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Good cheap places

I'm driving up from San Diego this weekend, and looking for a few cheap places to eat (<$15/entree). Anybody have any good suggestions. I'll be based out of Westwood, but can travel pretty much anywhere within reason.


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  1. In Westwood is an amazing Persian spot called Shamshiri. Lunch specials are well under $10 and include soup/salad, a huge plate of rice, and shisk kebob or stew. DInner might be at around $15 but the portion are so huge that you could split one. For example, the lamb shank at lunch is 1 full lamb shank, at dinner they give you 2! Also, the place is no dive and I've always had a good time there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: markethej

      i second your excellent recommendation of shamshiri

      1. re: westsidegal

        I'll third it. If you like rich/tart dishes like panang curries, please get the lamb fesenjan. It is simply gorgeous, as is the rose ice cream.

    2. Try 26 Beach in Venice 3100 Washington. Huge burger and fries on homemade bun with lots of different toppings under $13, they also have about 20 huge entree salads all for under $13. Or go staurday morning for their French Toasts, really really good, try the Peaches and Cream.

      1. Whether you have already have or may want to gain some familiarity with Persian culture, Westwood Blvd (which bisects the Westwood community from north to south) is the epicenter of enjoyment for Persian Angelenos. Shamshiri Grill comes to mind immediately. All in all, Shamshiri Grill has gained a worthy reputation for offering great menu choices that have a rare combination: food of high quality that is prepared with great care and offered at very reasonable prices in a high-rent neighborhood. Lunches are in the $8-$9 range.


        Rose Market is a few blocks south of Shamshiri, and is a pretty basic mom&pop grocery store - if you are Persian. If you are not, then Rose can be quite a eye-opener when walking the aisles and looking at products and ingredients that have little or no familiarity to the Western senses. My guess is that you probably wouldn't be shopping for basic Persian groceries, but it might be worth asking the shopowner if he could recommend which pistachios or other nuts are at their peak, and you should reward yourself for your adventurous spirit by sampling the unique selection of Persian ice cream flavors that are located by the registar. These are handcrafted for the store by a Persian gentleman who has been making this his business for over 45 years - his familiarity with his craft will show in your smile.

        1922 Westwood Blvd
        Los Angeles, CA 90025

        4 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          just a note, the shamshiri website seems to be under construction--it doesn't seem to reflect even half of the great menu items that they always offer.

          1. re: westsidegal

            It doesn't even list entrees, but I thought it was still very impressive, especially from the perspective of someone who may be new to this place.

            C'mon, Westsidegal - throw out some more recs - you're the gal around town - especially the Westside!

            1. re: bulavinaka

              flattery will get you everywhere--
              AYARA THAI CUISINE offers most of their entrees at the poster's price point.
              their food is lovely and the restaurant has much nicer decor than most thai places.
              Ayara Thai Cuisine Thai 6245 W 87th St, Los Angeles 90045 Btwn La Tijera Blvd & Truxton Ave Phone: 310-410-8848 Fax: 310-410-8849 ...

              Mao's kitchen in venice serves good california/chinese cuisine (that is, the food is not authentic chinese, but, rather, takes it's inspiration from chinese food) . The free corkage adds to the bargain. Be aware, though, this place can be jammed on weekends at dinner time and, since it is at the beach, parking will be a challenge.
              512 PACIFIC AV, 310.581.8305. VENICE, CA 90291

              also, if you don't mind eating off of styrofoam plates, some really good southern indian food can be had at SAMOSA HOUSE/ bhrat bazaar.
              this place serves combination plate that can't be beat for $7.
              they offer a rotating assortment of dishes--not everything they serve is available all the time. also, they don't serve meat.
              imho, this is the best southern indian food on the westside.

              i like the food so much, that i find it easy to overlook the styrofoam and the lack of decor, but not everyone will be so forgiving.
              11510 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066
              Phone: 310-398-6766
              FAX: 310-324-8825

              1. re: westsidegal

                Great go at it WSGal! On Mao's Kitchen - I think the add is 1512 Pacific... 500 block is probably some apartment buildings... just know my way around the hood...

