1 Day Itinerary for Downtown LA - Foodie Edition

The Foodie Edition - a DIY Food Tour through DTLA
Wendy Diep
Co-founder, Let's Jetty

In the shadow of Hollywood's glitz and glamour, Downtown LA has quietly emerged as a dynamic and thriving scene over the last few years, redefining the city's cultural landscape. Once overlooked, this urban core has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into a hotbed of creativity, innovation, and trendsetting experiences. From the revitalized historic architecture to the burgeoning art districts and a culinary scene that tantalizes the taste buds, Downtown LA has become a destination in its own right. With each passing year, the area's vibrancy continues to grow, attracting a diverse crowd of trendsetters, entrepreneurs, and culture enthusiasts who are discovering a new side of LA—one that's as bold and eclectic as the city itself. Explore the streets lined with chic cafes, art galleries, and hidden gems, and you'll witness firsthand how Downtown LA has become a symbol of the city's evolving identity, inviting everyone to be a part of its exciting narrative.

Ride Angel’s Flight

Nestled in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Angel's Flight is a cherished gem that transports both locals and tourists back in time. Often referred to as the "Shortest Railway in the World," it consists of two narrow-gauge funicular cars named Olivet and Sinai. The railway has been an integral part of the city's landscape since it first opened in 1901, providing a quick and scenic route up the steep slope between Hill Street and California Plaza.

At the top or bottom, depending on your direction, you'll find yourself in the midst of Bunker Hill, a neighborhood with a rich cultural heritage and a blend of old and new architecture. Consider exploring nearby attractions such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), or simply strolling through the scenic Grand Hope Park.

My recommendation: Go to the top of Angel’s flight and ride it down, which will take right to Grand Central Market.

Eat Your Way through Grand Central Market (quite literally) 

Grand Central Market is not just a place to eat; it's an immersive journey into the heart of Los Angeles' food scene. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or just looking for a taste of the city's rich culinary heritage, this iconic market promises an unforgettable experience for your senses.

Opened in 1917, this historic market has stood the test of time, evolving into a bustling haven for gastronomic delights. Wander through the maze of vendors, each offering a unique culinary experience. Whether you crave the sizzle of tacos from Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee at G&B Coffee, or the exotic flavors of international cuisine, the market caters to every palate.

My recommendation: Stop at Broad Street Oyster Co, and have a glass of wine with one of their hot lobster rolls.  If you’re wanting to try something different, get the sea urchin (also known as ‘Uni’); it’s delicious & the only place that prepares it quite like that. They legit have a diver get it fresh from the ocean daily!! And if you’re about the splurge, they even have caviar! 

Stop by the Conrad’s rooftop bar & have a drink 

Just down the street from Grand Central Market, sits the prestigious Conrad Hotel, this rooftop oasis seamlessly combines modern luxury with panoramic views, creating an exclusive retreat for those seeking an elevated escape. 

Explore Little Tokyo 

Begin your exploration by strolling down the bustling streets, lined with shops, boutiques, and intriguing storefronts. Discover a fusion of contemporary and traditional Japanese art, fashion, and crafts, offering a unique blend of old-world charm and modern sensibilities.

As your appetite grows, Little Tokyo invites you on a culinary journey like no other. Savor the authentic flavors of Japan at the diverse array of restaurants, from cozy ramen joints to upscale sushi bars. Dive into a bowl of steaming ramen, each slurp bringing you closer to the soul of this iconic dish. Alternatively, indulge in the artistry of sushi chefs as they craft delicate, mouth-watering creations that dance on your palate.

The Mermaid 

The Mermaid Bar & Restaurant beckons with a maritime charm that seamlessly blends coastal vibes with urban sophistication. Step into a nautical haven where every detail, from the decor to the menu, is an ode to the allure of the sea. As you enter, be greeted by the ambient glow of whimsical underwater-inspired lighting and the gentle murmur of aquatic-themed decor. The Mermaid Bar & Restaurant offers a unique dining experience, where marine motifs and elegant design create an atmosphere that feels both enchanting and contemporary. Take a seat and peruse a menu that celebrates the bounty of the ocean. From fresh seafood delicacies to creatively crafted cocktails, each offering is a culinary voyage that promises to satisfy even the most discerning palates. Immerse yourself in the coastal flavors and indulge in signature dishes that showcase the restaurant's commitment to quality and innovation.

