The Top 5 Dishes in Downtown LA

Discover 5 essential dishes in LA's city center

The Downtown LA dining scene has never been more vital, with dozens of great restaurants now dotting sub-neighborhoods like the Arts District, Bunker Hill, Fashion District, Old Bank District, and South Park. Discover my favorite dishes from five of Downtown’s best chefs in LA’s city center. Consider these plates gateways to great meals, since they’re on menus at consistently high-quality restaurants. Fan across DTLA for your next steps.


Bestia Bone Marrow Gnochettini
Bone Marrow Gnochettini au Bestia  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


Bestia, the high-energy Italian restaurant with Mediterranean influences from chef Ori Menashe and wife/pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, often strays from tradition in the Arts District. The staff takes a hands-on approach to every step of food prep, butchering animals in-house, crafting dough for pasta and pizza, and preserving ingredients with charcuterie and pickling. One of their greatest hits involves roasted marrow bone featuring a caramelized crust, crispy breadcrumbs, and aged balsamic for tangy touch. Each bone’s served with spaetzle-like spinach gnochettini. Use a spoon to scrape rich marrow, mix with gnochettini, and integrate the beautifully balanced ingredients.

Veal Fraser à Redbird
Veal Fraser à Redbird  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


Chef Neal Fraser and wife/front-of-house partner Amy Knoll Fraser often achieve dramatic effect at Redbird, their modern American restaurant in the former Cathedral of Saint Vibiana rectory. That applies to the grand dining room with high ceilings that’s awash with history, and extends to several large-format, flavor-forward dishes. The menu changes some nightly, but Veal Fraser is a constant. This eponymous plate of meat would make any carnivore drool. A tender sliced 24-ounce veal chop is plated with 24-hour braised veal cheeks and Burgundy snails and served with the bone for added effect.

Nonna’s Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese at Rossoblu in the Fashion District
Nonna’s Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese at Rossoblu  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


Rossoblu is a highly personal restaurant in the Fashion District from chef Steve Samson and wife Dina that was inspired by Bologna, the hometown of his mother and Nonna. Nonna’s Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese is a comforting pasta dish from Emilia-Romagna’s capital, and Samson more than does this plate justice. He uses his grandmother’s recipe for Ragù Bolognese as a base and departs in some subtle, signature ways. He crafts the savory, well-balanced stew with beef, pork and "not too much" tomato sauce and adds some Samson-specific flourishes to create a ragù that beautifully coats delicate house-made tagliatelle, flat, whisper-thin noodles.

NOTE: after briefly closing due to a kitchen fire in September, Rossoblu is reopening on Wednesday, December 5.