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I've Got $9 to Spend on Dinner in W. LA. Where Do I Go?

The subject line says it all, really. I have all of $9 to spend on dinner tonight (why $9? I'm saving money for a trip to NYC and that's my dinner budget every night this week).

Preferably, recommedations will be near Westwood Village; Sawtelle Japanese district; West LA (Olympic/Pico/Sepulveda).

Where will $9 go the farthest in terms of quality?

As for cuisine - I'm totally open (though I'm not in the mood of burgers/fries).

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

PS: Burnt out on the following: Zankou, Poquito Mas, Asahi Ramen, Ramenya, Apple Pan

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  1. you can feed yourself silly for $9 at saks teriyaki in the village. not the best food but i have a fondness for the spicy crispy chicken combo. a whole lot of food for @ $6.

    or you can head south on westwood to sunnin and get a dinner plate for @ $9.

    1. If it were me, I think I'd go with a carnitas burrito or a flautas plate at Tacomiendo (http://www.ta-comiendo.com/ ). Their chili rojo con papas is pretty nice too. All are around $6 or $7.

      1 Reply
      1. You could eat for $9 at Sunnin Lebanese Cafe, on Westwood Blvd.

        http://westwood.sunnin.com/

        Likewise, you could probably eat for $9 at Ambala Dhaba (Indian):

        Ambala Dhaba
        1781 Westwood Blvd.
        Westwood, (310) 966-1772

        I like the Pad See-Ew from Noodle Planet, on Westwood Blvd. -- there are probably a number of options you could choose from here.

        http://www.noodleplanet.com/

        Perhaps your best bang for the buck would be to go for tacos -- there was a long thread recently about the best tacos in West L.A./Santa Monica with some decent options to get you started:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360711

        1. santouka(ramen) at mitsuwa market place! Is located on venice/centinela.
          their signature shio ramen($7) is one of the best in LA. Make sure you get toroniku pork with your shio ramen, its a must!

          1. A bit further down from your area, but $9 at Simpang Asia (National@Motor) will get you one of their several Indonesian mixed rice plates, probably one of their drinks, too. I always get the Nasi Warteg here.

            Or, you could get a really hearty Persian soup/sandwich at Attari Cafe on Westwood@Wilkins.

            Another favorite, get a Bosnian cevapi or meat burek at Aroma Cafe on Overland, just south of Pico.

            3 Replies
            1. re: WBGuy

              i believe that attari is not open for dinner

              1. re: westsidegal

                they actually are open til about 10pm now...they're closed on sunday and mondays I think

              1. re: GreenEyeStan

                the OP mentioned he/she is burned out on zankou......

              2. 9 Tacos at El Super Taco on Santa Monica a bit east of Bundy. Damned good al pastor and chorizo.

                1 Reply
                1. there's a small korean outdoor cafe type place on gayley and weyburn in westwood.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: greengelato

                    It's called Gushi, korean BBQ/teriyaki plate for about $7

                  2. You should be able to find something good at Clementine

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: maudies5

                      I really like Clementine (http://www.clementineonline.com/ ), but I fear getting out of there for $9 will be something of a challenge.

                    2. Asahi Ramen or Ramenya. Ramenya has a much bigger selection, you could cycle through those choices for a while.

                      Ramenya review:
                      http://la.foodblogging.com/2005/06/14...

                      Asahi Review:
                      http://la.foodblogging.com/2005/06/01...

                      1. $6.99 all day special with water:

                        Mr. Noodle _ Exoctic Asian Cuisine
                        Broxton Ave., Westwood Village just north of the Bruin Theater
                        http://www.misternoodle.com

                        Free parking for 1 hour farther south on Broxton across the street from the Regent Theater.

                        Total cost = $7.25 + tax & 15% tip = $9.03

                        El Super Taco - 11923 Santa Monica Blvd., W.L.A. (310) 312-6260
                        $1.00 Tacos, Burrito $3.99 or $5.75, Tortas $4.99 (3) & $5.99 ect - Real easy there.

