The Best Restaurants in Downtown Los Angeles

© Alexander Spatari / Getty Images
Photo of Culture Trip
9 July 2020

Fuel your LA adventures and get under the city’s skin with a feast in its gritty, grand heartland.

Cafe, Restaurant, American, $$$
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The Pantry Cafe in Downtown at the corner of 9th and Figueroa.
Crowds of people wait to enter The Pantry Cafe in Downtown LA | © vesperstock / Shutterstock
The Original Pantry Cafe is an iconic L.A. institution that has only closed once since their doors first opened in 1924; on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It is an old-fashioned diner on the corner of 9th Street and Figueroa, serving American cuisine. The portions are huge, so those who decide to dine here should come with an equally huge appetite.

Sandwich Shop, American, French
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Philippe the Original is a must when in DTLA. This place has one of the best French dipped sandwiches in town – indeed this very location is where the sandwich originated way back in 1918. Their prices won’t put a hole in your wallet either. If a French dipped sandwich isn’t what you’re looking for, they have plenty of other delicious options.

Pizzeria, American
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Pizzanista!’s commitment to quality is obvious. They use an expansive variety of fresh vegetables you won’t find at most pizza places. Although LA has a fantastic vegan pizza scene, there’s not a lot of places where you can also bring along your Meat Jesus-lovin’ friends for $2 slices. And, if you order take-out, you’ll receive one of their custom-designed delivery boxes, featuring The Clash puns and original Mike Gonzales designs.

Restaurant, Vegan, $$$
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A vegetarian/vegan-friendly huge, diverse menu featuring fresh, organic ingredients and culinary twists like coconut bacon and blackened jerk tempeh make Café Gratitude the quintessential California foodie destination. With a Detox Market and a healthy happy hour, this cafe lives up to their mission of making eating clean easy. Don’t miss the fresh-pressed juices, California wines or the Kombucha Arnold Palmer Spritzer.

Food Stand, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Eggslut | Courtesy Jarone Ashkenazi

This little restaurant with the questionable name is located in the Grand Central market along with many other small food stands. However, it blew up because of its food-porn breakfast sandwiches served atop a fluffy brioche bun and dripping with cheese and bacon. Well worth the wait.

These recommendations were updated on July 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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