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Downtown suggestions?

  • m

I am going to be in Los Angeles for just one day and will be staying downtown without a car for just one day. Anyone have any lunch or dinner recommendations. I enjoy all types of food and don't mind taking a cab. I hate to waste a meal! Thanks.

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  1. I'll play, though you should take a look around via search:

    Food: Bar Ama, Bestia, Factory Kitchen, Perch (brunch), Grand Central Market, Bottega Louie, Baco Mercat, Nickel Diner ...

    Drinks: The Edison, The Varnish, Ace Hotel, Standard Rooftop, Handsome (coffee)

    1. what kind of food/experience are you looking for? budget?
      cocktails important...or is beer & wine fine. interested in more of a foodie experience/tasting menu....or a fun scene?

      1. Rivera is great for dinner and has a good bar area.

        1. One meal? must be Bäco Mercat. Just nothing else like it. If you only have one meal, you might as well make it something you can't get anywhere else on Earth.

          14 Replies
          1. re: BacoMan

            One heads up about Bäco. There are 2 Strong consensuses on the board about it. One absolutely loves it and The other absolutely despises it. Before you make Bäco your choice, do a little more research to see if it might be for you.

            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

              I agree.

              While I love it, and dine there frequently, others don't.
              It's a definite matter of taste.

              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                True enough. But with only a single day in LA, and in downtown to boot, you are almost forced into trying it. Whether you love it, or hate it, it's so iconic that you pretty much have to go just so you can join the ranks of those who at least know which camp they fall into.

                It has that "well, at least I tried it" status.

                You could have a lot of spectacular meals in LA, but many people might return home and be able to get just as good Italian food, or Korean food...no one can return home and get a Bäco.

                Doesn't guarantee a good dining experience, but it does guarantee a uniquely LA dining experience.

                1. re: BacoMan

                  "Iconic" seems a bit hyperbolic, no?

                  It's been open for, what, 2 years … tops?

                  1. re: a213b

                    I think it was exactly the correct word choice. Iconic means that something is an icon, and icon is defined in the following way:

                    "a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something."

                    I can't think of anything more representative (in terms of cuisine) of LA dining than Bäco Mercat.

                    (Well, I'll qualify, not necessarily LA dining as whole, but for that mid-range kind of restaurant market that Bäco Mercat is in. For example, it obviously is not one of the icons of LA's street food dining).

                    1. re: ns1

                      Well, with a nom de guerre that includes "Baco", I suppose I ought not be surprised.

                      Still, I smiled to see the backpedalling even within the next post.

                      BacoMan, please know I'm only teasing. After all, I did recommend it in my first post.

                      1. re: a213b

                        I will entirely recant my position if anyone can tell me where else in the world I can get a Bäco.

                        To me, it's a uniquely LA dish, and therefore iconic. That seems like an objective assessment to me. But I am open to being proven wrong.

                        I leave it open to anyone to dislike the place. But it's where I would recommend every time to anyone with only one meal to eat in LA.

                        1. re: BacoMan

                          I don't think unique = iconic. So well just have to agree to disagree.

                          1. re: ns1

                            The Bäco also represents the kind of uniquely LA cultural fusion of international cuisines that defines LA dining.

                            The Bäco is only the apotheosis of it; to a lesser extent the entire restaurant is based in that kind of culinary fusion, technique, etc...

                            It would be nice if you would contribute more to the discussion than "No!! You're silly!"

                            What are you alternative picks?

                            1. re: BacoMan

                              Based on that criteria a kogi taco.

                              Note: that's not where I would send the OP, however.

                              1. re: ns1

                                Off the top of my head, you can easily get Korean tacos like that in San Francisco.

                                1. re: BacoMan

                                  Yes. Because Roy Choi started it.

                                  Anyway I'm over it. I'll just let the thread speak for itself.

                              2. re: BacoMan

                                Why is unique even a consideration, much less a proper one, for a person looking for a meal in DTLA?

                                I mean, the French Dip at Philippe's is arguable more "unique" than the Baco, but I don't think Philippe's ranks as top choice for a meal in DTLA. (And, yes, I know there are other places doing French dips, but the ones at Philippe's are unique onto that institution.)

                                And I'm not so sure that the Baco is "unique" -- the titular name may be unique -- but the concept and actual food item itself is basically a flatbread sandwich. Not to demean it, but if we're just talking about the Baco as a conceptual food matter -- and that's all that it really is shorn of its fancy name -- then I would much rather have a guo bao at a place like Si Hai, or one of the often-offered TBD "sandwich" specials at Chego, the chili cheese naan at Badmaash, the Pastrami Flatbread at Eat Drink Americano, etc.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  "Why is unique even a consideration, much less a proper one, for a person looking for a meal in DTLA?"

                                  Well, it's just my opinion. If I just had one meal when I was visiting a city, I would hope someone would recommend me a place to get something I couldn't get anywhere else.

                                  Bäco Mercat is the restaurant I would hope someone would recommend to me if I didn't live in LA, and was eating one meal in DTLA while visiting.

                                  Naturally not everyone is me, but I have no idea of what is inside of other people's minds, so I just give my opinion for what it is.

                                  "(And, yes, I know there are other places doing French dips, but the ones at Philippe's are unique onto that institution.)"

                                  Isn't everything everywhere done uniquely to the institution at which the item is being made?... Seems like a strange precedent.

                                  "I would much rather have a guo bao at a place like Si Hai, or one of the often-offered TBD "sandwich" specials at Chego, the chili cheese naan at Badmaash, the Pastrami Flatbread at Eat Drink Americano, etc."

                                  Yeah, it's ultimately opinion. I just have my favorite, and so recommended it.

                                  Thank you for providing a list of alternatives with your critique.

                                  I'm not sure this has helped our poor friend visiting DTLA much though, as he now has some 6 different equally spectacular things to choose from =P

              2. Where, exactly, are you staying?

                3 Replies
                1. re: yogachik

                  I'm staying at the Double Tree (120 S. Los Angeles). I will be traveling solo and will have a full day and night free.

                  1. re: mjpd

                    You are on the edge of Little Tokyo. I would be tempted to head to Sushi Gen around 11:30 am for the sashimi lunch special. But you could get a bunch of good stuff by going to Grand Central Market at 3rd and Broadway and following your nose. For dinner I would check out Alma or Rivera.

                    1. re: mjpd

                      Depending on the day you are staying there, you could feasibly get to Guerrilla Tacos parked outside of Handsome Coffee Roaster's. It would be a very worthwhile lunch, and it's closer to your hotel than Grand Central Market (though GCM isn't really *that* far from you).

                  2. Orsa & Winston is a much better bet and representation of Chef Centeno's talent rather than Baco Mercat.....

                    Other good bets in DTLA:
                    Drago Centro
                    Factory Kitchen

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      That's somewhat true, but how easy is it to get into Orsa last minute?

                      1. re: BacoMan

                        How do we know it's a last minute reservation? I don't read anything in the OP that indicates it will be last minute.....

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          Yeah, you're right, I thought there was some urgency to the post. I guess I misread it.

                          Well, I'll change my recommendation to the Omakase dinner at Orsa and Winston then!

                          Surely there is no better way to "not waste" a meal than that in DTLA!

                    2. K serious answer:

                      Lunch = Langer's or GCM or BOTH like a boss. ($5 metro line day pass)

                      Dinner = start off in ktown or little Tokyo/arts district (depending on timing bestia @ opening might be doable). End up at bars and taco trucks downtown at night.

                      End result = a reasonable subsection of LA dining scene

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ns1

                        And a newly gained 5 lbs!

                        Great suggestions.