Nickel Diner

524 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Critics' Pick


  • Tue.-Sun., 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Tue.-Sat. 6-11 p.m.
  • $$
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • No Alcohol
  • Takeout
  • Street Parking
  • Reservations Recommended, Reservations Accepted
Even given the gentrification of downtown, the Nickel Diner appears less like a diner than a movie set, a seemingly unreconstructed '40s-era greasy spoon that popped up a few steps from what used to be considered the gamiest intersection in town, on a block where artists in natty hats share the sidewalk with homeless guys and dazed European tourists. The Nickel Diner occupies the site of a long-forgotten diner — the remodelers uncovered hand-painted wall menus with prices last current during the Truman administration — but while the restaurant reflects the flavor of the neighborhood, it is more ambitious than that: The BLTs come with arugula; the hash is made with spicy pulled pork instead of canned corned beef; and all the toast, including the cinnamon-dusted Nickel Bag, is made with bread baked in-house. There are fancy dishes of baked eggs over polenta and spinach with roasted garlic, as well as the usual fried (and vegan scrambles), brioche, as well as pancakes, and alongside the freshly squeezed orange juice is a cucumber-intensive house-made version of V8. The Nickel Diner is a new kind of downtown diner, a Ships for a generation for whom full-sleeve tattoos are the new black — and it's about time.

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