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YOUR ESSENTIAL DINING REFERENCE

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1264 W. First Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 • 213.481.1448

1264 W. First Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 • 213.481.1448

GO MOBILE!

1264 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026, • 213.481.1448 P U B L I C A T I O N S


Voted “Romantic” in 2011 and “Great for Lunch” in 2012 by OpenTable Diner’s Choice Awards

w w w . y o j i e . c o m

501 W. Olympic BlvD., Ste 102 | lOS AngeleS, cA 90015 | 213.988.8808 Open Sun-thurS 11:30Am-10:00pm, Fri & SAt 11:30Am-12:00Am nOW FrAnchiSing


The ultimate foodie destination right outside your door. GRAMMY Museum® Club Nokia The Conga Room Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14

STAPLES Center Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE

Boca ESPN Zone The Farm of Beverly Hills Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar gLAnce Wine Bar ION Rooftop Pool Bar Katsuya LA Market by Kerry Simon The Mixing Room Lawry’s Carvery Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge

New Zealand Natural Ice Cream Rock’n Fish Rosa Mexicano Starbucks Trader Vic’s Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill WP24 by Wolfgang Puck Yard House

lalive.com

Visit these dining destinations in our hotels.

213-743-8824

213-765-8630

213-765-8600

213-865-8600

213-765-8600

213-865-8600


Downtown Gets Served It’s a Food Frenzy, and Angelenos Are Eating It Up It would be fair to say Downtown is fertile ground for new restaurants. In fact, once they set down roots, they tend to thrive — more than anyone thought possible even just a few years ago.

by Casa Cocina Y Cantina. This local sandwich king has bucked the down economy with an everexpanding empire that makes consistently excellent food using locally grown and organic ingredients.

So it’s no surprise that numerous big-name establishments and exciting concepts have opened recently, while still others have expanded their eateries to include sister locations. The menu of options is diverse, and Downtown diners are taking full advantage. There are new sky-high views, artisanal sandwich makers, reclaimed bars and gourmet market-fine dining hybrids.

The gastropub/lounge category has also seen exciting growth in the form of The Perch, a stunningly designed sensory experience that offers killer views of Bunker Hill and beyond, tasty cocktails and inventive bistro small plates. Likewise, Salvage bar has carved out a space on the bottom of the Roosevelt Residences, creating a gorgeous respite using reclaimed materials and fixtures from the historic Seventh Street building. Even longtime favorite Daily Grill has spiced up its offerings with an adjacent bar called Public School 612, a nostalgic take on the pub trend with a beer-centric menu with drool-worthy gourmet fare.

Speaking of the latter, the much-anticipated opening of the Artisan House on the ground floor of the Pacific Electric Lofts proves you really can get it all in one place. This multi-function, French-inspired restaurant features a chic dining space, relaxed bar, entertainment and a deli-marketplace. It’s the kind of neighborhood staple that beckons for breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, after-hour pursuits and even a quick stop for tasty groceries if you plan on entertaining at home. Joining the lineup of newcomers is Mendocino Farms’ upscale eatery Blue Cow, which fills the lovely patio space at California Plaza formerly occupied

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It’s a food frenzy everywhere you look, and Downtown diners are eating it up. For even more information about the classics and the newcomers, check out the 2012 Downtown Restaurant Guide. Breakfast , lunch , dinner , weekends , entertainment , delivery happy hour , reservations , free Wi-Fi catering cash only .

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CHEF JOACHIM SPLICHAL WELCOMES YOU TO HIS DOWNTOWN RESTAURANTS! 101

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Kendall’s Brasserie & Bar eew ay

Walt Disney Concert Hall

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400 S. Hope St. | 213 680 7387 1150 S. Olive St. | 213 536 4090

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PATINA CATERING Events at Walt Disney Concert Hall, AT&T Penthouse & more

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PINOT GRILL Pre-theater dining al fresco

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The Standard Hotel

135 N. Grand Ave. | 213 972 7322

330 S. Hope St. | 213 680 0330

Wells Fargo Center

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KENDALL’S BRASSERIE Fresh seafood and French fare

NICK + STEF’S STEAKHOUSE Prime steaks dry-aged on site

Market Café Atrium Café

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Westin Bonaventure Hotel

CAFÉ PINOT Voted Best Outdoor Dining Downtown

Omni Hotel

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3rd

Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse

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700 W. Fifth St. | 213 239 6500

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141 Grand Ave. | 213 972 3331

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www.patinagroup.com

Chef Joachim Splichal’s Patina Restaurant Group


RESTAURANTS A L PHA B ETI C A L LY Artisan House................................................................................... 21 Aroma.................................................................................................. 44 Bäco Mercat....................................................................................... 51 Barragan’s Mexican Restaurant.................................................. 10 Big Man Bakes.................................................................................. 51 Big Wangs........................................................................................... 34 Blossom Restaurant........................................................................ 51 Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar................................................................. 29 Bonaventure Brewing Co.............................................................. 42 Border Grill Downtown LA........................................................... 30 Café De Camacho............................................................................ 24 Café Pinot..............................................................................................5 California Kabob Kitchen.............................................................. 26 CBS Seafood...................................................................................... 31 Chaya................................................................................................... 39 Colori Kitchen......................................................................................9 Daily Grill............................................................................................ 15 District BBQ & Lounge................................................................... 48 Dusty’s................................................................................................. 36 Eastside Market Italian Deli.......................................................... 39 El Caserio............................................................................................ 28 El Paseo Inn Restaurant................................................................. 23 Ensenada Restaurant & Bar.......................................................... 46 Farmer Boys....................................................................................... 13 Fat Spoon........................................................................................... 43 First & Hope....................................................................................... 43 Flix Cafe at Los Angeles Center Studios.................................. 11 Floma Café......................................................................................... 22 French Garden.................................................................................. 40 Frying Fish.......................................................................................... 47 Fugetsu-Do........................................................................................ 33 Full House Seafood Restaurant.................................................. 45 Galero Grill......................................................................................... 36 Gallery Bar.......................................................................................... 49 Gill’s Indian Restaurant.................................................................. 14 Gourmet LA Bakery........................................................................ 12 Grand Café......................................................................................... 30 Grand Central Market.................................................................... 24 Gus’s Drive-In.................................................................................... 26 Honda Ya Little Tokyo..................................................................... 31 Hooters................................................................................................ 45 Il Mare.................................................................................................. 20 Joe’s Steak & Leaf............................................................................. 18 Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria......................................................... 23 Katsuya................................................................................................ 32 KC’s Mediterranean Grill................................................................ 23 Kendall’s Brasserie..............................................................................5 Kiss Pizza & Deli................................................................................ 38 Kula Revolving Sushi Bar.............................................................. 18 L.A. Baking Co.................................................................................... 20 L.A. Cafe.........................................................................................14, 52 La Parrilla............................................................................................ 41 L.A. Prime............................................................................................ 27 Lazy Ox Canteen.............................................................................. 44 Library Bar.......................................................................................... 35 Market Café..........................................................................................5 Mas Malo............................................................................................ 16 Mendocino Farms........................................................................... 29 Morton’s The Steakhouse............................................................. 42 Nick’s Cafe.......................................................................................... 50 Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse..................................................................5 Noé Restaurant and Bar................................................................ 30 Nola’s.................................................................................................... 48 OBD Market & Deli.......................................................................... 51 Oiwake...................................................................................................9 Oomasa............................................................................................... 50 Original La Adelita........................................................................... 34 Palermo............................................................................................... 46 The Park’s Finest............................................................................... 25 Patina......................................................................................................5 Patina Catering....................................................................................5 Perch.................................................................................................... 37 Pete’s Cafe & Bar.........................................................................19, 51 Philippe, The Original..................................................................... 20 Pho Citi................................................................................................ 33 Pinot Grill...............................................................................................5 Pitfire Pizza......................................................................................... 28 Plum Tree............................................................................................ 32 Prime Grind Coffee.......................................................................... 42 Public School 612............................................................................ 15 Qdoba Mexican Grill....................................................................... 40 Rendezvous Court........................................................................... 49 Rocket Pizza Lounge................................................................19, 51 Roy’s..................................................................................................... 38 Sai Sai Noodle Bar........................................................................... 49 Salvage Bar & Lounge.................................................................... 38 Silo Vodka Bar................................................................................... 22 Smeraldi’s........................................................................................... 49 Spice Table......................................................................................... 41 Spring Street Smokehouse.......................................................... 35 Taix Restaurant................................................................................. 10 Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant/Elevate Lounge..............7 TiGeorges’ Chicken......................................................................... 16 Traxx..................................................................................................... 47 Two Bits Market................................................................................ 40 Urbano Pizza Bar.............................................................................. 35 Urban Noodle................................................................................... 51 The Village Kitchen......................................................................... 36 Wine Bar.............................................................................................. 51 Wokcano............................................................................................. 17 Wurstküche Restaurant................................................................. 44 Yojié Japanese Fondue & Sake Bar........................................2, 46 Yorkshire Grill.................................................................................... 31 Yxta Cocina Mexicana.................................................................... 37 Zip Fusion........................................................................................... 48

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Restaurant Rating Key

$ Inexpensive, $10 & Under $$ Moderate, $11 to $20 $$$ Expensive, $20+

LEGEND

CONTENTS Breakfast Lunch Dinner Weekends

Happy Hour Entertainment Delivery

Catering Reservations Cash Only

Free Wi-Fi

D owntown M a p.......................................................................................... 8 A m e r ican

Big Wangs.............................................................................................................34 Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar...................................................................................29 Bonaventure Brewing Co................................................................................42 Daily Grill..............................................................................................................15 Dusty’s...................................................................................................................36 Farmer Boys.........................................................................................................13 First & Hope.........................................................................................................43 Floma Café...........................................................................................................22 Galero Grill...........................................................................................................36 Gallery Bar............................................................................................................49 Gus’s Drive-In......................................................................................................26 Hooters..................................................................................................................45 Joe’s Steak & Leaf...............................................................................................18 L.A. Cafe.......................................................................................................... 14, 52 Lazy Ox Canteen................................................................................................44 Library Bar............................................................................................................35 Nick’s Cafe............................................................................................................50 The Park’s Finest.................................................................................................25 Pete’s Cafe & Bar.......................................................................................... 19, 51 Philippe, The Original.......................................................................................20 Rendezvous Court ...........................................................................................49 Salvage Bar & Lounge......................................................................................38 Silo Vodka Bar.....................................................................................................22 Spring Street Smokehouse............................................................................35 Traxx.......................................................................................................................47 The Village Kitchen...........................................................................................36

Chinese

A s ian

CBS Seafood........................................................................................................31 Full House Seafood Restaurant....................................................................45 Plum Tree..............................................................................................................32

hawaiian

Roy’s.......................................................................................................................38

Japanese

Fat Spoon.............................................................................................................43 Frying Fish............................................................................................................47 Honda Ya Little Tokyo.......................................................................................31 Katsuya..................................................................................................................32 Kula Revolving Sushi Bar................................................................................18 Oiwake.................................................................................................................... 9 Oomasa.................................................................................................................50 Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant/Elevate Lounge............................... 7 Yojié Japanese Fondue & Sake Bar..........................................................2, 46 Zip Fusion.............................................................................................................48

Korean

District BBQ & Lounge.....................................................................................48

vietnamese

Blossom Restaurant..........................................................................................51 Pho Citi..................................................................................................................33 Spice Table...........................................................................................................41

asian fusion

Chaya.....................................................................................................................39 Sai Sai Noodle Bar.............................................................................................49 Urban Noodle.....................................................................................................51 Wokcano...............................................................................................................17

C ali f o r nia

Café Pinot............................................................................................................... 5 Flix Cafe at Los Angeles Center Studios....................................................11 Noé Restaurant and Bar..................................................................................30

E u ro p e an

Artisan House.....................................................................................................21 Dusty’s...................................................................................................................36 French Garden....................................................................................................40 Kendall’s Brasserie............................................................................................... 5 Noé Restaurant and Bar..................................................................................30 Patina....................................................................................................................... 5 Perch......................................................................................................................37 Public School 612..............................................................................................15 Taix Restaurant...................................................................................................10

Public School 612..............................................................................................15 Smeraldi’s.............................................................................................................49

I talian

Aroma....................................................................................................................44 Colori Kitchen....................................................................................................... 9 Eastside Market Italian Deli............................................................................39 El Caserio..............................................................................................................28 Il Mare....................................................................................................................20 Palermo.................................................................................................................46 Pitfire Pizza...........................................................................................................28 Smeraldi’s.............................................................................................................49

L atin/M e x ican

Barragan’s Mexican Restaurant....................................................................10 Border Grill Downtown LA.............................................................................30 El Caserio..............................................................................................................28 El Paseo Inn Restaurant...................................................................................23 Ensenada Restaurant & Bar............................................................................46 Floma Café...........................................................................................................22 Joe’s Steak & Leaf...............................................................................................18 La Parrilla..............................................................................................................41 Mas Malo..............................................................................................................16 Original La Adelita.............................................................................................34 Qdoba Mexican Grill.........................................................................................40 Yxta Cocina Mexicana......................................................................................37

m e dit e r r an e an

KC’s Mediterranean Grill..................................................................................23

P e r s ian

California Kabob Kitchen................................................................................26

pizza

Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria...........................................................................23 Kiss Pizza & Deli..................................................................................................38 Pitfire Pizza...........................................................................................................28 Rocket Pizza Lounge................................................................................. 19, 51 Urbano Pizza Bar................................................................................................35

Salad s, Sandwic h e s & M o r e

Artisan House.....................................................................................................21 Big Man Bakes....................................................................................................51 Café De Camacho..............................................................................................24 Eastside Market Italian Deli............................................................................39 Fugetsu-Do..........................................................................................................33 Grand Central Market......................................................................................24 Gourmet LA Bakery..........................................................................................12 L.A. Baking Co......................................................................................................20 Market Café........................................................................................................... 5 Mendocino Farms.............................................................................................29 OBD Market & Deli............................................................................................51 Patina Catering..................................................................................................... 5 Pinot Grill................................................................................................................ 5 Prime Grind Coffee............................................................................................42 Rendezvous Court . ..........................................................................................49 Two Bits Market..................................................................................................40 Yorkshire Grill......................................................................................................31

S e a f ood

CBS Seafood........................................................................................................31 Ensenada Restaurant & Bar............................................................................46 Full House Seafood Restaurant....................................................................45

So u t h e r n

Nola’s......................................................................................................................48

St e a k h o u s e

L.A. Prime..............................................................................................................27 Morton’s The Steakhouse...............................................................................42 Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse................................................................................... 5

g e r man

Wurstküche Restaurant...................................................................................44

h aitian

TiGeorges’ Chicken...........................................................................................16

I ndian

Gill’s Indian Restaurant....................................................................................14

I nt e r national

Bäco Mercat.........................................................................................................51 Flix Cafe at Los Angeles Center Studios....................................................11 Grand Café...........................................................................................................30 Grand Central Market......................................................................................24 Lazy Ox Canteen................................................................................................44

1264 W. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90026 Website: LADowntownNews.com Phone: 213-481-1448 Fax: 213-250-4617 Email: realpeople@downtownnews.com

The 2012 L.A. Downtown News Restaurant Guide is partially written by Kathryn Maese and Kristin Friedrich. Cover photos by Gary Leonard with special thanks to Nickel Diner and Ricci N. Cox. Production and design by Yumi Kanegawa. The 2012 L.A. Downtown News Restaurant Guide is published annually by L.A. Downtown News. ©L.A. Downtown News 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review or promotion, without the written permission of the publisher and copyright owner.


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant/Elevate Lounge

Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant/Elevate Lounge

F

amed for breathtaking high-rise city views enjoyed from every table and vantage point, Takami soars 21 stories above Downtown L.A. The restaurant offers awardwinning selections of hand-crafted sushi and robata, as well as one of L.A.’s most comprehensive offerings of sake, wines boutique and cult, and a contemporary and inspired menu of cocktails and bar bites. Each year Takami enjoys among the highest of Zagat’s local and national ratings for unparalleled views and ambiance, as well as unrivaled lunch and dinner menu execution. Executive Chef Stan Ota employs the freshest seafood, ingredients and contemporary techniques to please the restaurant’s discriminating diners. Takami features a new “Build Your Own Bento Lunch,” a widely popular, quick and modestly priced menu of soups, salads, sushi rolls and entrees designed for the convenience of Downtown’s business community. In addition, unique robata creations are served alongside an extensive list of sashimi, sushi rolls and house specialties. Chef Ota has also crafted a lounge menu of smaller tastes to drink by, encouraging a festive lounge atmo-

sphere of after-work happy hour regulars, with locals and tourists alike soaking up the unparalleled vistas at every turn. Weekday happy hour arrives daily from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and weekends from 5-6:30 p.m., with all lounge menu items offered at half price, alongside a rotating offering of drink and wine specials. Adjacent to Takami, Elevate Lounge is a full-service, late-night bar and dance club offering an exquisite indoor/outdoor space

where the dinner hours magically melt into the late night. Offering Downtown’s only open-air nightlife space, replete with the latest in music and lighting technologies, guests indulge in cocktails, astonishing city views and cult disc jockeys. Event planners and location scouts are drawn to Elevate’s customizable space, which features more than 6,000 square feet of space with state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities, moveable modern furniture,

and the unique ability to adapt the room size to any number of guests or filming requirements. Takami and Elevate Lounge are located on the 21st floor penthouse at 811 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 236-9600 or takamisushi.com or OpenTable. com. Open weekdays for lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner MondayThursday 5-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-midnight, and Sunday 5-10 p.m. Cuisine: Japanese $$$

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

Colori Kitchen

C

With Every $40 Purchase

Excludes Friday & Saturdays. Excludes Special of the Day. Expires 3/26/13.

