Arts District Restaurants
923 E. 3rd St., Arts District
Like many spots requiring hard-won reservations, Nightshade is sequestered down a quiet, need-to-know-it-to-find-it Arts District alley. Chef Mei Lin’s firstborn restaurant combines punchy Chinese flavors with Cali comfort food—beautifully prepared, bursting-with-freshness vegetables—and the results had us booking our next meal before the first was over. Lin’s staple dish is a snug layering of egg noodles, pork ragù, and silky tofu cream. If you crave heat, order the Szechuan hot quail served over a thick piece of Japanese milk bread—it tastes like the best chicken sandwich of your life but better.
1331 E. 6th St., Arts District
The word on Officine Brera hasn’t quite gotten out yet. Maybe it’s the location, almost hidden in a warehouse building in an industrial pocket of the Arts District—you need to know it’s there to find it. Angelo Auriana and Matteo Ferdinando, who run this place, grew up in Italy’s Po Valley and, fittingly, serve no-nonsense, traditional Northern Italian trattoria food. In short: Officine Brera is the real deal. A simple, unfussy interior and sensational food. Come hungry and order the beef carpaccio, drizzled in a grassy, green olive oil to start. The stinchetto—a big hunk of falling-off-the-bone pork shank on a bed of polenta—is ideal for three people to pull apart. Then the dumpling dishes: The capunsei are made with ricotta, the pisarelli with bread, and the gnocchi with potato. Oenophiles will appreciate the breadth of the wine list, full of the heavy-hitting Barolo and Amarone bottles alongside more unusual, small-production labels.
300 S. Santa Fe Ave., Arts District
COVID-19 Update: Open daily for takeout and delivery. Everything on the menu is an affirmation, so if you can stifle the giggles at names like "I Am Connected"—which is actually an amazing zucchini cilantro hummus—you'll find that the vegan food here is delicious, even for those who normally refuse to go meat and dairy-free. There are picks for every sensibility, from coffee milkshakes (made with almond milk), to cashew cheese topped corn tacos to Indian curried lentils. There are three locations—Hancock Park, Venice, and the Arts District—and the Café Gratitude team also has a Mexican iteration in Hollywood called Gracias Madre. COVID-19 Disclaimer: We are working hard to keep our listings as up to date as possible (deliveries, outdoor dining, etc.), but given the evolving nature of local COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend double-checking the information in this guide with any business you plan on visiting. Also, please note that we have not vetted any businesses listed within our guides for their compliance with applicable safety regulations.