Explore Grand Central Market’s eateries

Get a taste of Los Angeles with these can’t-miss spots in the heart of downtown.

Grand Central Market has provided Angelenos with a diverse array of cuisine options since 1917, hosting food vendors, butchers and florists, in addition to game nights, movies as well as other events. (Sophia Stewart / Daily Trojan)

You can feel it in the air. It is hot and humid, but nevertheless, Trojans have returned to campus.

With the stress of moving in, new classes and unpredictable weather, take a break and explore or revisit the Grand Central Market. With your free U-Pass, you can make the 30-minute metro journey and enjoy a classic dish, bond with a new roommate and maybe even find a new favorite eatery.

When you enter, you will be immediately transported into a sensory epicenter where the smell of spices meets the aroma of a wood-fired pizza. As you meander through the aisles of restaurants, you will feel the steam from the flat-top grills and see the dazzling array of candy, produce and neon lights.

Grand Central Market is a gastronomic hub. However, with nearly 40 vendors, the options can easily be overwhelming. Below you will find a catalog of spots you absolutely can’t miss. Let’s embark on a flavor journey at this centenarian market.

For the Win

An icon of American cuisine, the cheeseburger is often praised, hated and revered for being a symbol of American indulgence. At For the Win, you will be whisked away into a salty burger heaven that leaves you satiated. For a college student craving a decadent burger strewn with onions, sauce and cheese, FTW will cover your needs.   

FTW is not focused on a burger that will match an aesthetic, grace the cover of Food & Wine or appeal to the superficial “foodie.” At the heart of FTW lies a burger that will exceed expectations after first sight.

The Donut Man

Swarms of people in line at Grand Central Market are no surprise, but the bees might be. Yes, that’s right — bees. The Donut Man is conveniently located near one of the many open entrances to the market, and due to the strong scent of peach, the location creates a perfect storm for dozens of bees to search for the aromatic source.    The bees stand as a testament to how fresh The Donut Man’s peach donuts are. The melodious aroma of peaches and sweet dough permeates the air as you wait in line, and as you make your donut-determined march to the stall, you will find child-like entertainment as bakers craft the donuts right before your eyes.

With a second location in the Grand Central Market, the Donut Man is the self-proclaimed “originator” of both strawberry and peach-filled donuts. However, if you don’t love fruit-flavored donuts, don’t be alarmed; there are plenty of varieties to satisfy any eater. You can enjoy the richness of the glazed old-fashioned or choose one of the many cinnamon doughnut varieties. 

grand central market sign
Los Angeles’ historic venue hosts many renowned eateries like The Donut Man, Moon Rabbit and Knead and Co. Pasta Bar and Market. (Alia Yee Noll / Daily Trojan)

Tacos Tumbras a Tomas

Alliteration fanatics watch out. This restaurant’s name is only the beginning of an adventure into the complexity of flavor and spice. Tucked away in the center of the bustling market, you will find an exhibition of salt, texture and bite. If you are someone who would feel apprehensive about a $4 taco, don’t worry. Tacos Tumbras a Tomas will load your tortilla with enough fillings for at least two substantial street tacos.

With a fast-paced line and efficient ordering system, your tacos are prepared in front of you. The options and flavor combinations are limitless. At Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, you will find a quick grab-and-go food opportunity like no other.

Moon Rabbit

No Grand Central Market-based listicle is complete without a recommendation for milk tea at Moon Rabbit. Even at 3 p.m. on a dreary Saturday afternoon, you will find a considerable line. Moon Rabbit’s brown sugar milk tea has a complexity of flavor involving brown sugar and a creaminess reminiscent of fresh milk. Granted, a $6 milk tea and a 50-cent upcharge for boba is more than a college student may want to pay. However, with any of their varieties of milk, fruit and green teas, you will receive a monstrous amount of boba.

If you are considering making a meal out of your experience at Moon Rabbit consider trying either the bánh mì or katsu sandwiches. Nevertheless, the teas and sandwiches succeed in conveying a minimalist simplicity with quality ingredients. 

Bastion Bakery

Calling out all food bloggers, foodstagrammers and aesthetes — the Bastion Bakery has your number. If you are like any croissant enthusiast, you tear your croissant in half to witness the wonder of the layers of butter and dough. Fortunately, Bastion Bakery is no stranger to a honeycomb structure that brings an effervescent, airy quality to this tried and true pastry. At Bastion, you will not be disappointed in their classic croissant.

For those who are looking for a little more flare, Bastion Bakery has pistachio, almond and Nutella croissants. However, if you are looking for an item to compliment your Instagram picture by any of the neon signs you should opt for one of the spiral croissants in any of their colorful varieties.

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