HOURS:

Monday-Friday Lunch 12:30-2pm Tuesday-Thursday Dinner 6-9pm Friday & Saturday Dinner 6-10pm Closed Sundays & Monday Nights

$ photo courtesy of Colori Kitchen

Get $10 OFF!

hef Luigi Barducci Contessi came to the east side of town from Ca’Brea, a stalwart MidCity food destination. But at Colori, Contessi has something intimate, something that stands alone. He’s not the only big-name chef in the area — there has been a steady migration of them in the last few years — but he’s the only one who has pulled off a homey neighborhood restaurant that has become a beloved staple among lunchtime workers, residents and foodies who come to Eighth Street from all over the city. The cozy, trattoria-style vibe inside can only come when an eatery is run by a family of passionate food lovers. The knowledgeable servers know not only the ingredients but the history and Contessi’s spin on things — because they’ve eaten all of it. The appetizers are simple, from bruschetta to a delicious, no-frills antipasto plate to the beloved melanzane parmigiana — thinly sliced eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella (if you watch the regulars, this is the dish they often open with). There are a couple of ways to take the evening after that. Pay attention to specials — if the burrata (billowy white cheese atop tomatoes) or cioppini (a deep bowl of seafood stew) make the board, order them. And it’s a sure thing to stick to the traditional Italian dishes: the homemade tagliatelle pasta with meat Bolognese sauce; the ravioli filled with pumpkin in cream walnut sauce; and for serious meat lovers, the spaghetti carbonara, with creamy sauce and smoky bacon. At 429 W. Eighth St., (213) 622-5950 or colorikitchen.com. Open weekdays for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., dinner Tuesday-Thursday 6-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 6-10 p.m. Cuisine: Italian

RESTAURANT

Traditional

Japanese C u i s i n e

$$

Full Bar

Happy Hour: Tues.–Sat. 5pm to 8pm

All You Can Eat Buffet

Featuring crispy tempura, fresh sushi, chicken teriyaki and much more. Lunch: 11am - 3pm : $8.50 Dinner: 5pm - 9pm: $10

Downtowns Best Karaoke Starts Every Night from 9pm 122 Japanese Village Plaza

Easy-In, Easy-Out, Validated Parking 213.628.2678 | www.OIWAKE.com

DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 9


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photo courtesy of Taix Restaurant

Barragan’s Mexican Restaurant

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The lamb chops and pot roast are pure comfort, served with a soup or wedge salad. The osso bucco is mouthwatering, served with creamy polenta. The rich skirt steak is just as tender and accompanied by crispy, rosemary-tinged pommes frites. Diners are drawn to $9.95 lunch specials and the very reasonable daily specials — among these, the coq au vin and the braised short ribs are spectacular. Wine lovers will be hard-pressed to pick just one glass from the vast, award-winning wine list — the large cellar offers the most affordable selections in L.A. It was named “L.A.’s best kept wine secret” by the Los Angeles Times. Whether dining or enjoying a cocktail, the dimly lit 321 Lounge has become a popular gathering place for trendy locals — open until the wee hours. There is live music Wednesday to Saturday after 10:30 p.m.; an underground standup comedy night Sundays at 8:30 p.m.; and things are always lively around game time, baseball or basketball (the Times also declared Taix the “one of the five best places to watch the Lakers game”). Despite the famed wine cellar, it’s not all red and white inside this Sunset Boulevard chalet: the 321 bartenders know their stuff — and can shake a mean martini. Taix also houses six banquet rooms for breakfast meetings, luncheons and dinners that can accommodate up to 200 guests. Professional, fullservice offsite catering is also offered. At 1911 Sunset Blvd., (213) 484-1265 or taixfrench.com. Open Monday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Saturday noon-1 a.m., and Sunday noon-9 p.m. Late-night menu Wednesday-Saturday until 1 a.m. Cuisine: Country French $$

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his bastion of French country cuisine is a Los Angeles original. Celebrating its 85th year in business, the restaurant’s affordable prices, extensive wine cellar, and rich history have attracted a loyal following, not only from diners but from its staff — many have served at Taix for more than three generations. They’re consistently kind and dedicated, and known to give impromptu tours of the walls’ memorabilia. The Taix family’s roots go back to the HautesAlpes in southern France, where they were third and fourth generation sheepherders and bakers. In the late 1800s, they opened a hotel in the French Quarter of Downtown Los Angeles. In 1927, a restaurant debuted on the bottom floor of the hotel, and 35 years later that restaurant moved to its current location — a chalet-like icon that attracts city politicos, businessmen, couples looking for a little romance, late-night hipsters and Francophiles who can’t get enough of the region’s cuisine. It’s just five minutes from the heart of Downtown in Echo Park, with inexpensive valet parking for meals, and a Dodger Stadium-adjacent location that makes it a popular meeting place before and after games. Today, the Taix family has stayed true to the tradition of affordable elegance and hearty French country cuisine. Chef Dominique Theval serves all the classics, from garlicky escargot to daily quiche to French onion soup to two versions of a salade Niçoise. Diners are known to flock to Taix just for the soup, served tableside from a silver tureen, in a bow to Old World dining. They’re all made using aromatic vegetarian stock — except for Friday’s famed clam chowder — and the servers will keep refilling until you surrender (and you should, there’s more to come). In terms of proteins, Taix is known for tender cuts, generous portions, and rich sauces that still find a way not to overshadow the star of the plate.

photo by Gary Leonard

Taix Restaurant

his old-school Mexican eatery has been an L.A. staple since 1961, thanks to founder Ramon Barragan, who started the labor of love with just 25 seats and a loan against his home. Some 50 years later, the Downtown community continues to flock to the original Echo Park location for hearty breakfasts and business lunches — thanks to its two bars and tasty margaritas. The family-owned business still serves a menu of traditional Mexican favorites for lunch and dinner including tacos, burritos, sopes and enchiladas, all with sides of freshly cooked beans and Spanish rice. They also offer plenty of house specialties that keep hungry customers coming back for more. There’s the succulent chile rellenos oozing with cheese and draped with red sauce, tender pork ribs in chipotle salsa, and fragrant pork simmered in green chile. Weekend breakfast turns up some tasty options, including menudo, chorizo and eggs, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and cactus and eggs. There’s also a selection of American favorites like hotcakes, hash browns, ham and eggs, and omelets. Add a strong cup of coffee or a Bloody Mary, and you’ve got a great start to the weekend. Happy hour is a special occasion, and Downtowners and locals know Barragan’s has it covered with a lovely patio, energetic music, and specials like $2.49 margarita night on Wednesdays. At 1538 Sunset Blvd., (213) 250-4256 or barragansrestaurants.com. Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m.-1:30 a.m. and Saturday-Sunday 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Cuisine: Mexican


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Flix Café at Los Angeles Center Studios

Flix Cafe at Los Angeles Center Studios

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party or meal at Los Angeles Center Studios combines all the glamour and glitz of Hollywood, but in Downtown’s backyard. The magnificent Tower Building completed in 1958 features classic elements of vintage Modernism such as black terrazzo floors, glass and aluminum walls. The architectural gem has been restored to its original state. All the executive amenities of the time went into this powerhouse; the sleek executive conference room upstairs has been featured in numerous films and TV shows. The low-slung, modern cafe is fit for any studio mogul. Remarkable daytime views of the lush outdoor garden and city skyline across the way are relaxing by day and stunning by night. Custom design elements and lighting futuristically transform the cafe and intimate patios into elegant areas for pre-screening cocktail parties and sit-down dinners. Operated by Guckenheimer, a leader in corporate foodservice, Flix Cafe offers full breakfast, lunch, daily specials, specialty coffee and catering. Diners will find delicious, seasonal fare in a cheery atmosphere. The food is simple, pure and full of flavor, with ingredients (often organic) sourced from local farmers and artisans. Everything is cooked from scratch, and the menus at the LACS feature a wide range of nutritious and gourmet dishes us-

ing the freshest ingredients available. Items include everything from roasted farm-raised meats to exhibition-style entrees made to order. Flix Catering is perfect for private parties from casual buffets to network mixers, sit-down gourmet table service to elegant gala events. Whether the party is for 20, 200 or several thousand, Flix Catering and LACS will create the perfect menu, theme and atmosphere to transform any vision into a memorable experience. The cafe also offers off-site catering, and can deliver and set up at your office or venue. The Beaudry Building offers a variety of special event areas in addition to Flix Cafe. This site includes two intimate patios with unobstructed skyline views, a 400-seat theater and a private dining area. L.A. Center Studios state-of-the-art sound

stages were recently home to the film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the hit TV shows “Mad Men,” “Law and Order Los Angeles” and “Southland.” The six, 18,000-square-foot sound stages have silent air conditioning and high-tech amenities. Sound stages can be reserved for large events and short-term projects. The 20-acre campus also offers a wide variety of enclosed city streets. The past party list reads like a who’s who of the business and entertainment world: Sony PlayStation, Maxim, AOL/Time Warner, Warner Music Group, NBA All-Star Party, Activision, Electronic Arts, HBO and KPMG. Events have ranged from dinners for 100 guests to extravaganzas for 7,000 at this unique facility, where the gorgeous, 16-foot rotating door to the cafe alone is worth the visit. Guests are sure to remember their experience at Los Angeles Center Studios, whether it takes place on a sound stage or on the dramatic outdoor decks. Flix Cafe is at Los Angeles Center Studios, 1201 W. Fifth St., (213) 534-3000 or lacenterstudios.com. Open weekdays for breakfast 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Coffee Bar and snacks available 8-4 p.m. For cafe and catering information, email flixcafe@lacenterstudios.com. For special events email echambers@lacenterstudios.com. Cuisine: California/World Cuisine $

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DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 11


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ORS’ CHOICE

Gourmet LA

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Bakery

LUNCH & DINNER Our sandwiches are made while you wait and every selected ingredient is the freshest possible including our award winning croissants and telera bread.

BREAD & PASTRIES Our bread is traditional Mexican, but we have made our selection as diverse as this city.

CAKES For all occasions. Just tell us your needs and ideas and we will turn it into a delicious reality.

DRINKS All natural & fresh traditional Mexican coolers.

ICE CREAM COFFEE & TEA

213.623.4244 • 548 S. Broadway Ave. LA, CA 90013 • 6:30am - 8pm, M. - Sat. • 7am -7pm, Sun. • GourmetLABakery.com On Broadway between 5th and 6th streets.


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Farmer Boys Restaurant

Farmer Boys

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hen you need a good burger fix, there’s no shortage of fast food places competing for your dollars. But standing out from the pack is Farmer Boys Restaurant, which prides itself on the fact that nothing on the menu is warmed over, pre-made or frozen (except for the real ice cream milkshakes, of course) — despite being open 24 hours. The menu has a little bit of everything, from breakfast to dinner. Still, the restaurant’s trademark is its mouthwatering Signature Farmer’s Burger, which attracts everyone from police to fire personnel to

burger. Chili lovers will love the double chiliburger with Farmer Boys’ homemade chili poured over freshly cooked patties. You can add fresh avocado to any burger or sandwich for an additional charge. Farmer Boys Restaurant is not just

to choose from bacon, ham, sausage or chili meat. Farmer Boys makes a pint-sized Kid’s Breakfast as well. It wouldn’t be fast food without a generous helping of tasty sides. French fries are popular but Farmer Boys’ other two signature items are

For the health conscious, Farmer Boys offers several salad options. The Farmer’s chopped Cobb salad and the chicken BBQ Ranch are two of the most popular, as well as the classic chicken salad, chef’s salad and tuna salad.

those in the garment and produce industries. Voted best burger by My Fox LA Hot List, Channel 2 News and KFRG Radio, the Farmer’s Burger is huge, satisfying and always made to order. The Farmer Boys burger line offers nearly a dozen choices so diners can get theirs prepared exactly to taste. Even vegetarians can order a tasty garden burger. Try the standard option or go wild with a double bacon burger or double cheese-

about the burgers. Start your day with one of the signature breakfasts (you can order breakfast anytime). Order a stack of hotcakes, French toast, omelets or the three egg plate. All omelets or three egg plates are served with hash browns, toast and jelly. If you like your eggs between bread, go for the egg sandwich and add bacon, sausage or ham. Farmer Boys Restaurant also has its own version of the popular breakfast burrito, a secret recipe that allows you

the colossal onion rings and zucchini spears, which are both hand cut and breaded daily. Besides favorites such as the fish and tuna sandwich, the restaurant also has a new line of chicken sandwiches that come on a honey oat wheat bun. The chicken club, chicken BBQ Ranch and the improved chicken sandwich are some of the new items added to the menu. Either of these sandwiches makes a great meal with a salad on the side.

Diners can call ahead to place phone orders for faster service, or use the convenient drive thru. For those who need to get work done, there is free Wi-Fi (except Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) as well as plenty of free parking — a rarity Downtown. The restaurant also has a frequent diner program allowing customers to earn a point for every dollar spent (100 points adds up to $5). As an added bonus, you can sign up for email coupons and discounts. Farmer Boys Restaurant is also open late, which is perfect for those times when you need a quick, fresh and delicious burger fix. • Free Wi-Fi • Free parking • Frequent diner program • Email coupons and discounts • Open 24 hours At 726 S. Alameda St. (1.5 miles south of Union Station), (213) 2288999 or farmerboysla.com. Open 24 hours. Drive thru or dine in. Cuisine: American $

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

L.a. Cafe

Gill’s Indian Restaurant

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photos courtesy of L.A. Cafe

ust a peek at the pastry case at L.A. Cafe is enough to make you drool. There are rich, layered chocolate cakes, homemade granola bars, homemade croissants, colorful fruit tarts, giant cookies, sticky cinnamon rolls, fudge brownies and adorable pink shortbread piggies, to name a few. This beloved Spring Street cafe makes all its food daily from scratch, from its soups and sauces to its pastries and pies. It’s one of the reasons it has earned such a loyal following over the years, and has now expanded to serve and deliver to the local USC students, loft dwellers and business community 24 hours a day. L.A. Cafe was one of the pioneers in this now-burgeoning Downtown district at a time when few businesses would take a chance on the area. The investment has paid off. A visit to this lively sidewalk cafe is a snapshot of the new Downtown, with diners meeting over coffee, lingering in the sunshine with a burger and fries, and surfing the Internet while sipping an iced latte. Charming black and yellow striped awnings welcome guests, covering the tables and faux grass along the storefront. The day starts here with a busy rush of regulars for breakfast and coffee, and patrons can get it all from yogurt and granola to breakfast sandwiches and pancakes. For hearty appetites, the Lumberjack plate satisfies with two eggs, bacon, country potatoes, toast and a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. You can also select from a long list of brewed and blended coffees, espresso drinks, teas and smoothies (try the strawberry-banana version). The menu features an eclectic selection ranging from American classics to Mediterranean-inspired eats. One of the hands-down favorites is the sinfully delicious lobster grilled cheese oozing with brie, cheddar and a grainy mustard-tarragon mayo on white country bread. Another go-to is the grilled cheeseburger on a brioche bun with a pile of seasoned fries. There’s an assortment of wraps, sandwiches and panini served with the house

Buzz Chips. Some of the panini standouts include the pesto chicken, the turkey and avocado, and the classic Caprese. You can’t go wrong with the chipotle chicken with salsa, or the big cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickles and secret sauce served with seasoned fries. L.A. Cafe cooks up some mean chili, a recipe based on the 17-ingredient version from the Brown Derby — it’s amped up here with another eight items including dried ancho, guajillo and wild honey. The Meze plate is a great vegetarian option, with hearty servings of fattoush salad, hummus, falafel, tomato and cucumber, kalamata olives, feta cheese, tzatziki sauce and flatbread. Salad lovers will find about half a dozen varieties to choose from, including the colorful and tasty farmers market salad. The cafe also serves a playfully delicious Caesar topped with two mini cheeseburgers and crispy onion rings. As part of its growing offerings, L.A. Cafe will soon offer online food orders for faster pickup and delivery. At 639 S. Spring St., (213) 612-3000 or lacafe. com. Open 24 hours. Cuisine: American $

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Authentic food from India

Cooked in Tandoori Oven & Exotic Indian Curries Giving Seductive Flavor & Tantalizing Aroma

(213) 623-1050

gillsrestaurant.com 838 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90017 (in Stillwell Hotel)

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Public School 612

photo courtesy of Daily Grill

Daily Grill

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his Downtown staple grinds its beef twice daily — an unheard of practice in most restaurants — producing the ultimate, freshest burgers around. Each half-pound Angus patty is hand-formed, grilled to perfection, and topped with succulent peppercorn bacon and double cheddar. It’s a toothsome creation that speaks to the culinary excellence of the Daily Grill. Since opening several years ago, this popular Downtown outpost has served a tried-and-true menu of American favorites to hungry workers and visitors. From home-style meatloaf and pork chops to its famed chicken pot pie and seasonal cobblers, dining at the Grill is comfort at its best. The interior is warm, casually elegant and inviting, with white tablecloths, dark wood finishes and black and white photos. Service is impeccable, which is part of the reason this eatery maintains a devoted following. Lunch bustles with diners who come for the large selection of entree salads like the grilled skirt steak version, as well as house-made soup and sandwich specials, satisfying pastas and the aforementioned burgers. The Daily Grill has also created a new health-conscious menu dubbed Simply 600, with lower calorie options such as a turkey club, chicken meatballs with angel hair pasta, fish tacos, a Thai noodle salad and panseared salmon burger. Dinner brings heartier fare such as the crispy Tuscan brick chicken, jumbo lump crab cakes, braised short rib with horseradish mashed potatoes, and New York strip steak served with addicting shoestring fries. You can’t go wrong, whether you grab a burger after work or linger over a glass of wine at dinner. At 612 S. Flower St., (213) 622-4500 or dailygrill.com. Open weekdays 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 5-10 p.m. Cuisine: American Contemporary $$$

