"What can I say? The steaks are fabulous. The meal is unforgettable. But, then, the Pacific Dining Car has been perfecting the steak dinner for decades."
"Beef like you've never seen it before. Giant, juicy steaks are served every which way in this old timer in downtown LA that has been satisfying carnivores since it first opened in 1921."
"Pacific Dining Car is one of a handful of Los Angeles restaurants with a full-time sommelier, who, like the other servers, displays old-fashioned deference and competence unusual for this city."
"When author James Ellroy closed the final chapter of his novel L.A. Confidential, he swore he'd left the sordid, smog-shrouded netherworld of '50s Los Angeles behind for good. Then film director and fellow L.A. lifer Curtis Hanson dragged him back. On the eve of the release of L.A. Confidential the movie, Ellroy recounts the story . . .
I had dinner with Hanson that night. We met at our mutual favorite restaurant. The Pacific Dining Car is a swanky steak pit on the edge of downtown L.A. It's been there since 1921. It's dark and wood paneled. It's a self-contained time warp in a city of time warps and dark continuums.
Hanson's Uncle Jack brought him to the Car for steak dinners that his father couldn't afford. My father brought me to the Car on my tenth birthday, in 1958. I met my wife at the Car. A minister married us a few yards from my favorite booth.
I sat down in the booth and stretched my legs. I was exhausted. Hanson showed up a few minutes later. A waiter brought us our drinks automatically."
GQ/Gentlemen's Quarterly by James Ellroy
"Some of the restaurant's most enthusiastic customers are visiting Japanese, who feel that a steak dinner here with a bottle of wine is an authentic American experience (quite true).
"Dining alone doesn't have to be lonely. Solo-friendly dining at Pacific Dining Car."
Los Angeles Times
"The T-bone steak (one side a New York Strip, the other, a filet mignon), red and juicy, tender but still satisfyingly chewy, and perfectly grilled over mesquite, epitomized what a great steak is all about . . . The prime double-cut loin lamb chops (what a difference the thick cut makes in flavor and texture!) were also extraordinary. A steak lover who also likes lamb faces a difficult choice here."
"The big lobbyists and politicians gather for breakfast here."
Los Angeles Times "Power Stations: The Top
"For a civilized breakfast served by gracious professionals in
soothing surroundings, nothing equals the historic PACIFIC DINING CAR,
whether at the original downtown location (established in 1921, it never
closes) or the newer one in Santa Monica (opened in 1990). The kitchen
gets roast beef exactly right, and the fluffy pancakes are peerless.
The restaurant celebrated for its prime steaks (you can order one for
breakfast, too) also makes its own marmalade, strawberry preserves and
"Pacific Dining Car . . . The wood-paneled interior hums with muted
business conversations. The breakfast menu is a carnivore's dream: red
meat accompanies a wide array of eggs and omelettes. Because this is
Los Angeles, however, the health- and calorie-conscious can request that
egg dishes be made with only the whites."
Travel & Leisure Magazine
"Where to eat at this ungodly hour (4 am)? Wild horses couldn't get me to one of those 24-hour delis. Definitely nowhere too bright or bustling. Ah, but the original Pacific Dining Car is open 24 hours and it's quiet. That's where early-rising stockbrokers start their day."
Los Angeles Times
"Best Late-Night Meals . . . Los Angeles area: Pacific Dining Car."
"If the steers guarding Los Angeles' old-line eating spot -- the Pacific Dining Car -- ever magically got the gift of gab, even the most cynical Southlander would be cowed by the succulent details of legislative legerdemain and business bravado they could tell.
'Those steers could tell you more about government and upcoming mergers than some of our finest investigative reporters,' says political guru Joe Cerrell."
Los Angeles Business Journal
"The beef is dry-aged Midwestern corn-fed U.S. prime and tastes like it. The kitchen does a commendable job of broiling steaks, getting a nice crust without overdoing it....For serious eaters it's worth the trip."
"This may be L.A.'s best breakfast spot. It's certainly the most reliable: You can always count on its quiet elegance, gracious service and plentiful portions of well-prepared food....
Most Angeleans know the Dining Car only for its nocturnal reputation as one of the best steak-and-chop houses in town.... But breakfast regulars are a wonderful mix of bankers, lawyers, construction workers, young people and doctors, and the place feels like a real "city experience." The staff lets you linger as long as you wish; you can watch the city slowly get ready for the business of the day."
Los Angeles Magazine
"In Los Angeles, where any place 20 years old qualifies as an institution, Pacific Dining Car, open since 1921, is a legend.... Service is top-notch. And it's really the only local steakhouse with a truly super wine list."
Los Angeles Magazine
"It's the combination of down-home comfort and lack of pretension, along with the great cellar and top-quality beef, that keeps the Dining Car full and happy."