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Cheap dining recs for one on the Westside/MDR

I have lived down here (from the Bay area) for just over a year (I live in Marina Del Rey), and I often find myself spending alot of time looking for a place to go grab dinner (I will frequently eat out alone but also with a friend). If you fellow hounds could help add to my list of "go to" places for good, affordable (<~$15/person) meals, I would greatly appreciate it. Preferably places that are not too far from me, though I don't mind driving for good food (places along the 10 and 105 are good too).

Some of my current defaults:
Phillips and Woody's for BBQ
Don Felix, El Taurino and Chema's (helluva drive but worth it) for tacos
In n Out & Carl's Jr for Burgers :( ?!*%@ (I have had and LOVE the Father's Office burger, but it's not a quick/easy eat. I also had Apple Pan and was underwhelmed; it cost almost 3x the price of an In n Out meal and was about the same quality)
Langer's for the pastrami, but this is for lunch only, but oh god is it good; but it's ruined all other pastrami for me now. I can't have pastrami unless it's Langer's.
Hungry Pocket & Zankou chicken for Falafel and Shawarma.
I just had Lamonica's and am pleasantly surprised (gonna try NY Pizza and Pasta tonite) - I had all but given up on pizza in LA.
Papa Cristos for greek.

NO Chinese on the westside.
Still looking for a good burrito (El Super Taco probably one of the better ones I've had,. but not great)

So that's my list, and as you can see, I often have to drive a ways for good food, so I'd like to find closer alternatives, but the quality is most important. Thanks for all your help in advance. (PS - I love most any type of food, EXCEPT SEAFOOD. I also love spicy food.)

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  1. Abbot's Pizza, Gaby's Mediterranean, Taste of India are all inexpensive and good in/near the Marina. I am partial to La Oaxaquena truck (Lincoln near Rose after 7.30pm) and another truck which parks on Rose near 4th during the day. La Playita is good too.

    1. J&J burgers and BBQ on Adams, 2 blocks east of fairfax. 3 blocks east of J&J on the same side of the street is an old Armenian bakery called Partamian's. It has the best Lahmajoun, armenian meat pizza, it is the only place my family has gone to get lahmajoun since the 1960's. They also have frozen boereg, armenian empanadas. The also have Monti, little boats with meat, like an open ravioli that you cover with garlic yougurt and carmelized onions. Try Taqueria Sanchez on Inglewood south of Culver. Enjoy !

      1. My close by go-to's around the Marina:

        Akbar--Indian, haven't been in awhile, but like their chicken tikka masala, bartha.
        Tajrish--Persian, good barg, kabobs, koobideh, fesenjan.
        Samosa House--I eat lunch here often, but believe they are open for dinner. Good samosas, etc. Lovely people.

        I bookmarked this thread and filed it under my list of westside places to try (Metro and Aroma Cafe). http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360850

        Have also heard positive feedback on Tender Greens in Culver City.

        Haven't tried NY Pizza yet. Please report back!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Rummy

          I have yet to try Akbar; the couple times that I wanted to go there, they weren't open... I will try em eventually. I have made the trek to Artesia for Indian a few times, as I've been thoroughly disappointed with Indian over here (with Ambala Dhaba's Westwood loc an exception; though even the Artesia loc is noticably better).

          I replied back in the Pizza thread about the NY Pizza and Pasta, but I will re-state it here too. I thought it was good pizza, but not up to par with Lamonica's. The crust was good; however the sauce disappointed and the cheese and pepperoni were just ~average for NY style pizza. I also had the spinach and ricotta slice, which was pretty good as well.

          1. re: mdpilam

            Thanks for your reply on NY Pizza. Too bad the sauce isn't up to par. I can get through so-so toppings if the sauce and crust are good.

            On Indian food, try Samosa House. While it's very clean, it ain't much to look at (also a grocery), but the food is good. It is vegetarian although quite satisfying. I always leave there stuffed (one samosa and rice with whatever entree I choose on top). Great option for take away dining.

            1. re: Rummy

              i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, samosa house. wonderful food, amazingly low prices. ( i'd be willing to pay a little more, though, to have it served on real plates.)

            2. re: mdpilam

              Akbar is overpriced mediocre Indian food. I second the rec for Samosa House!

            3. re: Rummy

              i wouldn't call tajrish cheap nor a bargain. they charge roughly one and a half times the price as the persian places on westwood for the same dishes also, imho, their food isn't nearly as good. it is convenient, though

            4. If you haven't found good Chinese on the Westside you might try Hop Woo on Olympic, just west of Sepulveda. By San Gabriel Valley standards, they'd probably rate a mediocre, but it's a gem to us since it's on the Westside. Basically Cantonese with some good BBQ items. The portions are generous, and the dining room is actually not bad either. Otherwise, you're probably headed out at least another 20-40 minutes on the freeways.

              1. Try Cafe Brasil on Washington between Inglewod and Sawtelle. Great lunch for $7.00, Dinner for $11, nice people, colorful decor.