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Public School 612

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his gastropub has embarked on a noble mission: To educate patrons in the “art of food and beer.” While there are a handful of beer-centric watering holes Downtown, Public School 612 puts a cheeky spin on the tasty trend with a trip down memory lane. For starters, the stylish bar takes cues from the tiled halls of high school, and the industrial swivel stools could have been pulled from a chemistry class. The whimsical menu mimics a black-andwhite composition book, while the napkins look like ruled paper. But make no mistake, there’s not a school cafeteria in the country with the kind of gourmet eats — and drinks — you’ll find here. Beer and food get equal billing, and each selection complements the other. There are nearly two dozen beers on tap as well as an assortment of bottles and cans — all selected by “Beer Chick” expert Hallie Beaune. The bartenders and servers are eminently knowledgeable and friendly, removing the snobbery one can sometimes encounter when selecting a craft beer (you can even sign up for beer tasting classes). The menu lists a glossary of beer terminology to further demystify the process, with domestic and foreign beers categorized under American History, Semester Abroad and Study Group (beers to split with friends). A few of the notable selections include a Belgian-style Allagash White from Portland, the Craftsman 1903 lager from Pasadena and the Unibroue Ephemere hailing from Quebec. A handful of signature cocktails stick to classics like the Old-Fashioned, Sazerac and Champagne cocktail. While the bartender can offer pairing suggestions, you really can’t go wrong with any of the luscious food coming out of the kitchen. For munchies, the hand-cut brown bag fries can be dipped in Sriracha ketchup and mustard barbecue sauce, or you can nibble on a plate of huevos al diablo, or

deviled eggs, topped with a slice of jalapeño. Another popular choice is the Cutting Board, a wood slab spread with a selection of artisan cheese and cured meats. The adobo short rib tacos with lime crema are sublime, as is the wild mushroom and taleggio lavash pizza — great for sharing. For heartier appetites, the juicy Colorado lamb burger with tomato cranberry jam and gooey brie is a must; and the 1903 fish and chips satisfies with its remoulade sauce and a good dousing of malt vinegar. Don’t miss the Brownbag fries with sriracha ketchup and mustard barbecue sauce. And if you still crave an afterschool snack, be sure to try the oven baked pretzel with roasted jalapeño cheese dip. PS 612 is the ideal post-work hangout. The scene is lively yet unpretentious, and it’s centrally located in the Financial District. Happy hour, or Recess as it’s called here, is one of the best in Downtown. Patrons will find a daily $4 handle of draft, and stellar food specials for $2, $4 and $6. On Sundays, the deals stick around all day, which means you won’t mind racking up some extra credit. At 612 S. Flower St., (213) 623-1172 or publicschool612.com. Open daily 4-11 p.m. Happy hour 4-7 p.m. (all day Sunday). Cuisine: Gastropub $$

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

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CAteriNG MeNu Rotisserie Chicken Avocado wood burned with a delicate blend of Haitian Spices $6.00 Griot Pork slowly braised for tenderness & then fried for a crisp exterior served over a bed of mixed greens & pikliz $8.00 Lambi (Seafood) Conch sautéed in garlic & a blend of spices – some say this is an aphrodisiac $9.00 Cabrit Slow braised goat meat & fried for crispness served over a bed of mixed greens & pikliz $9.00 Rice and Beans Red beans and rice cooked to perfection. $2.75

Green Salad Spring salad blend with honey-mustard dressing $2.00 Fried Green Plantains Twice fried for tenderness & crispness $2.75 Pain Patate Sweet potato pudding $7.00 Riz Au Lait Rice Pudding $5.00 TiGeorges’ Organic Haitian Coffee Direct from the coffee plantation in Port-De-Paix to your cup $3.75 Price per person, Minimum ten (10) people. We accept all major credit cards.

309 N. Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 Phone – 213.353.9994 • Fax – 213.353.9968

www.tigeorgeschicken.com 16 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

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ocated next to Downtown’s favorite whisky bar Seven Grand, Mas Malo unfolds in the cavernous 1920’s space formerly occupied by a jewelry store. This new outpost expands on the original Silverlake eatery, with a larger menu and a stunning, three-level interior that boasts soaring ceilings, original wood paneling, arched alcoves and murals. Spicy pops of red enliven the space. The menu offers plenty of Mexican classics, some reinterpreted with a modern spin. Chips are fried to order (you can even get them chewy) and served with fresh salsa — there are half a dozen including burnt habanero, serrano, chile negro and tomatillo. The hard and soft tacos are a revelation, cranked up with ingredients like eggplant and potato, ground beef and pickle (the chef’s favorite), shrimp and bacon, and lobster. Lunch specials feature tasty goat barbacoa, hefty plates of enchiladas and carne asada, red snapper in garlic and habanero sauce, and the house special torta ahogada with Coca Cola marinated carnitas drowned in arbol chile — the perfect hangover remedy. There are cheeky dishes too, like the Boyle Heights Picnic, a half chicken simmered in molé poblano with a side of Mexican potato salad. The Big Night is a worthy splurge with a cast-iron fried T-bone steak and lobster tail Diablo (garlic, red chili and lime). The two bars, cantina and tasting vault feature more than 300 tequilas and 20 mescals. Don’t miss the specialty cocktails like the house margarita with fresh sour mix, the spicy cucumber margarita with Tapatio, or the Piñata Smash with serrano chile, cilantro and pineapple. At 515 W. Seventh St., (213) 985-4332 or masmalorestaurant.com. Open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m-12 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Cantina open nightly until 2 a.m. Cuisine: Mexican $$

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$$ photo courtesy of Mas Malo

Tigeorges’ ChiCken

mas malo


santa monica

open until am (except west hollywood) delivery until am downtown la

west hollywood

burbank

santa monica

long beach

valencia

 w th st. los angeles, ca  ..  s san fernando blvd. burbank, ca  ..  the promenade n. long beach, ca  ..

 w third st. los angeles, ca  ..  th st. santa monica, ca  ..  w valencia blvd valencia, ca  ..

wokcanorestaurant.com


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

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aiten sushi — called conveyor belt sushi or “sushi-go-round” — is a speedy food staple in Japan. For kaiten newcomers, it goes like this: Diners watch as dozens of different kinds of small plates roll by on a mechanized belt, and grab what they like. Sometimes there are menus from which diners can order hot or specialty dishes, but most of the food comes from the belt. At the end of the meal, wait staff tallies the check by counting dishes and lids — and both the check, and the time spent inside the cafe, are surprisingly little. Following that lead, there are a handful of kaiten-style locales in Southern California serving clientele looking for a fast, affordable, fun sushi experience. Kula, part of a growing chain that started in Orange County — is the newest. Kula anchors a corner pocket of the bustling Japanese Village Plaza, and even if the wait appears to be long, remember that the point of a kaiten restaurant is speed. Diners tend not to linger or plant themselves at booths, and so the flow of people in and out moves quickly. Kula’s design stands out from its surroundings because it’s so modern (a lot of the sushi houses in the area have old, dark, wood interiors, and one tends to look like the next). Here, natural light streams in through a wall of windows, the handful of booths and counter spaces are clean and simple, and the young, cheerful staff moves at lightning speed to refill drinks and move customers in and out. But the thing that is most striking, of course, is the sushi-carrying conveyor. Unlike other kaiten joints where the track chugs around slowly in a circle, Kula’s conveyor curves its way through the small eatery like a train track in the mountains. It’s longer and faster than other conveyors in the neighborhood — which means there is more variety, and more fun to be had. If you hesitate too long, it’s going to be several minutes until you see the same item again — that’s how many choices there are. With the exception of sakes, beers, and some of the tempura, everything on the menu is $2 a pop — mostly two- and three-piece sushi portions on green dishes and covered by plastic domes. What that translates into is a full sushi meal, with drinks and sides, for $10 to $20.

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There are traditional and trendy roll choices (from spicy tunas to crunch tempura to the jalapeñotopped Philadelphia). Familiar nigiri options (rice topped with fish) motor by as well, including soysake marinated tuna and salmon, melt-in-yourmouth toro and yellowtail belly, squid with shiso leaves, scallops and eel. There is also an array of stout gunkan maki plates (Japanese for battleship, which this kind of sushi resembles in shape with — little mounds of seaweed wrapped rice, topped soft ingredients like sea urchin or salmon roe). Accompanying all of this, it should be noted, is the textured homemade wasabi — not reconstituted powder. But Kula’s conveyor track is filled with much more than just fish. The eatery’s signature crispy chicken and crispy squid are on deck, as well as edamame; thinly-sliced, vinegar-spiced sunomono vegetables; and even mochi ice creams and sesame balls for dessert. Hot udon noodles, miso soup with homemade tofu, a small selection of hand rolls, and gyoza dumplings can be ordered off the menu — but again, the point of kaiten sushi eateries is the do-it-yourself experience. Even though the restaurant is built on concepts of speed and convenience, Kula uses organic ingredients (rice included) and few preservatives. That begs the question of how the food stays fresh — but if you watch closely, you’ll see that none of the fish stays on the belt for long, and the chatty chefs behind the bar are constantly shuffling dishes on and off the belt. Between the wait staff and that rowdy conveyer, there is no faster, cheaper, or more fun sushi experience in Little Tokyo. At 333 E. Second St., (213) 290-9631 or kura-corpo.co.jp/us. Open Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Cuisine: Japanese $$

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Joe’s Steak & Leaf

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or diners looking for a place to watch the game, catch up on current events, or enjoy a live band over a delicious meal and glass of wine or imported beer, Joe’s Steak & Leaf should be at the top of your list. Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown on Spring between Third and Fourth streets, this modern, vibrant eatery is the ideal place for game night and happy hour. Enjoy classics like fish and chips, nacho fries, wings, chili cheese fries and jalapeño cheese poppers from the happy hour menu, or indulge in traditional favorites such as the American Philly steak sandwich, gyros, pastrami, burgers or Mexican meals grilled to order. If you’ve had a late night and need a taste of comfort food to get you through the day, try the breakfast burrito or deluxe omelets. For vegetarians, Joe’s Steak & Leaf offers an entire menu for the Leaf lover that includes delicious meatless meals such as tomato and spinach wraps. No matter what you crave, Joe’s Steak & Leaf is sure to satisfy every type of hunger at affordable prices. Stop by, enjoy a beer and be sure to meet owner and master chef Joe, who makes every customer feel right at home. Catering and delivery in the immediate area is also available. At 333 S. Spring St., (213) 346-9976 or visit steakandleaf.com. Open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Cuisine: American/Mexican $

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$ photo courtesy of Joe’s Steak & Leaf

photos courtesy of Kula Revolving Sushi Bar

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar


Serving Lunch & Dinner 7 Days a Week 4th & Main | DTLA 213-617-1000

petescafe.com HOURS Monday–Friday 11am - 2am Saturday & Sunday (Offering Brunch) 9am - 2am

American Bistro & Fine Wine | Outdoor Terrace | Pets Welcome

APPetIZers sUBs sALADs entrees PIZZA

local craft beer happy h our

Weekd ays 4-7 pm all nig ht tue sday

treet, 122 West 4th s A 90013 Los AngeLes, C

ge.com rocketpizzaloun 213.687.4992

local delivery


2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

philippe, the original Unique Baking For Your Best Occasion

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Sandwiches & Salads Breakfast Pastries Dessert Pastries Birthday & Wedding Cakes Smoothies Coffee & Tea Artisan Breads Breakfast Bagels

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RISTORANTE ITALIANO

ant a taste of L.A. history? How about a nine-cent cup of coffee? Incredibly, you can find them both at the same place, a block away from Union Station, at Philippe, The Original. In 1908, Philippe Mathieu opened what would become one of the city’s oldest restaurants, and was credited with creating the first French dipped sandwich a decade later. Like many great discoveries, this one was an accident, as Mathieu inadvertently dropped a sliced French roll into a roasting pan filled with cooking juices. A good-natured customer, an LAPD officer, agreed to take the sandwich anyway, soggy roll and all. He loved it so much that he returned the next day with friends, asking for the same thing. The rest is culinary history. Today, six people involved with Philippe’s are descendants of the family that bought the restaurant to the area in 1927. Freeway construction forced it to move from Aliso Street to its current location in 1951, where it has welcomed diners with its signature sawdust-covered floor and long communal tables for more than 50 years. Hearty breakfasts are served daily until 10:30 a.m. Philippe’s offers several delicious versions of the French Dip, including roasted pork, leg of lamb, turkey, ham and roast beef. They’re all served on freshly baked crusty French rolls, which can be single-dipped or double-dipped. Add one of the tasty side dishes, such as tangy coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad or the signature eggs pickled in beet juice, and you’ve got a classic L.A. meal. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At 1001 N. Alameda St., (213) 628-3781 or philippes.com. Free parking. Beer and wine served. Cuisine: American $

PASTA

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PIZZA

HOURS Mon ~ Fri 11:30am to 11pm Kitchen closes at 10pm

Sat 5pm to 11pm Kitchen closes at 10pm

WE CATER! OPEN DAILY FREE WI-FI 2108 North Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90031 323.225.5826 x25 www.labaking.com

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Sun 5pm to 9pm 1111 S. Hope St., #110 Los Angeles, CA 90015 At the corner of 11th and Hope Tel 213.746.7766 | Fax 213.746.7764


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Artisan House

Artisan House

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his highly anticipated new restaurant, bar and gourmet market in the historic Pacific Electric Lofts at Sixth and Main streets has instantly become a Downtown hotspot. With its rustic French-industrial design and commitment to using locally grown and organic products, Artisan House has tapped in to the deep demand for exceptional food in a unique setting. The green-friendly design (Karin Liljegren of Omgivning) incorporates several reclaimed elements from the 1905 building’s past. High ceilings make way for exposed brick columns, gorgeous walnut floors, arched windows, marble slabs and old mahogany doors used for the bartop. KoreanAmerican artist Youn Woo Chaa created the eyecatching woven reed artwork depicting nudes. The space is divided into an inviting dining room on one end and a marketplace and fullservice deli on the other. There’s also a dazzling 14-seat bar, communal tables and lush patio seating. Executive Chef Jason Ryczek (One Sunset, Boa) oversees a seasonally changing CaliforniaMediterranean menu using the best artisan ingredients available, while the kitchen makes everything by hand including the pasta, sauces and stocks. They glean daily from a rooftop vegetable, salad and herb garden.

For weekday breakfast, patrons can stop in for a cup of coffee or one of the exquisite pastries offered at the deli. Weekend brunch offers a more extensive selection of dishes from quiche du jour to steak and eggs to quinoa oatmeal granola. Lunch brings an array of takeout or sit-down options. Order one of the artisan sandwich creations from the deli (or make your own), or choose from the daily lineup of soups, green salads, and pasta and grain dishes beckoning from the counter. If you’re dining in, take advantage of the shared plates like the semolina-crusted fritto misto or the truffle beets and feta salad, with oranges, mint, hazelnuts and black truffle balsamic. There are half a dozen or so flatbreads topped with ingredients like goat cheese and juniper bacon or winter truffles and crispy kale. Entrees include the signature Reuben with housemade pastrami, purple sauerkraut and gruyere on swirled rye, or the Anchor Steam-battered fish and chips with anchovy tartar sauce. Dinner is an elegant feast for the senses, with main dishes like the Duroc pork schnitzel with black trumpet mushrooms and juniper brandy sauce, the crispy skin grilled saltwater trout with saffron aioli, or the steak frites on a bed of dandelions with beurre Café du Paris and tomato jam. There are also rolling trolleys of charcuterie and cheese to service diners tableside. Adding to the Artisan House experience is the entertainment program: Live bands play accoustic jazz on Sunday afternoons and Monday eve-

nings during dinner (no cover charges). Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights known local Dj’s spin their tunes, creating a unique dinner and late-night ambiance. Happy hour brings $5 tap beers, house wines, well drinks, flatbreads and other tasty dishes from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you’re planning a night in, the market stocks all the elements you’ll need for a gourmet meal or dinner party. There are eye-popping shelves of organic spirits, wine, sodas, snacks and housemade olive oil, canned goods and olives, among other things. A rainbow of produce is displayed in farm baskets, all organic and sourced from local growers. For parties or catered events, Artisan House has opened a 10,000-square-foot space on the ninth floor — an architecturally stunning room that served as the private Jonathan Club of the Pacific Electric Building. At 600 S. Main St., (213) 622-6333 or artisanhouse.net. Open weekdays for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., for dinner Sunday-Thursday 6-10:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 6-11:30 p.m., for brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The bar is open daily 11:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. The deli/ market is open Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m.-2 a.m., and Friday and Saturday 8 a.m.-3 a.m. Street parking and parking lots adjacent to building; valet parking $2 with lunch special. Cuisine: Contemporary French Italian - Full Deli & Market $

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DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 21


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Floma Café

Floma Café

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his sunny Flower District café has long been a favorite for industry insiders. You’ll see wedding planners gulping down lattes as they work their cell phones, shippers and suppliers making deals, and vendors trying to fuel up in preparation for their long hours at the markets located on all four sides of the restaurant. And a lot of these customers also hire Floma’s owner for his locally famous catering jobs — quinceañeras, business parties, weddings, barbecues, and christenings ranging from 50 to 2,000 diners. The morning crowd seems to know the menu backwards and forwards, and moves through the café like they’ve been there a hundred times. It makes sense: there aren’t that many places open this early in the neighborhood, and none that are this comfortable and cheerful. There’s also free Wi-Fi access in the café, and the staff doesn’t mind if its patrons plant themselves and work for a while. But word about Floma is also starting to spread among the Downtowners living in the Fashion District lofts a couple of blocks away. The thing that new visitors notice immediately — besides the café’s early hours — is the tiny rock fountain at the door that welcomes newcomers. And once diners are inside, the lush scent of lilies surrounds them. It pervades the restaurant all day long — a happy consequence of being permanently located in the middle of hundreds of thousands of blooms. The color palette inside — on the walls, in the artwork, on the white tables and green chairs — pays homage to flowers. In the morning, as the Flower District is waking up, Floma opens with lots of coffees (and free syrups to add), ice blended concoctions, real fruit smoothies, and a trio of agua fresca juices to help jump-start its customers. But that’s just the beverage side of things. On Floma’s incredibly extensive menu — which combines Mexican, Italian, Asian and American comfort food — are dozens of breakfast options, all of which are served all day. Chilaquiles (with green or “no que no” homemade red salsa) and huevos rancheros can be found here, as well as protein plates, with a choice of pork chops, carne asada, Italian sausage, chicken or chorizo served with fresh eggs. The omelets are huge, with three eggs, Jack and cheddar cheese, the café’s potatoes (diced and mixed with bell peppers and onions) and avocado, or rice and beans, and a choice of bread. The enormous breakfast burritos are wrapped versions of the omelets. The kitchen also turns out a two-egg sandwich on grilled croissants, ciabatta rolls or

