Take-out in Westwood
I want to have a few friends over, but I don't cook. Any suggestions for great take-out that could feed six to eight people? Trying to avoid the pizza rut, though.
How about Zankou chicken (Santa Monica and Sepulveda)? Buy 3 whole chickens, get a few sides of hummous and babaganouj, and make a salad at home to save a few bucks. I've done this before and it couldn't be easier.
Or California Chicken for rotisserie chicken and nice selection of huge salads.
If you do go the pizza/pasta route, UGO is a little nicer than most, and good if you avoid the creamy sauces (too clumpy). Thin crust, fancy pizza, not Pizza Hut style.
Fresh Corn Grill is a good option on Westwood Blvd. across from Bristol Farms.
Grilled Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon, salad, rice, beans.
Zankou was the first to spring to my mind as well. Their whole rotisseried chicken is delicious, comes with some pita bread and that great garlic spread, serves 2-4 depending on appetites and sides, and costs less than $10. Their Westwood location on Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Blvd. is a quick in-and-out with their own parking lot.
I also am a big fan of the Chinese Chicken Salad at Feast from the East, on the west side of Westwood Blvd not far away. Others prefer California Chicken Cafe, but I find Feast's to be lighter, more gingery and piquant, and a better value.
Persian food is great for takeout: get an assortment of different kebabs, one or two of stews, several different rice pilafs, raw herbs (usually served with cheese in a "panier o sabzi" platter), tah dig (crusty rice), fresh yogurt w/shallots or cucumbers, a small order of torshi pickles, other appetizers as you wish, and you've got a feast. You've got lots of choices on Westwood for this, some old favorites like Sharezhad and Shamshiri, some newer places I can't speak to personally. Pick up some Persian sorbet and ice cream (and sour cherry sauce jam to put on top) at Jordan, Tochal, or one of the other local markets for dessert. Instant feast that your friends will love.
Or, Ambala Dhaba is a good and unusual option, if slightly more pricey (and the portions smaller) that you might expect.
And there's always Hop Li on Pico for your basic Chinese take out meal. (And their cheaper banquet menus for 10 aren't a bad deal if you're feeding a lot of folks--I think the cheapest one is around $150 for 10.)
And there's always Juniors for deli and/or smoked fish platters.
BTW, if you go the Zankou route, get some chicken tarna as well as the whole chickens--the tarna is the bomb.
And I agree with Pei about Ugo's very good pizza--have not had much luck with other entree items on the menu, however, so we generally stick to salad and pizza and we're generally quite happy with it. They have pretty good delivery, which none of the other above options seem to have.
Speaking about delivery, I have in front of me the take-out menus from both Shamshiri Grill (a) which says "free delivery" & Shaherzad (b) which says "We Deliver" on their front pages.
Mr. Noodle - Exotic Asain Cuisine (translation Chinese & Thai mainly). IMHO, best asian food in Westwood Village (not saying that much I know).
Their take-out menu says = Free Drink with $10 purchase or Two Free Drinks with $20 when you mention this ad. Valid on Delivery only.
Their all day specials for $6.95(9) are a pretty good deal.
Ramayani - Indonesian - Their to-go menu says "We Deliver (310) 477-3315". 1777 Westwood Blvd.
There is several Italians I could mention, but sounds like your ready for a change.
Note (a) = (310) 474-1410
Note (b) = (310) 470-3242
It's been awhile, but it was pretty thin crusted, crispy around the edges, and light on the cheese (but good cheese, and I thought it was enough cheese--just not gobs of it). My only complaint was that the canned olives and artichoke hearts they used could have been tastier, but the pizza itself was good so maybe a margherita or other simple one would be best.
i'd especially recommend getting a few of the lunch specials at shimshari as take out. if you order correctly, you'll be able to get some of the specialty rice dishes as side dishes and you can get soups and two types of salad. i'd imagine getting six lunch specials would easily feed 8 people.