If you don’t, the city just might prompt a change of heart. The best restaurants are that good, whether in the historically Japanese-American neighborhood downtown known as “Little Tokyo,” or in Hollywood. So hop on the subway, or the daytime 25 cent downtown bus system known as DASH, and explore. (You can also walk to Little Tokyo from downtown hotels, but only if you don’t mind passing through some gritty blocks). At the well-worn Little Tokyo spot known as Daikouya, the ramen is an essay in simplicity. Who knew that soy sauce and pork bones boiled for a day produce such a thick and delicious brown broth? Add some noodles, bamboo shots, bean sprouts, green onions, and a boiled egg, and you’ve got a sublime bowl that’ll have you swearing off Top Ramen for good. For izakaya, the Japanese equivalent of casual, “small plates” pub food, try 132 S Central Ave for Izayoi, a spare but cheery space nestled between a Quizno’s and a yogurt shop. A seafood salad with ginger dressing and a piece of grilled yellowtail picked fresh from the market nearby are light and refreshing. And to watch the old standby of grilled chicken turned into something truly adventurous and new, head over to 260 E. 2nd Street to Kokekokko, named after the Japanese term for a cock crowing. The skewers of light and dark meat will make your taste buds sing, but you can also push the envelope with chicken livers, hearts, or gizzards. And they’re lucky it tastes so good, since the staff can be unfriendly, there is a 5 skewer minimum, and they run out of things later in the evening – none of which deters the place’s many repeat customers.For a more elegant, less stressful meal, Los Angeles is one of the best places to get sushi outside of Japan. The most celebrated restaurants such as The Hump, Matsuhisa, Nishimura, Mori Sushi, and Urasawa lie west of downtown and are only accessible by car – but “very good” sushi in this town is “great” by most other standards. So you’ll do well for yourself sitting at the bar at Sushi Gen, located at 422 E Second St, in a Little Tokyo mall called Honda Plaza – their crispy salmon-skin roll tops off a meal with a savory crunch. Hollywood’s Sushi Ike, at 6051 Hollywood Blvd. offers a delicious, no-nonsense approach that will please anyone who appreciates flavorful austerity. At Katsuya (Hollywood), it’s just the opposite -- the combination of sushi and showbiz glamour in a flamboyant space designed by Phillipe Starck will strike some as odd, and the prices will strike everyone as bracingly high. But at no other establishment on this list are you more likely to see the likes of Brad Pitt, Hilary Duff or some of gals from “The Hills” dining at the next table.
Daikyokuya (ramen $8.50), Izayoi (small plates from $4.50-14; sushi $4-7 per piece), Kokekokko ($12-20), Sushi Gen ($18 and up); Red line to Civic Center; or DASH bus “Route A,” but only up until 6:30 P.M.
Sushi Ike ($18 and up;), Katsuya (Hollywood) ($30 and up); Red line to Sunset and Vine.