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The Great Outdoors in DTLA: 8 Spots to Check Out
Food & Drink

The Great Outdoors in DTLA: 8 Spots to Check Out

Thursday November 11, 2021 | By Bree von Faith

Downtown is buzzing again and, my husband and I are adventurous foodies. So, for our anniversary weekend we wanted to experience what DTLA has to offer with one stipulation – everything we did had to be outdoors. Together we proceeded to eat and drink our way through DTLA and, to use my husband’s favorite phrase, “it was life-changing.”  

Whether you are visiting Downtown or just want to shake things up and work or hang out in a new location, these hidden (and not so hidden) spots are not to be missed!

Window Service at Petite Peso

Filipino food has similar flavor profiles with Indonesian food, which is my comfort go-to. It’s no surprise then that Petite Peso has become one of my favorite spots to grab breakfast before heading into the office. I wanted to share my new find with my husband so we had their breakfast bowls complete with longanisa sausage and garlic rice accompanied with lumpia. Ordering ahead was convenient and it was an easy walk from The Sheraton, our anniversary weekend headquarters, to the pickup window where I saw other diners enjoying their meals right outside on the mini patio.  

POPs: WFH to WFO  

While walking the Downtown Center, we were amazed at all the privately-owned public spaces (POPs), each offering a different view of Downtown and great places to work or meet people. I could see myself working-from-outside and hosting meetings in spaces like City National Plaza, where I could enjoy a decaf iced latte from Nice Coffee’s outdoor kiosk while enjoying views of a 60’ round fountain and Gensler’s architecturally beautiful headquarters. Check out the POPs of Downtown here.

Tasting Menus in DTLA

Love of food and drink has been a theme of our relationship, and what connected us in the first place  -  at a beer tasting class in Germany. On this study abroad trip, we discovered that we lived in the same apartment complex back home. So, when DineLA matched up with our anniversary, we knew we had to take advantage of the special tasting menus at Hatch Yakitori and RedBird.

The Patio at Hatch Yakitori

Hatch Yakitori’s patio, right in the hustle and bustle of THE BLOC, gave us a dining experience that felt both connected to the restaurant and the action outside. We tested out the DineLA tasting menu for lunch, experiencing its full range of flavors. The yakitori was cooked to perfection and passed the authenticity test of my husband, who spent over 15 years in Japan.  If you eat meat, you must try their chicken karage that has been brined for two days and infused with squid ink. We also had the best bone marrow dish I’ve ever had accompanied with their mochi bread.  

The Garden at RedBird

DTLA has an impressive range of award-winning dining options, and if you want to experience it al fresco, RedBird makes it super easy by guaranteeing a reservation with outdoor seating. When you make a reservation, you can book the garden specifically. This pre-fixe DineLA menu was spectacular. We enjoyed beef tartare with nori chips, chawanmushi, sea bass, day boat scallops with carrot puree, olive oil cake, and chocolate churros. Their sommelier recommended wine in a non-connoisseur approachable way and the chardonnay from Willamette Valley paired well with all our courses. This elevated cuisine matched the impeccably beautiful garden.  

Smoky Cocktails on The Deck by District at The Sheraton

Before walking over to RedBird, we wanted to grab a cocktail. Elevated above the busyness of THE BLOC, this little oasis is tucked away on the 3rd floor of The Sheraton on the rooftop and feels like being in your favorite neighbor’s backyard.  I love smoky cocktails and as soon as we saw the menu, we knew we needed to try their smoked Old Fashioned. It came out with a cover that our server removed table-side with smoke billowing up into the sky.   

Quasi Outdoor – Angels Flight + Grand Central Market

No trip to Downtown LA is complete without a visit to Grand Central Market. The best time to grab a donut from The Donut Man? Around 8 p.m. We only had one person in front of us compared to the next morning where there were over 20 waiting for their delicious treats. We got our donuts and headed over to Angels Flight, the impossibly charming “world’s shortest railway” which not only transports you up Bunker Hill but back in time as well. As we ascended, the city unfolded in front of us. The lights, the buildings, and the sense of being right where you were meant to be in that moment. We then walked to our hotel for the night where we enjoyed our donuts in the quiet after a Facetime bedtime with our toddler. Tip: you can download the metro app or you can pay directly. It’s $1 one way.

Outside Oasis Brunch at Manuela

We were pleasantly surprised to discover when we arrived, that Manuela is part of Hauser+Wirth, a world-class art gallery complex in the Arts District. Manuela has a quaint patio with about 7 tables and fully open-air above diners in addition to their warehouse main restaurant space.  While it’s not reservable directly, they were more than accommodating when we arrived because we were also willing to wait. Wandering around this amazing space looking at fantastic art made the wait fly by. Manuela was another favorite meal of the weekend and standouts included trout tartare, pan-fried cornbread, smoked albacore dip with rice crackers, and a venison burger.   

Smorgasburg at ROW DTLA

We rounded out the weekend by picking up our toddler and heading to Smorgasburg at ROW DTLA. This weekly Sunday market is one of the largest in the country with an unparalleled variety of food options. It’s a sensory overload of flavor and culture set in a huge open-air warehouse yard that serves as wholesale marketplace during the week. Everything from lobsters and oysters, to tacos and Asian fusion. My personal favorite was a cheesesteak with black truffles. Delicious! Plus, there is super easy parking, clean bathrooms, and plenty of space to spread out. My toddler’s favorite dish was the vegan mac and cheese from AvocadoMama.   

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Bree von Faith is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the DCBID. She recently moved back to her hometown in the LA area with her husband, Justin, and their toddler, Hunter. With 15+ years experience in membership-based non-profits, she found her niche in urban place management organizations. To date, her leadership has driven over $25 million in economic impact to Downtown cores.

Photos by Justin Smith