The Best Restaurants & Bars In The Arts District

Restaurants and bars to check out first in the Arts District Downtown.

The Arts District today is more of a playground for developers and e-scooter-riding tech bros than actual artists. But even as this neighborhood just east of DTLA gets progressively more skyscraper-heavy, it‘s undeniably one of LA's most popular areas to dine out. Restaurants are scattered along almost every block, and some of them are even worth fighting for parking at 8pm on a Saturday night. Here are the best places to eat and drink in the Arts District.


photo credit: Jessie Clapp


Arts District

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightUnique Dining Experience
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The Arts District has no lack of flashy, high-end restaurants jostling to get you to spend $200 in one sitting. And, right now, Baroo is the most exciting place of the bunch. This Korean restaurant first opened in 2015 as an order-at-the-counter cafe in East Hollywood. Now they have a new location that's very Baroo All Grown Up. The only dining option is an eight-course tasting menu for $110 and there's plenty of interesting wine and sake. While we do miss the hearty bowls and kimchi toasts of past menus, dishes at the new Baroo—red-yeast rice squares topped with 'nduja and pichuberry, fried fermented soft-shell crab, and chamoe panna cotta—are just as special as anything at the original.

$$$$Perfect For:Business MealsImpressing Out of TownersVegetarians


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Bavel is the middle child restaurant from the people behind Bestia and Saffy’s, two very popular restaurants. Having such well-regarded siblings might seem like a tough gig, but Bavel is our favorite of the family. This upscale Middle Eastern restaurant in the Arts District is a model of consistency, serving deeply personal food that tastes incredible, with reliably great service and a stunning, blockbuster space that still buzzes with the same energy it did when it opened in 2018. The menu is packed with hits, but if it's your first time, prioritize the malawach platter, grilled prawns with tzatziki, and lamb neck shawarma.

Many of the best restaurants in the Arts District are upscale destination spots that require reservations and thick wallets to get in the door. Everson Royce Bar stands in direct contrast to all that, which is exactly what makes it so special. The casual bar/restaurant is a true neighborhood place with one of our favorite big group patios in LA, excellent cocktails, a never-ending wine list, and bar food that you drive across the city for. Order the burger and the biscuits.

Bestia opened in 2012 and has been a supreme being of Los Angeles ever since. This Italian spot was one of the first sceney destinations to move into the Arts District, and now it has established itself as the seminal restaurant of the last decade. They serve fantastic pizza, perfectly-made pasta, and gigantic plates of charcuterie in a massive industrial warehouse that feels as exciting as it did a decade ago. Booking a primetime reservation can be tough,so if you’re more of the impromptu type, just do what we do and walk into the bar after 9pm on the weekends for some late-night pizza and pasta.

Dinner at this upscale Mexican restaurant feels like a dream, one where you’ll eat rockfish ceviche swimming in olive oil and gruyere-stuffed quesadillas. The dining room has industrial concrete slabs that double as benches, large wooden tables, and so many plants you might wonder if you’ve wandered into a botanical garden. And although you may recognize Damian’s famous siblings (Pujol, Cosme, etc.), it’s unique to LA: perfect for special occasions, fancy date nights, or whenever you want to eat gorgeous barbecued fish by the pound.

If you’re anything like us, you spent many years tracking the Guerrilla Taco truck location and deciding whether or not you have enough time to make it there on your lunch break. Those days are over now that they’ve landed in a permanent brick-and-mortar in the AD. There are some familiar characters on the menu (sweet potato tacos, excellent seafood tostadas), but plenty of new options too (quesadillas, even more taco options, booze). It’s a quick and casual, order-at-the-counter operation, and they won’t mind if you hang out for a while until you feel ready to order a second round.

Stop by Yangban on a Friday night, and it’ll probably be dark, blasting R&B, and full of people who look like they’re going to be out until last call. In other words, this semi-casual Korean restaurant—hidden in an alleyway just off of S. Santa Fe Ave— is the perfect place to kick off a night out in DTLA. In addition to some of our favorite fried chicken wings in town, Yangban’s inventive menu blends Korean flavors into dishes like bolognese, mole, and duck confit. Start with the myulchi caesar salad and some gochujang tiger prawns, then order a few of the larger entrees that catch your eye.

