Dining in Downtown LA’s Great Outdoors
Food & Drink / Retail

Dining in Downtown LA’s Great Outdoors

Friday September 11, 2020

Los Angeles has fantastic food and great weather year-round, and Angelenos have enjoyed eating in outdoor restaurants for as long as we can remember. Who doesn’t appreciate eating brunch in the sunshine, a refreshing beverage in hand? But, in the age of COVID-19, outdoor eating areas have taken on a more significant role in our everyday lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is lower risk of exposure associated with outdoor spaces: it is easier to keep people at least 6 feet apart and there is more ventilation to help reduce the risk of airborne transmission.

As indoor dining rooms grapple with varying restrictions, demand for outdoor dining restaurants is at an all-time high. As the restaurant industry struggles during this challenging time, it has embraced outdoor seating, as well as take-out and delivery, to get by. 
 
While it is important to observe safety measures and practice physical distancing, if you are looking to eat outside, there are many Downtown restaurants with outdoor patios available for you to savor the fresh air and delicious food – all while supporting local businesses. Here is a handy guide to some of the best outdoor dining spots in DTLA where you can enjoy eating and drinking outside. 

Food Halls & Shopping Centers

Our favorite Downtown food halls and shopping centers have a wide variety of eateries with ample outdoor seating available. Where else can you go shopping outdoors and find sandwiches, salads, and other specialty foods in the same place? Whether you need to refuel after errands or just want a smorgasbord of dining options to choose from, these one-stop shopping centers are the place for you.  

FIGat7th

Pizza Studio
Pizza Studio

Taste Food Hall is a unique dining experience at FIGat7th, a lively open-air shopping mall located at Figueroa Street and 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles. With a collection of chef-driven casual eateries, it offers quick, creative, and eclectic food options. There are also several restaurants at FIGat7th offering take-out, which you can get to-go and enjoy on the communal patio.

  • Pizza Studio offers an unlimited selection of premium toppings so you can mix and match your favorite ingredients to create the perfect pie. You can also choose one of their favorites like Truffled Mushroom, Buffalo Chicken, or Big Cheese Margherita.
  • Salata has more than 50 fresh toppings and a dozen signature dressings to customize your salad or wrap just how you want it.
  • Five Guys is a fast-casual restaurant serving made-to-order American classics, such as Bacon Burgers, Cheese Dogs, and Cajun Fries.
  • Morton’s is your classic American steakhouse, serving up fresh, succulent seafood and USDA prime-aged steak. Splurge on mouthwatering steakhouse classics such as Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Prime Bone-In Ribeye, and Coldwater Lobster Tail.
  • George’s Greek Grill serves imaginative, contemporary Greek cuisine made from scratch with an emphasis on healthy and organic ingredients from local farmers in the area. For lunch, try a famous gyro and other delicious Greek fare.
  • California Pizza Kitchen offers a wide-ranging and innovative menu featuring hand-tossed California-style pizzas, pastas and sandwiches made from seasonally-inspired ingredients, and hand-shaken cocktails.
  • Mendocino Farms uses local ingredients combined with a fine dining approach to create artisanal chef-driven sandwiches and salads. Try the Pork Belly Banh Mi, Prosciutto & Chicken, or Peruvian Steak sandwiches. 

The Bloc

JOEY DTLA
JOEY DTLA

The Bloc is an open-air urban plaza at 700 W. 7th Street that features curated shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment, as well as a beautifully curated public area. It offers a variety of food and drink options to choose from, whether dining on a restaurant’s patio or having a coffee break in the colorful and welcoming seating areas. Recently, The Bloc has expanded restaurant outdoor seating spaces throughout the property to safely accommodate additional guests.

  • JOEY DTLA is one of the best outdoor restaurants in LA, wrapping the corner of 7th and S. Flower Streets with the largest street-level patio in Downtown Los Angeles. Sample globally-inspired favorites like Calamari Fritti, Hibachi Wings, or Steak + Lobster Ravioli on the most elegantly laid-back, sun-soaked patio in the Downtown core.
  • HATCH Yakitori + Bar is a modern izakaya-style restaurant with yakitori, a raw bar, and creative plates with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients. Fusing traditional Japanese cooking methods with bold California flavors, you can find new takes on classic dishes, such as Chicken Meatball Skewers, Miso Pork Spare Ribs, and Avo Tuna Toast.
  • DISTRICT uses fresh, natural, and superior ingredients grown by local farmers to offer modern, intuitive flavors like Duck Fat Fries, Pacific Shrimp Cocktail, or the NY Steak Sandwich, in addition to many hand-crafted cocktails.