                        Monte Alban - Oaxacan -same mini-mall as above. (310) 444-7736

                        Many people simply go in Whole Foods and load up on the salad bar $6.99/lb. and eat it right out side.

                        Spaghetti with Marinara sauce $4.99, add Chicken $1.99 = $6.98, tax & tip grand total $8.70.
                        Italian Express 10845 Lindbrook Drive, Westwood Village (310) 208-5572

                        Gushi Bowl (Bulgogi) $6.50, diet coke $1.25 or $1.75
                        Gushi - Charbroiled Teriyali & Korean BBQ
                        978 Gayley Ave., Westwood Village (310) 208-4038

                        Actually lots of places. How else would collge students survive?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JBC

                          I love the price details on this post (excellent!), and I also like the $9 budget. It seems very reasonable for a solo diner that just wants something good, tasty and fresh, without over-spending. If I lived or worked in West LA, I'd definitely be printing this out for future reference. I love it! :)

                          1. re: JBC

                            Actually, it's free parking for 2 hours but only before 6 pm, then it's $3 for the whole night.

                          2. I like JBC's Monte Alban suggestion...or, since soup is very filling and satisfying, I might go to Chabuya on Sawtelle. Having read all the other great suggestions, I think you can eat really well with $9!

                            1. hello, six or seven bucks gets you two entrees, rice, naan, raita at Samosa House (Venice Bl in Culver City) ; delicious vegetarian great for warm weather 'cause it isn't greasy or dairy-dependent. have fun

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: moto

                                the combination plate is now $6.99, before tax.

                                1. re: moto

                                  Samosa House -- Really delicious idea, moto!

                                2. if you are willing to drive to santa monica,
                                  i believe that hungry pocket (across the st. from smc) has an all-you-can-eat special on monday nights for their falafal sandwich. it is a good sandwich. and the special, as i recall, is priced at about $6 or so.
                                  they generally will offer the sandwich on either white pita bread or whole wheat pita bread.
                                  be sure to get some of their home-made hot/piquante sauce: it is the best in town

                                  1. another place, you might consider is Thai Boom.
                                    they are located on venice blvd and midvale.
                                    they offer their entire lunch special menu all day long.
                                    virtually all of their specials will fall into your price range (as long as you don't order shrimp).
                                    one thing, though, this is a sit-down place and you will need to budget some money for tip.

                                    1. A philly cheesesteak, soft drink (w/ refills) or beer, and tip at Philly West, the divy bar just south of Santa Monica Blvd. on Westwood, will run about that. They also make a hefty char-grilled burger served on the same sort of roll.

                                      Be sure to hit up Diddy Riesse for the best cheap dessert in the area -- three cookies for a buck or an ice-cream sandwich for a quarter more.

                                      1. you can always go to whole foods in westwood and get a custom made panini sandwich for $6.50...they're delicious and sometimes even 1/2 of a sandwich can fill you up.

                                        1. Anybody know the price of the scrumptious lamb fesenjan at Shamshiri? That could suffice for 2 dinners easily!

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Cinnamon

                                            Here's a link to the Shamshiri website. The menu and prices are online. Looks like they have some lunch special options from $6-$9, *before* tax, tip, etc.

                                            www.shamshiri.com

                                            1. re: katkoupai

                                              I went there but didn't see a dinner menu, which is alas where the fesenjan is. (Just saw appetizers, soups, sandwiches, lunch stuff.)

                                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                                Good point. The dinner menu is missing-- you're right. That's strange. They don't even list the kabob dinners. (?)

                                                1. re: katkoupai

                                                  Well, whatever the price, the lamb fesenjan is great. So is the panir al sabzi appetizer (greens and bread and cheese) and the rose ice cream. (Thanks for the site link anyhow!)

