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Whether you’re a visitor or a local, downtown LA has transformed from taco carts and ramen joints into a progressive food scene worth sinking your fork into. Check out this list of great downtown LA restaurants to try next time you’re scoping out where to eat in the neighborhood.
Downtown L.A. Restaurants
For the bold vacationer looking to eat like a local, Simbal — tucked away in Little Tokyo — is the place to try. A Southeast Asian kitchen and bar, Simbal (simple + balanced) offers small plates, dim sum–style service and eccentric cocktails with subtle Vietnamese flair, plus a story behind every dish. You’re guaranteed to leave this trendy dinner spot with Instagram-worthy food photos worth gawking at (not to mention a satisfied belly). It’s also just a 10-minute walk from the famous Bradbury Building, where a scoop (or two) of McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream awaits.
For the up-to-speed foodie fan, Bäco Mercat by celebrity chef Josef Centeno is the spot to visit. Best for brunch or dinner, this modern Spanish-style restaurant in the historic district is known for the bäco sandwich, a complex and cleverly composed flatbread-pita-taco hybrid. As if the intrigue of the bäco sandwich isn’t enough, the laundry list of special awards and recognitions, including LA Weekly’s 20 Best Restaurants 2015 and Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants for three consecutive years, speaks for itself.
For the social butterfly looking to send his or her taste buds on a trip to Buenos Aires, 1810 is a casual Argentinean restaurant with a lively atmosphere that’s sure to deliver good times. The grilled meats are melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the traditional flan and crêpes will leave you licking your plate. Couple the classic flavors of Argentina with the contemporary dining atmosphere, and you’ve got yourself a winning dining experience.
Preux & Proper
For the hopeless romantic or downtown fashionista, Preux & Proper is the perfect refuge for dinner and drinks. This two-story Cajun/New Orleans–style restaurant in the fashion district gives you two distinct dining atmospheres for the price of one. Whether you’re downstairs casually sipping frozen daiquiris or upstairs enjoying elegant craft cocktails, one thing is for sure: The soul food and warm hospitality will transport you to the American South.
For the career-savvy individual looking for somewhere to dine with colleagues, the smart-casual, modern American cuisine of Redbird is a perfect business-dinner choice. Nestled in a historic downtown cathedral, Redbird offers both small and large plates that are quintessentially L.A. Between the unique opportunities for private dining experiences on the third floor, the retractable roof that reveals an ethereal patio and the ongoing list of impressive accolades earned by chef Neal Fraser, you’re guaranteed to enjoy any occasion here.
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