Once upon a time, the Los Angeles Lakers played home games at the Sports Arena near the USC campus and later at the Forum in Inglewood. Other than a hot dog or hamburger at the game, there were few good options for grabbing a real meal in or around those venues.
Today, the Lakers call Staples Center their home, and adjacent to the arena is the L.A. Live center which is as glitzy and vibrant an area as Los Angeles has to offer. Located in downtown, it is an important part of the transformation of an entire urban location that not long ago no one wanted to visit.
This is definitely not your parents’ downtown. An important part of L.A. Live is the 20 or so restaurants the coplex has to offer. Many of them serve as top options for fans to dine at before taking in a Lakers home game across the street.
Patrons can enjoy everything from casual to elegant, modestly priced to very pricy, and everything from Sushi to Italian to Mexican to Mediterranean to the regular old burger.
Among the casual fare, fans might want to try Live Basil Pizza, Smashburger, or Rock’N Fish. It is never the wrong time for pizza, and many swear by Live Basil Pizza. If having a burger at a game is your tradition, you will get a better one, with many varied options for how it is prepared, at Smashburger than you will find inside the arena.
As for Rock’N Fish, it is a staple in Manhattan Beach that features seafood and other items considered by many to be among the best offered at L.A. Live.
Speaking of seafood, if you are willing to walk a just one block over, there is Palm Restaurant. While the Palm features great steaks and chops, it is especially known for its Lobster, which some claim is the best in Southern California.
Wolfgang Puck also has two separate restaurants at L.A. Live. Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill is casual and features the standard array of foods for which Puck is known such as pizza, sandwiches, salads and burgers.
The other, WP 24, is located on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlson Hotel, and offers a panoramic view of the city. It is L.A. Live’s most romantic spot. WP 24 offers food that is a modern take on Chinese cuisine.
Another Chinese food option is the ornate Triple 8 China Bar & Grill. There are also recognizable brand name restaurants at L.A Live that rarely disappoint.
For those who enjoy sushi, Katsuya, with its many locations throughout Los Angeles, is often a favorite for the seen and be seen crowd.
Fleming’s Steakhouse, which also operates in different locations throughout Southern California, is a popular hangout for patrons who enjoy a good steak. A particular favorite is Lawry’s Carvery.
Lawry’s on La Cienega is one of the city’s oldest and most famous restaurants. It is so popular that even a reservation for a table can come with a wait.
If you want to skip the hassle and still enjoy their delicious prime rib, duck into Lawry’s Carvery at L.A. Live which is a much smaller and more casual version where you can get in and out quickly and has many of the same menu items.
A fun, medium-priced restaurant is Ford’s Filling Station in the lobby level of the bustling J.W. Marriott Hotel. You can get in and out quickly before a Lakers game and the menu is creative, varied and delicious.
There is a also great bar adjacent to the restaurant with a big screen television for patrons to keep track of whatever sporting event is in progress at the time. Other interesting restaurants that offer a bit of a different twist include Boca at the Conga Room, Tom’s Urban, and Yard House.
Conga doubles as a restaurant and night club. The restaurant features a Latin-themed menu designed by Wolfgang Puck. Tom’s Urban is a gastro pub with popular locations in and out of California.
The founder, Tom Ryan, is a highly decorated restaurateur with a PhD in flavor and fragrance chemistry. Yard House is a casual eatery known for good food, classic rock music and 160 taps of imported, craft and specialty ales and lagers.
Los Angeles is a sprawling city filled with many things to do and places to go. One of the biggest treats is attending a Lakers game, where the Buss family makes every night an event. Attending a game at the Staples Center is expensive, which limits some fans to only one or two visits a season.
Since the experience is special, why not make it even more exciting by getting there a little early and enjoying one of the many, varied eateries that L.A. Live has to offer.