The Palm

The Palm

Downtown is full of delicious food and beverage options. Below are some of the best according to Los Angeles Downtown News' readers as well as a few picks from our staff members.

BEST AMERICAN CUISINE

Nixo at the Luxe City Center: The patio view is nice, but executive chef Ben Diaz’s menu is even nicer at this South Park hotel eatery. Among the starters are fried calamari and glazed wings, while entrees include a steakhouse burger and a slate of oven-fired pizzas. Salad lovers can try an heirloom tomato and burrata offering, or one built around organic kale. Close things out with the Chocolate Caramel Crunch. At 1020 S. Figueroa St. or luxecitycenter.com.

Reader Recommended

Faith and Flower, 705 W. Ninth St. or faithandflowerla.com.

Bottega Louie, 700 S. Grand Ave. or bottegalouie.com.

gelateria uli 14.jpg

BEST GELATO

Gelateria Uli: Uli Nasibova’s frozen array of the Italian alternative to ice cream has been luring people to the Spring Arcade Building since 2014. The rotating list of flavors is perfect for any weather, and options including California Pistachio and Sea Salt Caramel are always reliable. Pay special attention to the fruit and berry options, such as the vegan Strawberry with Balsamic Sorbet.  At 541 S. Spring St. or gelateriauli.com.

Reader Recommended

Pazzo Gelato, 735 S. Figueroa St. or pazzogelato.net.

Ugo Café, 502 W. Sixth St. or cafeugo.com.

BEST ICE CREAM/YOGURT

Salt & Straw: This Arts District creamery comes from the Portland artisan chain, and the quality has traveled well down the coast. Favorites include Mr. Holmes’ Cornflake Cookies with Boysenberry Jam and a streaky mix of Birthday Cake and Blackberries. More traditional types will be sated by the Double Fold Vanilla and the Chocolate Gooey Brownie. At 829 E. Third St. or saltandstraw.com.

Reader Recommended

Yogurtland, 130 S. Central Ave. or yogurt-land.com.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, 317 S. Broadway or mcconnells.com.

 

BEST BAKERY/DESSERTS

The Pie Hole: This Arts District mainstay is a favorite for Downtowners with a sweet tooth. Options here include the Mom’s Apple Crumble and the Key Lime Pie. Or go unconventional with choices including the Salted Honey Custard and the Peanut Butter and Jelly pies. There’s even the “Slice Cream Shake,” where you pick your favorite pie and ice cream, and they do the rest. At 714 Traction Ave. or thepieholela.com.

Reader Recommended

Big Man Bakes, 413 S. Main St. or bigmanbakes.com.

Sprinkles, 735 S. Figueroa St. or sprinkles.com.

BEST CAJUN FOOD

Little Jewel of New Orleans: A heaping serving of the Big Easy is packed into this Chinatown delicatessen. It starts in the morning, with beignets and cafe au lait, while Crescent City-evoking lunches include a bevy of Po-Boys (there are fried oyster and blackened catfish options). Plates include a Craw Mac and the Spicy Creole Style Jambalaya. There’s no need to book a flight to the bayou when Little Jewel brings the bayou to you. At 207 Ord St. or littlejewel.la.

Reader Recommended

Little Easy, 216 W. Fifth St. or littleeasybar.com.

Preux and Proper, 840 S. Spring St. or preuxandproper.com.

 

BEST ASIAN FUSION

Wokcano: Marcus Kwan’s Wokcano takes the term “Asian fusion” to heart. The Financial District mainstay serves a variety of Pan-Asian dishes, from Pad Thai and Shanghai Lo Mein to Shrimp Fried Rice and addictive Honey Walnut Shrimp. The Seventh Street spot, which always seems crowded, particularly during Happy Hour, also offers a generous sushi and sashimi menu. At 800 W. Seventh St. or wokcanorestaurant.com.

Reader Recommended

Little Sister, 523 W. Seventh St. or littlesisterla.com.

Asian Box, 445 S. Figueroa St. or asianbox.com.

 

BEST CHINESE FOOD

Yang Chow: The Slippery Shrimp might be what brings people through the doors, but the rest of Yang Chow’s menu is nothing to balk at. Expertly crafted Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine has been the name of the game at the Yun family’s restaurant for 42 years, so no matter what you ultimately order, you know you’ll leave happy. But seriously, try the Slippery Shrimp. At 819 S. Broadway or yangchow.com.

Reader Recommended

Plum Tree Inn, 913 N. Broadway or plumtreeinn.com.

Peking Tavern, 806 S. Spring St. or pekingtavern.com.

BEST DIM SUM

Golden Dragon: You know how it works: You wait for a table (especially on the weekend), grab a seat, then hail the carts loaded with delicacies that come zipping past. There is pork, beef, chicken, duck, buns and vegetarian fare. Golden Dragon is best experienced in a group. At 960 N. Broadway or goldendragonla.com.

Reader Recommended

Ocean Seafood, 750 N. Hill St. or oceanseafoodchinatown.com.

CBS Seafood Restaurant, 700 N. Spring St. or cbsseafoodlosangeles.com.

