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Eating Past Last Call

By Michael F. Robleto
Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at 11:30AM
Tacos Mexico Michael F. Robleto

Tacos Mexico, on Broadway just south of 9th

Any experienced drinker knows that a little food in the belly prior to passing out is a solid option. Not only does it ebb the next day hangover, it also sobers you up a notch or two (still not enough to drive, dummy).

Downtown has some options for late night grub and this handy guide will break down what you can find after last call. Rather than state the obvious choices like The Pantry (open 24 hours as well as guarantee that you will be reminded of said meal for at least 24 hours) or the random scour of taco trucks throughout DTLA, I chose to focus on the brick-and-mortar spots worth raving about and that you perhaps have not yet discovered. All listed are open past last call.

D-Town Burger Bar

A late night burger is one of the first things to consider during a drunken haze. Unfortunately that means fat-laden anti-aging fast food options.

D-Town Burger Bar comes to the rescue with made-to-order burgers that, with the right combination of beer goggles and hunger, resemble In-N-Out.

There is high praise for the fries that are a combination of potato and sweet potato, as well as the curiously good garden burger for your vegetarian friends.

Signs of late night success and popularity are seen in the fact that D-Town Burger Bar is opening a second location on 8th Street—adjacent to the Golden Gopher. Opening day is expected in the next three to four weeks. Open Sunday through Wednesday until 11pm and until 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 216 W. 6th

Kouraku

This hidden ramen house is a favorite of Little Tokyo regulars. The no-frills vibe serves up a hearty selection of traditional Japanese dishes. Service is fast, undoubtedly perfected through years of serving the tipsy travelers that sway through the doors. Located on the west edge of Little Tokyo on 2nd St, Kouraku is in easy stumbling distance from The Edison or a cheap cab ride from anywhere in the Historic Core.

It may not offer the best noodles in town, but the post-bar access adds just enough extra flavor to the mabo ramen and pork fried rice to make you, at the time, rave that it is.

Open until 3am nightly except Sunday when they close at 11pm. Please note this is a cash only place, with an ATM on site that at times is out of cash. 314 E. 2nd

LA Café

All of us have driven by, rode by or stumbled past LA Café. As of earlier this year the Historic Core staple is now accessible 24 hours a day –including delivery.

Depending on your level of grease needs, you can go light with one of their daily-made soups or hearty salads or tame that disgruntled belly with a much needed blast of fat like what is found in their lobster grilled cheese –for under $10–or traditional breakfast egg dishes.

All dishes are made fresh on-site with produce from local purveyors and eco-friendly practices (like farm raised chicken). Service can be slow, but then again you need the time to sober up. Open 24 hours. 639 S. Spring

Javier’s Tacos Mexico

My hands-down late night favorite dining spot is this unassuming taco stand next to The Blackstone. Foggy memories of passing out mid-burrito make my mouth water as a smile spreads across my face. Said burrito comes bulging with the usual Mexican fare and your choice of meats including a heavily seasoned asada, sweet cornitas and now even pollo. Coming in at under $5, this massive burrito has an uncanny sobering effect. A jug of horchata sits by the window and is made fresh throughout the night. Also, the traditional corn tortilla is a quick bit of pure bliss and you can get a bag big enough to feed your whole crew for under $10. Be sure to ask for a couple sides of the red sauce, it is amazing. Open 24 hours. 913 S. Broadway

Other Options

On any given night Downtown LA will have a smattering of additional dining options outside of this list, including the many food trucks that cruise our streets. Then there are the traditional taco trucks, like Danny’s Tacos permanently parked on Grand Avenue, just south of Olympic.

Or you can always play late night roulette with a bacon-wrapped dog from any one of converted shopping carts rolling our sidewalks.

Do you have a favorite late night snack shack that is not listed here? Well then, chime in and share in the comments.

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