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HELP! Lunch recs needed near Wilshire & Westwood Blvd

I'm working for a few days at Wilshire Blvd and Westwood Ave. ANY CHOWHOUND-ish RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LUNCH?? Not too expensive.

I had some REALLY AWFUL PIZZA nearby today. Depressing.

Anyplace with great salads, sandwiches, ethnic food, etc., without breaking the bank.

A great Mexican taco truck would be welcome, but I didn't see any around there today.

Thanks!

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  1. South of Wilshire on Westwood you have a lot of Persian restaurants. I like a place called Shamshiri. The lunch combos are under $10 including soup, salad, rice, and a stew dish. They also have kebobs. It looks like a more expensive place. I couldn't believe it the first time I went.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Liquid Sky

        Looks like I hit a nerve with Shamshiri. Curious to know if you checked it out!

      2. re: markethej

        i second the shamshiri grill recommendation.
        in my mind it's the best lunch available in the area.
        1712 westwood blvd (south of wilshire, north of santa monica blvd)
        los angeles 90024
        310.474.1410

      3. I would recommend Damon & Pythias on Broxton (near CPK) for great salads and an excellent steak sandwich (less than $10), Lamonica's on Gayle (near Whole Foods) for good, cheap pizza ($5 for a couple slices), Whole Foods for that matter (this location has a lot of prepared foods including made to order burgers, sandwiches, burritos and good pizza), and California Chicken Cafe on Westwood south of Santa Monica (try the chinese chicken wrap).

        2 Replies
        1. re: jenjunum

          I had lunch this week at the Fresh Corn Grill on Westwood Blvd across the street from Bristol Farms. The salmon was excellent, salads sandwiches and pizzas too! Very fresh and good. It's hidden next to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

          1. re: compucook

            Another vote for Fresh Corn Grill, which is a great lunch place. If you don't like corn, don't worry - it really doesn't show up that often on the menu. Their fish is very good, as is their soup - but skip the brownies - I had one once and it was dry and crumbly. Nearby is also a California Chicken Cafe.

        2. Another kudo here for Shamshiri, which has amazingly generous lunch specials under $10. I like the chicken shawarma, served with grilled vegies, hummus, a salad (get the shirazi), fresh flatbread, and a mountain of rice. The beef koobideh is also good. If walking, though, it is a bit of a haul -- almost all the way to Santa Monica Blvd. Sunnin across the street is a little counter with a few tables, but good falafel and kebobs. Sheherzad is up closer to Wilshire, but in my experience not quite as good.

          In Westwood Village itself, my favorite is Thai House, across the street from Whole Foods on Gayley. Surprisingly nice decor and attentive service, and lunch combos including soup for under $10. And don't forget Diddy Riesse for an ice cream cookie sandwich for dessert.

          1 Reply
          1. Mary and Robb's is a wonderful coffe shop and everything is really fresh. Good salads and turkey sandwichs. Also good breakfasts. Just N of Bristol Farms on same side of street. Good hamburger at Gardens on Glendon-eat in bar.
            Cheap is Sandbags on Westwood just north of Wilshire.

            1. Whenever I think of Westwood, from WAY back in the day, I think of Sak's Teriyaki. It probably is not that great, it just brings back happy memories. I really liked the sauce. Does anyone know if it is even still there?

              5 Replies
              1. re: running pig

                yep, still there and still serving up cheap plates of spicy fried chicken.

                sak's was my staple meal back in the good ole ucla days.

                1. re: running pig

                  I used to work in Westwood and always loved Sak's. The grilled chicken & onions on skewers are always done just right and the sauce is delicious. Even the rice is very good.

                  Plus, I love the little warren of rooms and outdoor patios on various levels.

                    1. re: Liquid Sky

                      1121 Glendon Ave 310-208-2002

                      It's in a funny location where you have to walk down a corridor off Glendon to where you order. But the unique setting is a big part of it's charm IMO.

                      And it's very reasonable... Most lunches are $5-8.

                      1. re: okie

                        Okay... Sak's sounds pretty cool. Thanks!