This Mexican rooftop bar makes Los Angeles look and feel like a million bucks. Maybe it’s the altitude, or perhaps it’s the spicy pineapple margarita we insist on always having in our hands, but Cha Cha Cha is the kind of place that reminds you why we live in this city. Swing by with a few friends for some mezcal cocktails and tuna tostadas, hit a romantic date night out of the park, or convince an out-of-town friend to move to LA.

Camphor is a mostly French, occasionally Southeast Asian restaurant where you go to impress someone intimidatingly cool. About 90% of the menu here is typical of what you’d find at an upscale bistro: baguettes served with funky cheese, asparagus in béarnaise sauce, and peppery steak au poivre. However, it’s in that non-traditional sliver, the other 10%, where our favorite dishes live. That includes the burger, which comes with a duck and dry-aged beef patty topped with a decadent beef fat remoulade.

This tiny taco window is the more casual sibling of Damian, and it happens to be located in that restaurant’s back alley. It's concealed by a parking lot, foreboding gates, and dusty industrial lots, but when you find it, you'll get a standout lunch full of super-elevated (albeit pricey) taqueria staples. There are crispy "daily catch" fish flautas, cochinita pibil tacos that ooze with citrusy juice, and a palo santo-cucumber-yuzu agua fresca that you'll want to sip poolside. The combination of these delicious things will run you close to $30, but oof, it's good.

If you’re someone who, in this day and age, still loves a hot bowl of ramen (for the record, we do too), head to Afuri. The specialty at this Tokyo-based chain is their yuzu shio broth—a light, acidic variety that’s unlike anything else in the city. It’s made from a combination of chicken, seafood, vegetables, and seaweed, which provides a bright umami flavor that hits the spot no matter what temperature it is outside. Plus, with a full beer and cocktail menu, Afuri is a great casual group option, especially before a night out.

photo credit: Carlos Chavez Volpe

This spot is Permanently Closed.

$$$$Perfect For:Date Night

From staring at a six-foot sculpture of a thumb to buying a $500 candle that smells like a musky mammal, there’s a lot you could do in the Arts District. What you couldn't do, however, was find a good tapas spot for a fun but relatively low-volume date night. Enter Flor Y Solera, a Spanish restaurant from The Factory Kitchen people where you can get a potato omelet and a glass of sherry with someone who thinks your periwinkle loafers are cute. This restaurant is on the upscale side (read: not cheap), but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good the food is at this former factory near the LA River.

De La Nonna in Arts District feels like a pizza dinner on the verge of turning into a full-blown dance party. Its string-lit patio is full of big groups, clinking glasses, and a DJ spinning house tracks if you care to dance between rounds of pizza. The Sicilian-style pan pies come with a light, airy crust sprinkled with flaky salt, and while they don’t overload it with toppings, you still get plenty of flavor from them. Some of our favorites include the white pie, with roasted fennel, mozzarella, and dabs of pesto, and the Market pie, with a super-herbaceous cream sauce and crispy parmesan.

Art galleries can be intimidating. The good news is, if you’re at Hauser & Wirth, you’re 100 feet away from Manuela—a restaurant that, despite being inside an art gallery, isn’t stuffy. It’s just a cool place to hang out, whether art is part of your agenda or not. Most dishes are Southern and involve lots of vegetables. We like to stick with small plates, like sweet Kusshi oysters, trout tartare, and fluffy cream biscuits served with a small mountain of aged country ham that’ll make you consider selling your car to open a farm.

This British, motorcycle-themed café is so large it takes up an entire warehouse. The 30,000-square-foot space has a clothing store, barber shop, tattoo parlor, and members-only bar. The best reason to go here, though, is for a longer-than-usual lunch break. The menu is almost as big as the space, so we recommend sticking to the burger section (the grilled turkey burger is particularly juicy) or going all-in on the Bike Shed’s English breakfast. Served with sausage, black pudding, beans, grilled tomatoes, bacon, eggs, and toast, it’s the kind of hearty meal that’ll keep you full for the entirety of your remote-work session.

