My apologies for the dual posts, but thought I'd also include my list of my favorite places to grab lunch, dinner or just a cup of coffee in downtown. I've tried to select places from every district in the area for scenic variety. This list has no particular order, except what I suggest that you order. Ha! Funny. And lastly, most of my suggestions are vegetarian-friendly because animals are our friends.
Lost Souls Cafe - Old Bank District - www.lostsouls.com
Totally hidden in an alleyway, but the best selection of iced coffees and hot teas you'll probably ever find. Try the mocha latte with soy. Great atmosphere too. Quiet enough to read or do work and totally laptop-friendly.
Tiara Cafe - Fashion District - (no website)
Best vegan burger EVER. Seriously. It doesn't get more delicious than this. Get it, you won't regret it. All their menu items are completely organic. Great looking place, too. Did I mention the vegan burger?
Pete's Cafe and Bar - Old Bank District - www.petescafe.com
Delicious veggie burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Really friendly servers. Bar opened till 2am. Also new: Jazz nights on Tuesdays. Always a fun place to grab some food before going to another bar or lounge and only a short walk from The Edison.
Blossom - Old Bank District - www.blossomrestaurant.com
The best Vietnamese food in downtown LA, perhaps in all of LA. I took my Vietnamese friend here, too, and she agreed it was amazing and very authentic. Everything on the menu is delicious, but of course, go for the pho. I've probably eaten a steaming hot bowl of pho here at least a dozen times . . . and this was during the super hot summer of 2007; their food was just that good.
Pitfire Pizza and Rocket Pizza Lounge - Civic Center District and Old Bank District - www.pitfirepizza.com and www.rocketpizzalounge.com
The pizza at both restaurants is incredible. I love the decor at Rocket Pizza Lounge - really feels retro. Try the Penne Pasta or Rigatoni Al Forno while you're there. Also, there's a great beer selection at Pitfire. Pizza + quality beer = heaven.
Mendocino Farms - Financial District - www.mendocinofarms.com
Located in California Plaza, this place offers DELICIOUS gourmet sandwiches. Get the Drunk'n Goat in Paris. It is almost silly how delicious it is. Ingredients: Herbes de Provence marinated Skyhill Farm's goat cheese, cranberry chutney, French brie, balsamic roasted onions, green apple and organic farmer's greens. Sigh.
Traxx - Union Station - www.traxxrestaurant.com
Uniquely located in historic and beautiful Union Station. Literally, the restaurant is in the train station. You feel like you're in a film noir as soon as you enter. What to try: the grilled eggplant sandwich with feta cheese, mint & lemon aioli on curry toast or the Waldorf salad. Or both.
Engine Company No. 28 - Financial District - www.engineco.com
Located in a restored 1912 firehouse, this place is just lovely because it still retains its historic charm. You have to see it to understand. The food is not particularly fancy, but quite delicious; try the spicy garlic fries, the capellini or the portabello mushroom sandwich.
Empress Pavilion - Chinatown - www.empresspavilion.com
Without a doubt, best dim sum in town. You're served in a HUGE banquet hall which is always buzzing with people, while servers walk around pushing carts, yelling food names in Chinese. Not super vegetarian-friendly, but definitely worth tasting the non-meat dumplings and steamed broccoli in oyster sauce. Yum!
Frying Fish - Little Tokyo - no website
Delicious, truly delicious, sushi. You're seated around a sushi bar, while the freshly-made sushi moves along in small, color-coded plates on a conveyor belt, and you simply pick the dish you like. Or you can make special requests to the chefs. I love this place.
St. Vincent's Court - Jewelry District - www.svjc.com
This courtyard is filled with Mediterranean restaurants and has a distinctive Parisian feel to it. The selection of middle eastern food is quite good, including kabobs, falafel, and baklava for dessert.
Well, those are my top picks -- I hope you enjoy the atmosphere and food of downtown LA!