                                                  1. re: Cinnamon

                                                    I've never had the fesenjan there, but maybe I'll try it next time. I think Shamshiri is a great rec. I really enjoy their food, whenever I'm in that area. I was also happy to see that they had fairly cheap items on the lunch menu. Never knew. :)

                                                    1. re: katkoupai

                                                      According to my 6 month old to-go (delivery) menu ~ Fesenjan (chicken, veal, or Lamb Shank) is $10.95.

                                          2. how about mongolian bbq or lamonicas or in-n-out in westwood? although i guess if you're coming to NY, lamonicas might not be the best idea...

                                            1. Little more west:

                                              Arsenal has a happy hour/bar menu.
                                              Chicken soup at Monte Alban is spectacularly good, and filling.
                                              Thai Dishes has some great salads and appetizers, you could do one of each.
                                              The Slice in Santa Monica, on Wilshire, has a very good meatball sandwich and chicken parm, for a few dollars (secret is to get the side order of chicken parm, for $3.95)
                                              Bay Cities for a sandwich, or one of their daily specials. They have entree combinations for $5.00 - $7.00
                                              City Bakery's buffet. You can choose from lots of different things and get out of there for about $8
                                              Pradeeps on Montana Ave has a daily special for under $10
                                              Rosti on Montana - lots to choose from.
                                              Fritto Misto - pasta for under $10 - you create your own
                                              Little Hong Kong Cafe on Sawtelle at Olympic is very inexpensive - and good
                                              The Counter's burgers start at $6.50 and include several toppings
                                              Tacos Por Favor - eat like a king for $9

                                              1. Mongolian BBQ (in the village)
                                                California Chicken Cafe
                                                It gets mixed reviews on here, but I've always had good quick, cheap food at Eduardo's
                                                Falafel King (on Broxton)
                                                Take out a curry or spaghetti from Hurry Curry on Sawtelle

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Emme

                                                  OK, I'll reprise the old California Chicken Cafe vs. Feast from the East rivalry and put in my strong preference for the chinese chicken salad at Feast from the East. I think you can still get the large size for under $9 before tax, and tip or takeout.

                                                2. The Green Olive on Wilshire between Barrington and Bundy. 7.99 combos which are surprisingly pretty good...except I don't like their hummous all that much

                                                  3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Xericx

                                                      Green Olive has closed. Soon to be replaced by something called California Pita. Anyone know anything about that place?

                                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                                        Damn, that sucks...didn't know about that....i've been out of town alot last month...pity, I enjoyed that place. Yuck....never heard of California Pita but I haven't been to a good Pita "shop" yet!

                                                    2. Ono Hawaiian BBQ on Westwood Bl. in the village is pretty good! it's a chain, so not sure if that's acceptable here. it's cheap and very filling and pretty tasty imho. You can then go around the corner and have a small pinkberry w/out toppings.

                                                      1. So, now the question becomes; Where did you blow your wad 'o cash (g) and how was the food?

                                                        1. Taco Plus on Santa Monica & Bundy...unreal tacos...I would recommend a mix (half carne asada, half carnitas, or half pastor...any combo of two of them...delicious, comes w/ chips, great fresh salsa)...you'll have enough cash left over to walk over to 7-11 and get a cone if you want dessert!

                                                          1. If your in the mood for mexican, Gilbert's on Pico is a nice option. Most item's on the menue won't set you back more than 9 dollars. I particularly like the chicken tacos and the super mule burrito.

                                                            1. Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread, but I wanted to let you know where I went.
                                                              I ended up "blowing my wad o' cash" (as tony michaels so eloquently put it!) at Tacomiendo. I went with David Kahn's suggestion and ordered the plato de flautas. And...

                                                              They did not disappoint. This was my first time trying flautas, so perhaps I'm not qualified to offer an authoritative assessment - but I thought they were delicious, nonetheless.

