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Good cheap(ish) lunch in Santa Monica??

Mrs. O and I are spending part of tomorrow afternoon in Santa Monica, and are looking for a nice fun lunch spot, preferably not too far from Bergamot Station. Any suggestions? We would like to keep it under $20 apiece, no alcohol.

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  1. Will, not too far from Bergamot: Reddi-Chick at 26th st. and San Vicente blvd. (the Brentwood Country Mart). Stick with their rotiserrie chicken (and NOT their fried stuff). Al Fresco (picnic) dining, for about $10 for the two of you. Spend the other $10 on a cookie from City Bakery (next door).

    1. Sounds like you might be on foot (in LA?!?!?), but if I was in Santa Monica this afternoon, I'd go down the road to Marina del Rey and the C&O Trattoria for lunch. Share one of the pasta selections, even a half order can be plenty for 2 with a salad, some stuffed mushrooms and the garlicky rolls.

      Sorry, I can remember how to get there, but not the street name or address.

      1. You're not that far from Tacos Por Favor on 14th and Olympic which is cheap and festive at lunch...cheese and chorizo tacos? yum. There's also Mrs. Winston's in the Water Garden, although that's not sit down. I love, love, love their lentil soup and the salad/sandwhich bar. Best ever. You could take it and go eat outside. That's my 'hood and I have to admit it's pretty slim pickings in the immediate vicinity for a good lunch.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mollyomormon

          Where exactly is the Mrs. Winstons in the Water Garden complex? A long walk for me, but I miss my days of working next to the Ocean Park location.

          Which also leads me to a recommendation for the OP: Il Forno, the Italian restaurant in the same strip mall as Mrs. Winstons, Subway and Starbucks on Ocean Park, near 29th Street. Close to Bergamot Station and a decent, low-key place. Easy to stay under $20 per person there. Although not ideal for a 'nice' meal, they even have a $5 to go special on numerous dishes at lunch - with plenty of outdoor seating in the complex available.

          1. re: igj

            i second the il forno recommendation.
            we love their individual pizzas and their whole wheat pasta primavera.
            their food is consistant and good, and the prices are reasonable.

            1. re: westsidegal

              I love that place, it is in our neighborhood, we walk to it on regular bases. The food is modern California Italian, light, fresh, and to die for.

              1. re: Chaza Malas

                I really enjoy Il Forno's takeout place in the Water Garden (esp. the linguine with sausage). But it's a little misleading to call this true "California Italian," which has a specific connotation (i.e., places like Oliveto or Delfina in the SF Bay Area). BTW, are Mrs. Winston's and Il Forno owned by the same people? Or is it just a coincidence that they're neighbors in two locations?

            2. re: igj

              2450 Colorado. I work downtown now and I so miss Mrs. Winston's...:(

          2. I don't know if it counts as "fun," but the little cafe that's actually at Bergamot Station has decent, fresh lunch items like soups, salads, and sandwiches. There's a pleasant patio and it's cheapish, with everything under $8. There are daily specials too.


            (I just went to the website, which mentions Nook Bistro and has a similar style as Nook's website. Are they related?)

            1 Reply
            1. Owner of Bergamont Station
              is also an owner of Nook.

              1. Haven't been in a while but my favorite Italian place in the area was Il Forno as mentioned by a poster above.

                IL Forno Caffe & Pizzeria
                2901 Ocean Park Blvd # 109
                Santa Monica, CA 90405
                (310) 450-1241
                (310) 450-7459


                1. Another vote for Tacos Por Favor -- the chorizo and cheese is a bit rich for me, but I like their al pastor and carnitas. Great salsa roja! Pleasant staff.

                  I also have become a big fan of Bay Cities Deli, on Lincoln north of Olympic. While there is a line for their deli sandwiches at lunch rush, the hot side has little or no wait and serves their fantastic meatball subs and other good hot dishes. Tables outside or take it to a park or the coast.

                  1. At Olympic and Bundy there is Lemon Moon, which is open for breakfast and lunch. Someone has said it wasn't good recently but I really like their fresh salad case (actually 2 cases--there are probably 20 different choices or thereabouts). Three salad plate for about $10. There are also burgers, sandwiches, salads and a daily special(s). I have been there a bunch of times and always enjoyed the food and the space (altho' it's very busy at lunch, but it's large enough to accommodate the crowd). It's very, very casual--cafeteria style ordering. Nice big patio is very pleasant. You can park under the office building (Lemon Moon on the ground floor) and there is 1-hour validation.

                    1. On Montana Avenue - Marmiton Cafe, at 14th Street. French cafe, GREAT food, sit outside and watch the constant SM action.

                      1. I want to thank everyone for the good suggestions, which I will file for future reference. As it turns out, I decided to introduce Mrs. O to Second City Bistro in El Segundo, then take the Scenic Route over to SM, all of which met with her enthusiastic approval. As an aside, let me say that the linguini at the bottom of the menu, with just the tomatoes, capers, artichoke hearts, peppers and shallots, makes a very pleasant light lunch, and it's pretty cheap. Add meat, add money...