(credit: L.A. LIVE)

(credit: L.A. LIVE)


L.A. Live and the next door complex known as STAPLES Center is the glittering jewel that finally ensured downtown Los Angeles’ reputation as the place to be. Where DTLA was once a ghost town after the legal and business types and discount shoppers went home for the day, the draw of STAPLES Center finally lured more people around, longer. STAPLES Center is home to four sports teams (Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Sparks, Los Angeles Kings) and the 20,000-seat arena hosts 240 events and over 4 million guests, annually. And, well, all those people have to eat somewhere. Enter L.A. Live, which boosted its appeal by offering more than just restaurants. Choice shopping, hotels and activities keep the people busy before, after and between events. In fact, L.A. Live does more than sustain STAPLES Center. It is, unquestionably, its own destination spot. So where are the best places to eat when headed to have fun in the downtown, open-air playground? We’re glad you asked…
(credit: Joel M./Yelp)

(credit: Joel M./Yelp)


Bäco Mercat
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-8808
www.bacomercat.com

“Bäco,” the signature flatbread sandwich developed by chef Josef Centeno, is the shining star at this small restaurant with a huge following. The original bäco was crispy pork belly and beef carnitas, but is now subject to all the same sort of seasonal modifications as the rest of the menu. While the service is fast and friendly, a restaurant doesn’t stay on a list of L.A.’s best as long as this place has, and not have lines out the door. Make sure to make reservations, or give yourself a lot of time. But also make sure this place is on your bucket list.

(credit: Bottega Louie)

(credit: Bottega Louie)


Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 802-1470
www.bottegalouie.com

If “feast for the eyes” was somehow made literal, every guest at Bottega Louie would be loosening their belt before they walked through the door. The restaurant is nothing short of stunning, with its stratospheric ceilings, unremitting marble and extravagantly seductive pastry cases. It’s hard not to be impressed. Come for the pizzas and pastas and vegetables that taste much better than one might expect. But don’t come on a diet; that’s sure to disappoint. On your way in, or on your way out, make sure to grab a few macarons in their display case. It’s one of the specialties this downtown eatery is known for worldwide!

(credit: Alex P./Yelp)

(credit: Alex P./Yelp)


Broken Spanish
1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460
www.brokenspanish.com

Chef Ray Garcia’s Broken Spanish is a celebration of a diverse collection of foods and flavors, served in a fun, festive restaurant, conveniently close to L.A. Live and the STAPLES Center. Yes, you’ve seen many of the ingredients before, but no, you’ve never tasted them like this, nor in these configurations. From Pan dulce, foie gras butter, piloncillo, and lamb neck to king oyster mushrooms, queso Oaxaca, blood sausages, chicharron, elephant garlic mojo, and radish sprouts, the ingredients used at this downtown restaurant are truly unique. Broken Spanish is understated but still something to look forward to. It’s also, conveniently, located right off the Expo Line.

(credit: Candace J./Yelp)

(credit: Candace J./Yelp)


B.S. Taqueria
514 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 622-3744
www.bstaqueria.com

Los Angeles is absolutely overflowing with taco spots. From fancy tacos, simple tacos, and street tacos to fusion tacos, there is certainly no shortage of places to get a wide variety. In fact, if L.A. had its own flag, one could make a persuasive argument to put that food front-and-center. So, it’s no small feat to open a taco place that has gained huge notoriety throughout LA, but chef Ray Garcia has done it, and we owe him a big thank you. B.S. Taqueria (sister spot to Chef Garcia’s Broken Spanish), features the usual line-up of carnitas, chicken, shrimp, with the execution only a celebrated chef could pull off. But other flavors, like cactus & hibiscus, mushrooms & garlic, and clams & lardo are extra special. Just be sure to leave room for dessert: the chile de arbol-chocolate churros are definitely worth ordering.

(credit: Faith & Flower)

(credit: Faith & Flower)


Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 239-0642
www.faithandflowerla.com

Do you have reservations at Faith & Flower because you’re going to an event at L.A. Live or at STAPLES Center, or are you going to an event at L.A. Live because you have reservations at Faith & Flower? This chicken-or-egg situation might be tricky, because Faith & Flower is a destination all on its own worth going to. With its notably rich interior, embellished with quirky touches like Depression-ware water glasses and local street artist Robert Vargas’ larger-than-life wall mural, you know this won’t be an ordinary experience. What do you order? Perhaps something a little conservative, like the warm new potato salad, handmade cavatelli, burrata pizza or grilled ribeye? Do you stretch yourself toward the oxtail agnolotti or the mesquite-grilled foie gras? Or maybe, like the rest of this restaurant’s perfect blend of time and space and taste, you do both: Deviled Jidori eggs with kimchi; scarlet imperial prawns with Lapsong sausage, squash blossom vinaigrette and creamy polenta; NY steak tartare. Or maybe you find another excuse to come downtown and reinvent the experience, as a new iteration, all over again.

