DTLA is an embarrassment of culinary riches. We say make a long weekend of it.
Hipsters and celebs like Johnny Depp and Diane Keaton have long appreciated how much Downtown LA offers its denizens. Now, ordinary Angelenos and out-of-towners are catching on big-time. Could it be the undeniable influx of creative culinary efforts and mind-blowing mixology? Fortunately, one needn’t commit to a penthouse purchase to fully enjoy the feast. All that’s required is a hotel reservation and a few curated bookings, as suggested here. Enjoy a different kind of staycation... and bon appétit!
Best Girl gives good Insta with a side of buzzy-good cusine.
LUNCH: BEST GIRL Kick things off in an Instagram-worthy atmosphere that celebrates the city’s rich history and sets the perfect scene for renowned chef Michael Cimarusti’s delectable lineup of comfort food gone chic—think a juicy burger with pink Japanese mayo, and his famed crab cake. 927 S. Broadway, (213) 235-9600, bestgirldtla.com
APERITIF: REDBIRD The marble bar at fave Angeleno chef Neal Fraser’s glam eatery debuted 31 new harvest-inspired libations by bar director Tobin Shea, catalogued in an illustrated booklet titled The Plain Truth About the Best Seeds—which means one drink is simply not enough! 114 E. Second St., (213) 788-1191, redbird.la
DINNER: SIMONE At long last, James Beard Award winner Jessica Largey’s produce-driven Arts District restaurant is welcoming foodies for veggie-heavy tasting menus at the sought-after six-seat chef’s counter and a la carte magic in the dim-glam dining room. 449 S. Hewitt St., (424) 433-3000, simoneartsdistrict.com
NIGHTCAP: HERE AND NOW; THE MERMAID Vets of favorite DTLA drinking dens teamed up for Here and Now, in the former Westbound space, where classic-cool cocktails are brought into the 21st century by contemporary techniques. At intimate female-owned, women-promoting (think Women Crush Wednesday) The Mermaid, make a splash at the nautically themed sunken bar. 300 S. Santa Fe Ave., (213) 262-9291, hereandnowdtla.com; 428 E. Second St., (213) 947-3347, themermaidla.com
BRUNCH: EVE AMERICAN BISTRO Inspired by a Raymond Chandler character (the author once lived above the site of Eve in the Mayfair Hotel), Hell’s Kitchen-winning chef Scott Commings’ resto focuses on flawless delivery of throwback favorites, including crab deviled eggs and steak frites, with plenty of indulgent sweet treats and optional bottomless wine and bubbly. 1256 W. Seventh St., (213) 632-1210, eveamericanbistro.com
HAPPY HOUR: IMPERIAL WESTERN BEER CO.; THE STREAMLINER The voluminous brewery and hyperprivate cocktail lounge—both featuring droolworthy designs—that took over the former historical Harvey House building make an even better case than train travel for visiting Union Station. Shuffleboard, billiards and flat-screens provide entertainment while patrons savor innovative brews, oysters and the next generation of efficiently crafted cocktails from the mixology masters at nearby The Varnish. 800 N. Alameda St., (213) 270-0035, imperialwestern.com; thestreamlinerbar.com
LATE DINNER: BAVEL It’s only a matter of time before the celebrity followers of Ori Menashe’s Bestia commandeer his hotly anticipated Middle Eastern concept, where a convivial vibe pervades tables of groups sharing dishes laden with foie gras halva, grilled octopus and duck ’nduja hummus. Mazel tov! 500 Mateo St., (213) 232-4966, baveldtla.com
PCP’s hangover-perfect corn fritter.
BREAKFAST AND COFFEE: PCP Kombucha squash latkes, uni toast, avocado tartine and chicken hash—you can’t go wrong at this modern Aussie-owned coffee shop with impeccable brew methods and new extended hours (expect curated wine, local beer and addictive small bites as well). 1320 E. Seventh St., (213) 372-5305, pcpdtla.com
LIGHT LUNCH: PIKUNICO Shop till you almost drop at ROW DTLA, then grab Japanese fried chicken, aka karaage, and craft beer at this easy, airy stop—a play on picnic combined with chef Kuniko Yagi’s name. 767 Alameda St., (213) 278-0407, pikunico.com
COCKTAILS: DAMA Let this open-air City Market South resto transport you to the exotic island of your choice with its sultry equatorial design and quenching rum- and tequila-based drinks, like the Latin Lover. Yass... 612 E. 11th St., (213) 741-0612, damafashiondistrict.com
DINNER: BREVA The Tasting Kitchen celeb chef Casey Lane goes Basque at his latest opening, featuring must-eats like tender vermouth-braised halibut and spicy Spanish-style fried chicken, with grilled peach and jalapeno salad. 939 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 300, (213) 660-3006, brevadtla.com
DIGESTIF: THE WOLVES Put away the iPhone and step back in time: The dapper bartenders at this early 1900s Parisian-style cocktail salon not only cut their own ice (note the single gloves) but, led by mastermind Kevin Lee, make from scratch all their vermouths, bitters and liqueurs that go into outrageously ambrosial libations. 519 S. Spring St., (213) 265-7952, thewolvesdtla.com