Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Los Angeles Culinary Scene: Downtown LA

For many years, downtown LA was dead after 5 p.m. People just don’t go out to dine in downtown LA. The only places to eat at night would be in hotels, near the Music Center or Chinatown. That’s about it, folks. Oh yes, don’t forget the Original Pantry, “We never close. We're never without a customer.” Most of the places to eat in downtown were open during the day, serving breakfast and lunch to those working in downtown LA.

Then, the Los Angeles City Council passed the Downtown Adaptive Reuse Ordinance (Ordinance 172571) in June 3, 1999. Ever since that ordinance, developers have been taking old historic buildings and turning them into updated residential spaces, live/work lofts, condominiums, and apartments, even to this day. Today, over 30,000 people live in downtown LA. And the number of restaurants and bars have increased. Ralph’s Supermarket has returned to downtown LA in over fifty years. And there are plans to transform Seventh St. into a downtown version of Restaurant Row. Now, if Trader Joe’s would just move into downtown ...

The culinary scene is getting better, I suppose. I do have a concern about the plethora of corporate chain restaurants and the apparent lack of more fine dining and independent restaurants.

Historically, downtown Los Angeles has a few restaurants that has stood the test of time: Philippe’s (1908) ; Pacific Dining Car (1921) ; Original Pantry Cafe (1924) ; Clifton’s Cafeteria (1931) ; Phoenix Bakery (1938) ; Langer’s (1947)

And here are a few sections of downtown to consider in your culinary adventure: Olvera Street ; Chinatown ; Fashion District ; Little Tokyo ; Grand Central Market ; Arts District ; Bunker Hill ; Financial District ; South Park ; Historical Core ; Bunker Hill ; Civic Center

Besides those restaurants already listed, here are some others that show the variety that’s available in downtown Los Angeles: Traxx ; Ciudad ; San Antonio Winery ; Nick’s Cafe ; Sam Woo ; Empress Pavilion ; Golden Dragon ; CBS Seafood ; Mayflower ; Spring St. Barbecue ; Asian Noodles ; Sushi Gen ; Kagaya ; Izayoi ; Curry House ; R-23 ; Fisherman’s Outlet ; 6th St. Bar & Grill ; Grand Central Market ; Noé ; Water Grill ; Engine Co. No. 28 ; Seven Grand ; Seoul Jung ; Patina Group ; Palm ; Arnie Morton ; Daily Grill ; California Pizza Kitchen ; McCormick & Schmick’s

Okay, here are a few photos, all taken from Downtown Los Angeles:

Until next time,