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Mar Vista/Venice/Santa Monica recs???

I just started a new job in SM on the corner of Bundy and Ocean Park Blvd. I need your best recs within a 5 minute drive. Been to Santouka and Gallegos by myself since my fellow employees are such boring eaters. They go to Subway and El Torito all the time and I've never been with them. Not a great way to get to know your fellow co-workers, but good chow is good chow!

Thanks!

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  1. Go to Sawtelle between olympic and Santa Monica. Hurry Curry, Sawtelle Kitchen, Hide Sushi- and more- lots of good eats.

    1. on ocean park near Subway are Mrs Winstons, Il Forno, Vito's, The Counter, Miyako. I work right there too and have never been to Subway. Ewww

      3 Replies
      1. re: NYCnowLA

        I'm jealous that you work so close to Mrs. Winston's. I wish so badly they would open a location downtown!

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Seriously, you're not missing that much -- way overpriced in my opinion (and I eat there at least once a week since I work in the office park where it's located).

          1. re: Snoopy

            It's expensive, but so is everything in my corner of downtown. I'd much prefer the healthy fare at Mrs. Winston's than paying $10 for pizza at the food court, which is one of the few take-back-to-your-desk options down here.

      2. Venice can be a stretch time-wise if you're coming from Bundy and Ocean Park, but if you can manage, probably the best lunches I know of are on Abbot Kinney - Joe's, 1023 Abbot Kinney, is probably the best known and most popular, with their set lunches - about $15 per. Considering the service, the quality of ingredients and the care in preparation, it's a good bargain.

        Two more restaurants are on the same block - Primativo (Spanish) and Lilly's (French), and both have lunch menus as well, but if I were to pick one of the three, it would be Joe's.

        Also Axe, 1009 Abbot Kinney, is very popular and very good. Lots of great salads and sandwiches on their lunch menu, as well as daily specials... about $10-$15 per dish...

        All four restaurants can get crowded quickly, so if you decide to go, and have the ability to cut out of work a little early, then you should do so.

        From where you're at I'd go Bundy south to Airport Road, head west, left on Walgrove, right on Rose, left on Main and left on Abbot Kinney... and watch out for the radar cops. Again - Venice is stretching it from east Santa Monica...

        1. I know you like burritos from your detailed review of Gallegos, so I'm thinking you may already know about Taqueria Sanchez. It is a bit further south after Bundy turns into Centinela, a bit after Washington before Culver, on the right (west) and there is parking and an entrance in the back. Their specialty is their shrimp -- I've had many a shrimp taco there (now about $1.65) and enjoy the marinated flavor and the just-cooked texture. Good job, though I haven't tried the shrimp burrito. I also enjoy their al pastor very much -- nicely seasoned and tasty. I've had al pastor tacos and brought home some satisfying burritos -- I like mine without beans. Carnitas tacos have been mostly good but occasionally chunky and dry. Good salsa bar -- they keep it well-stocked and clean. I like the salsa roja -- not blazing, but pleasantly hot and spicy -- and the limes on the shrimp and carnitas. Most soft tacos are a buck and a quarter, and burritos around $4. I ordered a crispy taco once and it was a good change. Very pleasant service and crowd there.

          5 Replies
          1. re: nosh

            Great rec... but that location that she is starting from is a tough one in terms of traffic... I don't think she could do it in five minutes... I don't think Venice could be done in five either, but I posted anyway... The shrimps in their burritos are the same as their tacos... they're small and tasty but their size is perfect for biting into a burrito or taco... I've even asked them to combo shrimp and carne asada for a surf&turf. I also like their tostadas, which are assembled with a generous layer of tortilla chips, instead of a bowl-shaped flour tortilla. In fact, I don't think I've ever had anything there that I haven't liked...

            1. re: bulavinaka

              they serve the larger, prawn-sized shrimp in their great tostadas.

              1. re: westsidegal

                Wow - didn't know that. I've had their "tostada" only with my favorite - al pastor. Will have to give it a go the next time... thanks, Westsidegal!