22 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

telera bread (that the café also uses for tortas come lunch time), as well as strawberry French toast and hot cakes. As the day wears on and the morning bustle starts to quiet, Floma serves up huge salads, burgers, tortas and plate-sized burritos. The café’s signature charbroiled chicken makes an appearance in many of the salad options, from the Chinese chicken to the classic Greek. There are huge quarter-pound burgers with Thousand Island dressing and a grilled sourdough version with parmesan cheese. The tortas come on those seven-inch telera buns with al pastor, carnitas, chorizo, carne asada, ham or turkey — all with beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, onions and cheese. The burritos, like most other entrees, are giant — packed with rice, beans, fresh cilantro, and the café’s homemade salsa. If you’re hankering for cuisine from entirely different continents, there are also four teriyaki options with chicken or beef is served over steamed rice with grilled jalapeños; chicken and shrimp Alfredos; and a rich marinara spaghetti and meatball plate. The desserts at Floma are a treat, made with real ice cream and fresh fruit. Speaking of fruit, Floma’s “bionicos” are giant arrangements of strawberries, melons, bananas and coconut shavings — these gorgeous creations rival the colorful flowers next door. At 765 S. Wall St., (213) 221-7978 or laflomacafe.com. Catering available. Open Monday-Thursday 5 a.m.-4 p.m., WednesdayFriday 4 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Cuisine: American, Mexican $

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

photo courtesy of El Paseo Inn Restaurant

w w w . j o h n n i e s n y p i z z a . c o m

ria e z iz P k r o Y w e N Johnnie’s the best

the best

the best

DOUGH + SAUCE + CHEESE the best

= PIZZA

el paseo inn restaurant

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here is history in every corner of this Olvera Street restaurant — from its old days as a winery (well, a soda pop factory during Prohibition), to the years when an enormous dance floor on the premises was filled with folklorico dancers and a full Latin orchestra. Today, El Paseo is one of the area’s most popular restaurants, boasting a sheltered patio with a view of the street’s shops, the live mariachi performers, and one of Los Angeles’ oldest bars — so old it’s actually designated a historical landmark. El Paseo is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an expansive menu of traditional Mexican favorites. There are combinations and solo plates filled with chile rellenos; chicken and enchiladas in the restaurant’s molé sauce; sizzling fajitas; and the best-selling chile verde, succulent roast pork simmered in green chile sauce. But these hearty dishes are just the start. There’s a huge T.J. Caesar salad, which tips its hat to the famed salad created by Caesar Cardini in Tijuana, Mexico, and tostadas filled with beef or chicken. There are also a handful of soups, which many local Mexican restaurants offer only on the weekends, including a filling meatball; a tortilla soup (the recipe was given to the restaurant by the chief of the Gucci Indians, according to lore); and a spicy caldo de camarones, with prawns cooked in guajillo broth. Accompanying everything are handmade tortillas, and if you dare, a 48-ounce Camacho margarita, named for the restaurant family that owns this and several other popular Mexican eateries. At 11 E. Olvera St., (213) 626-1361 or elpaseoinn.com. Become a fan on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Open Monday-Thursday 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Weekday happy hour 3:30-5:30 p.m. Mariachi shows Friday 5-7:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Cuisine: Mexican $$

$$

City National Plaza

505 S. Flower St.

213-489-9002 M.-F. 10am-3pm

505 S. Flower St., Level B, Los Angeles, CA 90071 M.-F. 7am-3pm 213-489-9002

Authentic Lebanese Cuisine

Catering all Special Occasions

(Office Meetings, Corporate Meetings, Birthdays... etc)

On site catering is also available Join our

Visit us at

w w w. k c s g r i l l . c o m

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DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 23


photos courtesy of Grand Central Market

2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

Grand Central market

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nside the stately Homer Laughlin Building at the corner of Third Street and Broadway, the historic Grand Central Market has enchanted locals and tourists for more than 90 years. This buzzing marketplace of fresh produce, international food vendors and exotic spices continues to capture the imagination of everyone who visits. Since 1917, the colorful open-air market has offered Angelenos a place to shop for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish at great prices. In its early days, well-to-do residents from the Victorian mansions above would ride the Angels Flight railway down the hill to shop at the bustling marketplace. For just 50 cents, visitors can still ride the tiny funicular located across from Grand Central on Hill Street. In the 1990s, the market underwent a major renovation to bring back its historic character and design, removing decades of grime and restoring the original signs and murals. Grand Central is truly a feast for the senses, from the sawdust on the floor to the vintage neon signs to the delicious smells of international cuisine. You can stop into La Adelita to pick up a bag of still warm Mexican sweet bread, buy a fresh fish taco from Lupita’s Seafood, or grab a coveted stool and a steaming bowl of wonton soup at the longtime China Cafe. For some of the tastiest tacos, regulars flock to Tacos Tumbras A Tomas, a lively counter selling all manner of tasty pork and beef stuffed into a tortilla or piled on a tostada. Don’t pass up Roast to Go, which has served up hefty tacos and Mexican favorites since 1952 — they’ve got a seriously loyal following. If it’s pupusas you’re craving, Sarita’s is the real deal, topped with pickled cabbage and 24 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

Located on oLvera Street

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spicy red salsa. Anna Maria’s dishes out a delicious array of Mexican dishes as well, including tortas, sopes, gorditas and chile rellenos. The market’s international offerings extend well beyond Mexico to include LOCAL, LA Mamma Burger, MF Gourmet, Kabab and More, Broadway Express, and Bento Ya, to name a few. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth at Frozen Yogurt, Casa de Dulce, Josie’s Ice Cream Shop, and Tropical Zone Ice Cream & Juice Bar. Over the years Grand Central has also become a popular place to gather with family and friends or grab a quick bite to eat for lunch — everyone from residents and jurists to civic and corporate workers make the rounds here. The market boasts nearly 40 tenants, making it the perfect one-stop shopping spot. Some vendors sell dried goods such as beans, rice and chilies, while others offer convenient options such as check cashing, Chinese massage and photography. A visit to Grand Central Market offers a unique taste of L.A. culture and history. Whether you browse the aisles, sample the food or shop for delicious fruit and produce, this Downtown landmark will continue to serve as a community treasure for generations to come. At 317 S. Broadway, (213) 624-2378 or grandcentralsquare.com. Open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Parking in the attached garage is validated with $10 purchase. Cuisine: World $

$

Espresso Iced & Blended Drinks Coffee & Tea Smoothies Beer & Wine Tacos Tortas Paninis Specialty Soups & Salads Assorted Pastries

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artwork For SaLe Provided by Self Help Graphics

Follow us on:

open daiLy Steps away from Union Station, Federal Court House, and City Hall!

oFFering Free wi-Fi. 103 Paseo De La Plaza, Olvera Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

213.626.6300 www.cafedecamacho.com


2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

photos courtesy California Kabob Kitchen

California Kabob Kitchen

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rom the outside, it’s a short stretch of dark glass with no hint of what’s on the other side. But upon entrance, the realization sets in that California Kabob Kitchen is a gem. The petite, impeccably decorated restaurant has warm color on the walls, leather chairs, white tablecloths, and a clientele that keeps coming back. Well-heeled Fashion District executives talk shop at the tables, greeted by the kindly owner and then attended to by a wait staff that remembers their favorite sodas and appetizers without having to be told. While there are plenty of kabob joints Downtown, California Kabob Kitchen is a true restaurant, a place to sit down and relax, where food is prepared by people who understand the intricacies of Persian spices and flavors. Appetizers, which all start at a surprisingly affordable $3, are delicious and unique. The hummus is topped with roma tomatoes and basil, and tastes fresher than any other around. The salsa, a colorful house signature, is made with tomatoes and three blends of chili peppers, and the steamed spinach dip borani is an Iranian twist on the American version, with fresh herbs, garlic and yogurt. But the standout starter may just be CKK’s eggplant. Prepared differently from region to region, here at CKK it is grilled and sautéed, then topped with kashk (similar to sour cream), a touch of mint and onion. It is a taste that’s both exotic and comforting, and like the rest of the starters, it’s served with warm pita bread. The main events are the kabobs. The boneless chicken is lean and tender, yellow from the saffron and herbs with which it is flame broiled. There is also chicken koobideh, a seasoned, ground fillet that is mashed and cooked on a skewer, and Cornish hen. For beef fans, the kabob is made with skewered and marinated filet mignon, and the minced koobideh with USDA choice ground beef seasoned with spices. There are also kabobs with fresh white fish or Atlantic salmon, both marinated in saffron and broiled. These entrees are served with fluffy white Basmati rice or a colorful garden salad with olive oil and a touch of garlic. But for a dollar or two more, diners can explore CKK’s specialty rice dishes, and these are well worth the small charge. Baghali polo is a wonderful mix with dill and lima beans; the rich albaloo polo is mixed with sweetened sour cherries; zereskh polo finds saffron and barberries (little red 26 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

berries that play into many Iranian wedding dishes); and the adas polo with lentils, raisins and dates — the fruits of traditional Iranian farming. If you watch the regulars, they’re not just eating kabobs. They’re ordering from a quartet of house stews on the menu — true Persian specialties. The gormeh sabzi has beef and red kidney beans, with sautéed fresh cilantro, green onion, parsley and the herb fenugreek (storied in the Middle East for its medicinal properties). If diners want something more portable, most of the aforementioned proteins — boneless chicken, minced beef and chicken koobideh — also appear in sandwich form, wrapped in Persian bread with diced tomato, basil, pickle and the house-made dressing. There are entree salads too: mixed greens topped by veggie or chicken kabobs, and in a tip of the hat to other cuisines, a Caesar, a Greek and a Chinese chicken salad made with the restaurant’s signature poultry. CKK offers free local delivery, and for customers who snag the loading zone parking spot just outside, the staff will rush the to-go orders and make sure hurried customers are in and out in minutes. Online orders are available for even faster service. At 141 W. 11th St., (213) 747-9500 or ckkabob. com. Open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Cuisine: Persian $$

$$

We do catering

Breakfast lunch dinner sit doWn, take out, drive thru, phone orders

213-483-8885 1657 W. 3rd St. (Corner of 3rd & Union) Los Angeles, CA 90017

open daily 7am-10pm

free parking GUSSDI.COM


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of L.A. Prime

L.A. Prime

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he first impression — the thing that drops jaws upon entry into L.A. Prime and its companion bar, the rotating BonaVista Lounge — is the views. They simply can’t be underestimated. There is just something magical about this altitude on the 34th and 35th floors — you can see L.A. stretch out around you, but you also feel enveloped in the forest of buildings that pop up skyward around the hotel. It’s the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable evening. That initial impression is followed by the elegance of the room and its decor. There are tables rimming the floor-to-ceiling windows and curtained booths for a more intimate setting. As the sun goes down and the city lights start to twinkle, candlelight casts a warm glow over the linen covered tables and glimmering glassware. The dining experience kicks off with the arrival of the server, who typically works with an assistant, so that a team ends up attending each table. They know the menu inside and out. As they explain to guests, L.A. Prime is known for Executive Chef Andreas Nieto’s innovative take on prime beef steaks, both wet and dry aged, beautiful lamb and veal chops, fresh fish and shellfish — all of which is highlighted by local produce and an award-winning wine cellar. Baskets of bread and savory olive tapenade arrive at the table, and then it is time for starters. Standouts include the restaurant’s signature seafood platter, an assemblage that includes half a Maine lobster, Pacific prawns, King crab leg, lump crab meat, and a daily oyster selection. The seafood bisque is legendary, packed with flavor and elegantly prepared. There are also traditional green appetizers: a blue cheese iceberg wedge salad, and a classic Caesar for two with homemade dressing and white anchovies — prepared tableside. The L.A. Prime menu offers cutting-edge moments of creativity. The stunning halibut cheek, for instance, is served with live sea urchin broth in the shell — it is rich, divinely creamy and tastes of the sea. A seemingly simple dish, such as the restaurant’s

version of the Caprese, is elevated with exquisite ingredients like juicy heirloom tomatoes, hand-pulled burrata cheese, micro sprouts, fresh basil and 50-year balsamic. The entree section features meat, seafood and pastas. The careful steak cuts are USDA-certified and shipped from the famed Chicago Stockyards, and include the succulent 22-ounce bone-in Delmonico rib eye, the 14-ounce primal cut New York strip, 24-ounce porterhouse or the 10-ounce center cut filet mignon. There’s also a 12- or 14-ounce house smoked sea salt crusted prime rib served with a pillowy gorgonzola Yorkshire pudding. They’re accompanied with assorted sauces: Bearnaise, tart-sweet house sauce, and peppercorn. L.A. Prime’s seafood surpasses the predictable options typically available at steakhouses. The poached threepound Maine lobster is served with drawn or lemon butter, or thermidor style. The delicate 10-ounce, baked

Australian lobster tail is served with clarified butter and lemon. The menu’s composed entrees highlight the best ingredients available. There are double thick Neiman Ranch pork chops with creamy polenta, roasted Fuji apples and a drizzle of cider reduction. The cedar plank wild red salmon is a special treat, with tomato fennel compote, roasted cippolini onions, fennel salad and a citrus emulsion for a bright note. The perfectly seared Mano de Leon jumbo scallop comes with the tasty addition of smoked pork belly, English peas, potato emulsion and micro asparagus. For pasta aficionadas, there is hand-cut fettuccini flavored with earthy shiitake and oyster mushrooms, ovendried tomatoes and garlic butter, or the expertly prepared risotto (market mushrooms or classic white). Dessert changes depending on the season, but you’ll often find decadent favorites like panna cotta, chocolate

mousse, six-layer cake, cheesecake, banana cream pie brûlée, chocolate soufflé and apple crisp. The wine selection is exceptional at L.A. Prime. The restaurant received the 2010 Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. The bar turns out drinks, but for the hotel’s full urban oasis experience, head downstairs to the famed, rotating Bona Vista Lounge — where there’s an upscale bar menu, classic cocktails (Manhattans and Tom Collins), and top shelf spirits. Whether you come for a special occasion, romantic night out, or a business dinner, L.A. Prime offers fine dining at its best — and although the first impression might be the spectacular views, the food will also convert you. At 404 S. Figueroa St., (213) 6241000 or thebonaventure.com. Open Sunday-Thursday 5-10:30 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. Validated parking. Cuisine: Steakhouse $$$

DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 27


2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

photos courtesy El Caserio

el Caserio

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lapingacho” may be fun to say, but it’s even more fun to eat. These grilled potato patties are stuffed with cheese and served with savory ingredients like spicy chorizo, skirt steak or pork ribs. They’re an Ecuadoran staple, one of many diners will find at the Downtownadjacent El Caserio. This tucked away Silverlake restaurant near the Hollywood Freeway is the sleek sister of the wellregarded Pan-Latin eatery on Virgil Avenue, which offers the curiously delicious pairing of South American and Italian cuisines (no fusion here). Restaurateur William Velasco has created another hit with this rustically elegant eatery complete with vaulted ceilings, dark teak floors, framed artwork, stunning patio with twinkling lights, lush landscaping and even a mini waterfall. If it were not for the ornately carved, 200-year-old door, one might mistake El Caserio for a private residence. The kitchen turns out all the meaty items you’d expect from the region, such as the traditional churrasco, or marinated New York steak, succulent pork and lamb chops, and tender goat braised in red sauce and beer. Starters feature stylishly presented ceviche bursting with bold color, addicting corn and cheese tamales called humitas, flaky empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken or cheese, gooey burrata punctuated with salty slices of prosciutto di parma, and salmon carpaccio drizzled with vibrant pesto. It’s beautiful, eclectic food that utilizes the best ingredients available. Don’t overlook the soups; they’re a humble staple of Ecuadoran cooking that become elevated here. El Caserio describes its deceptively simple chicken soup as “cold medicine,” and it certainly soothes the soul with its flavorful broth and hearty vegetables. The traditional lentil soup with potatoes is a meal unto itself, as is the comforting beef version with yucca, plantain and corn. On the Italian side, pastas are made in-house and standouts include the pesto gnocchi, Bolognese with two generous meatballs made fresh daily, and the linguini with clams in white or red sauce. Seafood dishes highlight the restaurant’s gourmet skill, notably a fish terrine with green plantain and peanut sauce, and grilled salmon with a delicate baby dill sauce. Cocktails from the full bar bring excellent sangria bursting with fruity flavor, minty mojitos or the caipirinha made with cane rum. There’s also a nice selection of South American and Italian wines and

28 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

beers, as well as exotic fruit juices and sodas. Weekends bring a popular new champagne brunch with perfectly executed steak and eggs, heavenly fried green plantains stuffed with cheese, a light Greek omelet, “dirty” rice with an over-easy egg, and white fish served with broth and herbs. While El Caserio is perfectly suited to intimate dinners and get-togethers with friends on the patio, it also offers a banquet room and party menu for special events, whether it be a birthday, anniversary or meeting. At 401 Silver Lake Blvd. (second location at 309 N. Virgil Ave., 323-664-9266), (213) 273-8945 or elcaseriola.com. Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday noon-11 p.m. and Sunday noon-10 p.m. Brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Cuisine: South American & Italian $$

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar photos courtesy of Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar

Mendocino Farms

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t was a risk seven years ago to open a sandwich shop with high-quality ingredients featuring local farming Downtown, but the bet paid off. Mendocino Farms is one of the most popular lunch spots Downtown. For serious sandwich connoisseurs, the avant garde Mendocino menu reads like a good novel. There’s no boring roast beef here, no bland tuna salad. Everyday standards include the carved steak with applewood bacon, the prosciutto with roasted chicken and honey roasted almonds, and fan favorites like the vegan shawarma with lentil and bean puree and cucumber tzatziki. There’s even a modern take on the traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwich that’s made with either pork belly or carved steak. During lunch, Mendocino customers line up and place their order with a roving employee who makes sandwich creation easy, then hands the order off to the chefs behind the counter. This is a sight to see: Assembly lines aren’t known for their grace and sense of fun, but this one is like a ballet as Chef Judy Han orchestrates a team of bandana-clad masters. Even at high noon, no matter how long the line, it moves fast, and after one taste of your sandwich, you’ll see what the praise is all about. The Original at 300 S. Grand Ave., (213) 6201114 or mendocinofarms.com. Open weekdays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. At 444 Flower St., (213) 6273262; open weekdays 11 a.m.-7:15 p.m. At 4724 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey (310) 822-2300 and 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood (323) 512-2700; open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m. For catering inquiries, email catering@MendocinoFarms.com. Cuisine: Gourmet Sandwiches photo courtesy of Mendocino Farms

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nspired by Downtown’s gourmet sandwich king Mendocino Farms — and its colorful bovine mascot — Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar debuted earlier this year as the company’s stylish new flagship restaurant. While there are now five Mendo Farms locales (including two Downtown), Blue Cow is the sophisticated evolution of the gourmet sandwich concept. Billed as a farm-to-table sandwich atelier, diners will find a seasonal menu of creations from Corporate Executive Chef Judy Han and Executive Chef Joshua Smith, along with a bevy of rotating chefs who will add their “progressive” twist. In the California Plaza space occupied by the former Casa Cocina Y Cantina, Blue Cow has found the perfect niche in this corporate enclave. Diners can stop in for a quick bite and working lunch, or meet up after work or before a concert for a stylish dinner and artisanal cocktails. The interior has been redesigned with a wine country-meets-industrial feel, complete with open kitchen, reclaimed wood, chalkboards on the walls, galvanized metal chairs and stools, and vintage doorknobs used as beer pulls. The overall effect is laid-back but chic, the kind of go-to neighborhood spot Downtown has been looking for. Waiters bustle about in plaid shirts, shuttling food to the comfy tables inside or the lovely patio and bar gracing the open-air plaza. There’s an inventive selection of house-made sodas and cocktails, such as the Cherry Ricky soda with lime vodka and lambic raspberry soda, the pecan bourbon Old-Fashioned on tap, or the playful Jack & Coke’s Cousin on His Dad’s Side with Old Forrester whisky and winter cola. Nibble on citrus-chili roasted nuts with caramel corn or root chips at the bar while you peruse the menu. Blue Cow pays homage to the ultimate sand-

wich, the burger, with an eight-ounce beef patty topped with spicy remoulade on a buttermilk bun. The lamb lavash is a beautiful creation with houseground lamb kefta, Soledad Creamery tzatziki, potatoes, roasted red peppers and zucchini pickles on fresh flatbread. Meat eaters will appreciate the Wild Turkey or Merguez lamb sausages made inhouse, or the Blue Cow take on steak frites – marinated prime bavette with Philly cheese poutine, pickled shitakes and wild arugula. Intriguing salads feature the roots and berries creation with shaved and roasted root vegetables, wheatberries, quinoa, kale, dried cranberries, mint and saffron vinaigrette. There’s a selection of small plates or snacks ideal for sharing, such as the Vietnamese pork belly tacos, the pink eggs and ham (deviled eggs with bacon and candied jalapeño), and the addicting confit duck wings with sesame-ginger dipping sauce. There are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options too, like the char grilled broccoli and cauliflower served in a smoking bag or the baked then fried potatoes served with horseradish ketchup. For a sweet finish save room for a delectable ice cream sandwich or piece of Grandma’s gooey butter cake with strawberries and cream. Happy hour is the perfect time to get acquainted with Blue Cow, with stellar prices on drinks and small plates. The wine list encourages exploration with three-ounce tastes while the exceptional beer selection features drafts poured from a keg system that customizes the temperature and carbonation mix for each beer. At 350 S. Grand Ave., (213) 621-2249 or bluecowkitchen.com. Open weekdays 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., weekends 4:30-10 p.m. Happy Hour 4:30-6:30 p.m. Cuisine: New American $$

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DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 29


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photo courtesy of Omni Los Angeles Hotel

photo courtesy of Border Grill Downtown LA

Noé Restaurant and Bar

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njoy upscale, modern Mexican food at Border Grill Downtown LA, the hip, urban cantina from celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales.” Presenting the bold flavors of Mexico, Border Grill has set the standard for gourmet Mexican fare in Los Angeles with a menu of complex, authentic dishes based on the home cooking of Oaxaca, the Yucatan and beyond. At lunch, Border Grill is the place for tacos, quesadillas, salads, sandwiches, ceviches, and signature dishes including carne asada tacos, Peruvian ceviche, and Yucatan pork. Fast forward to 4 p.m. and sip on a handcrafted, seasonal cocktail and take in the lively atmosphere of The CANTINA. The happy hour menu includes $3 ceviche tostaditas and tacos with handmade corn tortillas in addition to $4.50 Border margaritas, mojitos and sangria. Begin dinner with satisfying appetizers such as green corn tamales or plantain empanadas. For entrees, try chicken poblano enchiladas or sautéed shrimp. Dulce de leche infused churro tots and tres leches cake tantalize the taste buds for dessert. The perfect pre-theater dining location, Border Grill Downtown LA offers a free shuttle running Tuesday through Saturday evenings. Private party spaces and full-service catering available. At 445 S. Figueroa St. (corner of Fifth St.), (213) 486-5171 or bordergrill.com. Find us on Facebook or follow on Twitter @BorderGrill. Open for lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.3 p.m. Open for dinner Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 5-9 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. Happy hour in The CANTINA is 4-8 p.m. weekdays, FridaySaturday after 9 p.m. and Sunday 4-9 p.m. Validated parking in the Union Bank garage. Cuisine: Mexican $$

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Grand Café

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$$$ photo courtesy of Omni Los Angeles Hotel

Border Grill Downtown LA

os Angeles fine dining is showcased at Noé Restaurant at The Omni Los Angeles Hotel, voted Best Romantic Restaurant by L.A. Times Readers Choice Awards. A sophisticated yet relaxed dining oasis in the midst of Downtown, Executive Chef Glen Ishii’s delectable Neo Bistro cuisine features fresh, high-quality products to define his frequently rotating menu. Dinner features an elegant array of seasonal and market-driven dishes. Start with Ishii’s garden tomatoes with burrata or roasted beets with Roquefort cheese — and for the main course, perhaps a seafood entree such as the New Zealand King salmon with crispy leeks and citrus-lavender vinaigrette or the seafood bouillabaisse with mussels, clams and fish of the day. Heartier options include the maple leaf duck breast or the Kurobuta pork chop with cranberry relish and pumpkin puree. Savvy diners have long flocked to this Downtown gem, both for an after-work cocktail or an elegant dinner. Whether seated at the spectacular outdoor patio flanked by Downtown’s sleek high rises, or inside the warm and tranquil dining room, Noé Restaurant and Bar provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable meal. At the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, 251 S. Olive St., (213) 354-4100 or noerestaurant.com. Open Sunday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. Bar open daily 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Valet parking only $5 with validation. Cuisine: Neo Bistro

ocated at The Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza atop historic Bunker Hill Grand Café features California inspired cuisine that focuses on seasonal, local ingredients with an array of choices such as egg white frittata, chicken hash, mushroom ravioli or albacore tuna melt. This authentic Downtown L.A. restaurant is a popular lunch spot for businesses surrounding the California Plaza, as well as those attending matinees at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ahmanson Theater, Dorothy Chandler or visiting MOCA. Grand Café has a comfortable bistro setting and an intimate outdoor patio overlooking magnolia trees as well as one of the many reflection pools found on California Plaza. Open daily, the cafe serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and a brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday. Choose from one of the signature menu items or enjoy a variety of options with the popular deluxe breakfast or the rotating international lunch buffet frequented by the professionals and executives who work nearby. For those who want to enjoy the perfect weekend brunch with friends, Grand Café offers bottomless mimosas every Sunday. At the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, 251 S. Olive St., (213) 356-4155. Open Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Valet parking only $5 with validation. Cuisine: International $$

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

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hile there may be a handful of izakayas in Little Tokyo serving up the tasty Japanese pub snacks known as yakitori, Honda Ya has carved out a devoted niche of followers who hail this cozy version as the best in town. One bite of the bacon-wrapped asparagus, delectable miso black cod or charcoal grilled pork belly and you’ll quickly taste why. The philosophy behind an izakaya is simple: tasty, affordable and abundant small plates that are meant to be enjoyed with several friends and, well, several pints. Whether you opt for one of the chilled mugs of beer or a bottle of sake, Honda Ya is the perfect place to enjoy lunch, dinner or even a late-night snack (they’re open until 1 a.m.). You’ll spot this eatery on the upper floor of a shopping mall, a unique location that hasn’t deterred the crowds that seem to gather just about every day of the week. Diners can sit on the floor at one of the low tables in the tatami room, pull up a seat at the entertaining communal table or grab a booth along the wall. In addition to the skewered delights, Honda Ya offers all manner of culinary temptations ranging from flavorful ramen to skillfully prepared sushi rolls to decadent crab and cheese croquettes. Service is always friendly, prices are reasonable, and the food is some of the best you’ll find in Little Tokyo. Honda Ya also has a location in the City of Industry at 17200 Railroad St., (626) 964-6777. At 333 S. Alameda St. #314, (213) 625-1184 or izakayahondaya.com. Open daily 5:30 p.m.1 a.m. Validated lot parking. Cuisine: Japanese

photo by Gary Leonard

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CBS Seafood

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f the exotic culinary art of dim sum is one of your passions, or just something you’ve been curious about, CBS Seafood Restaurant, a Hong Kong-style seafood house, belongs on your go-to list. Select from rolling carts packed with steamed or baked buns filled with chicken or barbecued pork, har gow (translucent shrimp-filled dumplings), jing joon (sticky rice and meat steamed in lotus leaves), deep-fried taro turnovers and more than 50 other varieties of traditional Chinese small plates. For the finale, wait for a cart of creamy egg tarts, coconut balls or mango pudding to arrive at your table. Seating 180, this lively Chinatown establishment is decorated with polished granite, blonde wood with turquoise accents, gleaming brass columns and crystal chandeliers. One room, ideal for banquets, offers a stage behind a brilliant red curtain embroidered with a golden dragon. While dim sum at CBS can be ordered all day, dinner also brings Cantonese delicacies such as shark fin soup, scallops in black bean and chili sauce, Peking duck with crispy, lacquered skin, and lobster or king crab from the restaurant’s show tanks. Dining banquet-style is the best way to explore CBS’s vast menu of more than 250 tempting items. This restaurant offers one of those remarkable cultural feasts for which L.A. is so famous. At 700 N. Spring St., (213) 617-2323. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cuisine: Chinese $$

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Yorkshire Grill

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ew Yorkers longing for a taste of home will find it at the Yorkshire Grill, a classic deli that specializes in East Coast fare served with a friendly West Coast attitude. Some 50 seats surround the horseshoe counter for those on the go, and more than a dozen booths allow for a casual business lunch or a break from shopping. Step through the glass doors off bustling Sixth Street and get a taste of vintage Los Angeles. It is a busy place at lunch so get there early or take advantage of delivery to your home or office. There are dozens of sandwich options, but the No. 3, also known as the New York Special, is the most popular. Hot and lean pastrami on rye is piled high and topped with Swiss cheese, coleslaw and dressing. The Brooklyn Special, another favorite, is loaded with smoked salmon, Swiss cheese and tomato. As a nod to Downtown, there’s the Pershing Square Special — peanut butter, crisp bacon and lettuce on toast. Breakfast is serious business as well, and on Saturdays it’s served all day — the delicious biscuits and gravy is a weekend special. Weekly breakfast favorites include the Redline, with a choice of meat, two eggs any style, and pancakes or French toast. A new favorite is the huevos con chorizo, with eggs scrambled with chorizo, peppers, avocado and cilantro. Yorkshire Grill is at 610 W. Sixth St., (213) 629-3020 or yorkshiregrillla.com. Open weekdays 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m.2:30 p.m. Cuisine: Jewish Deli $ $$ (Sat. Only) photo courtesy of Yorkshire Grill

photo courtesy of CBS Seafood

Honda Ya Little Tokyo

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photo courtesy of Plum Tree

2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

plum tree

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ngelenos looking for an authentic taste of Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine head to Plum Tree Inn. For decades, this favorite Chinatown eatery has become a mainstay for everyone from City Hall workers to residents to tourists. Located on a bustling stretch of Broadway, Plum Tree is centrally located and even boasts its own convenient parking lot. The attractive, contemporary space features an inviting dining room with airy artwork on the walls and a stunning dragon sculpture hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant also offers a cozy bar for a pre-dinner glass of wine or a cocktail. The food, of course, is the main attraction. The vast menu features all the classics like pan-fried noodles and fried rice to orange chicken and sweet and sour pork. But there’s also a selection of house specialties that are not to be missed. Among the favorites are the rich and creamy shrimp with honey walnuts, the crispy tangerine beef, the tender scallops in lemon sauce and the Kung Pao Three Delicacies with shrimp, fish filet and scallops sauteed with the restaurant’s famous Szechuan sauce. For a special treat (order ahead), try the Beijing duck, a true showstopper with lacquered skin, Chinese pancakes, spring onions and hoisin dipping sauce. The lunch specials are a steal at Plum Tree, with dozens of delectable chicken, beef, seafood and vegetable dishes from which to sample. At 913 N. Broadway, (213) 613-1819 or plumtreeinn.com. Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Cuisine: Asian/Mandarin $

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

Fugetsu-Do Sweet

S h o p

Mochi Bits

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ugetsu-do is the finest Japanese mochi artisan in Los Angeles.

You can check us out on Yelp or Google us to see countless positive reviews of our products. We thank everyone who has enjoyed our mochi over the past 109 years.

photos courtesy of Pho Citi

pho Citi

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hile the Downtown Los Angeles restaurant scene has grown exponentially in recent years, there are still only a handful of 24-hour eateries that serve the Central City’s hungry residents and night owls searching for a good meal after hours. And even fewer deliver. So when the micro-chain Pho Citi opened up a new location in a sprawling 6,000-square-foot space at the corner of Second and Hill streets, locals were abuzz. This all-night noodle shop, with popular sister locales in Silver Lake, West Hollywood, Glendale and La Brea, has stepped up to fill a much needed niche in the area for affordable, tasty eats. Pho Citi Downtown is not only the largest of the five venues, it is also the first to offer a bakery and bar.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Kawada Hotel, and boasts a modern aesthetic more suited to pricier establishments. Dark wood floors, brick walls, warm lighting and cozy booths invite diners to linger over a bowl of soup or a steaming cup of Vietnamese coffee and plate of cream puffs. The expansive menu boasts some 60 options, from giant bowls of heady soup to stir-fried rice and noodle dishes to vermicelli with succulent charbroiled meat. For starters, it’s always a good idea to order up a feast of appetizers such as the fresh

spring rolls stuffed with vegetables and shrimp, the tender shaking beef skewers, fluffy steamed dumplings or tofu salad. Pho Citi also makes an excellent banh mi sandwich that’s worth the trip alone. Diners can opt for their rice steamed or fried, as well as pan-fried noodles, with shrimp, tofu, beef, chicken, fish or vegetables. Heaping plates of addicting vermicelli noodles can be cooked with an infinite number of combos, among them the excellent grilled steak and shrimp with crispy egg rolls. Boost the flavor with a good dousing of Sriracha and some of the restaurant’s special sauce. The main attraction, of course, is the eatery’s namesake dish that can be eaten morning, noon or night. Pho fever has hit L.A. hard, and aficionados swear by this comforting one-pot wonder that hinges on an aromatic beef or vegetable broth. Here, pho connoisseurs have their pick of 20 variations served with a generous plate of fresh bean sprouts, green herbs, lime and chili. The broth is flavorful and satisfying, creating the perfect base for any addition whether you select rare steak, brisket and tendon or charbroiled barbecue. Wash it all down with a glass of the delicious salty lemonade, a refreshing Vietnamese iced coffee with milk, or a Thai tea with boba. The restaurant also has a bakery serving decadent cupcakes, luscious fruit tarts, cakes and other sweet treats, as well as a coffee bar for those who crave a pick-me-up at any time of day or night. Diners can also meet up with friends for a cold beer or cocktail before dinner. At 200 S. Hill St., (213) 625-7888 or phociti. com. Open 24 hours. Happy hour is 4-7 p.m. Cuisine: Vietnamese $

$

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We invite you to come by the store or to order online to have our mochi shipped fresh to your doorstep.

Since 1903 315 East First St. | 213-625-8595 www.fugetsu-do.com DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 33


2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

original La adelita

E TIMAT THE UL

S BAR

SPORT

DAILY SPECIALS HAPPY HOUR Mon - Fri, 3pm to 7pm

50% Off All Wings & All Appetizers $3.50 select pints, $4 well drinks, $5 call drinks and house wine, $6 premium drinks, $5 Wang Tinis

LATE NIGHT HAPPY HOUR Every Night, 10pm to 2am

MONDAY BURGER DAY

$3 Burgers all day! Make it a veggie or turkey burger for $1 more.

TUESDAY

TIJUANA TUESDAY

$1 Beef and Chicken tacos, $3.50 Dos Equis, $3 Margaritas.

WEDNESDAY WING NIGHT

3pm to Close, 50% Off All Wings!

THURSDAY PIZZA DAY

Cheese pizza $4 all day long!

SUNDAY

SUNDAY SUPPER

Purchase a regular priced Wang Tini and get your dinner free! Choose from our Sunday Supper menu.