5. Otium

 

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE

Otium: Located next to The Broad, this rustic space spins from the mind of acclaimed chef Timothy Hollingsworth. There’s everything from a Smoked Garbanzo dish to an avocado with beets, wild rice and more, to Spinach Bucatini to Black Cod to a Snake River Farms New York Strip. Cool fact: Some of the ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s mezzanine garden. At 222 S. Hope St. or otiumla.com.

Reader Recommended

Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar, 350 S. Grand Ave. or bluecowkitchen.com.

Tender Greens, 700 505 W. Sixth St. or tendergreens.com.

 

BEST FRENCH FOOD

Le Petit Paris : This romantic Historic Core restaurant is deeply, passionately French, with options such as a French onion soup, beef Bourguignon, mussels and escargots. The wine list offers a mix of Bourdeaux and other bottles. There are weekend brunch menus and live jazz on Wednesday evening. When it’s warm, try dining on the pretty patio. At 418 S. Spring St. or lepetitparisla.com

Reader Recommended

Taix, 1911 Sunset Blvd. or taixfrench.com.

Patina, 141 S. Grand Ave. or patinagroup.com.

BEST INDIAN FOOD

Badmaash: Pawan Mahendro and his sons Nakul and Arjun offer a taste of India with a dash of modern sensibilities at the Second Street spot. Badmaash shakes things up with dishes like the juicy Spiced Lamb Burger and Badmaash Fried Chicken. If you’re looking for something more traditional, options include the Chicken Tikka Masala and Goan Pork Curry. Enjoy the unique Gandhi-with-sunglasses imagery. At 108 W. Second St. or badmaashla.com.

Reader Recommended

Mr. Masala, 949 S. Figueroa St. or mrmasalala.com

Kapoor’s Akbar, 701 W. Cesar Chavez Ave. or kapoorsakbar.com.

BEST ITALIAN FOOD

Maccheroni Republic: This Historic Core mainstay serves delicious homemade pasta at family-friendly prices, and indeed, it seems as if every family in Downtown winds up here. Standout options include the Agnolotti Di Osso Bucco and the pumpkin ravioli with a butter cream truffle cheese sauce. There are numerous bottles of wine in the $30-$40 range, and you can finish off a meal with cannoli or tiramisu. No reservations are accepted. At 332 S. Broadway or maccheronirepublic.com.

Reader Recommended

Bestia, 2121 E. Seventh Place or bestiala.com

Colori Kitchen, 429 W. Eighth St. or colorikitchen.com.

 

BEST JAPANESE FOOD

Katsuya: This L.A. Live favorite is filled before a game or concert at Staples Center. Katsuya offers sushi, tempura, robata grill options such as the Teriyaki Beef Tenderloin and Wagyu Beef Skewers, and entree plates including the Jidori Chicken and the Miso-Marinated Black Cod. There’s also an omakase menu. At 800 W. Olympic Blvd. or katsuyarestaurant.com/lalive.

Reader Recommended

Takami Sushi and Robata, 811 Wilshire Blvd. or takamisushi.com.

Ramen Hood, 317 S. Broadway or ramenhoodla.com

 

BEST SUSHI

Sushi Gen: Decades into its run, there is still always a line of lunchtime customers eager to dine at the petite Little Tokyo haunt. There are a variety of sharable rolls, but a safe bet is the sashimi deluxe plate. For fun, grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch one of the masters cut and craft your order. As at many standout sushi spots, you’ll be well-served by asking the chef what he recommends, and then taking his advice. At 422 E. Second St. or sushigen-dtla.com.

Reader Recommended

SugarFish, 600 W. Seventh St. or sugarfishsushi.com.  

Kazunori, 421 S. Main St. or kazunorisushi.com

BEST POKE

Sweetfin: Poke places continue to pop up across Los Angeles, which makes sense considering a bowl is usually tasty, fresh and affordable. Sweetfin delivers all of that in signature and build-a-bowl options. It’s got Gochujang Salmon, Miso Albacore, Spicy Tuna and numerous other choices. Add-ons include edamame, jicama, wasabi peas and macadamia nuts. At 735 W. Seventh St. or sweetfinpoke.com

Reader Recommended

Okipoki, 507 S. Spring St. or okipokila.com.

Ohana Poke, 735 S. Figueroa St. or ohanapokeco.com.

7. Sonoratown

 

BEST TACOS

Sonoratown: In a city filled with taco joints, the Sonora-style flour tortilla tacos created by Teodoro Diaz-Rodriguez Jr. and Jennifer Feltham stand out. There are grilled steak, chicken, tripe and chorizo options, and the prices are among the best in Downtown Los Angeles. Sonoratown is open for lunch and dinner on Tuesday-Saturday. At 208 E. Eighth St. or sonoratown.com

Reader Recommended

Guerilla Tacos, 2000 E. Seventh St. or guerrillatacos.com

Guisados, 541 S. Spring St. or guisados.co. 

