I was in downtown LA last week for 2 days/nights for work, staying at the O Hotel (8th and Flower). I was car-less, but determined to see as much of the area as possible.
Lunch #1 - Tuna melt at Bar/Kitchen at my hotel - delicious, house made. Plus, you can never go wrong with tater tots!
Dinner #1 (Wednesday) - more of a crawl than a dinner....
Drago Centro - http://www.dragocentro.com/
Oysters with peach mignonette - the mignonette was gelee beads or something, served on the oysters - pretty good, even though I prefer my oysters without condiments. Nice place for a solo diner.
Border Grill - http://www.bordergrill.com/bg_dtla/bg... - Should have eaten more here, this was the highlight of my evening. Lamb barbacoa taco was AWESOME, baja shrimp ceviche tostada was fine but not a revelation.
The Standard Hotel rooftop deck - http://standardhotels.com/downtown-la... - Lovely view, cheap drinks served in plasticware.
The Parish - http://www.theparishla.com/ - My concierge said I should probably not go alone after dark to that area (close to Los Angeles Street), so I went before dusk. Sadly the real menu did not match the online menu, and everything I had wanted was not available. I had the "paella" (listed in quotes) which seemed to be a barley-based risotto/paella dish, with a whole sardine and smoked sausage - interesting, tasty, nice and filling after all the HH drinks! This was a great place, the vibe felt very San Fran.
When I was done it was dark so the bartender suggested an alternate route home from the way I got there (more lights/people). I still got chased by a homeless guy which was quite alarming.
I then tried to find The Gorbals but either I missed it or it is closed. I also wanted to find Cole's for their secret bar/speakeasy but also could not find it. I was a little on edge by that point, so I walked back to my hotel.
I wish I had known about Alma - read about it in Bon Appetit when I got back home....
Lunch #2 -
Checked out the Pershing Square Farmers Market, got a cheese/poblano tamale and a jalapeno/black bean pupusa. Both were tasty but not spectacular. Then I headed over to Grand Central Market, for pork tacos as Las Morelianas - also tasty.
Dinner #2 (Thursday) -
Business dinner event at the Palm, enjoyed the crab cake appetizer.
After dinner, cabbed it over to Perch by Pershing Square. What a scene! I had heard it was classier than Standard, but it's really the same scene minus the pool. Snagged a bar seat and ordered the gougeres - they were enormous, about the size of tennis balls, fairly doughy and bland (didn't really taste the emmental and gruyere).
Headed over to 6th Street Tavern, but that was also insanely packed so I just went back to my hotel.
(Last trip I went to Rivera, which was good, so skipped that this time.)
Overall a good sampling of food throughout the neighborhood! Next time I'll try more at Border and check out Alma.