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There’s so much good food all over Southern California, but if you want the best bite per square mile, you need to get a list of what’s going on in downtown Los Angeles. Our current favorites include next-level bar food and an East Coast star chef’s winning L.A. debut.

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Nosh on Elevated Bar Food at Here and Now

Come for the craft cocktails (the French 75 is our favorite, with cognac, lemon and sparkling wine), stay for the appealingly simple but expertly done bar food, such as salt-sprinkled shishito peppers, pork-belly fries and fried olives.

300 S. Santa Fe Ave., Ste. N; 213-262-9291 or westbounddtla.com

Carbo-load at The Alameda Supper Club

This dinner-only restaurant in the huge Manufactory space on the edge of the Arts District is the friendly, non-challenging American fine-dining spot you’ve been hungry for. Spaghetti and meatballs. Caesar salad. Plus lots of parking and the wide-open industrial spaces of DTLA.

At the Manufactory L.A., 757 Alameda St.; 213-375-3315 or alamedasupperclub.com

Taste All the Creativity at Nightshade

Top Chef winner Mei Lin opened this place with a mission to blend the Chinese cuisine she grew up on and her distinctive palate. It’s a win, with inventive pairings such as a blooming onion served with coconut dip (basically a plate of onion rings with artistic presentation) and lasagna made with pork ragù and tofu cream. You’re going to be challenged here (in a good way) and you’ll definitely leave satisfied.

923 E. Third St., Ste. 109; 213-626-8888 or nightshadela.com

 

Get a Daytime Seat at Majordōmo

In early 2018, the chef behind the New York empire of Momofuku restaurants debuted on the West Coast with a soaring temple to contemporary Asian American cuisine. But it was super-hard to get a table at the dinner-only establishment. Now you can enjoy grilled whole fish with black bean sauce, kimchi-laden shrimp and (wild card) fried chicken at the new weekend lunch.(Just don’t say brunch, because this is not an eggs Benedict kind of party.) 

1725 Naud St.; 323-545-4880 or majordomo.la

Go For Italian at Best Girl

The new restaurant in the Ace Hotel is glamorous Old Hollywood (black-and-white tile floors, graceful potted palms), but its menu of delish pasta would be at home in Little Italy. The spaghetti alla chitarra with pork shank, the crab cakes and the porterhouse steak for two are standouts.

Inside the Ace Hotel DTLA, 927 S. Broadway; 213-235-9660 or bestgirldtla.com

Feel the Rush at La Tropézienne

This bakery is authentically French—right down to the staff—with menu items that are all about smoothness, tartness and flakiness. It’s the kind of place where you sit with your dog next to you at a table, in front of a marble wall, and share a fresh croissant. Or, blood sugar be damned, destroy a tart. Or at the very least, pick up a rainbow of macarons to take to a friend.

757-761 Main St.; 213-988-7282 or ltbakery.com

Drink the Biggest Cocktail at Duello

Clams with sesame sourdough, broccolini and peanut chili crisp; duck liver bagna càuda; and a shared plate of lamb shoulder served with hibiscus buttermilk and strawberry salsa. This newly rebranded spot is well worth a visit for the food as well as the first large-format cocktail we’ve seen: an aquavit-tequila-brandy drink for two.

449 S. Hewitt St.; 424-433-3000 or duellodtla.com

Enjoy Israeli Small Plates at The Exchange

Middle Eastern cuisine paired with Cali ingredients (mezes with avocado cubes, smoked lemon ponzu on the daily catch) is served in a sunny spot made gorgeous by star decorating firm Roman and Williams.

Inside the Freehand Hotel, 416 W. Eighth St.; 213-395-9531 or freehandhotels.com

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