 

BEST KOREAN FOOD

Korea BBQ House: For more than two decades, Korea BBQ House in Little Tokyo has offered a menu full of classic Korean fare. Mix and match meals with beef, pork, chicken, ribs, shrimp, salmon, tilapia and more. At lunch there are a whopping 25 specials. At 123 S. Onizuka St. or koreabbqhouse.com.

Reader Recommended

Manna Korean BBQ, 333 S. Alameda St. or mannabbq.com.

Oleego by Parks Barbecue, 735 S. Figueroa St. or oleegousa.com.

BEST LATIN AMERICAN FOOD 

Border Grill: Longtime restaurateurs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger continue to lure crowds to Fourth and Fig with their reliable and inventive spin on the food found on the streets of Mexico City. The Border Grill menu is fashioned with intelligence and care, as exemplified by the Chicken Poblano Enchiladas, the Seabass Veracruzana, the Yucatan Pork and the selection of ceviches. Don’t miss the margaritas. At 445 S. Figueroa St. or bordergrill.com.

Reader Recommended

Guisados, 541 S. Spring St. or guisados.co.

Bar Ama, 118 W. Fourth St. or bar-ama.com.

El Cholo, 1037 S. Flower St. or elcholo.com

BEST MEDITERRANEAN FOOD

George’s Greek Grill: There are three locations of George’s, and each provides an opportunity to load the pita chips up with a variety of dips before digging into Grilled Chicken Panini, Shaved Beef and Lamb Gyro, or Chicken Kabob dishes. Naturally, there’s also spanakopita and falafel. At 350 S. Grand Ave., 735 S. Figueroa St. and 445 S. Figueroa St. or georgesgreek.com.

Reader Recommended 

Spitz, 371 E. Second St. or eatatspitz.com.

The Exchange, 416 W. Eighth St. or freehandhotels.com

 

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD

California Kabob Kitchen: The kabobs come in all flavors at this purveyor of Persian cuisine. Reliable choices include the Beef Koobideh Kabob and the Lamb Chop Kabob. If you can’t choose, there are combination plates and mix-and-match skewers. Complement the entree with a selection of salads and rice. At 141 W. 11th Street or ckkabob.com.

Reader Recommended 

The Exchange, 416 W. Eighth St or freehandhotels.com.

Bavel, 500 Mateo St. or baveldtla.com.

 

The Best Restaurants in Downtown, According to Downtown News Readers

BEST SEAFOOD: Water Grill

BEST SEAFOOD

Water Grill: As the name implies, seafood is the specialty at this Financial District establishment that has been feeding Downtown for three decades. The raw bar is jammed with more than a dozen types of oysters and other shellfish. Entrees are pulled from waters around the globe, with everything from Alaskan halibut to a Maryland soft shell crab to a Chilean sea bass and even a wild New Zealand pink bream. At 544 S. Grand Ave. or watergrill.com.

Reader Recommended

Fisherman’s Outlet, 529 S. Central Ave. or fishermansoutlet.net.

Rock ‘N Fish, 800 W. Olympic Blvd or la.rocknfishrestaurants.com.

 

BEST STEAKHOUSE 

The Palm: The Downtown L.A. outpost of the nearly legendary small chain serves USDA Prime beef that is aged a minimum of 35 days. The Palm serves all the classic cuts, which are seasoned with olive oil, salt and parsley butter, including the Bone-In Rib-Eye, New York Strip, Filet Mignon and the Chairman’s Reserve Boneless Rib-Eye. While you’re eating, gander at the caricatures that line the walls. The wine list is mega-deep. At 1100 S. Flower St. or thepalm.com.

Reader Recommended 

Pacific Dining Car, 1310 W. Sixth St. or pacificdiningcar.com.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, 800 W. Olympic Blvd. or flemingssteakhouse.com.

 

BEST THAI FOOD

Sticky Rice: This Grand Central Market favorite has been serving its authentic and original take on Thai street food since 2013. There are pan-fried noodles, variations of rice plates and specials including the Crying Tiger Steak and Gai Yang. Depending on the time of year, you can also order Mango Sticky Rice. Naturally, there’s a Thai iced tea to wash everything down. At 317 S. Broadway or eatstickyrice.com.

Reader Recommended 

Bang Na, 437 N. Spring St. or bangnathaifusion.com.

Rama Thai, 625 S. Hill St.

 

BEST VEGAN/VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY

Zinc Café: Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, the meatless menu at Zinc is extensive, and that includes a collection of burgers, sandwiches, entree plates and bowls. Among the evening options are a Potato Arugula wood fired pizza, the Spiced Tofu and Quinoa Bowl, and the Dinner Burrito with vegetarian sausage, black beans, brown rice and more. Enjoy it all in Zinc’s pretty courtyard. At 580 Mateo St. or zinccafe.com

Reader Recommended 

Café Gratitude, 300 S. Santa Fe Ave. or cafegratitude.com.

Veggie Grill, 523 W. Sixth St. or veggiegrill.com.

