Good Cheap Eats: Downtown Los Angeles on $64/day
Downtown Los Angeles is definitely having a moment. It is arguably one of LA’s most exciting neighborhoods with trendy hotels popping up, notable chefs setting up shop and a ton of cool street art beautifying alleyways and sidewalks. If you’re looking for a quick and cheap bite, DTLA is the perfect place to get a taste of LA (no pun intended) without breaking the bank.
Guisados in DTLA should practically be considered an LA landmark (we’re looking at you Mayor Garcetti). Locals flock to this no frills joint for their variety of braised meats served on handmade tortillas like the cochinita pibil (shredded pork marinated in a red achiote spice and topped with a habanero chile) or the steak picado (flank steak served with green serrano chile and black beans). The interior of the restaurant is nothing to write home about but let’s be honest, that’s not why you’re here. With tacos that taste like the real deal in Mexico and cost less than $3 a pop, you can go crazy and order three (or six) and still stay within your budget! Score.
Astro Doughnuts is the answer to all your carb prayers! Hailing from D.C., this popular fried chicken and donut shop offers everything you need to comfort your soul. Start with a fried chicken sandwich topped with all your favorite fixings and then end with one of their scrumptious donuts (the crème brûlée is a must!).
Zinc Cafe & Market
This Arts District gem is a veggie lover’s paradise! The decidedly casual cafe offers a wide range of delicious vegetarian marketplace dishes (or you can order from a menu). It’s a popular lunch spot amongst creatives that work in the area but there’s plenty of room! The indoor and outdoor restaurant has a spacious string-lit patio that’s perfect for dining alfresco.
For a quick breakfast sandwich on the go, Eggslut at Grand Central Market is always a good choice. Get your AM protein in with the Fairfax sandwich (named after the hipster street in LA), made with soft-scrambled eggs, chives, caramelized onions, drizzled with a sriracha mayo and sandwiched between two warm brioche buns. Take that Mickey D’s!
Did someone say mac & cheese pizza?! Yes, it’s a thing (only on Sundays though). Choose a slice of cheesy goodness from the selection of unique pies and if you’re gluten-free, you’re in luck! Pizzanista! offers just about all their pies gluten-free. Pro-tip: The best day to pop-in is Tuesdays for their $2 special.
For the adventurous eater, Wurstkuche is sausage central, but not just any kind of sausage. You can try their classic links or step up your sausage game and try one of their exotic meats. Rattlesnake anyone? Wash it all down with a cold beer from their long list of German beers. Prost!
Best known for their signature flatbread Bäco sandwich created by chef Josef Centeno, the DTLA eatery is located in the Old Bank district and offers an eclectic menu to please any palate. The original Bäco that put them on the map is made with a crispy pork belly and beef carnitas served with a Catalan sauce known as salbitxada. Drooling yet? Add some greens to your meal from their laundry list of vegetable dishes or choose a vino from their impressive wine list and you’ve got yourself the perfect pairing.
Chef Neal Fraser from Redbird brings you his casual concept in the heart of the Arts District. Whether you like your white meat roasted or fried, Fritzi Coop has it all (including gluten-free options). But the best part? You can order your potatoes one of four ways *cough* curly fries *cough*! They claim their triple-battered buttermilk fried chicken to be the best sandwich on Earth, but you can be the judge of that.