The Best Pre- and Post-Theater Dining in Downtown Los Angeles

You get the tickets, we’ve got the restaurant recommendations

June 4, 2024 6:48 am
Outdoor seating at Jose Andres's San Laurel, situated beside the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Outdoor seating at Jose Andres's San Laurel, situated beside the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
San Laurel

Downtown Los Angeles has a long and storied history with the performing arts. It’s home to the first and largest historic theater district on the National Register of Historic Places while also supporting the expansive Music Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Throughout the year, theatergoers are treated to opera, musicals, plays and concerts. 

No matter the entertainment, what all these arts outings have in common is the need to eat before or after the show. Fortunately, downtown L.A.’s restaurant scene mirrors its vibrant theater scene. There are award-winning chefs, unusual dining venues and almost any cuisine imaginable, and thanks to Southern California’s great weather, there are plenty of outdoor spaces perfect for taking in the views. If you’re heading out for a night at the theater, here are six restaurants to add to your itinrary.

Abernethy's outdoor seating under a canopy lined with string lights.
Abernethy’s outdoor seating under a canopy lined with string lights.


When you’re headed to any of the four theaters at the Music Center — Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre and Walt Disney Concert Hall — you can’t go wrong with lunch or dinner at Abernethy’s. Located on the Jerry Moss Plaza, this restaurant features a rotation of up-and-coming chefs, each showcasing their signature cuisine for a few months. 

The current chef at Abernethy’s is John Cleveland, owner and head chef at Post & Beam in South Los Angeles. His Southern-inspired menu includes dishes like smoked mac n’ cheese, dirty rice, collard greens and catfish nuggets. 

While there is indoor seating, diners should opt for the large outdoor terrace with views of the theaters and fountains. There’s a party vibe outside as hundreds of theatergoers arrive, grab a bite and head to their venue of choice.

220 N Hope St

asterid's outdoor seating, situated beside the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
asterid’s outdoor seating, situated beside the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Asterid by Ray Garcia

Recognized by the Michelin Guide and helmed by award-winning Chef Ray Garcia, Asterid is the perfect complement to a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. An evening here won’t be cheap, but it will be memorable.  

Chef Garcia is a native Angeleno who enjoys combining the best of Mexican and American cuisines while tossing in a few surprises. His New York strip steak is topped with mole, Tokyo negi (Japanese onions) and shishito peppers, while his half chicken is topped with Tuscan kale and salsa verde. Do save room for dessert, especially the budino, an Italian pudding made from dark chocolate and whipped ricotta. 

141 S Grand Ave

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San Laurel & Agua Viva by José Andrés 

When world-renowned chef and philanthropist José Andrés opens restaurants, he always pays close attention to the venue. Two years ago, he returned to Los Angeles with two new offerings inside the Grand LA, the Frank Gehry-designed cultural hub just across the street from the Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. The first, San Laurel, is located on the 10th floor lobby of the Conrad Hotel and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu described as Spain meets California. The second, Agua Viva, is a rooftop venue open for lunch and dinner serving tapas, sandwiches and salads.

San Laurel leans a bit more formal and pricier with entrees like rack of lamb, duck breast and Wagyu steak. Agua Viva has a beach club vibe with dishes like gazpacho, avocado toast and build-your-own handrolls.

100 S Grand Ave

Redbird's main dining room, featuring a glass ceiling lined with flood lights.
Redbird’s main dining room, featuring a glass ceiling lined with flood lights.


Dining in a former rectory — adjacent to a space that once housed the St. Vibiana Cathedral — is an experience not to be missed. Both the restaurant, Redbird, and event space, Vibiana, were recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy for successful revitalization of a historic property. A highlight of Redbird is the main dining room with its retractable roof offering an outdoor experience when the weather permits.

The unique venue wouldn’t matter if the food wasn’t up to par, but fortunately, it is quite good. The modern American cuisine includes entrees like the heritage pork chop, and a porterhouse steak and whole crispy bass (both of which are portioned for two). The creative cocktail and mocktail menu will help round out your meal.

114 E 2nd St

A set table at Cabra, including a garden salad, glasses of white wine, and a stunning view of Downtown Los Angeles.
If you’re looking for views with your meal, head to Cabra.
Wendy Lee


Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard continues to expand her empire in Los Angeles, most recently with Cabra, a rooftop restaurant at the Hoxton Hotel. This Peruvian-focused eatery feels like a beach club perched atop a 1922 Beaux Arts building. Cabra is a one-block walk to the United Theater on Broadway and a short drive to all other theaters.

Dishes are meant to be shared at Cabra and diners typically order three or four. Starters include hot chorizo dip, avocado dip and empanadas. Entrees vary seasonally and typically feature dishes like chicken or salmon skewers, crispy pork shank and skirt steak. In true Peruvian fashion, Pisco Sours are a staple on the cocktail menu.

1060 S Broadway


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