 

BEST FILIPINO FOOD 

The Park’s Finest: American BBQ and Filipino flavor make for an excellent mix at The Park’s Finest. The menu at this spot on the outskirts of Downtown includes Mama Leah’s Coconut Beef and Ann’s Cornbread Bibingka, as well as the San Pablo Pulled Pork. Kick it up a notch by dipping the cuts into one of Big Tony’s original sauces. At 1267 W. Temple St. or theparksfinest.com.

Reader Recommended 

Lasa, 727 N. Broadway or lasa-la.com.

 

BEST VIETNAMESE FOOD 

Blossom: Duc Pham’s Blossom is a love letter to Vietnamese favorites. The menu at both Downtown locations is flush with options including five kinds of pho, a collection of vermicelli rice noodle salads, and rice dishes with beef, chicken, shrimp and more. Be sure to finish up with some Vietnamese coffee or a glass of wine, and don’t forget the spring rolls. At 426 S. Main St. and 451 Gin Ling Way or blossomrestaurant.com.

Reader Recommended 

Pho 87, 1019 N. Broadway or pho87.net.

Pho Saigon, 1753 S. Hill St. or phosaigonla.com.

 

BEST BURGER

Cassell’s: Sometimes a no-frills burger is all you need. The patties at the Eighth Street spot are juicy and served with a choice of cheese on a Portuguese bun. Spruce things up by adding bacon, chile con carne, a fried egg or a variety of sauces. There are also patty melt and vegan options. At 421 W. Eighth St. or cassellshamburgers.com.

Reader Recommended 

Umami, 852 S. Broadway and 738 E. Third St. or umamiburger.com.

Tommy’s, 2575 Beverly Blvd. or originaltommys.com

BEST PIZZA 

Bottega Louie: The cheese is bubbling when the server brings the pie to your table at this always crowded and still-always-loud Financial District landmark. Bottega Louie offers seven pizza variations, from a classic Margherita to more specialized selections such as the Burrata, Calabrese and Tartufo pies. There’s an extensive wine list, as well as draft and bottled beers and Italian sodas. At 700 S. Grand Ave. or bottegalouie.com

Reader Recommended 

California Pizza Kitchen, 735 S. Figueroa St. or cpk.com

Pizzanista, 2019 E. Seventh St. or pizzanista.com.

BEST RAMEN SPOT 

Silverlake Ramen: Born out of the neighborhood just west of Downtown, this ramen haunt is a welcome addition to the Central City. Start with edamame or gyoza before settling in for a big bowl of Shoyu, Tonkotsu or Tsukemen ramen. Each bowl can be customized with a slate of add-ons, and there are vegetarian options. Silverlake Ramen also serves five varieties of rice bowls. At 615 S. Spring St. or silverlakeramen.com

Reader Recommended

Ramen Hood, 317 S. Broadway or ramenhoodla.com.  

Daikokuya, 327 E. First St. or daikoku-ten.com.

BEST SANDWICH/WRAP

Mendocino Farms: A true Downtown original, Mendocino Fams operates on the idea that top-shelf ingredients make for great sandwiches. There’s classic fare such as the Farm Club and the Hot Italian Hoagie, along with originals like the Chimichurri Steak on Pretzel Bread and the Pork Belly Banh Mi. The Impossible Burger Queen is one of four vegan options on the menu. There’s always a collection of seasonal options, too. At 735 S. Figueroa St., 444 S. Flower St., 300 S. Grand Ave. or mendocinofarms.com.

Reader Recommended

Philippe The Original, 1001 N. Alameda St. or philippes.com.

Wexler’s Deli, 317 S. Broadway or wexlersdeli.com.

 

BEST BREAKFAST

The Original Pantry Café: Owned by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, this Downtown classic has been around since 1924, has supposedly never been without a customer, and serves heaping plates of food. At breakfast that means all manner of bacon, eggs and potatos, as well as giant orders of buckwheat pancakes. There’s often a line here, particuarly on weekend mornings. At 877 S. Figueroa St. or pantrycafe.com.

Reader Recommended 

Eggslut, 317 S. Broadway or eggslut.com.

Nickel Diner, 524 S. Main St. or nickeldiner.com

BEST LUNCH

Urth Caffé: A variety of organic options make the Arts District spot a reliable destination for a mid-day meal. Sandwich selections range from a caprese to a pot roast, and there is a bevy of small and large salads. There are also eight pizzas, and full entrees include the Falafel Platter, the Urth Quesadilla and more. You can also grab a prepared to-go lunch to eat at home or at the desk. At 451 S. Hewitt St. or urthcaffe.com.

Reader Recommended

Pez Cantina, 301 S. Grand Ave. or pezcantina.com.

Tender Greens, 505 W. Sixth St. or tendergreens.com.

 

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH 

Water Grill: Suited power players come out in force to this Downtown lunchtime favorite. Water Grill is professional without being stuffy, the waitstaff knows when not to intrude, and it’s easy to pace yourself through a multi-course meal — start with a soup or salad, and move on to a seafood entree or sandwich — that allows ample time to talk business. At 544 S. Grand Ave. or watergrill.com.

Reader Recommended

Factory Kitchen, 1300 Factory Place or thefactorykitchen.com.

Faith & Flower, 705 W. Ninth St. faithandflowerla.com.