801 S GRAND AVE

Open Daily 11am to 2am 213-629-BIGW • BigWangs.com

34 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

photos by Gary Leonard

I

n the 1970s, George Aguel and his wife Alba opened a modest bakery at Pico Boulevard and Union Avenue. It wasn’t easy: George slept in the bakery at night and Alba kept him going by day. But their business grew, capturing a customer base with food that reminded people in the neighborhood of their favorites from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. And when everybody else found out about the warm tortillas in the morning, they came too. Through the years, the little bakery — named for the tough, gorgeous woman warrior icon of the Mexican Revolution (and the star of several murals inside this cafe) — expanded to include a vibrant made-to-order cake business, a bustling hot food component, and catering. Open seven days a week and run by George’s son Vicente, Original La Adelita is a neighborhood mainstay today — Saturdays and Sundays after church, it’s particularly packed. But the crimsonshirted ladies behind the counters, who somehow also manage to spice the stewing meat dishes and pat out pupusas while they help customers, keep the lines moving fast. There are two sections inside the eatery. Fronting Pico Boulevard is the bakery where moms and grandmas pick up tortillas for the week, and cakes for quinceañeras and weddings. Others grab tin trays and hit the long cases that line the windows, perusing dozens of pan dulce (sweet bread) varieties — buns, braids, cookies, Cubano pan (like French rolls, but softer), anise seed rolls, Guatemalan sweet rolls, and donuts. On the other side of the property is the restaurant, a long counter filled with foil-wrapped tamales piled high on bright green banana leaves, beans and rice, fried plantains, whole grilled chickens, and meat dishes from all over Latin America and Mexico. Breakfast is served from 6 to 10 a.m., when the ladies dish up huevos rancheros; chorizo and eggs or machaca with platanos fritos (fried bananas), crèma and frijoles. Later in the day, the big pots hit the stoves behind the counter, and the trays of lunch and dinner items, and the hot chafing dishes, begin to fill up. The specialty, of course, is Nicaraguan cuisine: vigaron (a combination of shredded cabbage and onions, spicy sauce, and chicharrones, fried pork rinds, served on a banana leaf), chancho (fried pork with yucca

root), and baho (beef, plantains and yucca wrapped in banana leaves and steamed over water). Branching out from those “Nica” specials are standouts from Mexico and other Central American countries: roasted pork carnitas (for the Mexican sandwich favorite, tortas ahogadas); Salvadoran pupusas patted and cooked after they’re ordered, and served with tart shredded cabbage curtido. The daily rotation of soups includes sopa de chipilin (chipilin, a green leafy vegetable that’s known in Central America for its iron and calcium) and the sopa de res (Mexican beef and vegetable soup flavored with cumin, cilantro and lime). And to wash it all down, there are chilly, gold cans of Inca Cola and homemade aguas frescas (juices): tamarindo, cebeda (a sweet pink juice with bits of barley), and hibiscus-flower jamaica among them. The adventure of Original La Adelita is the way it combines favorites from Latin and North American countries to such warm, interesting effect. You can tell by the way patrons point and order: there’s no one special, but everyone’s favorite dish can be found. At 1287 Union Ave., (213) 487-0176 or laadelitarestaurant.com. Open daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Cuisine: Latin American $

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

Spring Street Smokehouse

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ince it opened, this unlikely barbecue joint on the edge of Chinatown has captured the appetites and hearts of many a Downtowner. Cops, city workers, tourists and locals flock to Spring Street Smokehouse for some of the best ’cue in town. The interior has a simple, downhome charm with butcher paper and rolls of paper towels on each table, old license plates on the wall, aluminum siding behind the bar and a chalkboard touting the tempting array of craft beers. But it’s the food that’s the real star here, namely the copious amounts of succulent meat smoked onsite with hickory wood from four to 18 hours. Add the restaurant’s signature barbecue sauce with a spicy-vinegar kick and you’ve got a killer meal. The menu offers all the classics — beef and pork ribs, Texas hot links, brisket — along with the delicious requisite sides like hush puppies, collard greens, mac and cheese, baked beans and even sweet potato fries. Among some of the specialties are the burnt ends, the addicting trimmings from the brisket that are slathered in sauce; the beef sandwich topped with creamy gorgonzola sauce; and the Cajun stuffed chicken with sliced jalapeños, onions and Jack cheese wrapped in bacon and pit-smoked. Don’t forget the decadent bourbon bread pudding and peach cobbler. You can wash it all down with fresh limeade and sweet tea, or if you’re so inclined, sample from the diverse selection of craft beer on tap or wines by the glass. During the weekday happy hour from 3-6 p.m. you can pull up a seat at the bar for the $5 sandwiches and $1 off drafts. At 640 N. Spring St., (213) 626-0535 or sssmokehouse.com. Open Monday-Thursday 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday noon-10 p.m., and Sunday noon-9 p.m. Cuisine: American Barbecue $

photo courtesy of Spring Street Smokehouse

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

T

he Downtown-adjacent Silverlake community is where diners come for that uniquely French Canadian creation known as poutine — a tasty mess of crispy fries topped with cheese curds and doused with brown gravy. Popular neighborhood bistro Dusty’s serves up a fair share of this comfort food dish, along with an exceptionally delicious menu of French classics and nightly specials from chef Guillaume Sabbadin. For starters, weekend brunch is serious business here, and diners crowd the sidewalk patio and eclectic interior as they sip on a veritable rainbow of mimosas — strawberry, blueberry, orange, peach, pomegranate, cranberry and Kir Royale, among them. The spread features eggs Benedict with a choice of ham, spinach, lox or crab cake with gorgeous fruit, massive stuffed French toast with ricotta, quiche Lorraine, and endless baskets of rustic bread with heavenly butter and two kinds of jam. Dusty’s is the kind of place where you go to watch the world go by as you munch on countrystyle pate or inhale heady French onion soup. The enchanting Croque Monsieur with ham or turkey and Swiss is lovely for lunch, as are the savory crepes stuffed with chicken and mushroom or spinach and goat cheese — or try the signature version with asparagus, ham and béchamel. Dinner brings moules frites with P.E.I. mussels bathed in white wine served with a heap of fries. There’s the classic filet mignon accompanied by gratin potatoes and Provençale tomatoes, or you could just order up a plate of artisan cheese and meat to go with a bottle of wine from sommelier Brandon Ho’s excellent list. It’s the bistro experience at its best. At 3200 W. Sunset Blvd., (323) 906-1018 or dustysbistro.com. Open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Valet available. Cuisine: French American Bistro $$

$$$

photo by Sol Ortasse

$

nurture

photo by Brian Allison

Dusty’s

your

Soul

INSPIRE YOUR TASTE BUDS

The Village Kitchen Fast

Fast Fresh Friendly

Fresh

Friendly

T

he Village Kitchen’s (TVK) famed cupcakes “Meet on theglass, Plaza”… are lined up me behind and the chalkboard The brims with homemade Galero Grillaffordable Cafe, options for Reader’s breakfastChoice and lunch. Winner But the women who work here and the cafe’s Best Midday Escape admirable mission offer even more incentive to located on the Plaza Level at the visit. TVK gives homeless women useful, relevant Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels. skills so they can reintroduce themselves to the working world. In addition to beCafé a working cafe, A “Grab and Go” Style featuring: TVK is alsoDaily an Specials onsite vocational training proHearty Sandwiches gram, where women receive certificates food Gourmet Salads Fresh Baked in Goods preparation.Homemade And the Soup delicacies Starbucks they learn to cook Coffee — baked goods, soups, salads, and homemade Hot lunch served daily till 2:00 pm. quiche, pastas, and roasted meats — for dine-in, take out or catering customers. The cafe is located on a spacious stretch of Beverly Boulevard, tucked into the Good Shepherd transitional apartment facility.www.levyrestaurants.com Street parking is easy and available. Inside the cafe are a few sunny tables, cases with baked goods and to-go items, and an open view of the spotless kitchen where the Good Shepherd ladies ply their trades. The walls are lined with clippings about the non-profit, and culinary awards for the TVK cupcakes — with particular honors going to the red velvet variety. In the morning, coffee, lattes and smoothies are blended behind the counter by the ultra-kind employees. The muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, lemon squares, cookies, pound cakes and macaroons are reasonably priced and made from scratch. There are also breakfast sandwiches on baguettes or bread, three-egg omelets with thick bacon, avocado and cheese. For lunch, there are classic burgers and sandwiches (including hot pastrami, grilled chicken, and turkey and Swiss). There is also a fresh soup made daily, and salads — and all of these entree-sized meals are well under $10. TVK is a good cause, but it’s also just really good food. At 1667 Beverly Dr., (213) 235-1487 or gschomeless.org. Open Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Cuisine: Bakery, Cafe R

$

36 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

Nature Your Soul Inspire Your Taste Buds

$

nurture your

Soul

INSPIRE YOUR The Galero Grill at

TASTE BUDS Fast Fresh

At the Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels 555 West Temple Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 213-680-5271/5273 For all your SPECIAL EVENT needs please call The Center at Cathedral Plaza. HOURS OF OPERATION Monday-Friday 7-4 pm / Sun 7-4 pm

FriendlyWe proudly accept American Express, Discover, Visa, and Mastercard.

©2005 Levy Restaurants

“Meet me on the Plaza”… The Galero Grill Cafe, Reader’s Choice Winner

Best Midday Escape located on the Plaza Level at the Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels. A “Grab and Go” Style Café featuring: Daily Specials

Hearty Sandwiches

Gourmet Salads

Fresh Baked Goods

Homemade Soup

Starbucks

R

Coffee

Hot lunch served daily till 2:00 pm.

www.levyrestaurants.com


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Yxta Cocina Mexicana

photo courtesy of Perch

Yxta Cocina Mexicana

Perch

F

ifteen floors above Pershing Square, you’ll find L.A.’s hottest new restaurant and bar. Billed as an “elevated resting place,” Perch offers unobstructed views of Downtown via its jaw-dropping French-inspired rooftop. With a fizzy Kir in one hand and a plate of moules in the other, it is easy to be swept away by this chic newcomer. Perch is a gorgeous Art Deco creation, a stylishly casual destination that fills a much-needed niche for good food, stellar ambiance, and no pretense. In fact, Downtown’s often fragmented worlds comfortably collide here — local loft dwellers, Bunker Hill professionals, and visitors who come for the nightlife. Patrons ride the elevator first to the 13th floor (which features the event space dubbed Bar Thirteen), and then on to another elevator where they can stop at the 15th floor restaurant and bar or the 16th floor rooftop bar. The latter is the perfect urban oasis for an event, with 360-degree views of the city, two outdoor fireplaces, and several firepits with lounge and table seating. On any given night diners are treated to cabaret, jazz, indie bands or a DJ. Chef Eric Schmidt has devised a playful French menu with an approachable twist. There are buttermilk marinated “Shake and Bake” frog legs; “Shrimp and Grits” with tiger prawns, linguica sausage, tomato, scallion and court bouillon on stone ground cheddar cheese grits; and the new pork belly, with creamed leeks, radish, frisee and sauce gribiche. The wine and beer list is extensive and wellselected, while the handmade cocktails are reason enough to make a trip to this vintage throwback overlooking the dazzling L.A. skyline. At 448 S. Hill St., Suite 1312, (213) 802-1770 or perchla.com. Open Monday-Wednesday 4 p.m.-12 a.m., Thursday-Saturday 4 p.m.-2 a.m., Sat. 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Weekday happy hour 4-6 p.m. Cuisine: French Bistro $$$ (Sat. only)

W

hen owner Jesse Gomez chose Yxta’s Central Avenue strip mall location, he knew what he was doing. He knew that there was no nice, sit-down Mexican restaurant for miles. He also knew the value of the strip mall’s easy, free parking lot — a true rarity Downtown. Even though the warehouses that spread out along Central aren’t exactly picturesque, when diners walk into Yxta (pronounced eeks’-tah), they feel immediately transported and comfortable. Inside, it feels as if everyone is in on the same secret — they’ve found a gem in an unlikely area. The modern, eclectic interior was designed by New York-based architect Poonam Khanna — and the space has high ceilings, concrete floors, and white washed brick walls covered with cool art. Lighting is low and intimate, thanks to airy filament chandeliers, and the seating arrangement feels both spacious and intimate at the same time. There are happy hour denizens sipping margaritas at the bar, large groups sharing taco plates at the communal tables, and couples and friends taking up the perimeter of the restaurant at cozy tables. All the while, the chefs in the open-air kitchen stay busy, turning out food at a speedy pace. Yxta bartenders shake several kinds of margaritas, and there are specials every day. There’s a respect for tequila here — there are over 50 silver, reposado, and anejo varieties — because sugary, generic sweet and sour mixes never water them down. Instead, the bartenders pair them with house-squeezed fruit juices — blood red orange, pomegranate, and fresh sour, among many others. The margaritas are all calibrated for the slight savory of the chips, the homemade salsas, the guacamole, and nightly food specials. There’s a serious beer program too: 15 draft and bottled brews. To the happy hour crowd, Yxta is probably best known for the tacos al pastor. These consist of incredibly tender and generously-portioned pork, chile sauce, a little grilled pineapple — a nice surprise — and onion, all cradled inside of a homemade tortilla. Pork is also a standout in the carnitas, slow cooked and crispy around the edges, coupled with a fresh onion-cilantro mix, Mexican rice, and pot-cooked frijoles de la olla. While the appetizers and tacos feed the drinking

crowd, the restaurant also offers serious entrees, available after 4 p.m. The aforementioned slowcooked carnitas are plated with guacamole, rice and frijoles; there’s a Shelton Farms free-range chicken steeped in homemade molé poblano sauce; and pork chops in molé or salsa verde. These Mexico City-style plates play with all kinds of surprises — color from zucchinis, chipotle mash, grilled corn, rajas poblanas (mild green peppers), and nopalitos (cactus). There are some classic entrees such as pulled chicken enchiladas suizas, enchiladas rancheras with pulled chicken or steak and fresh salsa verde, and chile rellenos stuffed with seasonal fillings. But there are also some sly and delicious updates to the classics — tostadas with sashimi-grade tuna, for instance, or sweet shrimp taquitos. Despite the perfection of its bar offerings and solid evening vibe, Yxta is a lunch standby in the neighborhood as well. Scrumptious tortas are available until 4 p.m., packed with marinated skirt steak, that famous al pastor pork, or grilled chicken. The salads are meals too: salmon or seared tuna atop organic greens with agave nectar vinaigrette or a nice take on the Caesar, with romaine hearts, queso cotija, and croutons made from the telera torta bread. Whatever time of day you drop in, and whatever part of the menu you tackle, Yxta is one of those places that you feel better off knowing about. At 601 S. Central Ave., (213) 596-5579 or yxta.net. Open Monday-Wednesday 11:30 a.m.9 p.m., Thursday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 5-10 p.m. Valet parking for $2 during lunch. Free lot parking after 3 p.m. Cuisine: Mexican $$

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

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trategically located near all of Downtown Los Angeles’ major sports and cultural venues at the corner of Eighth and Figueroa streets, Roy’s offers a distinctive alternative to the typical pre- and post-event dining experience. Based on his childhood memories of the feelings and flavors of Hawaii, chef Roy Yamaguchi created his “Hawaiian Fusion” cuisine — the freshest local ingredients, European sauces, bold Asian spices, with a focus on fresh seafood. Among Roy’s signature culinary creations are macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi, wood-grilled Szechwan spiced baby back ribs; and Roy’s original Hawaiian blackened island ahi. In addition to the signature melting hot chocolate soufflé, a wide selection of artistically created desserts is offered nightly. The restaurant’s leading wine list has received numerous national awards for its quality, value and sensible approach to harmoniously pairing wine with food to perfectly complement Roy’s unique and exciting flavors. For the after-hours crowd, the lively bar area serves a number of delectable appetizers, Yamaguchi sushi and signature drinks including the ever-popular Roy’s Hawaiian martini. Three intimate private dining rooms are available for corporate events and personal celebrations large and small. At 800 S. Figueroa St., (213) 488-4994 or roysrestaurant.com. Open Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday 5-10:30 p.m. and Sunday 5-9 p.m. The bar and lounge hosts Aloha Hour, featuring select appetizers and cocktails for $5, weekdays from 4:30-6:30 pm. Reservations are welcomed and encouraged. Cuisine: Hawaiian

Pizza & Deli FREE DELIVERY On orders over $10

Open 7 Days, 11am to 9pm

$$$

photo courtesy of Roy’s

$$$

KISS

PIZZA, PASTA, HOT & COLD SUBS, BURGERS, BURRITOS, FAJITAS, QUESADILLAS, SALADS & APPETIZERS

KISS MEAL DEAL 1 Large 2 Topping Pizza 1 order of Bread Sticks & 2 Ltr. Soda

$17

05 +Tax

213-629-5033/5034/5035 609 1/2 S Broadway, L.A. KissPizzaDeli.com

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salvage Bar & Lounge

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arved out of the basement of the 1926 Roosevelt Residences, this stunning bar and lounge was created using salvaged materials and fixtures from the historic Seventh Street building. Carrera marble slabs, stained glass panels, and a gorgeous wood bar made from old elevator doors set the tone for the unique venue. Salvage is divided into three rooms: the romantic patio strung with twinkling glass orbs, the main room with worn leather couches and crystal chandeliers, and a modern lounge with cozy ottomans and modular seating (great for groups and parties). There’s a diverse mix of people here (from business professionals to local residents and tourists), friendly service and no stuffy dress codes. Come here to relax after work with a few happy hour cocktails, or experience the space later in the evening when the lights dim and the music flows. There are also special nights throughout the week offering entertainment, including live music on Wednesdays. The bar turns out an intriguing lineup of specialty cocktails made with organic ingredients. The cucumber cooler is a refreshing favorite with organic tequila while the Rum Runner packs a punch with blackberry liqueur and tropical juices. Salvage also offers a tapas-style bar menu with tasty snacks like spicy chicken bites with a mandarin sauce, and tempura-style jalapeño poppers stuffed with ahi tuna and cream cheese. At 717 W. Seventh St., (213) 688-7755 or salvagela.com. Open weekdays 3 p.m.-2 a.m., weekends 8 p.m.-2a.m. Cuisine: Bar Bites $$ photo courtesy of Salvage Bar & Lounge

roy’s


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photos courtesy of Eastside Market Italian Deli

Eastside Market Italian Deli

L R e m a r k a b l e Cuis ine Unmatched Hospitality

5 2 5 S . F L O W E R S T. 2 1 3. 2 3 6. 9 57 7 t h e C H AYA . c o m

ooking for one of L.A.’s best sandwiches? Look no further than Eastside Market Italian Deli. Located just north of Downtown’s city center, the Eastside Market Deli has been family owned and operated for more than 35 years, first opening its doors to the community in 1929. Once upon a time Eastside was one of many Italian markets in the community, but today stands as one of the last remaining true Italian delis in town. With a steady stream of local police, fire, DWP, City Council and other devotees, lines are rarely short but always move fast. Remaining true to its Old World roots, patrons can peruse the deli counters’ freshest cuts of meat, cheeses and produce alongside the olive oil, pasta and huge barrels of wine. The simple menu gets right to the point: it boasts a classic assortment of award-winning, traditional sandwiches (hot or cold) and pasta dishes. Choose from specials like the Italian sausage with cooked peppers and cheese (the Number One, served hot), the eggplant Parmigiana and cheese (the Number Four, also served hot), or go for the Number Seven — the hot roast beef, pastrami and cheese combo is an all-time favorite and best seller at the eatery (the deli cooks more than 700 pounds of roast beef a week). Cold sandwiches come with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and mustard, and customers choose from a variety of fresh toppings ranging from mortadella (a cold cut of finely hashed or ground pork sausage and flavored with spices) to capicollo (a type of fine salami) and cheese, to roast beef with turkey and cheese all in one.

