Photo by Jakob Layman
All the Flavors of the City
Downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market has been operating in one capacity or another since 1917. Its past lives have seen it housing fish dealers, butchers, Jewish delis, flower shops, and an egg vendor. Nowadays, the market is a lunch and dinner hot spot nestled among skyscrapers full of white-collar workers. Inside, neon signs showcase the names of more than three dozen vendors. Highlights include the restaurant Eggslut, known for its creative approaches to the classic breakfast sandwich and other lunchtime edibles; Sticky Rice, serving Thai comfort food; and China Cafe, which locals just refer to as "the wonton soup place."
By Sarah Purkrabek, AFAR Contributor
At Grand Central Market, Good Food Goes Way Back
At first glance, Grand Central Market may be reminiscent of other, more famous, covered markets. Its neon lights can evoke those similar overhead signs in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and its fresh displays could perhaps be a reminder of London’s Borough Market. But those connections lose their pull when you wander the alleyways and eat the foods at this nearly century-old landmark in Downtown Los Angeles. Unlike other markets of its kind, Grand Central Market hasn’t been a perennially popular draw for tourists and locals looking to eat diverse, easy-going food – that has only happened recently, as the surrounding neighborhood has been reinvented with art galleries, coffee shops, and bars. Try a self-explanatory sandwich at Eggslut, or bite into handmade pupusas with a side of fried plantains at Sarita’s Pupuseria. You could also taste cheeses with a glass of wine at DTLA Cheese, or decide to walk and chew with a build-it-yourself ice cream sandwich at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. To come here is to experience that ironic excitement of seeing something new in a place that has been here all along.
By Kelly Dawson
Grand Central Market
This is authentic Los Angeles. Grand Central Market has something for everyone. In operation since 1917, this gem offers stalls and stalls of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and fish from all over the world. And, at great prices! But, GCM is not just for groceries. It also has a wide variety of family-run restaurant stands to choose from. Two of my favorites are Tacos Tumbras A Tomas—try the amazing roasted meats like stewed goat and carnitas served up in your choicer of burritos or tacos—and China Cafe, where you should grab a seat at the art deco bar with the locals and order up a warm bowl of noodle soup. While you're there, be sure to also check out Angel's Flight across the street on Hill.
By Todd Stern
Grand Central Market
Whether you’re looking for a satisfying carnitas burrito or cold craft beer, Grand Central Market warrants a visit. The easy-to-navigate aisles encourage exploration while the retro neon signs vie for your attention. It’s impossible to leave on an empty stomach—and the PowerShot G5 X is so light that you can scarf down a carnitas plate unimpeded as it dangles from your wrist. The market, which closes at 10 p.m., grows more crowded throughout the day, so come early, as I did, if you want to find a parking spot—and an open seat.
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