Often, people compare the City of Angels to the Big Apple as an up-and-coming mecca for the performing arts. One of the most prominent centers for displaying the talent is the Music Center located in Downtown Los Angeles on 135 North Grand Avenue, which contains venues including the Ahmanson Theater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Music Center Plaza, W.M. Keck Children’s Amphitheater, and the REDCAT theater. However, everyone knows a performance calls for a great meal before or after the extravaganza. Get your tastebuds ready and your calendars out to plan your next outing in Los Angeles!
The “sustainable Coastal Mexican-style restaurant and bar” serves fresh dishes from land to sea in the atmosphere of Downtown Los Angeles. The unique blend of the cozy modern architecture of the restaurant in addition to the stunning high-rises of L.A. creates a remarkable experience for visitors. The owner, Bret Thompson, recently created this restaurant shortly after co-founding another popular eatery in L.A. dubbed Milk Ice Cream Parlor.
While Los Angeles is known to have some of the best and most authentic Mexican food outside of the nation itself, Pez Cantina confirms this positive preconceived notion. The fresh ingredients are apparent when you take a bite into their cleverly designed dishes that combine both traditional Mexican cuisine and American spinoffs. The unique composition of the Lime Illinois exemplifies a special sauce among many offered at the cantina. One of the most memorable moments at this restaurant was the horchata that was surprisingly thick in comparison to others I have tasted at almost every other Mexican restaurant I have dined at. The shaved ice allowed the drink to maintain a perfect balance, not overly watery or cold.
When I visited this eatery before seeing “Matilda” the musical at the Ahmanson Theater for my friend’s birthday, we all ordered different variations of the “coctels,” reminiscent of tacos and predominantly seafood. One may choose to purchase as many tacos as desired and an additional side of beans (refried or black) and rice (cilantro lime or red) for $5.00. In terms of protein, Pez Cantina offered shrimp, octopus, a combination of the two or a medley of campechana shrimp, octopus and ceviche.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Pez Cantina for their stunning atmosphere, stellar food and amazing service. More often than not when I attend restaurants I constantly drink water causing waiters and waitresses alike to fill the cup multiple times in one sitting. Each and every time I finished my water, the waiters quickly attended and refilled it. I would definitely recommend the Pez Cantina to anyone who is roaming around L.A. or seeing a performance.
Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar
You may wonder, “What is a brasserie?” I will admit that even I did not know what the term meant until I looked it up for this article. Defined by Dictionary.com, a brasserie is “an unpretentious restaurant, tavern, or the like, that serves drinks, especially beer, and simple or hearty food.” This definition is quite accurate, besides the “unpretentious” aspect, because Kendall’s tends to be quite expensive with prices ranging from as little as $9.50 for appetizers to as much as $36. These steep prices are not for the average college student, but if you are fortunate enough to be accompanied with your parents or someone with the means for that kind of bill, then you are in for a great treat.
From the carved wooden pillars to white tablecloths and the fancy glassware and silverware, the restaurant establishes a more regal atmosphere that often attracts more well-established guests. The combination of French, Italian and American cuisine offers a varied experience for every diner from the young children craving macaroni and cheese to the meat-lover wanting roasted pork tenderloin, or even the food connoisseur trying the next best grilled salmon. Normally before I go to a show, I order the macaroni and cheese in addition to a classic caesar salad or daily soup. As the restaurant is high-class, the macaroni is the most decadent and best I have ever had. The warm baked dish helps the macaroni remain the same temperature throughout the meal. The light breadcrumbs scattered along the pasta shells add a much-needed crunchy embellishment.
All together, the respectful and attentive waiters and waitresses, delectable food and well designed atmosphere creates a heavenly experience for restaurant-goers. However, you may want to consider the high price tag before dining. But if it’s a splurge you seek, you should definitely check out this eatery conveniently located underneath the Music Center.
Pinot Grill at the Music Center
Similar to Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar, Pinot Grill is under the umbrella of the Patina Restaurant Group. This company owns numerous restaurants located on both the West and East Coasts ranging from Downtown Los Angeles to New York City to Downtown Disney and more. These eateries are often located for visitors to easily access food when visiting entertainment industries like the Music Center or Downtown Disney.
While this restaurant is most convenient for viewers visiting the Music Center, it is my least favorite amongst my recommendations. However, I felt obligated to include this eatery since it is within the same plaza that everyone passes by when visiting this entertainment hub. This location does not take reservations, so be sure to plan some extra time when you take your trip in case there is a long line for sitting down. Also similar to Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar, this restaurant is quite pricey. However, Kendall’s is worth the price more so than Pinot Grill. The outside sitting in Downtown is quite stunning, but the plastic canopy covers distract from the city’s beauty. The canopy also prevents a breeze, making the area extremely hot and uncomfortable, especially during the summertime.
While these dishes are often overpriced from starters ranging $9 to $22 and entrees from $16 to $29, there are some redeeming dishes I enjoyed. The Lump Crab Cake with “scallion, whole grain mustard sauce, [and a] little herb salad” provides a unique flavor unlike other. The small portions were quite disappointing considering the steep price of $15, but the texture was delectably crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. The caesar salad is also a nice accompaniment with any of the dishes with the crisp romaine hearts, salty parmesan shavings, crunchy ciabatta croutons and a light caesar dressing coating each element of the salad.
While this restaurant is not my favorite for the prices, atmosphere or service, I recommend this eatery for people who are looking for convenience.
This is probably the least fancy of all the venues, but the taste satisfies everyone’s cravings for a hearty and protein-filled meal. The food-court-style venue offers a wide open space to enjoy the culinary experience. The Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles can be equated to the Public Marketplace in Seattle, Washington.
The trendy egg-lovers eatery yearns to find a “balance of comfort and innovation” while also “celebrating food that appeals to both novice and extreme foodie[s] through classic comfort fare with a twist” that “encompass[es] our key ingredient, eggs.” Their goal is to make the breakfast staple into an item for every meal. The popularity of this eatery is apparent in social media as it is one of the most Instagrammed locations.
The need for publishing one’s experience at this reasonable eatery priced from $3 to $11 appeals not only to the average college student, but also business workers in Downtown Los Angeles. The wide variety offered by the menu satisfies both the meat-eater’s and vegetarian’s appetites with the meat-filled Gaucho with “seared wagyu tri-tip steak” and the Fairfax with “soft scrambled eggs and chives” in a “warm brioche bun.” The soft texture of the warm eggs along with contrast of the toasted brioche buns provides a stellar bite. The delicious sauces ranging from chimichurri, honey mustard aioli, sriracha mayo and dijonnaise add the perfect touch to signify Eggslut’s unique commitment to heartiness and deliciousness.
Of all the recommendations, Eggslut is by far the best option for college students looking for a quick, easy and, most importantly, affordable bite. Not only does the affordability attract restaurant-goers, but the spectacular contrasts of crunchy and soft also appeals to customers. Overall, I would recommend this eatery if you are looking for a quick and affordable bite with an industrial diner vibe.