Do you regularly partake in the all-too-common cultural phenomenon known as the sad desk lunch? Does your midday meal involve some sort of stringed cheese product or vacuu-sealed tuna? Stop it. Stop everything that you’re doing and head downtown where the lunch game is being taken to new heights. Here are some fantastic DTLA lunch spots and what you need to order:
Why you’re going: To pretend you’re French at this très mignon lunch spot near Pershing Square. The place is run by a Parisian family, the decor inspired by a Parisian apartment. What we’re saying is this place is French AF.
What you’re getting: Le Jambon Beurre, if only to say le jambon beurre during your lunch break. The retro baguette features slow-cooked French ham, French pickles, and butter from the cream of grass-fed cows. Wash it down with a Perrier because, y’know, French.
Why you’re going: There’s probably not enough Filipino food in your life, and that’s a problem. The solution is RiceBar. The critically-acclaimed Filipino restaurant is helmed by Charles Olalia who put in time in the fine dining world before opening a downtown homage to his heritage.
What you’re getting: Pork Longganisa with sweet and spicy sausage, pickled vegetables, and garlic crumbs. It’s a bowl to write home about, or at least Instagram. The house suggests pairing the longganisa with garlic fried rice, and you should oblige.
Why you’re going: Little Sister opened less than a year ago, and offers more than great food for your DTLA lunching needs. It’s a beautifully designed space that will take your Tuesday up a notch thanks to aesthetics alone. Join other diners at the bar and enjoy the buzzing hum of the lunchtime crowd over modern Southeast Asian fare.
What you’re getting: The sunny side eggs with spiced pork sausage, tomato, onions, maggie, pate, butter, and a nice side baguette. It’s like a breakfast for lunch situation we can all get behind.
Why you’re going: Those views. The brand new 71Above dazzles on many levels with its modern decor, elegantly plated food, and straight up crazy panoramics of the city. The place has already solidified itself as a solid cocktail spot, now it’s time to try chef Vartan Abgaryan’s lunch menu.
What you’re getting: The two-course meal for $35 per person. Start with the steak tartare or gem lettuces with white anchovy before moving on to the halibut with heirloom tomato, cucumber, pearl onion, aged sherry, coriander and tarragon.
Why you’re going: With a new executive chef running the show, Clifton’s deserves a second look, particularly if you like eating inside vintage dining halls. Chef Andrew Pastore took a cue from the decor to revamp cafeteria food with farmers market ingredients.
What you’re getting: Roasted Turkey Pot Pie, no really. Fall literally just started, but we’re hopping on that nostalgia train real fast. Get a leg up on the holiday season and get down with this puff pastry-topped pot pie.
Why you’re going: You want comfort food, you like Grand Central Market, and don’t want to wait in a huge line. Knead & Co. answers for all of that and more with its “Jersey meets California meets Italy” menu. Everything’s made from scratch, as could be expected from the team behind Union in Pasadena. If you want to be a real paisano, take some of the fresh pasta home and recreate the Knead experience yourself.
What you’re getting: Chef and co-owner Bruce Kalman serves a mean Porchetta Dip with spicy giardiniere, roasted rapini, pickled mustard seed and a side of pork jus. This is a two hand (and maybe two meal) sandwich that will keep you full from lunchtime and beyond.
Why you’re going: Because you like lunch deals, and you want to sneak in a lunch cocktail. Recently opened Baldoria is located on a quiet DTLA street away from the core hustle, making it the perfect place to do some mid-day unwinding.
What you’re getting: The prosciutto panino and arugula salad pairing for $9. And about that cocktail, try the nicely spiced Sgt. Pepper’s Negroni with jalapeno-infused Yellow Chartreuse, gin, and Dolin Rouge. Baldoria’s cocktails are bottled ahead of time so you don’t have to wait forever for your drink.
Why you’re going: Time sensitive folks will appreciate Badmaash’s Quick-Fire lunch menu. The restaurant’s high-quality ingredients take your Indian favorites to the next level. The sunny space is full of energy, and a glass of spiced chai is an ideal afternoon pick me up.
What you’re getting: Chicken Tikka Masala, because when has that ever been a bad idea? Badmaash’s take on the classic comes with basmati rice and crunchy, refreshing pickled vegetables that vary daily. Order a side of fresh naan or roti, obviously.