One of my girlfriends got married last weekend and all she wanted for her bachelorette party was something low key and involved food. We decided a Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour would be the perfect way for the bride and bridesmaids to spend an afternoon together, and made reservations for six through Six Taste Food Tours.
Microadventure: Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour
A few of us took an art deco architecture tour of Downtown Los Angeles earlier this year with the Los Angeles Conservancy, so we were looking forward to seeing a different side of the area and stop at Pitchoun Bakery again. Yes, I am the type of person who picks up an almond croissant as a snack to have during a food tour.
Our tour started near Pershing Square, which has ample underground paid parking. This is a good meeting location for us because we all live all over the Southland, and having public transportation stops near a parking structure is helpful.
Our tour guide let us know that we’d have plenty to eat throughout the day and assured us that there would be water along the way given it was such a hot day.
The first stop was at Soi 7.
Soi 7 is a large Thai restaurant and boba stop near Pershing Square. The restaurant is beautiful and we enjoyed the green curry fried rice and wings we were served. The restaurant has a whole wall of loose leaf teas and we were presented with the canisters to smell the interesting flavor combinations like coconut chai.
It was a short stop to our next stop: the famous Bottega Louie.
While we were still at Soi 7, our tour guide took our French macaron order. We had a choice of earl grey, salted caramel, and raspberry macarons, and he went over to the bakery to place our orders so they would be ready for our arrival. As soon as we walked inside, I went insane and wanted to buy and look at everything. The bakery area is next to where people are enjoying brunch, so expect to see several champagne stands as you wander around.
In addition to my salted caramel macaron, I ordered a hazelnut beignet. Some of my girlfriends got small boxes of assorted macarons to go and raspberry beignets. The interior is gorgeous and I wish it was less crowded so I could get more photos, but the beignets above and the macarons below give you an idea.
The tour was organized to give us a chance to not get too full between stops. One way our guide helped to keep the food theme going without us actually eating anything was showing us hidden gems along our route like a small courtyard decorated to look like a European street where the restaurants would bring out tables and chairs into the middle of the street so guests could dine outside in the nice weather.
Another stop was the newly refurbished Clifton’s Cafeteria.
This is the oldest surviving cafeteria style eatery in Los Angeles and is known as a “cabinet of curiosities” because the interior is decorated differently on each floor, from a gothic bar to exquisite European salon, to (my obvious favorite) National Park meets Natural History Museum. Clifton’s Cafeteria has a strong history, which you can read here and here.
A good part of our tour was centered in the Spring Street Arcade.
We were surprised to find this spot, especially when one of our girlfriends works nearby and drives by this location on a daily basis!
We started our Spring Street Arcade visit at Guisados, which is a small taco chain. The bistec en salsa roja taco was fantastic and the mole poblano taco was awesome, of course. I didn’t get photos of the tacos because I ate them too quickly.
The next stop was a magical visit at Bier Beisl Imbiss.
Ask somebody about fancy sausages in LA and they’ll direct you to Wurstkuche in the Arts District. Tell them to stuff it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to grab an artisanal brat after standing outside in the hot sun with a bunch of other sweaty people and then you have to wander around the back to try and find a place to perch. It’s like going hiking in Runyon Canyon, it’s just something you do when you’re in LA. Now, if you’re looking for something extra special and way more interesting, check out Bier Beisl Imbiss.
Chef Bernhard Mairinger spoiled us with two kinds of sausage, curry fries, beer pretzels, and poppy seed chocolate marble cake. Chef explained each thing he served to us and answered any questions we had about the food and his restaurant. A few of us needed something more than water at this stop, and the restaurant was really accommodating about splitting the drink checks for us.
I can see this being a spot we visit in the future for group lunches and happy hours.
And because we’re adults, we stopped for dessert before our final food stop of the day.
We got a short tour of Gelateria Uli, also located in the Spring Street Arcade before sampling their delicious gelato and getting a small scoop of whatever flavor we wanted.
Flavors from the top: Thai tea, raspberry sorbet, coconut lemongrass, espresso with waffle cone, chocolate sorbet, peach sorbet.
I wish I brought a cooler with me, because the case was filled with delicious flavors I was ready to take home like green tea matcha, strawberry balsamic sorbet, and roasted nectarine.
Our last stop was right across the street from Grand Central Market, one of my favorite food hall type locations that’s been around for forever. While our guide ordered the pastas, which are all organic and handmade on-site, he asked us to visit the famous Bradbury Building just a few doors down from our final location: Maccheroni Republic.
Our tour group was seated outside, which was great because the patio is beautifully decorated. We were greeted with ice water and warm bread as we waited a short amount of time for the two dishes for us to try. We tried the Agnolotti di Osso Bucco, which is the green tortelloni (above) filled with osso bucco meat and marrow in a salsa verde. This isn’t something I would normally eat, but it’s no fun being the person who refuses to eat something on a food tour. It was delicious and something I would recommend to friends visiting this restaurant. The second dish was the Bianchi and Neri, black and white thin vermicelli (black is from squid ink), shrimp, mushrooms, and roasted pancetta in a creamy bisque. Holy hell, this dish was amazing and something I will go back and eat in a heartbeat. I love squid ink pasta and mixing it with regular pasta made the dish really beautiful. The large shrimp were really good, too.
Our group had a lot of fun on the tour and I can see us using this tour agency again to visit other parts of LA in the future. In addition to the Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour, Six Taste tour offers include: Thai Town, Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Santa Monica, and Hollywood. It was fun with our group of friends, but the group was generally made up of couples looking for a fun way to celebrate anniversaries or visiting from out of town
I like to eat and explore cities. Here are more blog posts documenting just that:
This post is not sponsored by Six Taste Tours, my friends and I just really enjoyed the tour and I wanted to share some spots in Downtown Los Angeles to share with you.