Grand Central Market

Wexler’s Deli
Wexler’s Deli

Grand Central Market is a landmark in the heart of Downtown that is home to many cherished vendors and some of the best restaurants in DTLA.  It is committed to celebrating the cuisines and cultures of Los Angeles, to gather the city's many communities around a shared table, and to nurture the next generation of local businesses. The 30,000-square-foot arcade encompasses a food emporium and retail marketplace with outdoor seating available. 

  • The Donut Man has been serving up classic favorites and original seasonal fruit-stuffed donuts for nearly 50 years. Try the famous Strawberry Donut, a soft-glazed donut stuffed with fresh West Coast strawberries.
  • Sari Sari Store is a contemporary Filipino concept based around savory rice bowls like Lechon Manok and Sisig Fried Rice, plus beloved sweets like Buko Pie and Halo-Halo. It also features a Filipino Happy Hour with beloved San Miguel beer for $3 and specialty bar snacks. 
  • Belcampo Meat Co. is a full-service butcher shop featuring organic meat and serving prepared food including burgers, sandwiches, and salads. It also sells certified organic, grass-fed and finished meat from farms and specialty groceries.
  • Horse Thief BBQ showcases traditional smoked meats of Central Texas, as well as modern ingredient-driven sides and desserts such as Fennel-Apple Slaw, Vegan Heirloom Beans, and Dropped Biscuit Cobbler.
  • Lucky Bird is dedicated solely to fried chicken and its accoutrements using organic, free-range chickens and organic produce and spices. It offers classic dishes like a 5-Piece Fried Chicken Bucket, Chicken N Buttermilk Waffle, and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy.
  • Wexler’s Deli is a new-traditional Jewish deli that uses old-school methods to handcraft pastrami and smoked salmon to create real Jewish soul food favorites. Try the Reuben, O.G. Pastrami, or Bagels with Smoked Fish.
  • Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria brings together pristine ingredients, intense wood heat, and the science and care of hand-crafting dough to create delicious wood-fired pizzas. Wild Mushrooms & Crispy Prosciutto, Spicy Sausage & Peppers, or Meatball Parm are a few of the delectable pizzas available to order. 
  • DTLA Cheese is Downtown's first full-service cheesemonger. Featuring a variety of domestic and imported cheese plates, DTLA Cheese also offers griddled sandwiches, seasonal salads, and sides such as the Grilled Cheese, Ham Melt, or Mac & Cheese.
  • Tacos Tumbras a Tomas has been serving its famous carnitas since 1995. The tender, succulent meat makes for mouthwatering tacos, burritos, and tortas that go perfectly with horchata or an agua fresca.

Restaurants with Outdoor Seating

Pez Cantina
Pez Cantina

The best restaurants in Downtown LA offer some of the best outdoor seating options as well. If you’re tired of cooking or heating up leftovers, why not head to some of these DTLA restaurants for a delicious and socially-distanced meal on the patio?

  • Pez Cantina serves Coastal Mexican-inspired food and drinks in an oasis-like setting. Try menu items like Mexican Caesar Salad, Tacos Pezcador, and bright, eclectic cocktails on a beautiful spacious patio. 
  • Pitchoun Bakery & Cafe brings quintessential French dining to the heart of DTLA. From artisanal bread and homemade pastries to authentic soups and salads, grab an outdoor table overlooking Pershing Square and treat yourself to a Parisian Omelette, Croque-Monsieur, or a Chocolate Éclair.
  • 10e is where Old World tradition comes together with cutting edge culinary creativity in DTLA’s Fine Arts building. For authentic Armenian cuisine with modern Mediterranean influences, try dishes like Beef Fried Kibbeh, Za'atar Flatbread, or Grilled Octopus.
  • Redbird offers one of the best outdoor brunch options in Downtown Los Angeles. Known for Modern American cuisine and an extensive cocktail menu, you can experience seasonal plates such as the Lobster Roll, Green Gazpacho, and Duck Confit Chilaquiles in the beautiful 6,000-square-foot garden. 
  • Engine Co. No. 28, housed in a beautifully restored firehouse from 1912 and reminiscent of classic grills, serves up American comfort classics with a Southern twist, such as Blackened Chicken “Po-Boy,” New York Steak, and Firehouse Chili. 

