I have been coming here since the early 90’s and I always love all of the diverse foods stalls; vegetable, fish and meat markets. There were so many reasons to come here, now with all of the newbies coming in it is hard to figure out what is still an option. In my opinion, even with all of the trendy food replacements, Grand Central Market is still a great place to get your foodie on and spend an afternoon with your friends, doing a grazing expedition.
I was so excited to be able to do a story about the old and new here at Grand Central Market, the folks here gave me a small allotment of money to be able to try out only a few restaurants, so I am here to tell you about my experiences.
Here’s what I tried:
Bento Ya Japanese Cuisine – I just had the meat Gyoza, which was super tasty and had a great crunchy texture, really I loved these
Gyoza. I believe that Bento Ya has been at Grand Central Market for a while.
Knead and Co. Pasta Bar + Market, they treated me like a queen, doing a huge tasting for me. Sunday Gravy Spaghetti and Meatballs, the meatballs are so tender and the pasta is super fresh, I just love what I tasted here. Porcini lasagnette pasta with wild mushrooms, garlic, herbs. This pasta is so wonderful, curly and full of flavor. It came with bread service, which is bread and cultured butter, and giardiniere. They even gave me some pasta to take home. Chef Bruce Kalman and partner Marie Petulla, the duo behind critically acclaimed restaurant Union in Pasadena, are proud to present Knead & Co Pasta Bar + Market to Grand Central Market. They have taken the ethos of their neighborhood restaurant – seasonally Californian renditions of Northern Italian classics – to DTLA, this time making it more casual and accessible, but still maintaining their commitment to high, quality, local ingredients. It’s simple really simple, made from scratch, just like Nonna use to! They would be considered one of the new kids on the block.
Madcapra, now this Mediterranean restaurant is what I call perfection, it is delicate and well thought out, using very fresh healthy ingredients, I loved this place. I tried the side of falafel and the white bean spread with black olives, and lovely grilled bread. This place is worth a try, and it is part of the newbies.
Ramen Hood, a real treat, delicious ramen, where honestly you would have no idea that there is no meat in any part of this amazing soup. Ramen Hood is a vegan ramen and pho shop by Chef Ilan Hall of The Gorbals. Another fantastic find, especially for vegans and it too is a new establishment.
Wexler’s Deli, I tried Macarthur Park sandwich, with pastrami, coleslaw, Swiss Cheese, Russian Dressing, on rye. I substituted pastrami for corned beef. A nice corned beef sandwich, took me a minute to get used to what they are doing, usually a corn beef sandwich is stacked super high, and here it is a smattering of meat. They smoke and cook a lot of their own meats; it is absolutely worth a try. I also tried a slice of lox and sturgeon- they both were lovely- but the sturgeon was really amazing. They also have a restaurant in Santa Monica and ever since their recent opening at The Grand Central Market they have had throngs of customers.
Bombo, this is a very interesting concept. I had the Seattle fish stew, it’s in a lobster broth, with clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, fresh fish of the day, bacon, diced tomato, crisp downtown fried potatoes with rouille on steamed rice with flax seeds. It’s not very big and not so much bang for the buck, but the flavors were outstanding and the way it’s cooked is truly innovative and amazing, it’s all about, the broth-based seafood. Chef Mark Peel fires up steel jacketed steam kettles to create fine-fast dishes steeped in rich, complex broths. As one of the fathers of California Cuisine, Chef Peel brings you only the freshest, most flavorful ingredients available. Bombo also features a modern day fish market curated by Chef Peel. Another new restaurant at Grand Central Market.
There are a lot more restaurants/food stalls to experience, Eggslut, Bar Moruno, Belcampo Meat Co., Berlin Currywurst, China Café, DTLA Cheese and Kitchen, Golden Road Grand Central Market, Horse Thief BBQ, Jose Chiquito, La Tostaderia, Olio GCM Wood Fired Pizzeria, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, Press Brothers Juicery, The Oyster Gourmet, Roast To Go, Sarita’s Pupuseria, Sticky Rice & Sticky Rice II, Tacos Tumbras A Tomas, Valerie Confections Bakery & Cafe, Torres Produce, La Huerta, G&B Coffee, District Market, Courage and Craft, Clark Street Bread, Valeria’s, Chiles Secos, Ana Maria, and Villa Moreliana, some old school and some new, there is a lot to choose from and don’t let me stop you from trying all of the others. I am sure you will be in for a real treat, with their 30,000 square-foot arcade, filled with food and retail spaces. FYI: The prices of the newer places reflect today’s food prices where the older ones are still keeping to their semi-original cheaper prices.
Grand Central Market opened in 1917 and has been in continuous operation since. A hundred years ago, Broadway was the principal commercial and entertainment corridor of downtown Los Angeles. Bunker Hill, to the west, was covered with stately Victorian mansions, and the area’s stylish residents rode down on Angels Flight to shop for groceries in the Market’s open-air arcade. The Market has always reflected the changing population of downtown, and in the 1920s our ninety-plus vendors included multiple green grocers, fishmongers, Jewish delis, and butchers, as well as stalls for dry goods, baked goods, flowers, coffee, cheese, notions—and even one vendor who sold nothing but eggs. DTLA has been evolving ever since, and the Market has continued to evolve with it. In 1984, downtown visionary Ira Yellin, a successful developer with an academic interest in urban planning and historical preservation, bought Grand Central Market and adjacent properties including the Million Dollar Theater, as well as the landmark Bradbury Building across the street. Ira passed away in 2002, but today Adele Yellin continues to champion his vision that a dynamic city needs a vibrant downtown. Their Mission is “from food, to community,” celebrating the cuisines and cultures of Los Angeles. Their commitment is to preserve the legacy of a historic downtown landmark, to gather the city’s many communities around a shared table, and to nurture the next generation of local businesses. The Market provides Los Angeles with a national-caliber eating experience that showcases California’s best ingredients, chefs, and entrepreneurs.
They have had some very fun events, catering to every season, including: drag bingo, movie nights, jazz nights, trivia Tuesdays, wine and cheese tastings, and many more. Check them out on line, their new additions are just adding to the overall charm of this Los Angeles tradition.
What can I say, out with the old and in with the new. There is such a resurgence in downtown Los Angeles so this whole new Grand Central Market fits right in with the new scheme of things. Part hipster, part traditional, and always a landmark; Grand Central Market has everything for everybody.
* Note some content was taken from their website.