Border Grill Downtown L.A.

 

BEST BRUNCH

Border Grill: Come for the boozy drinks, stay for the small plate offerings at this brunch favorite. Every weekend Border Grill hosts a collection of Downtowners who dig into the Green Corn Tamales, Yucatan Pork Benedict, Chilaquiles and more. There are bottomless mimosas for $15 and unlimited small plates for $30 per person. There’s also a vegan brunch menu. At 445 S. Figueroa St. or bordergrill.com.

Reader Recommended

Perch, 448 S. Hill St. or perchla.com.

Bottega Louie, 700 S. Grand Ave. or bottegalouie.com

 

BEST RESTAURANT 

Bestia: Chef Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’ shrine to Italian cusine has been a hit since opening in the Arts District in 2012. Start with the Roasted Marrow Bone or the Mussels & Clams with housemade spicy ’nduja sausage before digging in to a pizza or grilled branzino. Finish it up with one of Gergis’ pastry options such as the Sonora Brown Butter Almond Cake or Créme Fraiche Panna Cotta. Naturally, the bar program is strong. At 2121 E. Seventh Place or bestiala.com

Reader Recommended

Redbird, 114 E. Second St. or redbird.la.

Bavel, 500 Mateo St. or baveldtla.com.

The Triumphant, Victorian-Inspired Return of Clayton's Restaurant

The interior features more than 125 individual pictures, playbills and artwork depicting some of the stars of the Victorian era. 

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Clayton’s Public House: Step into the Victorian era at this Spring Arcade Building newcomer. Husband-and-wife team Elizabeth Peterson-Gower and Tony Gower’s pub offers a selection of beers and cocktails, as well as food choices such as the crispy Fish and Chips and a Shepherd’s Pie. There are also salads. At 541 S. Spring St. or claytonspub.com.

Reader Recommended

The Manufactory, 757 Alameda St. or tartinebakery.com

Nightshade, 923 E. Third St. or nightshadela.com.

 

BEST FINE DINING

Redbird: The lovely spot in the rectory of the former St. Vibianas cathedral has a retractable roof and chef Neal Fraser’s inventive take on American cuisine. It’s a reliable special-occasion destination with creative cocktails and dishes including Seared Fois Gras, Braised Goat, Barbecue Smoked Tofu and a 32-ounce Porterhouse to share. Don’t miss the desserts, including the beignets and the Chocolate Mousse Bar. At 114 E. Second St. or redbird.la.

Reader Recommended

Pacific Dining Car, 1310 W. Sixth St. or pacificdiningcar.com.

Water Grill, 544 S. Grand Ave. or watergrill.com.

 

BEST DOG-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

Urth Caffé: You’ll see almost as many pooches as humans at this Arts District favorite. Just around the corner from the Arts District Dog Park, both two- and four-legged species spend hours hanging on the patio and talking with or sniffing friends. While the menu only serves bipeds, you’re welcome to bring a bowl for water and treats. At 451 S. Hewitt St. or urthcaffe.com.

Reader Recommended

Wurstküche, 800 E. Third St. or wurstkuche.com.

Zinc Café, 580 Mateo St. or zinccafe.com.

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

Philippe The Original: You’re never digging deep into your wallet for a sandwich at Philippe’s, which is mind-blowing considering the fresh ingredients, soft rolls and the fact that your lunch is assembled in front of your eyes. Nor will you break the bank by adding a pickle, a cup of potato salad or a glass of refreshing lemonade. And coffee is still only 45 cents. At 1001 N. Alameda St. or philippes.com.

Reader Recommended

L.A. Café, 639 S. Spring St. or thelacafe.com.

Guisados, 541 S. Spring St. and 1261 Sunset Blvd. or guisados.co.

 

BEST DOWNTOWN CLASSIC

Philippe The Original: Forget the “influencers” selfie-ing the next Instagramable joint offering spoon-fed organic kombucha-raised yogurt. Philippe’s is gloriously old-school. There’s sawdust on the floors, a skilled coterie of carving ladies, a sweet candy stand and perfect French dip beef, turkey, lamb and other sandwiches. There’s a reason the restaurant founded in 1908 still always draws long lines at lunch and before Dodger games. At 1001 N. Alameda St. or philippes.com.

Reader Recommended

The Original Pantry Café, 877 S. Figueroa St. or pantrycafe.com.

Clifton’s Republic, 648 S. Broadway or cliftonsla.com.

 

BEST VIEW

Perch: Maybe the only thing better than the French food and cocktails at this bistro is the vista of Downtown that it provides. The restaurant overlooks Pershing Square, and from there you glimpse the old and new buildings in the Historic Core, South Park and beyond. Or just gander at the street life 15 floors below. At 448 S. Hill St. or perchla.com.

Reader Recommended

Takami Sushi, 811 Wilshire Blvd. or takamisushi.com.

71Above, 633 W. Fifth St. or 71above.com.