A meal at this omakase-only spot will cost you $350 per person, which is a financial undertaking for just about everybody in modern times. But if you’re in the market for having a splurge-y dinner or celebrating a Powerball win, 715 Sushi is an exciting place to do it. The menu changes daily, but you can generally expect about ten meticulously built pieces of premium nigiri and ten small plates ranging from belt fish tempura to surf clams in a creamy miso sauce. Run by a young chef from Osaka, dinner here feels less like a hushed omakase spot and more like hanging with people who happen to have a sushi bar in their apartment.

photo credit: Garrett Snyder

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

Guzzu Bento-Ya is the dictionary definition of “under the radar.” This casual Japanese lunch spot is housed in what looks like an industrial building from the Eisenhower era, but step inside and you’ll find a chill cafe space with movies projected on the walls. The menu revolves around double-decker bento boxes. On the first level, you’ll find rice, pickles, a cured egg yolk, and your choice of protein (we love the salt-cured, grilled mackerel or crispy pork katsu) and, on the second, a rotating variety of tasty little salads and roasted vegetables. Each of these gorgeous bentos costs around $20, but the fully loaded setup makes them feel like a deal.

The crunchy tacos at Chuy’s might remind you of a classic Culver City taco stand that rhymes with “Rito’s,” which is probably the point. This semi-hidden walk-up window—located within the literal loading dock of a warehouse—is one of the Arts District’s best affordable lunch options, so don’t be deterred by the lack of signage (or limited patio seating). Around noon you’ll find a line of construction workers and security guards ordering bagfuls of hard-shells stuffed with shredded beef, grated yellow cheese, and pickled onions, plus maybe a chorizo and bean burrito or two. Join them and make sure to ask for extra green salsa.

Come to Factory Kitchen the next time you want to have a celebratory Italian meal in a room that looks like a former loading dock, without dealing with the ridiculous wait times at Bestia. From gnocchi to tagliatelle, the housemade noodles coming out of the kitchen are consistently great. The headliner of Factory Kitchen’s menu is the delicate handkerchief pasta, which comes with creamy, almond-basil pesto coating each silky layer. Stroll in at lunch and you’ll be greeted by the downtown suit crowd, while at dinnertime it becomes a dark and sexy date-night destination.


We’re always skeptical of transplant cocktail bars expanding to LA from other cities, so we were wary when NYC-based Death & Co. opened in the Arts District. But the drinks are so good here, we wouldn’t care if they’re owned by Halliburton (for the record, they’re not). This low-lit subterranean cocktail spot requires reservations on busy nights, but if you show up early the host might be able to show you to an open seat at the bar. The cocktail menu changes often, but talk to the knowledgeable bartenders about what you like and they’ll point you in the right direction.

Retro debauchery and ‘70s glamour: those are the main reasons we send friends to Let’s Go! Disco. Attached to De La Nonna, this colorful cocktail bar is adorned with circular booths, neon lighting, stucco arches, and of course, spinning disco balls. While the dancing gets going after 9pm when the DJs start, we like to head over earlier to experience a more low-key listening atmosphere (read: beat the lines). Zip tremendous cocktails at the bar—the sesame-leaf-infused gin martini is dangerously smooth—and gawk at all the design elements, then wonder why it took you this long to get into Italian disco.

Angel City Brewery isn’t brewing the best beer in the neighborhood, but it definitely has the best space. It's massive taproom and attached brewery in the heart of the Arts District is spectacular, with tons of communal tables, plenty of cornhole, and a front patio where you’ll always find a delicious food truck. Their hours go late into the night, but Angel City will always be one of our favorite day drinking spots in town. Just get there early, weekend lines here are no joke.

Local dives aren’t exactly falling from the sky in this neighborhood, except for Tony’s. The hole-in-the-wall spot is housed in an old roadside saloon on the south end of the neighborhood and has great cocktails, a laidback crowd, and a spacious back patio filled with darts and a ping pong table. When you get hungry, just hop next door for a slice at Pizzanista.

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