                        (Waiting for someone to reveal if there is really a taco truck in the area, but I don't think that will happen!)

                2. cheap, fast and good... the sub place Sepi's? next to In'n'Out

                  for a great, huge cappuccino (or coffee beverage or tea of your pleasure) and a sandwich or pastry or quiche... Elysee Bakery

                  and seriously, can you imagine the massive amounts that a mexican taco truck would rake in if they chose to park on or more likely just outside of ucla, given the dearth of good food selections on ucla campus for students, teachers, and faculty alike?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Emme

                    ohhhhhhhhhh!!!! the old "buck-fiddy!" =) i LOVE that place.. although... i hear it's not "buck-fiddy" anymore.... that's a great place for cheap subway sandwiches.. and if i recall correctly, it's served hot.. and they may fries... i'm not sure what the students call it these days... since the price has risen....

                    and yeah, diddy reese is great for cookies, but apparently it hasn't been 4 for $1 in YEARS.... still good anyway....

                    they had mongol's mongolian bbq (before genghis khan was in all the malls).. but i don't know if it's still there... and i remember an italian restaurant called di stefanos.. maybe not as affordable, but it was a great sit down place.... it was actually really very good... there's also this chinese restaurant by the museum, i think it's called first szechuan wok... the hot and sour soup there was good...

                    if you have a car and want to venture towards westside pavillion there's a couple of restaurants along there....

                    1. re: kinipela

                      I think you can still get an ice cream sandwich for a buck, though! Funny thing is....I never went there while I was in school...I went about a year ago and was amazed at what $1 can still buy. Elsewhere...$1 will get you about 1/3 of a fancy cupcake around town.

                      1. re: kinipela

                        Yeah, buck-fiddy is now more like two-niniddy or there-abouts now. When I was in school it was still a buck-fiddy and had its first price increase my senior year i think. Ate there about a year ago, I believe the prices are still under $3 for most things there.

                        Yes, Diddy Riese is now 3 cookies for a dollar. Went to the Festival of Books last weekend just to have an exucse to go there. The ice cream sandwich is now $1.25, but still a great value.

                        Someone else mentioned Saks, if it still produces the same quality of food, I would recommend it as a good priced lunch option.

                        Also, in the area, there is Ambala Dhaba down Westwood Blvd, closer to Santa Monica Blvd. Their bakra lunch special is my favorite on the menu with a nice mango lassi to wash it down. I bleieve there is a lebanese place a few doors up the street towards Westwood that was good as well, but I can't remember the name

                    2. I like Sprazzo, which is a few blocks south of Wilshire on Westwood Blvd. (across from Borders). I don't know what "breaking the bank" means, but you can get a good gnocchi for somewhere in the $10 range. It's been a while since I've been, so I can't tell you for certain what the price is.

                      You also can get salads, sushi and other cooked foods at Bristol Farms.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jwsel

                        Yeah, I always wondered why good taco trucks are completely absent from certain LA neighborhoods (like West Hollywood, for example). I guess they're trying to protect local businesses from the competition a taco truck would give them?

                        1. re: Liquid Sky

                          There were rumors of a taco truck nearby... one of my co-workers told us about one. Supposedly it's behind the pet store (on Westwood, just south of the theater).

                          1. re: will47

                            Hmmmmm. Can anyone confirm the existence of said Taco Truck?

                          2. re: Liquid Sky

                            That, and I seriously imagine that the neighborhoods wouldn't like the people that go to them hanging around.

                            But anyway, recommendations: yes, Mongol's is still there, next door is LaMonica's, my favorite LA pizza place (hopefully not the place that you hated, Liquid Sky!).

                            Further south, I'd say Sunnin for Lebanese just north of SM Blvd--you can take any number of Big Blue Buses down there.

                            edit--just read the post below mine...

                        2. Sunnin on Westwood just north of Santa Monica on the west side of the street. Amazing Fatoush!

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: Liquid Sky

                              Lebanese salad that includes cubes of toasted pita.

                          1. California Chicken Cafe, Westwood and La Grange.

                            Or go to the Clementine that's inside of the Hammer.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Maddie

                              I don't think that Clementine is at the Hammer anymore, unfortunately.

