With a population of over 13 million in the metro area, it’s no surprise that Los Angeles has a rich and diverse cultural heritage—and nowhere is this diversity more apparent than in the city’s wide variety of choices when it comes to eating out. For example, beyond your more all-encompassing Japanese and Chinese food, you’ll also find more regionally specific selections such as omakase sushi and Cantonese barbecue. The next time you’re out and about and looking for fun things to do in downtown LA, make sure to try out a couple of these amazing options:
609 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
No list of the best places to eat in downtown LA would be complete without tacos! As a walk-up restaurant with standing room only, Tacos 1986 proves that sometimes simplicity can’t be beat. Their concise menu covers all your traditional Mexican fare (tacos, burritos, quesadillas) with a few different delectable protein options, such as carne asada, chorizo, and poblano chili beans for a vegetarian option. Best of all? You can order online directly from their website to skip the line and bring home everything you need for a DIY taco night: a pound of your protein of choice, 12 freshly handmade tortillas, a pint of salsa, and all the taco fixins’ you could want.
City Market South, 1124 San Julian St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Anyone living in downtown Los Angeles will tell you that eating at Rossoblu is truly an event to behold. As perhaps the best Italian food in the entire city, Rossoblu is the type of place you go to commemorate an occasion, celebrate an anniversary, or simply to treat someone you know who deserves to be wined and dined. There’s nothing better than pairing vintage Italian wine with spreads of charcuterie (a meat and cheese plate that sometimes also includes nuts, fruit, or crackers) and grigliata (mixed Italian barbecue) with friends and family!
108 W 2nd St. Apt 104, Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you’re looking for unique things to do in downtown LA, then Badmaash, a hip Indian gastropub, is a must-try. The menu is one-of-a-kind, eclectic, and (most importantly) delicious, combining traditional Indian cuisine with classic comfort food, such as the Chicken Tikka Poutine and the Badmaash Fried Chicken.
Little Sister Downtown
523 W 7th St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
For those in search of lighter Asian fare, Little Sister is one of the best places to go in downtown LA. They offer traditional Vietnamese food such as seafood fresh rolls and lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowls, as well as more exclusive offerings like balinese fried meatballs with mint chutney and a black duck egg on the side.
521 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
When it comes to Los Angeles cuisine, sushi is another must-have—and look no further than Q Sushi if you’re hankering for a truly authentic (and incredible) omakase sushi experience. “Omakase” is a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” so at an omakase-style restaurant, the chef is the one that chooses your meal. But don’t worry—you’re in good hands with Chef Hiro, who has 25 years of experience in crafting artisan sushi that only features the day’s freshest and highest quality catches.
The Rice Box
541 S Spring St. #131, Los Angeles, CA 90013
If you’ve had American Chinese food, you’ve probably had Cantonese food or at least Cantonese-inspired food, as it was the first Chinese cuisine to take root in the United States. The Rice Box, however, aims to serve less Americanized Cantonese food, specializing in their signature rice boxes that allow you to customize your meal with your choice of meat (honey-glazed pork, roasted duck, and soy sauce chicken, to name a few) rice (jasmine, quinoa, fried), veggies, and even a fried egg topper. Beyond serving up delicious Cantonese barbecue, The Rice Box is dedicated to sustainability, using only ethically sourced, hormone-free meat.
727 N Broadway #120, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Due to LA’s sizable Asian population, you’ll likely be able find cuisine from all over the continent that you’ve never tried before. If you’ve yet to have Filipino food, Lasa is a great place to start, as the two brothers who own and operate the establishment will help guide you through the menu. The service is friendly, the space is welcoming and unpretentious, and most importantly, the food is unmatched.