Baco Mercat: One of the most raved-about restaurants in downtown Los Angeles, this hot spot is known for baco, a taco-gyro-pizza hybrid. The menu is filled with creative multiculti cuisine of seafood, pork, beef and poultry. Reservations required (bacomercat.com).
Cole's: Claims to be the originator of the French dip sandwich. And it insists that you bathe it in fiery Atomic Mustard. Others insist you visit the hidden speakeasy in the back (213nightlife.com/colesfrenchdip).
Guisados: This is the casual counter place for lunch if you want a plate of scrumptious mini-tacos. Quick and tasty. Try the sampler plate and an Armando Palmero, a lemonade and Jamaica juice blend (guisados.co).
L.A. Chapter: Located in the hip Ace Hotel, the restaurant offers grilled octopus, king salmon, "liquorish-rubbed" duck breast and, most important, craft cocktails and great French fries (lachapter.com).
Original Pantry Cafe: Open since 1924, this bright 24-hour joint has character and characters. Plenty of stars have eaten here, as photos on the wall attest. Now owned by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Cash only (pantrycafe.com).