                            2. Diddy Riesse -- the old 25-cent cookie place -- is still good and cookies are now three for a buck or a sandwich choice of two cookies and ice cream for $1.25. They also have decent big hotdogs with a soda for under $2.

                              The cheap sub sandwich place is not Sepi's, which is on Le Conte and good for a sandwich and perhaps a beer. The cheap sub place is called The Roll Inn, and is just south of In'and'Out and then the Tomy's hut on Gayley. Subs are now more than twi$e what they were years ago. That Tomy's, by the way, has good burgers which are bigger and as inexpensive as In'and'Out with shorter lines, but avoid the horrible bland orange chili.

                              California Chicken Cafe is much further south on Westwood, well south of Santa Monica Blvd. I greatly prefer Feast from the East, a bit closer north, for Chinese chicken salad -- lighter, poached instead of roasted chicken, and a sesame/ginger rather than peanut butter dressing. If you are going that far south stop into Philly West for a cheesesteak or the best chargrilled burger in a dive bar atmosphere, or head a long block west to Zankou.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nosh

                                is that what it's called??? i only know it as "buck fiddy" =) hmm so what do the students call it now? "three dollas"? now i want a sandwich... i love how the sandwiches were hot and made to order... if you're ever working into the wee hours of the morning, you can always drive there and still get a sandwich.. i believe they are open late... and la monica's is pretty yummy too...

                              2. Ambala Dhaba- if you like Indian

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: miffy

                                  I do. Are they walkable from Wilshire & Westwood?

                                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                                    Google has it as a little bit short of 0.7 miles.

                                2. You know, whenever I'm in that neck of the woods, I just take SMB west until I find Monte Alban or El Super Taco

                                  1. Lots of good recommendations here, so I'll only mention the ones that no one else has - Attari Sandwich shop, south of Wilshire, just off Westwood on the street south of Borders. In the courtyard. Fantastic. Incredible Persian sandwiches and soups - its been written about alot here on Chowhounds.

                                    Gypsy Cafe, on Broxton just north of the Bruin movie theatre.

                                    There's a tiny little Italian place on Kinross just east of Westwood - go round the corner at Urban Outfitters, and its just past the Baskin Robbins. Place has maybe 2 tables indoors and 3 tables outdoors. Really great hot subs, pasta, etc. It's name is something like Angelina's - I tried to look it up and couldn't find it, but it was a well-hidden secret back when I worked in Westwood Village.

                                    Couple of good natural food stores - one on Lindbrook across from the Baja Fresh, and one on Gayley between Lindbrook and Kinross. Kinross has a few Asian restaurants just north of the National Theatre - they seem to open and close pretty quickly, but it's always worth a try.

                                    Also - if the Thursday Farmer's Market is still happening on Weyburn, you can take a late lunch and grab something from the hot food vendors.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gsw

                                      Lots of great info here... thanks!

                                      1. re: gsw

                                        The Thursday farmer's market has moved to the VA grounds on Sepulveda and Constitution (just north of Wilshire) right next to Jackie Robinson stadium.

                                      2. Head to San Vicente and Barrington to Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers. Great burgers (beef or veggie), chicken sandwiches, tons of different toppings, and fantastic curly fries. Cheap too.
                                        www.barneyshamburgers.com

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: LisaStitch

                                          I have had a good burger at Barney's but it is far from cheap -- close to $10 with a topping or two. Fries are good but also pricey and large orders best for sharing. Parking at lunch along San Vicente a BIG hassle.

                                          For the best big, thick chargrilled burger in the area -- indeed the best I've found on the westside -- go to Philly West. A divy bar better known for an excellent philly cheesesteak, they also make a hefty, oblong burger served on a roll with all of the toppings for about $5, more with cheese. Located on the east side of Westwood, just south of the strip mall south of Santa Monica Blvd. And there is parking in the back.

                                          New entry in the field is Bella Pita, a falafel place on Gayley just south of the In'and'Out Burger. $4 gets you a fresh-fried falafel on a pita that you can stuff with your own selections from the condiment bar -- lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, pickles, hummus, a hot sauce, and other choices.

