Neighborhood Tours: Downtown LA
For many years, Downtown represented a void in the Los Angeles experience. Because it wasn’t Manhattan, it wasn’t romantic and aweinspiring. Because it wasn’t San Francisco or Chicago or Washington, DC, or Miami, it wasn’t emblematic of the city’s character and mojo. But Downtown doesn’t have to hide its head anymore. Today it’s all dressed up and ready to strut.
Looking for a quality hotel with a little LA panache? The lineup is eclectic and laden with comfort. The Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza (251 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, 213-617-3300; omnihotels.com) has 453 guest rooms and suites; it’s professional enough to handle the businessman’s every need but not too stuffy that it can’t pamper when necessary. The Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (506 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-624-1011; millenniumhotels.com) is one of Los Angeles’ most distinguished addresses. It has 683 rooms and suites and enough grandeur to make Europe jealous. The Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens (120 S. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, 213-629-1200; kyotograndhotel.com) is an Asian-contemporary palace of tranquility with 434 rooms, including 20 suites.
For more permanent stays, consider the LEEDcertified Evo (1155 S. Grand Ave., No. 103, Los Angeles, 213-622-5400; evo-south.com) in the South Park neighborhood, which offers luxury spaces ranging from studios to penthouses; prices begin at approximately $400,000. Then there’s The Orsini (550 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 213-346-9980; theorsini.com), a complex of residences presenting affordable apartments in an opulent package.
WINE AND DINE
For dining, the Patina Restaurant Group has several Downtown options (including Patina, Café Pinot, Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar, Pinot Grill and Zucca Ristorante) but an often overlooked gem is Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse (330 S. Hope St., Los Angeles, 213-680-0330; patinagroup.com), where tender aged beef battles with sumptuous sides for bragging rights on your plate. Other options include Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant (811 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2100, 213-236-9600; takamisushi.com),which boasts a sleek and stunning high-rise setting, and Ciudad (445 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 213-486-5171; ciudad-la.com), the creative Latin eatery from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. For chic Italian contemporary, plop into a banquette at Drago Centro (525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, 213-228-8998; dragocentro.com) and scarf down the Sardinian-style lasagna. For foodies of the classic variety who enjoy local history and folklore with their comfort food, look no further than The Original Pantry Cafe (877 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 213-972-9279; pantrycafe.com), which has been serving up bountiful plates of American essentials since 1924. Just a short walk from Union Station is Philippe The Original (1001 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, 213-628-3781; philippes.com), where the French-dip sandwich was accidentally born in 1918.
For bar and club action, consider Andrew Meieran’s elegantly cool The Edison (108 W. Second St., No.
101, Los Angeles, 213-613-0000; edisondowntown.com), housed inside Downtown LA’s historic first private power plant. The Far Bar (347 E. First St., Los Angeles, 213-617-9990) is almost literally a hole in the wall, but one with a noirish LA flavor. And Remedy (800 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-489-1406; remedylounge.com) is a stylish but low-key lounge with killer appetizers, soothing cocktails and an eclectic clientele. The watering hole shares a kitchen with gourmet Mexican restaurant Provecho.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN FORREST (MOCA)