More than generous pricing and portions are standard at Eastside, but even so specials are offered on Tuesday and Thursday and feature lasagna or pasta with sausage and meatballs for just $8.60. The D.A. Special, for example, is comprised of sausage, meatballs, roast beef and pastrami with a side of humor for only $9.40. If that’s not enough heartiness for you, Eastside also offers a soup of the day, potato and macaroni salads, and a fruit bowl. In addition to the dine-in or takeout options, Eastside’s full catering service will accommodate sit-down or buffet-style events, with a minimum of 10 people. Whether you are eating, ordering or just browsing the fresh fare Eastside has to offer, you can’t help but be swept up in the experience of this landmark delicatessen. At 1013 Alpine St., (213) 250-2464 or esmdeli.com. Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sundays. Cuisine: Italian Deli $

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

photo courtesy of Qdoba Mexican Grill

french Garden

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his popular Mexican chain may have 600 locations across the country, but it still manages to keep its flavors fresh and homemade. From the hand-smashed guacamole to the slow-cooked beans with cumin to the cilantro-lime rice, every element reveals a tasty touch. Qdoba’s menu can be customized for any palate and dietary need, whether you want to reduce calories, cut carbs or monitor fat. Tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas and nachos can be served either vegetarian or with a choice of proteins: adobomarinated grilled chicken and steak, pulled pork or slow-roasted shredded beef or seasoned ground beef. Diners then select black or pinto beans, followed by a choice of five salsas or four original sauces. Finish off the meal with a sprinkling of cheese or dollop of sour cream if you like. If you crave a salad, try the taco version served in a crunchy flour tortilla bowl with black bean corn salsa and fat-free picante Ranch dressing — you can get it vegetarian or with chicken or steak. The ancho chili barbecue burrito is a nice choice with its slightly sweet molé-inspired barbecue sauce, while vegetarians love the grilled veggie burrito with zucchini, yellow squash and red peppers sautéed in garlic-herb seasoning. The hearty Mexican gumbo combines rice, beans and tortilla soup with salsa, cheese and house-made tortilla strips. The burritos and salad bowl can also be ordered “naked,” or without the tortilla, for a lighter option. Don’t forget breakfast, which starts the day off right with the chorizo and egg burrito or the quesadilla with scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa. If you’re in a hurry, order online and pick it up. At 655 S. Hope St., (213) 572-0344 or qdoba. com. Open weekdays 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m., weekends 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Cuisine: Mexican $

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$$ photo courtesy of French Garden

Qdoba mexican Grill

ho would have guessed that there was a little bit of Paris just off an alley on Seventh Street? Surrounded by factories and produce warehouses, the French Garden is a bougainvillea-covered oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the city. This super casual eatery is popular with the business crowd and politicos, so you’ll see plenty of Jaguars and Mercedes parked in the lot (there’s complimentary valet, by the way). But local loft dwellers and artists have also adopted it, and can be spotted on the charming patio lingering over a frothy café au lait or glass of Chardonnay. There aren’t many chef-restaurateurs who greet their customers personally, recommend what to eat for lunch and chat amiably with them as they leave. But Benoit Lesure has built a loyal following by doing just that — it also helps that the food here is delicious and comes without the attitude you might expect at pricier French restaurants. The gooey brie and grilled eggplant sandwich on toasty French bread is a crowd favorite, as is the pressed chicken sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes and creamy avocado. The tender hearts of palm salad is a must. More substantial entrees include a lovely selection of seafood, such as the sauteed halibut in a lemony-caper sauce or the insanely big bowl of shrimp linguini. Though it’s not open for dinner, the locals have made the French Garden a popular destination. The restaurant was also featured by KCET host Huell Howser as one of Downtown’s hidden gems. At 1936 E. Seventh St., (213) 623-4028, thefrenchgardenrestaurant.com. Open weekdays for lunch only 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Cuisine: European Fusion


photo courtesy of Spice Table

2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

spice table

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ecently named one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants by Los Angeles Magazine and recipient of the Downtowners of Distinction Award by the Los Angeles Downtown News, the Spice Table celebrates the culinary heritage of its owners, Singaporean Chef Bryant Ng (Pizzeria Mozza, Restaurant Daniel and Campanile) and his Vietnamese wife and attorney Kim. By day, the Spice Table is a fast-casual sandwich shop offering Southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches, rice bowls, salads and sides. Popular choices include the cold-cut sandwich prepared with baguettes baked in-house and house-cured Vietnamese-style charcuterie, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs; the vegetarian friendly curried eggplant sandwich; a pork belly sandwich with cabbage, fennel and tamarind dressing; and the “Asian” Sloppy Joe topped with grilled jalapeños and French fries. If you’re craving a burger, the Spice Table version offers a twist on the classic American cheeseburger with ground short rib and Southeast Asian spices and flavors. At dusk, the Spice Table transforms dramatically. The embers of the wood burning hearth warm the century-old brick building, while the birdcage chandeliers radiate a cozy feel. The dinner menu features bold and unique Southeast Asian specialties like grilled satays and vegetables, laksa, beef rendang, and black pepper crab. In addition, Chef Ng offers unique creations such as the bone marrow with prawn sambal, which Pulitzer Prizewinning critic Jonathan Gold has called “a dish that seems to express everything important about Los Angeles cuisine.” Select craft beers and wine are served during both lunch and dinner. At 114 S. Central Ave., (213) 620-1840 or thespicetable.com. Open lunch 11:30 a.m.-3:30 pm.; dinner Monday-Thursday 5:30-11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Patio seating available. Local delivery with minimum order. Phone in orders for faster take-out service. Contact GM Leah Haimowitz for catering. Cuisine: Singaporean & Vietnamese $

34 Years Serving the Finest Authentic Mexican Cuisine with a Touch of the Past

Boyle Heights

Downtown

2126 Cesar Chavez Blvd. 323-262-3434

1300 Wilshire Blvd.,LA 213-353-4930

La Parrilla began in Boyle Heights in 1978 and we later added our Downtown location on Wilshire Blvd. Serving the best authentic Mexican cuisine with a touch of the past, right here in the USA. Family recipes handed down for generations have been recreated with care by Maria Carmen, including a full line of sauces and handmade tortillas, using only the freshest choice ingredients. One taste and you’ll know why you’re getting Maria’s best!

Buen Provecho Visit Us

our Downtown location Features: special

Party & Buffet Facility

FULL PATIO BAR & DINING

Happ Houry

mon-

Fri, 4 pm-

7pm

Party and Buffet facilities also available at the Boyle Heights Location.

Handmade Tortillas • Catering Available Open 7 Days a Week • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Takeout

www.laparrillarestaurants.com

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DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 41


2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

photo courtesy of Morton’s The Steakhouse

Prime Grind Coffee

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his local cafe is a labor of love for Downtown residents Jeremy Ingram and Parker Martin. Located across from the Music Center and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Prime Grind is passionate about coffee — and it shows. The warm, casual decor and friendly service make this cafe a home away from home, a place where you can linger on the patio or surf the Internet. Prime Grind specializes in local roasters, with a selection of organic and free trade beans. Their single brew system uses LaMill and Supreme Bean and includes the French press and pour over method, ensuring the best and freshest cup of java. There’s also a tempting array of blended frappes, smoothies and granitas with farm-pressed juices. The sandwich board features several gourmet options. The popular tuna salad comes with cranberries, cherries, apples and walnuts on a choice of wheat, sourdough, pumpernickel or rye bread. Vegetarians love the Prime Grind veggie panini with sautéed mushrooms and spinach along with fresh seasonal vegetables. There are salads and soups as well, such as the spinach salad with feta cheese and sweet cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette. And what goes better with a cup of coffee than one of the cafe’s freshly baked sweet treats? Choose from decadent carrot cake, red velvet cake, chocolate croissants, cookies and muffins. At 714 W. First St., (213) 229-0030 or primegrind.com. Open weekdays 7 a.m.-8 p.m., weekends 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Visit the new location at 5223 Wilshire Blvd. Cuisine: Cafe

A DOWNTOWN OASIS INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF BREWING BEER DOWNTOWN

HOURS Monday - Friday 11am - 1am Saturday & Sunday 4pm - 1am HAPPY HOUR EVERY DAY 4pm - 7pm

KITCHEN OPEN TILL MIDNIGHT EVERY NIGHT!

photo courtesy of Prime Grind Coffee

$

404 South Figueroa St. 4th Floor Pool Deck Los Angeles CA 90071 Valet Parking on Flower St.

(213) 236-0802 bonaventurebrewing.com 42 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

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Morton’s The Steakhouse

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pbeat music playing in the background, cocktails from martinis to Manhattans, generous portions of USDA prime-aged beef or succulent seafood, classic steakhouse sides, tables dressed in crisp linens — all of these contribute to the lively atmosphere of a legendary steakhouse. While Morton’s The Steakhouse has been called “the best steak… anywhere,” and USDA prime-aged beef is perhaps its chief claim to fame, there’s much more to savor. From the world-class wine and the thriving cocktail culture that fuels a buzzing bar scene nightly to the elegant, sophisticated dining rooms that welcome diners for business, pleasure and special events, Morton’s has kept “the buzz” alive at bars, booths and Morton’s private dining rooms in 69 locations worldwide for over three decades. Perhaps best of all, the Morton’s that diners love on the West Coast is nearly identical, from the menu to the ambiance, to the Morton’s found on the East Coast — or in Singapore, San Juan and Honolulu. It’s a consistent and passionate approach that keeps prime-aged beef enthusiasts around the globe happily coming back for more. When the first Morton’s opened its doors on a snowy night in Chicago, pals and partners Klaus Fritsch and Arnie Morton had one goal in mind: to be the best steakhouse in Chicago. They ended up with “the best steak (and steakhouse)… anywhere.” In addition, Morton’s offers private parties, private rooms, happy hour, seasonal specials, wine dinners and is handicap accessible. At 735 S. Figueroa St., in the FigAt7th Plaza. Call (213) 553-4566 or visit mortons.com. Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner: Monday-Friday 2:30-11 p.m.; Saturday 5-11 p.m.; Sunday 5-10 p.m.; and happy hour with specially priced Bar Bites and drinks seven days a week 4:306:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.- closing. Cuisine: Steakhouse $$$

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

Fat Spoon

First & Hope

photo courtesy of Fat Spoon

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photos courtesy of First & Hope

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ew things are more comforting or appetiteinducing than the smell of Japanese curry, that aromatic, stew-like creation studded with meat and vegetables atop a bed of rice or noodles. Located along Little Tokyo’s historic First Street North block, Fat Spoon is the newest purveyor of the aforementioned dish, and notably the third eatery in the area by restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Toranoko and Lazy Ox). The black and white interior is intimate yet energetic, with a few small tables and bustling counter open to the kitchen. In addition to curry, this casual Japanese-Italian fusion spot serves unique pastas, salads and comfort food twists from Chef Hiroyuki Fujita (formerly of Sushi Roku). Diners can select from seven elevated curries including pork loin, seafood (shrimp, calamari, scallops and clam), beef short rib, hamburger, beef tongue, Jidori chicken and seasonal vegetable. The curry sauce is vegetable based for those who prefer a meatless option. There are also a half dozen pastas including classics like the rich Bolognese and carbonara, as well as the restaurant’s more exotic, signature standout — uni pasta with sea urchin and mushrooms. For stick-to-your-ribs fare, don’t miss Fat Spoon’s version of the Hawaiian favorite Loco Moco, this one with hamburger steak, grilled onions, and a sunny side egg covered in curry over a bed of rice. Playful sides like the decadent curry cheese fries with fresh jalapeño or adorable mini corndogs with curry ketchup have already earned a loyal following. Leave room for a decadent dessert, like the baked sweet potato topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. The chef also puts a twist on a handful of salads, notably the hijiki salad, a modern twist on the Japanese seaweed salad, and their refreshing house salad with homemade dressing. At 329 E. First St., (213) 621-7890 or visit fatspoonfood.com. Open Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Happy hour 3-5 p.m. Cuisine: Japanese

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ocated at a bustling cultural intersection, across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Music Center, this chic restaurant-supper club offers diners a menu of American bistro comfort food in a Deco-inspired space. First & Hope is a playfully modern homage to the glamour of a bygone era. Dramatic silver and purple light emanates from swanky chandeliers and glowing light fixtures, setting the scene for diners at the wall of tall banquettes. The bar is oh-so-sexy, with old-school bartenders listening to a patron’s instincts and turning out classic cocktails to please them. The restaurant’s secret weapon is Bar Fedora, a swanky cabaret bar tucked into the back of the space. This is what a speakeasy must have felt like — an intimate stage, tight tables, and dim lighting. L.A. comedy convener Beth Lapides has brought back her famed Un-Cabaret show to this room on Sundays, and in addition to her cutting-edge staple of comedians, the stage also hosts singers and small live acts. But First & Hope is a feast for all the senses, and Chef Ben Golub (Mimosa, Anisette) does a stellar job of crafting a menu that holds its own. For starters, the kitchen uses local, sustainable and seasonal products whenever possible, sourcing ingredients from small growers and purveyors. Despite its artisanal bent, the cuisine is approachable and casual, with a popular nightly Blue Plate special that features entrees like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken potpie, pork chop and apple sauce, and shrimp and grits. If you want to pair your food with some cocktails, order several dishes from the small plates menu that can be sampled with friends. There’s the decadent comfort food favorite bacon beer mac and cheese, as well as the excellent “Anchor Steamed” mussels with Dijon, garlic and herbs, or the crab Hushpuppies with Old Bay’oli. For a more formal meal, try one of the restau-

rant’s classic dishes like the succulent Campfire trout in parchment, the Meyer’s Ranch beef short ribs with fingerling potatoes, braised lamb shank with mascarpone grits, or the prime beef cheeseburger with thick, hand-cut fries. Weekend brunch is a special event, and the menu rotates weekly with delectable items like smoked salmon Benedict, short rib hash with poached eggs, and brioche French toast and chicken-apple sausage. During the work week, stop by for First & Hope’s version of happy hour, which they call the $5 at 5 Social Soiree. A range of wines, draft beer and bar bites including crispy baby artichokes with sea salt and pork rillette with cornichons and crostini can all be had for a steal. Whether you’re out for a gourmet meal and late-night cabaret, a romantic dinner or drinks before a show at the Music Center, First & Hope offers a little something special for every visitor. At 710 W. First St., (213) 617-8555 or firstandhope.com. Open Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m., Sunday 4:30-9 p.m. and brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Cuisine: American Bistro Comfort Food $$

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

Featured Menu Items Cheese Ravioli Cream and Mushrooms Spaghetti Shrimp and Tomato Sauce Fettucini Alfredo with Grilled Shrimp Fusilli, Eggplant, Goat Cheese in Tomato Sauce Baked Eggplant with Mozzarella Cheese in Tomato Sauce Shrimp Scampi in a White Wine Garlic Lemon Sauce Shrimp Scampi in a Brandy Orange Sauce