BEST DECOR

NoMad Restaurant at the NoMad Hotel: Dine in luxe chic surroundings in the restaurant that is the dining centerpiece of the gorgeous former Giannini Building. There’s a 1920s feel, plush chairs and banquettes, and a dazzling blue and gold Italianate ceiling. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At 649 S. Olive St. or thenomadhotel.com/los-angeles.

Reader Recommended

Cicada, 617 S. Olive St. or cicadarestaurant.com.

Redbird, 114 E. Second St. or redbird.la.

Faith & Flower, 705 W. Ninth St. or faithandflowerla.com.

 

BEST OUTDOOR DINING

Perch: The view here is stupendous, but so is the rooftop seating amid ample greenery, along with the fireplaces and fire pits that are perfect for those summer evenings when L.A. gets a bit of a chill. Even people who just come for an after-work cocktail often wind up spending hours at Perch.  There’s also live outdoor music seven days a week. At 448 S. Hill St. or perchla.com.

Reader Recommended

Manuela, 907 E. Third St. or manuela-la.com.

UrthCaffe, 451 S. Hewitt St. or urthcaffe.com.

 

BEST FIGAT7TH EATERY

Mendocino Farms: The upscale sandwich chain’s FIGat7th location is a comfy destination with indoor and outdoor seating. All the faves are available, from the Peruvian Steak Sandwich to the Vegan Banh Mi, and the counter staff is friendly and efficient. This Mendocino Farms serves lunch and dinner and has beer and wine. When you finish your meal, there’s a foosball table. At 735 S. Figueroa St or mendocinofarms.com.

Reader Recommended

The Melt, 735 S. Figueroa St. or themelt.com

Oleego by Parks BBQ, 735 S. Figueroa St. or oleegousa.com.

 

BEST GRAND CENTRAL MARKET EATERY

Eggslut: You know the drill: Arrive early. Wait in the always long line. Order your bacon, egg and cheese or sausage, egg and cheese sandwich (or another variation), then revel in the fresh eggs and other ingredients that taste even better when placed between a brioche bun. If you’re still hungry, get back in line and repeat. At 317 S. Broadway or eggslut.com

Reader Recommended

Horse Thief BBQ, 317 S. Broadway or horsethiefbbq.com.

Wexler’s Deli, 317 S. Broadway or wexlersdeli.com.

 

BEST L.A. LIVE RESTAURANT

Yard House: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a basketball or hockey game, a concert or something else: Yard House is always jammed before an event at Staples Center. Crowds throng the place for the reliable burgers, sandwiches, salads and more. Then there’s the beer, with scores of familiar and craft options. Try something new! At 800 W. Olympic Blvd. or yardhouse.com.

Reader Recommended

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, 800 W. Olympic Blvd or flemingssteakhouse.com.

Shaquille’s, 800 W. Olympic Blvd or shaquilles.com.

 

BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT

NoMad Restaurant at the NoMad Hotel: Acclaimed chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara have turned the NoMad into a buzzworthy dining destination. The whole-roasted chicken gets the most attention, while other options include the English Pea Tarte and, get this, a bacon-wrapped Black Truffle Hot Dog. Save room for dessert or a cheese selection. At 649 S. Olive St. or thenomadhotel.com/los-angeles.

Reader Recommended

Best Girl at the Ace Hotel, 927 S. Broadway or bestgirldtla.com.

The Exchange at the Freehand Hotel, 416 S. Eighth St. or freehandhotels.com/los-angeles.

 

BEST COFFEE

Urth Caffé: The Arts District spot carries pretty much every kind of caffeine drink a person could want, from espresso and drip coffees to twists on lattes and cappuccinos, plus flavored beverages. These are complemented by a selection of pastries, breakfast foods and smoothies. Urth Caffé is almost always packed, especially on weekend mornings, so get there early. At 451 S. Hewitt St. or urthcaffe.com.

Reader Recommended

Blue Bottle Coffee, 300 S. Broadway and 582 Mateo St. or bluebottlecoffee.com.

Tierra Mia Coffee, 653 S. Spring St. or tierramiacoffee.com.

 

BEST JUICE

Pressed Juicery: With its green blends and citrus-heavy concoctions, Pressed Juicery is one of the healthiest places to get a drink in Downtown. The Bunker Hill and Fashion District locations carry everything from single-fruit juices to smoothies to frozen treats. For those trying to work off eating elsewhere around Downtown, Pressed offer multiple juice cleanses. At 350 S. Grand Ave. and 860 S. Los Angeles St. or pressedjuicery.com.

Reader Recommended

Juice Crafters, 702 S. Spring St. or juicecrafters.com.

Press Brothers Juicery, 317 S. Broadway or pressbrothersjuicery.com.

 

BEST WINE BAR

Mignon: Nestled on the ground floor of the Pacific Electric Lofts, Mignon has some quintessential wine bar components: It’s intimate, candlelit and carries extensive French cheese options. When it comes to the grapes, Mignon has almost entirely European vintages, with an emphasis on French varietals. Be sure to check out choices from lesser-known winemaking countries such as white wine from Georgia or Slovenia. At 128 E. Sixth St. or mignonla.com.

Reader Recommended

Pour Haus Wine Bar, 1820 Industrial St. or pourhauswinebar.com.

