DTLA – Los Angeles is a city seemingly destined to serve as the platonic ideal for al fresco dining, given its warm weather, blue skies and (usual) lack of muggy humidity. The neighborhoods along the beach might seem like the best places to hang out on a patio, but Downtown L.A. has its own stacked roster of restaurants with pretty outdoor seating. Here are 10 standout options.
Redbird: Neal and Amy Fraser’s Redbird is one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Downtown, with a menu of finessed flavors and techniques, and a dining room with a retractable roof that’s moody and beautiful. Make sure to snag a reservation, or stop by for the surprising happy hour menu. Eat, smile, and look up and see the moon.
At 114 E. Second St., (213) 788-1191 or redbird.la.
Everson Royce Bar: Some bars feel like they’re meant for special occasions, while others offer a more neighborhood-regulars vibe. The Arts District’s ERB is the latter, thanks to its unpretentious drinks and service and a gorgeous patio, which features comfortable seating and cute string lights. Grab a Japanese Highball, one of those insanely tasty burgers, and chill out.
At 1936 E. Seventh St., (213) 335-6166 or erbla.com.
Perch: It’s hard to beat the views at Perch, the Francophile restaurant that overlooks Pershing Square. The patio on the 15th floor is a great place to catch the sunset while hearing live music and dining on bistro classics like baked brie, steak frites and bouillabaisse. The rooftop bar, meanwhile, becomes a hotspot on weekend nights.
At 448 S. Hill St., (213) 802-1770 or perchla.com.
Pez Cantina: Bunker Hill’s Mexican seafood specialist remains an excellent place for happy hour cocktails and dishes — try the fresh ceviches and an array of tacos with handmade tortillas. The best seats in the house are on the big patio along Grand Avenue, where you’re surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers but can see onto the street. No wonder Pez Cantina has been a hit since opening in 2014.
At 401 S. Grand Ave., (213) 258-2280 or pezcantina.com.
Fisherman’s Outlet: The Industrial District isn’t the average person’s idea of a dining destination. Then again, those folks probably haven’t eaten at Fisherman’s Outlet, the long-adored, no-frills spot for fish, crustaceans and mollusks, all super-fresh and cooked simply to order. The umbrellas over the outdoor tables provide shade for the diverse crowd, and everything is delicious, from the deep-fried scallops to the charbroiled mahi-mahi.
At 529 S. Central Ave., (213) 627-7231 or fishermansoutlet.net.
Café Pinot: The first place longtime Downtowners think of when it comes to outdoor dining, the Central Library-adjacent spot from the Patina Group is still going strong. There’s a lovely patio next to the library’s water features, and the Cal-French menu offers everything from pierogis to a branzino for two. There’s a hefty wine list, so you can sip under the stars amid the sounds of the city.
At 700 W. Fifth St., (213) 239-6500 or patinagroup.com/café-pinot.
Zinc Café: This Arts District cafe has settled into neighborhood-favorite status thanks to its strong vegetarian dishes and picturesque outdoor patio. The attached Bar Mateo slings excellent and elegant cocktails, and you can pick up pastries and other items in the cafe’s market. Diners order at the front and get food delivered to their table, and there’s spacious seating for big groups.
At 580 Mateo St., (323) 825-5381 or zinccafe.com.
Smorgasburg: Trying to accommodate a picky crew of eaters, or just not sure what you want? Don’t sleep on Smorgasburg, the outdoor food and crafts market hosted at Row DTLA. Food trucks and vendors pile into a broad parking lot every Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with standouts including Wes Avila’s Guerilla Tacos, the Viet-French spinoff Banh Oui, and Sus Arepas. There are a ton of seats where you can hang out and people watch all afternoon.
At 785 Bay St. or la.smorgasburg.com.
Winsome: A photogenic and popular spot for brunch, Winsome sits at the bottom of the Elysian apartment tower on Sunset Boulevard, where Downtown and Echo Park meet. The outdoor seating is comfortable both day and night, and the cooking melds craveable flavors with worldly inspirations. Check out the lamb ribs with harissa and mint, and the potato rostis at brunch.
At 1115 Sunset Blvd., (213) 415-1818 or eatwinsome.com.
Manuela: Tucked inside the Arts District gallery/museum Hauser Wirth L.A. is Manuela, a restaurant inspired by Texas flavors with some standout design features. Grand Art Deco lights hang from the ceiling of the former grain mill, with seating spread along a big open courtyard. Chef Wes Whitsell is doing smart stuff with smoke, meat and local produce at lunch, brunch and dinner.
At 907 E. Third St., (323) 849-0480 or manuela-la.com.
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2017