                                                              I had an early dinner - around 5pm - and while parking was difficult to find (the small plaza parking lot where Tacomiendo is located was completely full), the restaurant itself was entirely empty. That said, the service was friendly and attentive (they had no one else to tend to!), if not altogether fast. This is by no means criticism - I don't mind waiting a bit for freshly prepared food. I'd much rather have something whipped up on the spot than have something that's been lying around handed to me the second I order it.

                                                              In addition to the flautas, I ordered a carne asada taco that was as tasty as it was simple: tender shards of masterfully grilled steak nestled in a small, warm, and puffy handmade flour tortilla - that's it. No onion, cilantro, lime, or chile (salsa) accompaniment - just steak and tortilla. Ordinarily, I'd dress it up with a few of those staples, but I wanted to get a feel for the "true" flavor of the meat and tortilla - pure and undiluted. Superb. As much as I enjoyed the carne asada, the tortilla was a joy in its own right. Handmade makes all the difference, I've got to say.

                                                              The flautas (chicken, by the way) arrived as a tempting trio, still sizzling from the fryer (or are they grilled in a pan? not sure..). I've been told that flautas are essentially the less-popular cousin (at fast food joints, at least) of the taquito, but I've got to say I see no reason why flautas this good couldn't take off, too. Crispy, but not fragile (in that easily-shattered Taco Bell hard taco way), plump, but not overstuffed, flavorful, but not overspiced - the flautas hit all the right notes at every level. The chicken in the flautas was prepared in a way that reminded me something of steak picado - moist shreds of meat stewed with tomatoes, peppers, and onion. Atop the flautas lay a generous scattering of shredded cabbage and crumbled cojito (cheese). The rice and beans that filled out the plate were also fine. The rice in particular - so often dry and/or unimpressive at many otherwise fine Mexican restaurants - was steaming, fluffy, and with just the right tang of tomato and onion - very well done.

                                                              I finished the meal by indulging in something I've had on my list of "must-trys" for the past year: a thick mug of steamy champurrado. Yum. I can't quite put my finger on all that must go into it, but it's seemingly milk and cinnamon intensive, and I love the smooth, almost hearty consistency. Again, as this was my first try, I have no idea how the champurrado here stacks up against the storied street vendors of East LA or elsewhere.

                                                              All in all, a very nice, memorable meal.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: sanangel

                                                                I'm way late, but since you mention trying to keep your dinners to $9 or less....I was looking for dinner tonight and thought I'd try Paco's on Centinela. I got there around 9:15pm, but there were people outside waiting to get in. Since I was in kind of a hurry, I decided to chance the Chinese/Hawaiian BBQ place next door. It would be a difficult to make a multi-entree meal for your price point for just a single person with the Chinese food since it's only full plates of items. You can get a single plate BBQ meal. The most expensive BBQ plate is $7.75. You automatically get an appetizer plate of fried won ton strips with a sweet sauce to dip them in and a pot of hot tea. I ordered the BBQ chicken and beef plate and there was a lot of meat; thin strips of beef and boneless chicken breasts. You also get 2 "scoops" of rice and/or macaroni salad. I also ordered a diet coke, but since the BBQ sauce was sort of sweet, I probably should have just had the hot tea. You could easily make it for $9 without the soda. Not an expert, but the quality was good and plenty of food for your hard earned cash.
                                                                Two Flavors
                                                                4135 Centinela Avenue
                                                                Los Angeles 90066.

                                                              2. 1. daikokya ramen in little tokyo. to be honest i haven't eaten there, because i am vegetarian and have to go to a sub-par ramen place to get my ramen with no pork in the broth. when out for ramen, my boyfriend and i usually make 2 stops. first at the "bad" ramen place for my vegetarian curry ramen, then at daikokya for his "real deal" ramen. looks delicious and he claims it is.
                                                                2. terried sake house on sawtelle. just went. i am in love. 2-3 dollar small plates. 9 dollars probably won't fill you up, but it will tantalize your taste buds