Asking someone to meet you at a downtown restaurant in Los Angeles used to be like “asking them to join you on the moon,” said S. Irene Virbila in the Los Angeles Times. In recent years, though, the dearth of dining options has turned into a glut. The area has become a bona fide culinary destination, with so many options that even a hard­working restaurant critic has trouble keeping up. Here are some of my current favorites.

Chaya Downtown
A grandly appointed ­dining room, outdoor terrace, and full sushi bar are paired with an extremely sophisticated­ menu—fresh grilled sardines with pearl barley, miso-marinated white sea bass, and braised Kobe beef short ribs. 525 S. Flower St., (213) 238-9577

Drago Centro
“Quite the glamour queen, with an expansive bar.” Similarly thrilling are the library views and garden. Exceptional pasta dishes are the main draw, including oxtail ravioli and pizzoccheri made with buckwheat flour. 525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, (213) 228-8998

Water Grill
The place to go downtown for “impeccable chilled shellfish,” including Dungeness crab, white shrimp from Mexico, Long Island cherrystone clams, and “oysters from all over.” 544 S. Grand Ave., (213) 891-0900