Garcons de Café, 541 S. Spring St. #114 or garcons-de-cafe.com.

 

BEST SPORTS BAR

Casey’s Irish Pub: This cavernous underground pub has plenty of TVs showing the big game — it carries the Dodgers and all major sports playoffs. Casey’s also has a full menu of Irish fare, plus enough Guinness and Jameson to satisfy every fan. During commercial breaks and at halftime, Casey’s has bar games, including darts and ping-pong, so guests can pass the time until the action resumes. At 613 S. Grand Ave. or 213hospitality.com/caseys.

Reader Recommended

Wang’s Tavern, 801 S. Olive St. or bigwangs.com.

Tom’s Urban, 1011 S. Figueroa St. or tomsurban.com/los-angeles.

 

BEST BOOZE AND GAMES

Arts District Brewing Co.: The Traction Avenue space is a game-and-beer fan’s fantasy. Arts District Brewing Co. makes roughly a dozen beers on site, with everything from lagers to hearty stouts on draft. Then add in darts, ping-pong and the 10 Skee-Ball machines (there’s even a skee-ball league). There are also rotating beers from other craft brewers, including Downtown options.At 828 Traction Ave. or artsdistrictbrewing.com.

Reader Recommended

Everson Royce Bar, 1936 E. Seventh St. or erbla.com.

EightyTwo, 707 E. Fourth St. or eightytwo.la.

 

BEST LGBTQ BAR

Redline: The Sixth Street bar is many-splendored, with a solid bar menu, a Sunday brunch, Friday and Saturday happy hour from 9-10 p.m. with double pours (for those who know the password), and LGBTQ-oriented activities including a selection of drag shows and a weekly Thursday “New Queens” night. There’s also plenty of dancing. At 131 E. Sixth St. or redlinedtla.com.

Reader Recommended

Precinct DTLA, 357 S. Broadway or precinctdtla.com.

Bang Bang Room, 221 W. Seventh St. 

 

BEST LOUNGE BAR

The Edison: Located inside a former electric plant, The Edison is an ode to Los Angeles’ Art Deco past. Decked out in velvet curtains, with brass and metal that recall the building’s history, the club in the basement of the Higgins Building feels like a step into the past. The cocktail menu is solid, but the many varieties of whiskey remain the biggest draw (outside of the decor). Be sure to check out the regular burlesque and aerial performances.At 108 E. Second St. or edisondowntown.com.

Reader Recommended

Seven Grand, 515 W. Seventh St. or sevengrandbars.com/la.

Pattern Bar, 100 W. Ninth St. or patternbar.com.

 

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR

La Cita: Located just south of Grand Central Market, La Cita is a neighborhood mainstay where the focus is on comfort and simplicity. There’s often live music inside, while the outdoor patio provides plenty of space to dance or enjoy a drink. The happy hours at La Cita are also worth checking out. Come by for daily themes, including the Sunday Bloody Mary bar. At 363 S. Hill St. or lacitabar.com.

Reader Recommended

Cole’s, 118 E. Sixth St. or 213hospitality.com/coles.

Las Perlas, 107 E. Sixth St. or 213hospitality.com/lasperlas.

 

BEST IRISH BAR

Casey’s Irish Pub: Los Angeles is not exactly Dublin, and authenticity in any Irish pub outside of Ireland is dubious, but Casey’s does a darn good job. The dark wood-paneled space is heavy on Guinness and Smithwicks, and light on green-dyed beer. The food keeps Casey’s close to its roots, with corned beef, boxty and numerous potato-based dishes. It doesn’t hurt that the large underground spot has loads of games and televisions. At 613 S. Grand Ave. or 213hospitality.com/caseys.

Reader Recommended

Dublin’s Irish Whiskey Pub, 815 W. Seventh St. or dublinson7th.com.

Limerick’s Tavern, 615 S. Flower St. or limerickstavern.com.

BEST RESTAURANT HAPPY HOUR

Pez Cantina: The Bunker Hill establishment woos local office workers with its modern coastal Mexican cuisine. Pez Cantina’s happy hour reflects that, with good deals on after-work food and drinks. There are $3 oysters, tacos, and a dozen shared-plate dishes including ceviche tostadas and potato taquitos. Wash those down with $5 draft beers, from Mexican lagers to heavy, malty Belgian dark ales. At 401 S. Grand Ave. or pezcantina.com.

Reader Recommended

Public School 213, 612 S. Flower St. or psontap.com.

Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse, 330 S. Hope St. or patinagroup.com.

 

BEST BAR HAPPY HOUR

Prank Bar: The South Park spot offers the rare treat: two happy hours. From the very specific periods of 2:40-7 p.m. and 9:42-10:47 p.m. there are $7-$8 food and drink specials, including tacos and bourbon smashes. Prank’s large outdoor patio also makes for great people watching. At 1100 S. Hope St. or prankbar.com.

Reader Recommended

La Cita, 336 S. Hill St. or lacitabar.com.

Nirvana Sports Bar and Grill, 314 E. First St.