Bars with Outdoor Seating

Limerick’s Tavern
Limerick’s Tavern

If you’re looking to unwind, take advantage of the sunny weather and head to one of Downtown LA’s many fantastic bars and lounges with outdoor seating. Good company, refreshing drinks, and the great outdoors? Sounds like a perfect afternoon!

  • Library Bar is a classic and comfortable library-themed lounge with literature-inspired signature cocktails, such as the Tequila Mockingbird or Phantom of the Aperol. 
  • Dublin’s Irish Whiskey Bar is a great place for drinks and delicious food and a must stop for local night life. Enjoy Irish Beef Stew or Shepherd’s Pie along with your whiskey or scotch.
  • Limerick’s Tavern is a modern gastropub that delivers classic Irish comfort food made from scratch and 60 kinds of beer on draught. Get yourself some Irish nachos and an ale for the patio.

Rooftop Bars

Perch
Perch

If you’re going out for drinks, why not do it in style? Downtown LA’s iconic skyline is an ideal backdrop for your night out on the town. For stunning views of DTLA, here are some fantastic rooftop bars in Los Angeles where you can admire the stars over a glass of wine, or two.

  • Perch is a French-inspired rooftop bistro with unobstructed views of Downtown Los Angeles, outdoor fireplaces, various fire pits, and lounge and table seating. Dine on Surf N' Turf Skewers, Bouillabaisse, and Steak Frites as you admire the city’s iconic skyline.
  • Broken Shaker is located on the rooftop pool deck of Freehand Los Angeles, offering an eclectic menu of handcrafted cocktails and small bites. It serves up distinctive cocktails, infused with homemade elixirs and exotic ingredients, bringing the flavors of the beach to the center of the city.
  • The Rooftop at the Wayfarer Downtown LA is a hidden oasis above the city streets. The poolside bar and lounge provides the mood, the views, and an extensive list of craft beverages for a special evening out.
  • Elevate Lounge is a sleek 21st floor penthouse featuring an open-air seating, skyline views, and plenty of couch seating. It serves sophisticated menu items such as Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice, fresh sushi rolls, and one-of-a-kind cocktails.

DTLA Goes Al Fresco

Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market

Many DTLA establishments have met the demand for outdoor dining by creating seating areas for patrons, which we have witnessed throughout Downtown. Businesses in areas such as Grand Central Market, the 7th Street Corridor, Little Tokyo, and many more have explored various creative ways to facilitate safe outdoor seating: from simply adding tables and chairs outside to expanding into nearby parklets and parking spaces to accommodate patrons.

In May, Mayor Garcetti launched a program called L.A. Al Fresco to support outdoor dining opportunities for restaurants affected by the COVID-19 crisis. By offering streamlined approval for eligible businesses to provide outdoor seating in sidewalks and parking lots, the program helped local businesses reopen safely and serve customers outside. Since then, the City expanded the program to include street parking spaces, lane closures, and street closures dedicated to outdoor dining, potentially permanently.

In order to support local businesses most in need, 55% of all the resources and applications approved for the program have been earmarked for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) businesses or businesses located in areas that have suffered the greatest job loss due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the livelihood of many of the local businesses that we know and love. While many establishments have pivoted to outdoor dining, others have not. For those that do not have outdoor seating options available, consider showing your support by ordering food for take-out, pickup, or delivery from Downtown Los Angeles restaurants. For a list of participating restaurants, visit the Dining Services page at DowntownLA.com

Downtown LA’s businesses and workers are the lifeblood of our economy, our culture, and our stomachs. As we continue to maneuver through the current landscape, dining outdoors is one way you can support local restaurants while adhering to safety recommendations. Be generous, be respectful, and be nourished. We are in this together, DTLA.