(credit: Langers)

(credit: Langers)


Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050
www.langersdeli.com

There is a familiar argument among a group of Los Angelenos: Does Langer’s Delicatessen have the best pastrami in L.A., or does it have the VERY best pastrami in L.A.? The jury is still out. Luckily, with its accessible parking lot and easy proximity to L.A. Live and STAPLES Center complex, you can happily make the decision on your own! A few pro tips: The pastrami is famous, but the turkey is good, too. Their pastrami and rye bread can be shipped overnight to anywhere in the country as well. The Number 19 is what you’ll want to order though. For around $15, this is their most famous sandwich which comes with pastrami, cole slaw, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread. Pastrami is also available for breakfast, and on fries (accompanied by cheese, of course).

(credit: Kim N./Yelp)

(credit: Kim N./Yelp)


Ledlow
400 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-7015
www.ledlowla.com

The-restaurant-formerly-known-as-Pete’s has made a whole new name for itself, under the wing of chef/owner Josef Centeno. Keeping a similar, distinctly American flavor, Ledlow is comfort food without necessarily remaining in one’s comfort zone. The preparations are just a little different; the flavors feel the slightest bit new (and improved). The menu features items like Cracklin Anson Mills cornbread (with jalapeno butter, buttermilk), Niman Ranch pork cheek & dumplings, and black Mission figs & burrata. For dessert? How about rice pudding, bread pudding, apple crisp or “Old School Chocolate Cream Pie?” How about yes to everything.

(credit: WP24)

(credit: WP24)


Nest at WP24
900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 743-8824
www.wolfgangpuck.com

24 floors above the hustle and bustle of downtown L.A., guests can settle into cozy chairs and snack on Asian-y bites, sushi and dumplings at Wolfgang Puck’s Nest at WP24. A little more hoi polloi than the tony WP24, Nest is a beautiful place with beautiful views to recharge before or after a DTLA event. It also offers a value-priced, family style, four-course “Sunday Supper” from 5:30 – 9pm, for $50 per person, that’s worth checking out even without something else to get to.

(credit: Marjorie U./Yelp)

(credit: Marjorie U./Yelp)


Parks BBQ
955 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 380-1717
www.parksbbq.com

Arguably one of the restaurants in LA that put Korean BBQ on the L.A. map, Parks BBQ offers all the classic touches — from side dishes (called banchan) to a dizzying selection of meats — close enough to L.A. Live and the STAPLES Center to easily push the evening into “Best Night Ever” contention. Unimpressed by spending money to cook your own food, or averse to eating animal flesh? Not to worry; the menu offers more than just BBQ meat. A wide selection of soups, rice dishes and some vegetarian and pescatarian or non-fish options are on offer as well.

(credit: Lloyd B./Yelp)

(credit: Lloyd B./Yelp)


SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
600 W 7th St #150
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 627-3000
www.sugarfishsushi.com

There is seafood, there is sushi, and then there is SUGARFISH. The food coming out of the kitchen at this popular Japanese spot is so beloved that the three popular omakase (chef-selected) menus are all called some variation of “Trust Me” (a la carte is available, too). And guests are just fine with that. Daily-selected fresh fish and the artistry of Chef Kazunori draw crowds, so be sure to make a reservation or leave plenty of time to be seated.

(credit: Carl O./Yelp)

(credit: Carl O./Yelp)


Yard House
800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-9273
www.yardhouse.com

Some people like to have a beer before they go to an event at L.A. Live or see a game at STAPLES Center. At Yard House, they can select from over 200. Truffle fries, chicken nachos, sliders, onion rings — all of those bar food favorites are in abundant supply, but Yard House’s menu goes way beyond pub grub. Salads, Asian-influenced entrees, pizzas, pastas, and a hefty Gardein brand vegetarian/vegan menu, as well, ensures even the pickiest eaters will have something to cheer about.

Article by Arianna Armstrong

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