Trust Us: The Best Downtown L.A. Restaurants Are Worth Braving Traffic For

Updated 03/05/18

There's no denying that Los Angeles is one of the most exciting cities to eat in right now (even Zagat agrees). Between the multicultural culinary influences and the inspiring technical innovation, downtown restaurants such as Chef Ray Garcia's Broken Spanish and Chef Steve Samson's Rossoblu shine despite sitting in the shadows of the city's high-rises. Thinking about making a reservation at one of the best Downtown L.A. restaurants? Ahead are eight local haunts so good they're worth braving traffic for.

Redbird downtown la restaurant
Jenn Emerling

Redbird

Located in the historic rectory building at St. Vibiana's, Redbird's beautiful setting is rivaled only by its delicious dishes. Reserve a seat in the courtyard on a warm L.A. evening to catch a glimpse of the church's gorgeous bell tower through the restaurant's retractable roof while you dine.

Redbird downtown la restaurant
Carley Rudd

Redbird

Chef Neal Fraser's menu at Redbird showcases the multicultural influences present in Los Angeles, and the hamachi crudo (pictured), made with coconut, kumquats, and crispy shallots, is no exception. Pair this seasonal appetizer with a delicious glass of wine for a decadent start to your meal.

Otium downtown la restaurant
Sierra Prescott

Otium

Situated next to The Broad, one of Los Angeles's newest and most frequented contemporary art museums, Otium's striking interior nearly rivals that of its neighbor's. The Downtown L.A. restaurant's industrial-inspired design is both rustic and sophisticated, making it a perfect complement to its cuisine.

Otium downtown la restaurant
Sierra Prescott

Otium

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth's menu at Otium features refined yet unpretentious dishes ranging from delicate octopus served atop a rich mole sauce to a flavorful falafel dish featuring eggplant and slices of fresh cucumber and bright Meyer lemon (pictured).

Rossoblu downtown la restaurant
Ed Anderson

Rossoblu

Located in downtown's City Market South, Chef Steve Samson's Rossoblu is pleasantly removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. The restaurant's outdoor patio offers alfresco dining on pleasant evenings, while the main dining room features a beautiful, large-scale mural by artist Cyrcle, a nod to the nearby Arts District neighborhood.

Rossoblu downtown la restaurant
Ed Anderson

Rossoblu

Although Rossoblu is a thoroughly Italian restaurant, you won't find pizza on the menu. With standout dishes like Nonna's Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese, which was inspired by Chef Samson's grandmother's recipe, and Tortellini in Brodo (pictured) on the list, we promise you won't miss it.

Bestia downtown la restaurant
Sierra Prescott

Bestia

Despite the fact that Bestia opened its doors in 2012, it's still one of the harder restaurants to get a reservation at in Los Angeles—a true testament to the lasting popularity of Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis's Italian restaurant. Be sure to plan a month in advance to snag a table at this downtown L.A. hot spot.

Bestia downtown la restaurant
Sierra Prescott

Bestia

Although getting in the door at Bestia takes a bit of planning, one bite of the Cavatelli alla Norcina pasta (pictured) will prove that it was worth the wait. You'd be remiss if you skipped ordering the Alla'nduja pizza, made with housemade spicy 'nduja (pork salami) too. 

spring downtown la restaurant
Emi Rose Photography

Spring

Make a reservation at Chef Tony Esnault's Spring to take a trip to the South of France without leaving L.A.'s city limits. Sitting under the steel-and-glass roof of the restaurant's atrium next to the trickling fountain, you'll forget that you're even in Downtown Los Angeles before you taste the food. 

spring downtown la restaurant
Emi Rose Photography

Spring

At Spring, Chef Esnault crafts his menus using only the freshest ingredients, so the restaurant's offerings vary from season to season. We're dreaming of these delicately seared diver scallops served with decadent dollops of caviar.

NoMad LA downtown la restaurant
Benoit Linero

NoMad LA

One of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2018, NoMad LA lives up to the hype. The New York mainstay has finally arrived in Los Angeles, taking up residence in the historic Giannini Place building, which was originally home to The Bank of Italy in the 1920s. The Italian-inspired architecture makes for a stunning setting for the hotel's two restaurants, The Mezzanine and The Lobby (pictured).

NoMad LA downtown la restaurant
Benoit Linero

NoMad LA

The Lobby, NoMad LA's casual dining space, located on the first floor of the hotel, serves up a mouthwateringly delicious milk-and-honey ice cream sandwich for dessert (pictured). Made with creamy milk ice cream, buttery shortbread cookies, and a gooey orange-blossom honey center, pastry chef Bradley Ray's creation is a must-order menu item.

Church & State downtown la restaurant
Emi Rose Photography

Church & State

Founded by the same husband-and-wife team who run Spring, Church & State is the iconic French bistro located in the up-and-coming Arts District in the building that housed the original Nabisco bakery. The laid-back bistro atmosphere of the interior pairs perfectly with the restaurant's café-style menu.

Church & State downtown la restaurant
Emi Rose Photography

Church & State

Church & State serves up classic French fare, including delectable dishes like steak tartare, housemade charcuterie, chicken liver mousse, and escargot (pictured), making this bistro a must-visit Downtown L.A. restaurant.

Broken Spanish downtown la restaurant
Jenn Emerling

Broken Spanish

Chef Ray Garcia puts a modern twist on traditional Mexican ingredients and cooking techniques at his beautiful downtown L.A. restaurant, Broken Spanish. The décor is reflective of the cuisine, featuring traditional decorative tile alongside trendy minimalist light fixtures.

Broken Spanish downtown la restaurant
Dylan + Jeni

Broken Spanish

You can't eat at Broken Spanish without ordering the chicharrón (pictured). Chef Garcia's version of this classic snack is cooked for 24 hours in a Sous-vide before it's deep-fried to a crisp and served with elephant garlic mojo, radish sprout, and pickled herbs, making for a striking presentation.

Related Stories