                                          1. re: nosh

                                            I probably should have mentioned that I'll be walking. So some of these places closer to Santa Monica Blvd might be a bit too far.

                                            Bella Pita sounds like a winner to me ... thanks! I usually prefer the schwarma sandwiches or eggplant sandwiches to the falafel. They'll probably have those as well!

                                            UCLA needs a LA SALSA. Their fish burrito is great!

                                            1. re: Liquid Sky

                                              Unfortunately Bella Pita does not have schwarma, at least not yet. They pretty much specialize in falafel, along with a baked ground-meat filled pita that comes out looking a bit like a calzone. The only places in Westwood Village that have anything like schwarma are Daphne's greek for gyros (meat very pale and not crisped or caramelized when I was there) or the mediterranean place on Broxton across from Diddy Riese that I won't frequent because they promote the hookah nonsense.

                                              1. re: Liquid Sky

                                                There used to be a La Salsa in Westwood--in the space where Peet's Coffee is now. It was still a La Salsa when I last spent my days at UCLA, in 2002. Hardly anyone ever went there, though.

                                              2. re: nosh

                                                Philly West sounds great - I will definitely try that out sometime.

                                                But I have to defend Barney's - none of their burgers are over $7.75 including their speciality burgers that come with 3+ toppings. You must really be into a lot of toppings, or you're going for the chicken sandwiches, which do push $9-10. The half order of fries, which is plenty for 2 people, is only $3.50 (so $1.75 per person!). They're no In-N-Out prices, but it still seems pretty cheap to me for a great sit-down burger meal in a cute, clean, nice space with great service.

                                                And parking is not a hassle at all! They have a parking lot right behind them, and it's free with their validation!

                                                OP - I used to work in the Saban building at Wilshire & Gayley and I used to grab stuff in the little cafeteria in the bottom floor of the building (10960 Wilshire). I'm not sure if it's still there, but they made the best chicken caesar sandwiches.

                                                1. re: LisaStitch

                                                  Thanks for the heads-up on parking at Barney's. That is one of my peeves about places along San Vicente in Brentwood -- except for places with lots next door (Hamburger Hamlet, Cheesecake Factory) you can circle the block and not know. For example, I've been meaning to try Chang's for chinese, but only learned recently that they validate in the building's lot. A lot of places, pay attention Barney's and Gaucho Grill, could benefit if they had big signs telling potential patrons where they could park.

                                                  1. re: LisaStitch

                                                    Hi Lisa - I work in the old Saban Building but now it's called the Helio Building and the little cafeteria is called Take 5 - not much to choose from but sandwiches and soups and snacks and coffee, but the buildings next door inside the Wells Fargo building and in the Oppenheimer/Showtime Building past Westwood have Trimana Grill - it's not gourmet but both locations give you better options such as grilled sandwiches, hamburger, fries, etc... and they serve breakfast also.

                                                    1. re: dshm

                                                      The gf loves Trimana's breakfast burrito.

                                                      We like to make fun of them because of the umlaut over the m, which doesn't really make any sense at all... anyway, we say it "trimuuuuna".

                                                      I work across the street in the ugly gold and black tower... I do /not/ recommend Sister's cafe (downtairs in our building).

                                                      1. re: will47

                                                        I am with you on Sister's Cafe - what is up with the dry sandwiches??

                                              3. 'zen grill' in westwood village for reliable, moderately priced asian fusion.

                                                1. When I used to work around there, we used to love grabbing food from
                                                  Damon and Pythias (on Broxton - be sure to sign up for their rewards - and be sure to call ahead with your order so you can avoid the wait)
                                                  Thai Emporium - http://www.ethaicuisine.com/ - REALLY cheap specials (I think $6 gets you a main, rice, salad, and maybe a small appetizer

                                                  )

                                                  and we used to love East West Sandwich for Vietnamese style baguette sandwiches, but I hear it is no more ... :(

                                                  1. Socko's Subs on Broxton next to Diddy Reese. You'll love it and it's got great prices.