Open for Lunch Friday Only, 11:30-2:30

2903 West Sunset Blvd. 323.644.2833

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hree years ago, restaurateur Michael Cardenas carved a new eatery into a nondescript Little Tokyo block. Lazy Ox was popular immediately — with locals giddy with the prospect of original food in the neighborhood, and with foodies who GPS’d their way Downtown to the unlikely small plates oasis everybody was talking about. It’s still going strong, driven by the philosophy that launched it in the first place — local ingredients prepared in global ways, paired with craft beers and eclectic wines. There’s a wide-reaching slate of influences in the menu — gastropub variety, Asian and Latin touches, a little street flair, and the intention, it seems, to wake a diner up with the unexpected. When it comes to proteins, the Ox goes from ribeye steaks to fish collars to burgers to pork ear chicharon — familiar to daring, and back again. It’s the same with the vegetables. They’re born of the tried and true farmers market circuit, but that’s just the jumping off point. Carmelized cauliflower dances with mint and lemon; brussel sprouts with chorizo. And don’t miss the dessert endgame — the Ox is well-known for its chilled rice and butterscotch puddings. The vibe is casual and warm, with hanging filament light bulbs, wood walls, cozy bar and a semi-open kitchen where the staff whips up its mind-boggling blackboard array of tapas-style dishes. These days, the lunch business is solid, there’s a new brunch menu, and the lively patio has happy eaters late into the night. Reservations are a good idea later in the evening, as the restaurant — especially the inside — fills up quickly. At 241 S. San Pedro St., (213) 626-5299 or lazyoxcanteen.com. Open daily for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and dinner Sunday-Thursday 511 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5 p.m.-midnight. Cuisine: New American/Gastropub $$

wurstküche restaurant

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$$$ photo by Gary Leonard

Silverlake

photo courtesy of Wurstküche Restaurant

Lazy ox Canteen

ead to Third and Traction, look for the brick façade with red striped doors and you’ve found Wurstküche, the Arts District’s favorite purveyor of exotic grilled sausage sandwiches. If the steady lines, packed communal tables and bier-quaffing customers are any indication, this is the place go for good sausages and drink. Follow your nose to the counter where you order from the four basic food groups — beer, sausage, fries and dipping sauce. Pull up a bench at one of the long tables covered in butcher paper and sip from one of 35-plus varieties of beer (German, Belgian, American) or gourmet sodas. Meanwhile, check out the minimalist beauty of the industrial space — wood, concrete, brick and an austere display case of raw sausage links. If you’re smart, you’ll order a larger cone of the double-dipped Belgian fries with two homemade dipping sauces, among them the chipotle aioli, curry ketchup, Thai peanut, sundried tomato, and blue cheese walnut and bacon. They pair beautifully with beer, and of course, are a noble side for the main attraction. There are 10 gourmet sausages (Filipino, sundried tomato, mango jalapeño), five exotics (rattlesnake, rabbit, alligator), three classics (bratwurst, bockwurst, hot Italian) and three vegetarian. Each are served on a freshly baked roll with a choice of toppings — caramelized onions, sauerkraut, sweet peppers and spicy peppers. Smear on one of the excellent mustards, and you’ve reached sausage nirvana. At 800 E. Third St. in Downtown, and 626 Lincoln Blvd. In Venice Beach (213) 687-4444 or wurstkuche.com. Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight. Cuisine: German/Belgian/Gastropub $

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2012 RESTAURANT GUIDE

Full House Seafood Restaurant

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here aren’t many restaurants where you can stroll in at 2 a.m. and order one of the best Cantonese meals in the city, but at Full House Seafood Restaurant, diners come in droves at all hours of the day. After a night on the town, nothing hits the spot like a comforting bowl of the sizzling rice soup or plate of decadent honey walnut shrimp. For more than 25 years, this Chinatown favorite has earned a reputation for supremely fresh seafood specialties and budget-friendly prices. Owner Ronald Kam Lau has created an authentic Cantonese menu that draws diners to gather in the comfortable dining room and feast on abundant, family-style dishes. The vast offerings feature standout soups like tasty hot pots flavored with stuffed bean curd, lamb, crab and vegetables, as well as shark’s fin soup and bird’s nest soup. Seafood runs the gamut from shrimp and abalone to lobster and whole fish. Any of the fried rice dishes are stellar, whether you order it prepared with chicken, pork or shrimp. The tender pork chop covered in the restaurant’s signature spicy salt will make you come back for more, while the tangerine chicken bursts with citrus flavor. The dinner combinations (for two or more) are a steal, and offer three options for $12.95, $11.95 and $10.95. For a taste of authentic Cantonese fare, Full House Seafood Restaurant satisfies at any hour — even 2 a.m. At 963 N. Hill St., (213) 617-8382 or lafullhouserestaurants.com. Open daily 11-4 a.m. Cuisine: Chinese $$

photo by Sol Ortasse

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

photo by Gary Leonard

Yojié Japanese PALERMO RISORANTE ITALIANO fondue & sake Bar

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Palermo Wine Special Take home ANY marked bottle, get 2nd for

JUSt $1.00!

Plus tax. Only for specially marked bottles. Valid only for take home (to go). Not for consumption at the restaurant.

LUnCH SPeCIaLS

Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri Breakfast Served Weekends Great Food at Great Lunch Deal Prices! Something new every Week! ask Your Server for Details! Lunch • Dinner • Takeout • Delivery

1858 N. Vermont Ave. • 323.663.1178 www.palermorestaurant.net HOURS: Mon 11am - 10:30pm Wed-Thu & Sun 11am - 12am Fri & Sat 11am - 1am

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$$$ photo courtesy of Yojié Japanese Fondue & Sake Bar

Delicious Italian Cuisine Old World tradition

ost shabu shabu spots evoke images of crowded counters with steaming pots of water, rustic decor and no-frills service. But Yojié Japanese Fondue & Sake Bar, just three blocks from L.A. Live and Staples Center, has broken the mold. The sleek space melds a modern Japanese aesthetic with a sexy lounge vibe. There are monthly art shows, dark wood booths, onyx tables and polished stainless steel hoods over each table. The concept is simple — diners get to play chef as they cook vegetables and paper-thin cuts of meat in steaming broth or water and then dip each morsel in a flavorful sauce. Discover a selection of beautifully marbled, certified Angus beef, free range chicken and sashimi grade salmon, and each order comes with a feast of assorted vegetables, shirataki, udon and harusami noodles, tofu, Japanese mushrooms, seaweed and rice. The sukiyaki also comes with the warishita sweet broth and a fresh egg for dipping. For lunch, specials range in price from $11 to $17. Be sure to save room for the decadent chocolate fondue — there is milk, dark, red velvet and the signature green tea. Dippers include a choice of strawberries, bananas, rice crispy treats, pound cake and marshmallows. You can also get Japanese floats, mochi, Yojié fudge sundaes and bananas foster. Yojié’s daily happy hour from 5:30-7:30 p.m. offers a diverse selection of sake cocktails and an extensive sake menu and Japanese beer. The chic restaurant, which was ranked in OpenTable Diner’s Choice: Most Romantic, also hosts private parties and events. At 501 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 988-8808 or yojie.com. Open Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.midnight. Free parking in the lot across the street with validation. Cuisine: Japanese

ensenada restaurant & Bar

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elebrating 25 years Downtown, this familyowned restaurant has become a Spring Street staple over the years with local loft dwellers and workers from surrounding offices. It has also built a new following during the monthly Art Walk, as a decidedly more eclectic crowd has discovered its tasty offerings and affordable bar. The extensive menu features Mexican favorites, including the kind of authentic seafood dishes you’d expect to find in the beach community of Ensenada. The fresh ceviche and shrimp cocktail are signature items here, as are the fish tacos and whole fried fish. It goes down extremely well with one of the ice-cold beers (ask for a salted rim) or an enormous margarita. Ensenada Restaurant is all about casual dining and friendly service. Patrons can enjoy their meal on the sidewalk patio or eat inside the energetic dining room. Regulars swear by the combo plates come lunchtime, where a feast of massive burritos, molé enchiladas, carne asada tacos or pork short ribs in chile sauce can be had for a steal. Each meal comes with a complimentary side of sopa and warm chips with salsa. For weekend diners, the Sunday brunch is a tasty bet, and menudo lovers will appreciate the tripe and chile soup packed with hominy. At 517 S. Spring St., (213) 489-2950 or ensenadarestaurant.net. Open Sunday-Thursday 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Happy hour 5-7 p.m. Free delivery Downtown with $10 purchase. One-hour free parking in the Alexandria Hotel or next door at Central Parking. Cuisine: Mexican & Seafood $

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2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

frying fish

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hile there are numerous sushi joints in Little Tokyo, Frying Fish has carved out a niche. The dining experience here is literally a moveable feast for the senses, as a rotating conveyor belt speeds inventive rolls, fresh cuts of sashimi, seaweed salads and other delectable goodies before your eyes. This unique restaurant features a 29-seat counter, where you can pick and choose menu items from the comfort of your stool. In the center of the activity, master sushi chefs slice, dice and wrap colorful creations as they joke with customers and keep the experience lively. Among the favorites are the Palm Springs roll, an oversized combination of scallop, eel and vegetables, and the tempura hand roll, a delicious surprise that marries hot, crisp shrimp or salmon tempura with avocado, green onion and rice. Frying Fish has several cooked fish delicacies, such as green mussels baked with Japanese mayonnaise and topped with minced chives; broiled neck of yellowtail or salmon, both incredibly tender and moist; and the Dynamite — a broiled mixture of diced scallop, mushroom, shrimp, smelt egg and mayonnaise. Nothing lasts very long, so your best bet is to be adventurous and grab whatever catches your eye. At the end of the meal, a waitress will calculate the bill by counting the number and color of serving dishes you’ve piled up. Validated parking is available at Japanese Village Plaza mall, accessible off Central Avenue (a block west of Alameda), or ride the “A” DASH bus to Central Avenue. At 120 Japanese Village Plaza, (213) 6800567. Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cuisine: Japanese $$ photo by Gary Leonard

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Traxx resTauranT aT union sTaTion Where The spiriT, hospiTaliTy & TradiTions of souThern California’s pasT seamlessly merge WiTh The fuTure of doWnToWn los angeles

WWW.TraxxresTauranT.Com

800 norTh alameda sTreeT los angeles, Ca 90012 213.625.1999 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm Dinner: Mon-Sat 5:00pm-9:00pm Bar Menu is Available Continuously Through the Day

DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 47


HA’S CORNER 3RD & TRACTION Experience the most authentic cuisine in the arts district 3 unique restaurants TRAC

AVE

S ALAMEDA ST

TION

H

E 3RD STREET

Don’t drink & drive! 213-680-3003

Experience Mrs. Yang’s authentic all you can eat Korean BBQ in our heated patio garden or sample small plates in our Beer Lounge!

*Upon availability.

738 E 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90013 ~ 213-680-3008 ~ DistrictBBQ.com

Free live jazz nightly with top notch New Orleans cuisine and mighty Sunday Brunch by Chef Edric.

The most innovative fusion menu in Los Angeles! Full sushi bar & tapas style izakaya menu by Chef Ken.

734 E 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90013 ~ 213-680-3003 ~ NolasLA.com

744 E 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90013 ~ 213-680-3770 ~ ZipFusion.com

Free shuttle for downtown LA*


2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

millennium Biltmore hotel $$

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rendezvous Court

sai sai noodle Bar

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his sushi restaurant-turned-noodle bar debuted early this year with a more casual concept featuring quick yet gourmet offerings. Fusion dishes include ribeye pho, kimchi ramen with pork belly and tempura udon. Diners can order at the counter and enjoy their meal while surfing the Internet or catching up on the sports news of the day via several flat screens. The spacious interior is airy with light bamboo floors and colorful accents. There’s also a selection of beer, wine or sake, with stellar happy hour prices from 3-7 p.m. Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, (213) 624-1100 or saisainoodlebar.com. Cuisine: Asian Fusion Noodle Soup $$

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smeraldi’s

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nside this bright, split-level dining room with carved ceilings, wood-paneled walls and sleek tiled floors, guests will find a distinctly California ambiance coupled with the delicious flavors of Continental cuisine. The restaurant offers a broad selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Breakfast brings everything from brioche French toast with maple syrup to three kinds of sweet and savory specialty crepes to a chef-attended omelet station. The midday menu features weekly buffets, along with salads, sandwiches, burgers, seafood and pasta. A casual-elegant dinner menu fusing vibrant flavors with in-house sauces, pastas, seafood and more. Open daily 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., (213) 612-1562

Sai Sai

or thebiltmore.com. Cuisine: Continental

photos courtesy of Millennium Biltmore Hotel

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hile the landmark Millennium Biltmore Hotel has become an L.A. icon thanks to its 90-year history, stunning architecture and roster of notable guests, it has also earned acclaim for its culinary contributions and nightlife scene. The hotel is home to distinctive bars and restaurants that have garnered a loyal foodie following. For more information visit thebiltmore.com.

he Rendezvous Court — the original 1923 lobby of the historic hotel — is widely considered to serve one of the best afternoon teas in Los Angeles. Visitors can also enjoy light meals, coffee and cocktails amid the grand setting of “Downtown’s living room.” With Italian travertine stone walls, a handpainted wood-beam ceiling, crystal chandeliers, a rose marble fountain and graceful Spanish-Baroque bronze staircase, the Rendezvous Court offers a distinctly elegant, European atmosphere. Afternoon tea is served Wednesday through Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. and includes miniature sandwiches, freshly-baked scones with Devonshire cream and jam, exquisite pastries and desserts, and an assortment of hot and iced teas. A light afternoon menu served Wednesday-Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. features salads, sandwiches, snacks and dessert. Coffee and cocktails are available daily. Call (213) 624-1011 or thebiltmore.com. Cuisine: American, Afternoon Tea, Cocktails, Coffee Bar $$ (suggested for tea)

NOODLE BAR

at Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. $2 Beer ~ $4 Wine

Free Wi-Fi Asian Fusion Noodle Soup House Specialties: • Galbi Ramen • Kimchee Ramen • Lobster Miso Ramen

213.624.1100 501 South Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90071 SaiSaiNoodleBar.com

Gallery Bar

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amous for the live jazz on weekends that draws a crowd from all over Los Angeles, this sultry, vintage space is also known for the fantastic classic cocktails it serves. Signature drinks include the renowned Black Dahlia martini and the Manhattan menu, a series of modern takes on the standard bourbon cocktail that honors the hotel’s long history with whiskey blends — the Biltmore bottled its own in the 1940s. Sleek leather banquettes, the comfortable adjacent Cognac Lounge and a delicious food menu make the Gallery Bar a must-visit place for an evening Downtown. Open 4 p.m.-2 a.m. daily. Food served until 11 p.m. weekdays and 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Cuisine: Bar, American

Sai Sai Noodle Bar @SaiSaiNoodleBar

$$

DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM 49


2012 resTAurANT GuIDe

Nick’s Cafe oomasa photos by Brian Allison

1300 N. Spring St.

Across from LA Historic Park

Breakfast & Lunch Mon-Fri 5:30am-3pm Sat-Sun 6:30am-4pm

323-222-1450 NicksCafeLA.com facebook.com/NicksCafe Look for us on Yelp! Since 1948

Nick’s Famous Ham Steak Great Burgers Vienna Beef Hot Dogs Weekend Benedicts Open 7 Days a Week

50 DOWNTOWNLADINING.COM

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he antithesis of many of the city’s noisy, crowded Japanese establishments, this unpretentious eatery in Little Tokyo serves up some of the best and most affordable sushi in town. Oomasa opened in 1972 before the sushi craze of the 1980s, and has developed a loyal following of locals, as well as fans that drive in. At the age of 21, founder Masaharu Motoyama emigrated from Hokkaido in Northern Japan, bringing with him the artful skill of sushi making. His search for the American dream landed him in Little Tokyo, where he built the largest sushi bar in Southern California with 40 seats. He trained his sushi chefs the traditional Japanese way, making vegetable floral art pieces while interacting with the curious sushi bar customers. Motoyama and his experienced, skilled chefs continue his tradition of classic preparation and commitment to the highest quality of fish that sets this family-owned restaurant apart. Behind the impressive sushi bar, chefs create a tempting selection of sushi, sashimi and rolls. Its approach is elegant: While most sushi bars have incorporated fusion cuisine and wildly inventive specialty rolls, Oomasa has perfected the Japanese culinary art of beautifully cut and presented fish — gorgeous pieces of deep red tuna, fresh sea urchin, seared albacore, spicy tuna and scallop rolls, and

marbled salmon lure connoisseurs to the counter. For lunch, try the numbered specials — compartmentalized trays with fish, tempura, meat and salads. It’s an enormous amount of food for around $10. If you crave sushi, the rainbow-colored chirashi special includes 10 slices of fresh seafood stacked atop seasoned rice. But the menu doesn’t stop at sushi. There are udon noodles with a poached egg dropped in a giant bowl, or favorites like the golden and tender pork cutlet, flavorful chicken or beef teriyaki, and crispy tempura combination plate. Beef teriyaki, a large filet of broiled salmon or the classic chicken teriyaki are all delivered daily and served along with traditional ingredients. In the evening, there’s delectable broiled salmon, una-ju (eel over rice) and colorful sashimi plates. All specials come with a bowl of miso soup, steamed rice, Japanese pickles and a serving of delicious green tea ice cream. Oomasa has earned a reputation for quality ingredients and top-notch service. It’s a tasty tradition that diners can’t seem to get enough of. At 100 Japanese Village Plaza, (213) 623-9048. Open Monday and Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m.11:30 p.m. Cuisine: Sushi $$

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Dine Out in the OBD 1

The Old Bank District has award-winning restaurants in historic turn-of-the-century buildings. Located in Downtown Los Angeles in converted residential lofts between 4th & 5th Streets and Spring & Main Streets, Old Bank District restaurants fit every taste and budget. Dine with us and experience old LA, and Hollywood’s favorite film location, at its best!

Winner: Downtown’s Project of the Decade Award 2

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Pete’s Cafe & Bar

Urban noodle

rocket Pizza Lounge

400 S Main St, 213.617.1000 petescafe.com

118 W 4th St, 213.626.0662 urbannoodlela.com

122 W 4th St, 213.687.4992 rocketpizzalounge.com

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Big Man Bakes

Baco Mercat

Wine Bar

413 S Main St, 213.500.4351 bigmanbakes.com

408 S Main St, 213.687.8808 bacomercat.com

124 W 4th St, Harlem Place Alley Opening Spring 2012

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4TH STRE ET

OBD Market & Deli

426 S Main St, 213.623.1973 blossomrestaurant.com

409 S Main St, 213.680.9000

PUBLIC PARKING

WINS TON ST

7

5TH STREET gilmoredev.com

1 5

MAIN STREET

obdLA.com Downtown Art Walk is the second Thursday of every month. For map of participating galleries: downtownartwalk.com

8 4

SPRING STREET

Blossom restaurant

HARLEM PLACE

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Los Angeles Restaurant Guide 2012  

The Restaurant Guide is published annually by the Los Angeles Downtown News. An essential dining reference including detailed restaurant pro...

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