Louie has great food and cocktails and a nice bar where you can eat & people-watch. But go early if you can as it tends to get very noisy when crowded. My favorite dish there is the fettucine Belmondo.


      3 Replies
      1. re: medrite

        Here's a second rec. for Bottega Louie!

        1. re: medrite

          Bring noise-canceling earplugs if you go to Bottega Louie - it is probably the loudest restaurant west of the Mississippi. Also be warned: Foodwise, it's not even the best Italian restaurant within its few blocks (that distinction goes to Colori Kitchen, near 8th & Olive, which is actually my favorite Italian in Downtown LA, period.)

          Colori Kitchen - Chef Luigi is amazing. Get the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese and tell the server upfront to save you a piece of the ricotta cheesecake for dessert.

          A few blocks north, Chef Glen Ishii is quietly but deftly executing fantastic tasting menus at his restaurant Noe at the Omni Hotel.

          Rivera (corner of Flower & 11th) has great Nueva Latina cuisine, and excellent mixology.

          Spice Table (Singaporean food in Little Tokyo) is another good place for the solo diner, as is Lazy Ox Canteen (also in Little Tokyo).

          I reserve judgment on Umamicatessen, since I've only had one (meh) meal there. BUT, if you want to try an Umami Burger, it's there.

          Next door to Lazy Ox Canteen, the bar at izakaya Aburiya Toranoko has good sushi, and also serves its full menu of izakaya items. I highly recommend the chicken thigh skewer and the buta kakuni (stewed pork).

          Steak: Nick & Stef's is decent, and Pacific Dining Car (6th & Witmer) is an L.A. institution (AND open 24-7!)

          As for French Dip sandwiches, 2 places I'd go: Philippe's the Original (go Friday at noontime for their excellent New England Clam Chowder, and a French Dip sandwich), and Cole's (which leads you into the great speakeasy Varnish)

          Enjoy Downtown!

          1. re: medrite

            In my opinion (and I feel qualified to say this having been there probably fifty times), the best meal at Bottega Louie is breakfast/brunch, and the morning is also the best time there in terms of ambiance and noise level. Their coffee, which is made from Intelligentsia beans, is excellent, as are their pastries (best pain au chocolat in town for my money). I'm also very fond of the breakfast flatbread, egg and ricotta ravioli, and breakfast sandwich. Finally, the fresh juices are amazing. I prefer to sit in the cafe/bar area, where the people-watching is prime.

          2. There was a recent strong recommendation on the board for Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar. While I haven't been it certainly looks (and sounds) very intriguing. http://bluecowkitchen.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: Servorg

              Blue Cow would be quite solo diner friendly! I enjoyed their shroom toast and gin and tonic experiment cocktail when I dined there. I also vote for Baco Mercat-I went there this past Wednesday and already want to go back to sample more things on their menu. I also like the Cole's/Varnish idea!

            2. I love the Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie at Wood Spoon.
              Also 4 resturants in one at the new Umamicatessen.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wienermobile

                Hmmmm, I'm intrigued by this Umamicatessen. So at one location you can get all of the stuff on that menu? And there is seating? That might be a winner, for sure. Would you say it is within walking distance of the Westin Bonaventure, or more of a subway/cab trip?

                  1. re: kws123

                    Yes, at Umamicatessen you can order from all four restaurants from any table or counter.

                1. I would add to these recommendations The Spice Table, The Lazy Ox Canteen, and Baco Mercat. All three have great bars where you can get the full menu, and all three serve small plates so you could try several dishes by yourself without ending up uncomfortably stuffed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. At Water Grill you can sit by their wonderful new raw bar and also order from the regular menu.

                    1. if i were on a work trip with an expense account and looking for a meal with counter service, i'd look no further than Kagaya. Search the board for it. Expect to spend ~60 w/ tax/tip, with the cheapest option (regular beef) and no drinks. Reservation a must.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: soniabegonia

                        Also agree with KaGaYa. Damn good shabu shabu, with an amazing "seared" creme brulee at the end of the meal.

                      2. I've eaten at the bar at both Riveria and Lazy Ox Canteen. Both have good food and were good suggestions. You might also consider Wurstkuche for gourmet sausages and a great selection of beers on tap.

                        1. Additional votes for Spice Table, Lazy Ox, Baco Mercat, Water Grill.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Jason_King

                            Thanks everyone! I live outside SF, so I've had Umami Burger - the whole idea was intriguing that I could have a very ADD eating experience. But, given my limited time there, some of the other options seem better. I took a look at The Spice Table, Lazy Ox Canteen and Blue Cow Kitchen - those look like great choices. I'll investigate some of the others too......such hard decisions!

                          2. Based on your schedule and transportation situation, I'd plan my trip around the various clusters. Since a lot of places are small plates, you could try maybe hitting 2 places/night. Here's what my general plan would be:

                            Since you'll already be at Le Comptoir on Saturday, might as well check out Umamicatessen for a drink and if you have space, a donut. (Actually, not that big of a fan of the place, but it seems a lot of people like Umami). Wood Spoon is close by as well, but the pot pie is quite filling.

                            Rivera is not surrounded by a lot of other stuff, but if you wanted to check out LA Live/Staples, etc... you could make a night out of that.

                            Spice Table, Wurstkuche, Lazy Ox (although, I don't know how it is w/ the new chef), as well as Cafe Demitasse, Kagaya, and Aburiya Toranoko are in/near Little Tokyo.

                            Baco Mercat, Coles/Varnish, Semi-Sweet Bakery (if you can make it early enough), are in the Old Bank district. Not the safest feeling area if you're out on your own late at night.

                            1. Drago Centro has a very nice bar menu. Very good food. Also the bar at Rivera....great cocktails, really interesting food. Fun scene.