“Fundamental” DTLA is the quintessential brunch spot

“All-day breakfast” is a phrase that excites even the most stressed out student or office employee. With a successful parent restaurant in Westwood, Fundamental DTLA brings all-day breakfast and all-day lunch into the hustle and bustle of Downtown. Located on 8th Street and Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the restaurant offers moderately priced menu options to the average commuter working their way through the city. As the brunch movement continues to take the city by storm, Fundamental has successfully eased its way into this highly aesthetic and picturesque scene.

A warm hostess stands outside Fundamental to greet and seat guests going in and out of the restaurant. The 40-seat spacious interior allows guests to enjoy their meals in an intimate booth or along the marble-laced bar if they choose to dine in. For those short on time, they can order their meals at the pick-up station located further inside the shop.

The earthy tones and chic interior design of  Fundamental brings an energizing element to the highly industrialized culture of Downtown. Large windows decorate the entire front wall, offering customers a nice view of the bustling sea of vehicles and pedestrians. Upon entry, guests are welcomed by walls bearing rows of live plants. An open kitchen allows guests to peek into the flavorful creations of Fundamental’s skilled chefs.

Menus are streamlined on a single sheet of white cardstock and include a limited number of choices. This is an advantage for Fundamental because it provides the busy office workers of Downtown a more concise list of items to choose from. While customers are given a great variety of beverages to choose from, the prices of these items can vary slightly. Most Coke products on the menu are around $2.50, while a cup of coffee costs up to $6. 

Fundamental DTLA’s interior, with earth tones and wood panels, provides a welcome contrast to L.A.’s industrialization. Photo by Breyona White | Daily Trojan

The all-day breakfast portion of the menu is one of the restaurant’s biggest draws. Mornings at Fundamental consists of kouign-amann, coffee, scones and buttery croissants capable of starting anyone’s day on a happy note. The avocado toast, grain and seed bowl, house-made granola and bacon-egg sandwich provide more hefty breakfast options. The chicken sausage breakfast burrito is a fan favorite, boasting creative ingredients such as tater tots and guacamole.

Office workers coming for the lunch rush have their pick of six eclectic made-to-order sandwiches or the choice of two salads. Although these options are short, the fully packed flavors of each make up for it in taste. One of the more popular choices is the Latin-inspired chicken torta. This dish is composed of roasted tomato salsa, guacamole, crema, pickled jalapeño and queso fresco. The tomato salsa complements the perfectly seasoned chicken breast, with the guacamole and crema adding a smooth finish. The pickled jalapeño cuts nicely through the queso fresco, creating a balancing effect on the palate. Although the flavors were exemplary, the bottom half of the sandwich came out a little soggy and created a mess during the meal.

Sides are available to add along to any of these lunch items, ranging from dirty potato salad to roasted garlic and chermoula orzo. Because all sides are $5, those looking for a more simple pairing can order the salt and pepper kettle chips for $2.50.

The prices of most dishes range from $10 to $13. For students, Fundamental DTLA is a perfect spot for a laid-back brunch or an intimate lunch with close friends. If students want to get away from the mainstream fast food shops lining Figueroa Street, this is an elegant alternative street. Unlike its parent restaurant in West Los Angeles, Fundamental closes its doors at an early 7 p.m.

As a newcomer in the Downtown culinary scene, Fundamental will need to either extend its hours or include a separate dinner menu if it wants to cater to the many diners who enjoy the city well into midnight. Once it takes these steps to become more available, there is nothing stopping Fundamental from thriving in a city that rarely sleeps.