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See Downtown Los Angeles’ World-Class Food and Bar Scene

From pupusas and vegan ramen bowls at Grand Central Market to one of the most innovative culinary spots in the entire city, take a mouth-watering tour

The Redbird restaurant opened back in 2014 under the direction of Chef Neal Fraser and his wife Amy Knoll Fraser. The restaurant has 4 different kitchens and it sits next to Vibiana, the city’s first Archdiocese Catholic cathedral, which also serves as a wedding, events and performing arts venue.

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For a crash course in Downtown Los Angeles’ culinary offerings, we visited Grand Central Market, a historic food hall which first opened in 1917. The options are head-spinning: freshly shucked oysters, artisanal egg sandwiches, wood fired pizza, Filipino rice bowls, vegan ramen. 

One of the venues, Sarita’s Pupuseria, a Salvadorian food counter, has been serving gut-busting platters of plantains and pupusas (thick corn tortillas stuffed with savory fillings) since 1998. “When we opened, this was a completely different scene,” says manager Paul Serrano. “Now you’ve got one of everything up in here, and one of every type of person coming to check it out.” Here, a look at more of what DTLA is cooking up.

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Max Seaman

Max Seaman, general manager of The Varnish, prepares a drink before the bar opens during the weekend. The venue, which quietly sits in the back of Cole’s restaurant, has a laid-back atmosphere with a vintage setting, making it one of the most popular watering holes in Los Angeles.

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Darren Crane

Darren Crane, owner of Crane’s bar, previously ran various bars in the city; this latest venture is meant to have a more relaxed and community-friendly vibe. Adding to the ambience, the bar has no cell phone reception – which he hopes may force people to interact with one another instead of staring at a phone. 

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