            2. re: nosh

              You would think from the detail in my review that I eat nothing but burritos. I'm actually just a very detailed person, especially when it comes to food...any kind of food...such is the life of a chowhound. Burritos are a great quick lunch though. I have heard of Taqueria Sanchez. I've never been one to enjoy shrimp tacos or burritos much for some reason. I guess I feel it's often overcooked, but if done just right, they might just change my opinion. Thanks!

              1. re: hch_nguyen

                Taqueria Sanchez is known for their meats, but they do cook their shrimp and prawns just right, for the most part.

            3. A few of the recs will definitely be a bit of a stretch. I need to be around this job for a little while longer before I start heading off for the extra long lunches :) but eventually will get around to trying all the recs...

              10 Replies
              1. re: hch_nguyen

                The Nook - Great restaurant on Santa Monica and Barry (one block east of Barrington). It's in the corner of a mini-mall and has wonderful food. I had the salmon special today with their incredible cesar salad. As a teacher in the neighborhood, I never have wine during lunch, but they have a nice selection.

                1. re: Julefish

                  What else do you order at The Nook? I keep hearing about this place. I'm not big on cooked salmon for some reason. I like the raw kind :) most of the time.

                  1. re: hch_nguyen

                    I love their albacore sandwhich. the salmon was a special - it's not usually on the menu. their burger is fabulous - and like i said - the ceaser is amazing. some people really like their mac n' cheese. i don't love it - and it's really no good if you eat it take-out.

                    1. re: hch_nguyen

                      The mac'n'cheese and ceasar salad is a special at lunch at $9, if i remember their menu correctly. But it is going to take a LOT longer to eat table service at Nook than get a quick cheaper lunch at Taqueria Sanchez. And i'm a huge Nook fan.

                  2. re: hch_nguyen

                    Have you noticed the tiny little cafe up Ocean Park a couple of blocks or so west of Centinela, (are you really at Centinela and Ocean Park rather than Bundy where I don't recall seeing any commercial office space)? It's now called OP Cafe. It used to be a total dive but some new folks took it over and it's not a bad place for breakfast or lunch at all. Some of their wraps are good. It's basically right across from the Coffe Bean & Tea Leaf.

                    And just a couple of minutes from you going east is Tlapazola Grill for Oaxacan food. I like it better for lunch than dinner because the food is just as good and the prices are more reasonable. In the mini mall on the SE corner of Gateway and Barrington.

                    1. re: tony michaels

                      I am at Centinela and Ocean Park proper in the SM Business Park as you mentioned. I said Bundy because it turns into Centinela going South, but you already knew that :) Anyway, I literally was staring at that OP cafe yesterday as I left work wondering if it were any good. Weird cause that's the first time I've done that since I started working here two weeks ago. I just might give it a shot. Thanks!

                      1. re: hch_nguyen

                        If you go north on Bundy to SM Blvd. and hang a right you will see U-zen on your left in just a block or two and then across the street from U-zen is Monte Alban for excellent Oaxacan food. Just past the OP Cafe is the mini mall with the Counter on the western end of that block. In the mini mall is il Forno for good Italian food. Those would only be a minute or two from you. Going east on Gateway (Ocean Park) past Tlapazola Grill right where Gateway Y's into Pico is Sushi Mori and across the street is SF Saloon for good burgers (turkey or beef) and really good chicken salad sandwiches.

                        When I think of more I will add to the list. Welcome to the neighborhood.

                        1. re: tony michaels

                          In the same center as Monte Alban is a taco place, El Super Taco? Cheap very good tacos for only a buck. Their salsa bar has a great habanero sauce.

                          1. re: tony michaels

                            I just wanted to point out that at il Forno, there's a $5, cash only, take out only menu. I like to take out & sit in the park at 28th!

                            http://www.ilfornocaffe.com/menu/powe...

                          2. re: hch_nguyen

                            i've tried op cafe twice - had the eggs benedict and one of their wraps...oh yes...a 3rd time had the burger ( i would call it their take on the fathers office burger ) - it was all good in a comfortable setting ...this was a few months ago - i'm curious if they've maintained the quality or not...please report back after you've tried...thanks