When visiting downtown, you can’t miss a trip to LA’s Grand Central Market. The market has been in place since 1917, when it served the wealthy local residents of nearby Bunker Hill. In the century since the market’s inception, the downtown landscape has changed dramatically, but Grand Central Market has always been a constant. Today, Grand Central Market is home to some of Los Angeles’ most exciting culinary concepts.
With so many different types of food to choose from, Grand Central Market is the perfect place to visit if you’re traveling with a group, or if you just want to sample many of LA’s best dishes all in one place. The market is very accessible, as it’s located in the heart of downtown LA. You can get there by taking the Metro red or purple lines to Pershing Square – the market is half a block up from the subway exit. There are also parking garages nearby, but they can be quite expensive.
The market is open from 8 AM to 10 PM, so whether you want a morning pick-me-up or a drink at the end of the day, you have options. There is seating throughout the market where you can enjoy your food, and most vendors offer takeout options as well. Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages must be consumed in the market. Here are some of the most notable vendors in the market and what to expect.
G&B Coffee at LA’s Grand Central Market
G&B is widely considered one of the best places to get coffee in Los Angeles, and for good reason. With friendly baristas and a creative drink menu, G&B offers quality you wouldn’t find at your average coffee chain. Their large bar area is the perfect place to relax with a drink before diving into the rest of the market. Oh, and they have waffles if you’re craving something sweet.
If you’re willing to wait in line, Eggslut offers delicious egg-centric breakfast sandwiches. Although they’ve expanded with locations throughout Los Angeles and even internationally, this location is the original, and it’s a Grand Central Market mainstay. All of their eggs are cage-free, and their bread is baked fresh daily. Be sure to come hungry, because these sandwiches are filling.
Sticky Rice – Delicious Thai at LA’s Grand Central Market
There’s no shortage of Thai food in Los Angeles, but Sticky Rice in LA’s Grand Central Market is some of the most accessible and creative. They’re known for their curries and pan-fried noodles, as well as plenty of creative specialty dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Bold, spicy flavors are contrasted with light, fresh sides for a memorable meal.
Wexler’s is a classic Jewish deli and a great place to enjoy some breakfast food. If you’re craving a breakfast sandwich and the line at Eggslut is too long, make your way over to Wexler’s – the quality is just as good, and you won’t have to wait to enjoy it. They serve classic bagel sandwiches, with delicious pastrami, corned beef, eggs, and lox.
Prawn – New England Classic Dishes
Prawn focuses on creative and filling seafood dishes, with influences from all over the world. You’ll find New England classics as well as dishes that take inspiration from Latin and Asian cuisines. You can customize your dishes by choosing your broth and dipping sauces, or you can even build your own rice bowl.
Belcampo – for the Meat Lover
Belcampo in LA’s Grand Central Market is a real hit with meat lovers. It’s a classic butcher shop that specializes in sustainable meat. All of their meat is produced on a large ranch in northern California and then transported to their locations throughout the state. You can buy fresh cuts of meat in the market, and they also offer sandwiches, burgers, and other ready-to-eat meat based products.
Clark Street Bread
Clark Street Bread is a homegrown Los Angeles bakery. The company was initially started in founder Zack Hall’s West Hollywood apartment before expanding to the market. You can pick up fresh baguettes to take home, or try one of their fresh sandwiches. This is a greal option for light breakfast fare.
Horse Thief BBQ
Horse Thief is located just outside the market on the west side of the building. There’s a large courtyard where you can enjoy your Texas-style barbecue. They also offer classic southern sides and desserts to complete your meal. In addition to their tasty food menu, they also have a walk-up bar with a good selection of craft beers and light cocktails.
Olio for Pizza
For fresh pizza check our Olio in LA’s Grand Central Market. They’re known for their personal sized wood-fired pies, which come in many different flavors. They’re also one of the many stalls in the market that sells beer and wine, so it’s a nice choice for a casual dinner.
This stall is a casual outpost of Kismet, which is a trendy Mediterranean restaurant in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. The stall has many of the signature dishes of the full restaurant, but in a much more casual atmosphere. Their falafel is incredibly flavorful, and it’s paired with light, fresh sandwiches and salads for an excellent lunch option.
If you want to go on a date at Grand Central Market, Oyster Gourmet is an ideal place to start. You can pick your own oysters or enjoy a chef’s selection. For a more decadent option, try a seafood platter, which also has shrimp, clams, and other deliciously fresh fish. They also have a good selection of beer and wine to finish off the meal.
This stall offers a modern take on your standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with both sweet and savory options. They offer more than just peanut butter – some of their other delicious nut spreads feature cacao, almonds, pine nuts, pecans, and more. Their drink menu also evokes memories of your childhood lunchbox, with unique milk-based drinks.
Golden Road is GCM’s resident brewery, and they’re also the largest brewery in Los Angeles. They’re known for their light, fruity beers as well as their IPAs, but they have over 20 different types of beers on tap at the market. They also have classic pub food to go with your beer. You can drink throughout the market, so you can pick up a beer to go with each of the foods you want to sample.
Tacos Tumbras a Tomas
This is just one of the many places to enjoy Mexican food in Grand Central Market. They’re known for their incredible carnitas, and they have an excellent array of tacos and burritos. This is classic Mexican street food, and it’s incredibly satisfying.
If you’re vegan or traveling with someone who is, Ramen Hood is a must-visit while you’re in the market. They serve entirely vegan ramen, and it’s so good that even meat eaters will enjoy it – they even manage to recreate the eggs you’d find in traditional ramen. These ramen bowls are thick and will fill you up fast. They’re also a great choice for those days rare days when it’s cold in LA, as they’ll warm you up right away.
With so many great vendors to check out in Grand Central Market, sometimes the best way to enjoy it is to wander through and see what catches your eye. The market is very popular among tourists and locals alike, and it can get quite crowded. To avoid lines, go on a weekday and try to avoid the weekday rush. The market itself is open from 8 AM to 10 PM, but keep in mind that some stalls maintain their own hours and may close earlier.
If you are touring LA see our article on One Week Exploring the Hidden Gems of Los Angeles