 

BEST HOTEL BAR

Dekkadance at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown: It’s hard to top the view from Dekkadance, which is what happens when a bar is on the 69th floor of the Wilshire Grand Center. But Dekkadance stands out for more than the vista, as it offers monthly wine specials, specialty cocktails including a soju mojito, and regular items such as a peach Moscow mule and a bourbon buck. Drinks are on the higher end of the Downtown price spectrum, but it’s a one-of-a-kind place. At 900 Wilshire Blvd. or dekkadance.com.

Reader Recommended

Sheraton Lobby Lounge at the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles, 711 S. Hope St. or marriott.com.

Giannini Bar at the NoMad Los Angeles, 649 S. Olive St. or thenomadhotel.com/los-angeles.

 

BEST BEER SELECTION

Wurstküche: It’s not hard to find a good pint around Downtown, but the Arts District spot is a particular haven for those desperately seeking ales and lagers. Wurstküche carries a variety of beers from the United States, the United Kingdom and the hop-soaked countries of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Pair any of the beers with something from the extensive selection of sausages, and get an order of fries. At 800 E. Third St. or wurstkuche.com.

Reader Recommended

Yard House, 800 W. Olympic Blvd. or yardhouse.com.

Wang’s Tavern, 801 S. Olive St. or bigwangs.com.

 

BEST BREWERY

Arts District Brewing Co.: Downtown has emerged as a craft beer destination, but the Arts District Brewing Co. ups the game with more than a dozen selections brewed on site. The variety is strong, from the light Mateo Golden Ale to the Cole’s Honey Brown Ale. There are even Belgian varieties, plus tons of the requisite hoppy IPAs. If you can’t decide, try a tasting flight. At 828 Traction Ave. or artsdistrictbrewing.com.

Reader Recommended

Karl Strauss Brewing, 600 Wilshire Blvd. or karlstrauss.com/visit/downtown-los-angeles.

Modern Times Brewery, 832 S. Olive St. or moderntimesbeer.com/tasting-room/los-angeles.

 

BEST MARTINI

The Edison: It’s not just that the former power plant pays homage to the 1920s and 1930s, The Edison’s drink menu and bar sticks to the classics, done right. The martini here stands out whether it is fashioned in the traditional style with gin, or made with vodka. It’s cold, it’s strong, and as you sip it will feel like you’ve gone back in time. At 108 E. Second St. or edisondowntown.com.

Reader Recommended

The Palm, 1100 S. Flower St. or thepalm.com/restaurants/los-angeles.

The Varnish, 118 E. Sixth St. or 213hospitality.com/the-varnish.

STAFF PICKS

Mei Lin

BEST NEW DOWNTOWN CHEF

Mei Lin: Rising young chefs have been flocking to the Central City for years now. One of the newest and most successful is Lin, whose Nightshade opened in the Arts District in January. Lin, who won season 12 of the Bravo network cooking competition show “Top Chef,” has earned raves for her Asian fusion-meets-California cuisine, with Eater, the Los Angeles Times and the James Beard Foundation among those offering praise (she was a finalist for the former’s Best New Restaurant). Nightshade’s prawn toast — topped with shrimp paste, deep fried to a golden brown and layered with crispy curry leaves — was named Food & Wine magazine’s Dish of the Year. Another offering, the Szechuan hot quail, served on a bed of Japanese milk bread, proves that Nashville hasn’t cornered the market on hot poultry dishes. Lin even managed to take a simple blooming onion and reinvent it.

At 923 E. Third St. or nightshadela.com.

—Sean P. Thomas

The Wolves

BEST NEW ROOM

The Wolves: After three years of painstaking work, Al Almeida and Daniel Salin opened The Wolves in September. Located inside the Alexandria Hotel annex on Spring Street, The Wolves delivers one of Downtown’s most dynamic cocktail interiors. Modeled with the style of the Belle Époque in mind, the space is filled with aged artifacts, antique mahogany and Batchedler tiles. The bar tops are made with glistening white marble and the ceilings are lined with stained glass panels. Look up for the indoor/outdoor balcony above the gold leaf trimmed wooden doors.

At 519 S. Spring St. or thewolvesdtla.com.

—Sean P. Thomas

Manufactory Finally Opens at Row DTLA

BEST BIG FOOD VISION

The Manufactory: Almost like a Russian nesting egg, the deeper you travel into The Manufactory, the more is revealed. The Los Angeles offshoot of San Francisco’s Tartine brand opened in January in the Row DTLA complex and is truly massive. The 40,000 square feet of space is the culinary playground for chefs Elisabeth Prueitt, Chad Robertson and Chris Bianco. It’s not a single experience, but rather a compendium of options including the main dining space Tartine Bianco, the private dinner spot Alameda Supper Club, as well as the patio bar the Alameda Cocktail Club. There is also an all-day cafe and pickup window, a subterranean coffee roasting lab and a bakery that pumps out nearly 4,300 loaves of bread and 6,000 pastries per day.

At 757 S. Alameda St. or tartinebakery.com.

—Sean P. Thomas

 © Los Angeles Downtown News 2019