Restaurants for Dinner: 

  • Bottega Louie: Indulge in the timeless elegance of Bottega Louie, a downtown LA gem renowned for its sophisticated atmosphere and delectable Italian-inspired cuisine. Located in the historic Brockman Building, this mid-tier priced restaurant offers an extensive menu featuring artisanal pizzas, house-made pastas, and an array of mouthwatering desserts displayed in a mesmerizing pastry case. The vibrant ambiance, characterized by high ceilings and opulent decor, makes Bottega Louie the perfect setting for a chic dining experience that seamlessly marries culinary excellence with visual delight.
  • Que Barbaro: Que Barbaro invites you on a culinary journey that fuses the vibrant flavors of Latin America with a modern twist. Situated in downtown LA, this mid-tier priced restaurant captures the essence of Latin American street food, offering a diverse menu that includes savory tacos, succulent grilled meats, and inventive small plates. The lively atmosphere, complemented by colorful decor and a welcoming staff, creates an immersive dining experience. With a commitment to quality ingredients and bold flavors, Que Barbaro stands out as a go-to spot for those seeking a taste of Latin American culinary artistry in the heart of the city.
  • Caldo Verde: Step into the warmth of Caldo Verde, a charming mid-tier priced eatery nestled in downtown LA. Specializing in Portuguese cuisine, this restaurant offers a comforting and authentic dining experience. Named after the traditional Portuguese green soup, Caldo Verde's menu features hearty dishes that showcase the rich flavors of the Iberian Peninsula. From flavorful seafood stews to grilled sausages and aromatic rice dishes, each plate is a homage to Portugal's culinary heritage. The cozy atmosphere, adorned with rustic decor, invites patrons to savor the essence of Portuguese hospitality, making Caldo Verde a delightful destination for those seeking a taste of European comfort in the heart of Los Angeles.

Dinner Recommendations (the Bougie Splurges) 

  • Otium: Experience the epitome of culinary sophistication at Otium, an upscale dining haven nestled in downtown LA. Set against the stunning backdrop of The Broad museum, Otium captivates with its sleek design and a menu that effortlessly blends innovation with seasonality. Helmed by Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, the restaurant's mid to high-tier pricing reflects its commitment to quality ingredients and meticulous preparation. Indulge in thoughtfully crafted dishes that showcase a contemporary approach to American cuisine, complemented by an extensive wine list. Otium's chic and airy ambiance, coupled with its prime location, makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a refined dining experience at the intersection of art and gastronomy
  • Bestia: Immerse yourself in the culinary allure of Bestia, a culinary gem in downtown LA that has earned its place as a destination for exquisite Italian cuisine. With an industrial-chic ambiance and a menu curated by Chef Ori Menashe, Bestia embodies the essence of contemporary Italian dining at its finest. The mid to high-tier pricing reflects the restaurant's commitment to utilizing fresh, local ingredients to craft memorable dishes such as house-made pastas, wood-grilled meats, and artisanal pizzas. A vibrant atmosphere, an extensive wine selection, and an open kitchen concept contribute to the overall sensory experience, making Bestia a must-visit for those with a taste for elevated Italian flavors.
  • Camphor: Camphor invites discerning diners to savor the heights of culinary excellence in downtown LA. This upscale restaurant, nestled in an intimate setting, boasts a menu that reflects a fusion of global influences with a focus on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. The mid to high-tier pricing aligns with the commitment to delivering an unparalleled dining experience. Expect meticulously plated dishes that showcase inventive flavor combinations, masterful techniques, and an artistic presentation. With its understated elegance and a menu that evolves with the seasons, Camphor stands as a haven for those seeking an upscale gastronomic adventure in the heart of the city. 
  • Bavel: Step into the enchanting world of Bavel, a high-tier dining experience in downtown LA that beckons with its exquisite Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine. Helmed by the culinary talents of Chef Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, the restaurant boasts an alluring ambiance adorned with lush greenery and an open kitchen concept. Bavel's mid to high-tier pricing reflects its commitment to crafting dishes that seamlessly blend bold flavors and innovative techniques. From wood-grilled meats to inventive mezze plates, every creation is a testament to the artistry of modern Middle Eastern cuisine. With impeccable service and a stylish setting, Bavel is a culinary oasis for those seeking an elevated gastronomic journey in the heart of Los Angeles.

My favorite: Rossoblu

Rossoblu stands as a culinary beacon, drawing patrons into its warm embrace of modern Italian cuisine. With an inviting ambiance and mid to high-tier pricing, this restaurant effortlessly marries the rustic charm of Italy with contemporary sophistication. Helmed by Chef Steve Samson, Rossoblu's menu showcases a commitment to artisanal techniques and locally sourced ingredients. Guests can expect a symphony of flavors, from handmade pastas and wood-grilled meats to inventive antipasti, all served in a chic, urban space that captures the essence of Italy. Whether you're indulging in a leisurely lunch or experiencing a romantic dinner, Rossoblu promises a gastronomic journey through the heart of Italian culinary traditions, making it a must-visit for those seeking an elevated dining experience in downtown LA.

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