Where to Eat in Downtown Los Angeles Right Now

Yangban Society, a Jewish deli and Korean minimart hybrid in Downtown Los Angeles | Credit: Yangban Society

Gone are the days when downtown Los Angeles was primarily a place for office goers or a pocket of the city to drive through. Today, “DTLA” is a destination full of restaurants that mirror the city’s undeniable diversity, and a locale where diners head to seek out imaginative dishes served on rooftop patios, streetside tables, and inside busy bars. Here are 12 restaurants that show just how far downtown Los Angeles’s culinary scene has come over the years.

Cabra – LA

Seafood porridge with pecorino cream at Orsa & Winston | Credit: Orsa & Winston

Get your fresh ceviche and skewer fix—plus skyline views—at Cabra, set on the rooftop patio of The Hoxton Downtown. Top Chef star Stephanie Izard, who burst onto Los Angeles’s culinary scene with Girl & the Goat in summer 2021 made her return this year with Cabra’s modern twists on shareable Peruvian dishes. Sip on a classic pisco sour or bourbon infused with passion fruit honey in the tropical setting by the poolside bar, and be sure to save room for the dulce de leche donuts, called picarones. 

LA Cha Cha Chá

Downtown’s Art District welcomed cheerful Cha Cha Chá in 2021. The mostly outdoor space, which encourages mingling, is the sibling to Terraza Cha Cha Chá in Mexico City, with an airy design, spruced up by leafy plants. The menu at Cha Cha Chá highlights home-style recipes that include a tuna tostada topped with a chile aioli and crispy cilantro, and a pork shoulder confit carnitas with braised beans and pico de gallo.

Poppy + Rose 

Pulled pork hash at Poppy + Rose | Credit: Taylor McIntyre

Quality Southern comfort food awaits at Poppy + Rose. The casual brunch cafe offers dishes such as a buttermilk-brined fried chicken sandwich and brioche french toast with mixed berries. The large rooftop patio includes rows of picnic tables—the perfect setting to sip on lavender wine spritzers and cucumber mojitos against a groovy R&B soundtrack.

Rossoblu

Step into Rossoblu’s cavernous dining room and you’ll be greeted by an all-gold bar and a floor-to-ceiling mural, channeling street art from Bologna and Los Angeles. Chef Steve Samson’s family ties to Emilia-Romagna inspired much of the menu at this inviting spot, with star players that include handmade pastas such as tagliatelle with beef and pork ragu and tortellini with swiss chard and ricotta.

Asterid

Chef Ray Garcia—whose former hits include Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria—returned to Los Angeles’s dining arena with Asterid, nested in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Chef Garcia is renowned for his unique interpretations of Mexican food, but at his latest venture, named in honor of flowering plants, diners can feast on sophisticated American dishes such as short rib with bacon and cactus and maitake mushrooms topped with turmeric aioli, lemon, and parsley.

Yangban Society 

Chefs John and Katianna Hong pay homage to Korean culture and the classic Jewish deli with Yangban Society. The counter serves up dishes such as potato mandu (Korean dumplings) and hot smoked trout schmear that can be ordered to-go or eaten in the restaurant. Upstairs, an electric blue minimart features products crafted by local residents, including handmade candles and face masks.

Bestia 

When it comes to iconic downtown restaurants, Bestia is certainly at the top of the list. The Italian spot opened in 2012, and diners still remain loyal to chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’s slow-roasted lamb neck, mussels in spicy ‘nduja, and torpedo onion and potato agnolotti. An extensive wine list covers regions around the world, including both Old World producers and small growers focused on biodynamic varietals.

Angry Egret Dinette 

Octopus tostada at Angry Egret Dinette | Credit: Angry Egret Dinette

Chef Wes Avila’s casual eatery in Chinatown’s Mandarin Plaza features a rotating menu of tortas, tostadas, and burritos, among other items. His inventive takes on dishes such as a tempura-fried squash blossom torta earned this spot a Best New Restaurant nomination at the 2022 James Beard Awards. Angry Egret offers a number of seafood dishes, inspired by the chef’s stints at Carmel-by-the-Sea, including a seabass and abalone ceviche. Diners can enjoy breakfast and lunch in the shaded courtyard as well as full-service dinners on Fridays and Saturdays in an Art Deco-inspired tropical, indoor dining room.

Badmaash Downtown LA

Badmaash first came onto the downtown scene in 2013, giving the city a gastropub offering modern riffs on Indian food in a relaxed, two-story space. Here, chef and brothers Nakul and Arjun Mahendro create dishes such as chile cheese-stuffed naan and tikka poutine—nods to their Toronto roots. Other standout dishes include the badmaash broccolini, which is marinated with mustard oil, garlic and chili, then dusted with spiced chickpea flour and roasted until crispy. Badmaash’s vibe is very much a reflection of downtown’s hip scene, with fashionable diners sharing plates to the sounds of rap and hip-hop. 

Cara Cara

Grab a passionfruit caipirinha and sit by the firepit on Cara Cara’s expansive rooftop for a quintessential downtown evening. Chef Suzanne Goin’s seasonal menu focuses on fresh produce with dishes such as a summer fruit stone salad and vegan antipasto with chickpea purée, beet purée, local vegetables, and pine nut pistou. In the larger dish department, the grilled scallops offer a vibrant take on a ubiquitous entrée, enhanced by the smoky taste of harissa. 

Perch LA

French bistro-inspired fare at Perch LA | Credit: Perch LA

French small plates and cocktails are served at this rooftop lounge and restaurant, located on the 16th floor of the Pershing Square Building. The bistro-style atmosphere offers 360-degree views of the city—the perfect complement to flavorful dishes such as mussels in saffron and baked brie with a fennel apple slaw. Perch is also an ideal location to visit if you’re in the mood for a cocktail: Don’t miss the Hemingway on the Beach, a mix of gin, maraschino cherry liqueur, lemon, and bitters.

Orsa & Winston 

Chef Josef Centeno offers a robust five-course tasting menu at the MICHELIN-starred Orsa & Winston, with dishes inspired by Japanese and Italian flavors. Past menu highlights include a grilled sea bream and a more casual chicken katsu sandwich. The intimate space has just 33 seats—including a handful that overlook the open-air kitchen—so be sure to reserve.

Kristin Braswell is a journalist and founder of CrushGlobal Travel, a company that customizes travel guides and authentic experiences around the world. 

Tried them all? Check out other options here.