633 W. 5th St., Downtown
This new destination dining spot on the 71st floor of the US Bank building downtown is, unsurprisingly, best known for its breathtaking 365-degree views of the city. Dinner is a three-course pre-fixe menu for $70 but, if you’re in the market for drinks and snacks, the lounge offers excellent cocktails and small à la carte menu. This place is busy, so be sure to make a reservation in advance and consider paying the extra fee for a window seat.
222 S. Hope St., Downtown
Fittingly situated behind the Broad contemporary art museum, Otium’s box-like, wood, steel, and glass building can easily be mistaken for a large-scale art installation. Inside, the large light-filled dining room and communal table area revolve around a sprawling open kitchen and are meant to accommodate the museum crowds without making anyone feel, well, overcrowded. Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, formerly of The French Laundry, developed a menu that’s at times experimental but always approachable and delicious, think: artichoke and burrata, bacon tart, and falafel.
108 W. 2nd St., Downtown
No one’s ever really attempted to make Indian food cool until brothers Nakul and Arjun Mahendro enlisted the help of their classically trained chef dad Pawan Mahendro to open their Indian gastropub, Badmaash. The menu here is devoted to both traditional and reimagined Indian dishes: chili-cheese naan, Punjabi fish-fry, chicken tikka poutine—an homage to the Mahendro’s Canadian roots—and our personal favorite, butter chicken. While the majority of the tiny two-story space is kept starkly industrial, there are several focal points throughout, like a brightly striped wall and a mural of a sunglasses-clad Ganghi.
451 Gin Ling Way, Chinatown
Owner Duc Pham, who was born in Vietnam but raised in Anaheim, obsesses over the quality of every detail in his restaurants, from the Scandinavian-inspired furniture to wine list to the bread on his banh mi, which is baked fresh daily. While the classic dishes are excellent at all three locations—anything on the menu with pork belly is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser—we love the Silver Lake location, which has a secret wine bar downstairs. There's also a location Downtown.
426 S. Main St., Downtown
Owner Duc Pham, who was born in Vietnam but raised in Anaheim, obsesses over the quality of every detail in his restaurants, from the Scandinavian-inspired furniture to wine list to the bread on his banh mi, which is baked fresh daily. While the classic dishes are excellent at all three locations—anything on the menu with pork belly is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser—we love the Silver Lake location, which has a secret wine bar downstairs. They also have an outpost in Chinatown.
421 S. Main St., Downtown
This is an offshoot of Chef Kazunori Nozawa's popular sushi restaurant, Sugarfish—and like Sugarfish, the emphasis is on the freshness and quality of the fish. But that's where the similarities end, as KazuNori is all about the hand rolls. They have two menus—one if you're ordering to go or eating on their patio, and another if you're sitting at the sushi bar.
521 W. 7th St., Downtown
As far as omakase sushi bars go, this one is just about as authentic as it gets since it’s modeled after Chef Hiroyuki Naruke’s shuttered six-seat restaurant in Tokyo. The menu is strictly devoted to that day’s catch. It's perfect for a special occasion, as it's a big production with the price-tag to match.
448 S. Hill St., Downtown
This terrace bar overlooks downtown’s Pershing Square, the home of several prime examples of classic L.A. architecture including the art deco building it tops. It has a French, bistro-themed restaurant and all the cocktails you’d want, though the real draw here is the view.
408 S. Main St., Downtown
From the people who brought you Bar Ama comes this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant where the signature bäco is made into tasty sandwiches. While they're known for meat, we particularly love their myriad veggie small plates (from crispy fava beans to pickled eggplant salads), and the fresh and unique seafood dishes. They also have a great drink list with small batch spirits and unique global wines and beers. It gets crowded so be sure to reserve before you go. Photo: Dylan + Jeni
118 W. 4th St., Downtown
Puffy tacos, frito pie, queso, and other evolved Tex-Mex dishes are mainstays at chef Josef Centeno’s latest operation. Do not miss the perfectly caramelized sweet potatoes, the fried Brussels sprouts, and the guacomole, which just might be the best in the city. The ’50s hall-like space also offers its fair share of tequila and mescal drinks, along with homemade fruit mashes and Bäco-Pops.
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