                Samosa House rocks... you can easily compile a totally socially conscious meal that is delicious and satisfying to even an omnivore like me... Their samosas are great and a great deal too...

                You mentioned Metro Cafe in one of your other postings... what do you think about them on this posting...?

        2. If you're venturing further afield, the old Farmer's Market West-Hollywoodish on Fairfax and Third has a lot of decent to tasty inexpensive stall restaurants with all sorts of different cuisines -- Brasilian Grill, Moishe's (falaffels etc), and Banana Leaf (Singapore) are a few my faves. But there are a lot of other places too. V. easy to snag a bite for under $15. Farmer's Market leads directly into the Grove where you can catch a movie afterwards.

          p.s. If you do a quick search on these boards you'll be able to find a lot of recs for cheap eats. Is one of the specialties of the posters it seems.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bite bite

            Mr. Noodle in Westwood is quite good and there is a very cheap and good bakery nearby for dessert - Deedy Reese (not sure how to spell this) but they have great muffins and cookies (always fresh). Mulberry Street pizza or Chin Chin on South Beverly Drive off of Wilshire are good and inexpensive. These are in Beverly Hills and not far from Westwood. I definitely recommend taking a little drive over there. Have fun!

          2. If you like burgers and interesting topping, go to Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers in Brentwood. I don't live very close to it but I still eat there quite often. The burgers are $6-8, and I also highly recommend their spicy curly fries ($3.50) - SO YUMMY! Service is very nice and fast, and they also have bottled beers.

            11660 San Vicente (just east of Barrington)

            1 Reply
            1. re: LisaStitch

              Barneys is excellent. Lots of interesting types of burgers--and they have extensive choices amongst turkey, chicken, and beef patties.

              Across the street from Barneys, in Brentwood Gardens, is Taiko. Taiko, which is on the third floor, is a great place for good but simple Japanese food. It can be expensive if you get sushi, but they have excellent lunch bento box specials that run at around $12, or even better, you can get a huge combination lunch with noodles (soba or udon, hot or cold) and a donburi such as oyako don or una don (there are about 10 different donburi options). It's excellent and the service is always top notch.

            2. Well if you're willing to go a couple miles (west on S.M. Blvd), you'll find one of the better restaurants combining really good food, and really low prices... Monte Alban. Lots of people have written about in on this board, so do a search to find out more, but personally, as a westsider, that's where I'd go (note: as good as it is for dinner, it's even better for breakfast) also, if you're feeling like asian cuisine, go down to Sawtelle, just north of Olympic, and you'll have good options as well as a fun atmosphere.

              1. Based in Westwood:

                Strongly agree with Shamshiri, the best of the many Persian/middle eastern places. Get the beef koobideh (seasoned skewered ground beef) and the chicken shawarma (the beef tends to be overcooked). Comes with rice, grilled vegies, very good homemade bread, a tasty hummus, and refreshing cucumber/parsley salad.

                For an upper-scale but quite well-priced splurge, Nook Bistro can't be beat. Need to make reservations for prime dinner hours. NYC vibe (exposed ceilings), good service, excellent food. Mac'n'cheese or mussels to start, great burger (was $12 last time there), ribeye for just over $20, excellent shortrib, chicken, or pork for under $20. On Santa Monica Blvd. a block east of Barrington hidden in the back corner of a minimall.

                Agree with Monte Alban. Also a couple of doors away El Super Taco, for buck tacos served with grilled onions and a salsa bar that includes a tasty habanero salsa to mix in with the salsa roja. Cheap, fast, tasty and friendly -- either.

                Zankou Chicken -- their garlic paste makes anything taste fantastic. The rotisserie chicken can be amazing or a bit overcooked, but with tasty strips pulled off with crispy skin and a smear of that garlic paste inside a pita -- one of the superlative dishes in L.A.

                The best dive bar, philly cheesesteak, and especially the best burger are all in the same place -- Philly West on Westwood just south of Santa Monica Blvd. Parking in the back. Cheesesteaks or burgers for about $5. Both compete for the best in town, especially for value.

                Diddy Riesse -- the 25-cent cookie place -- now three for a buck. Just down from UCLA. Good ice cream sandwiches with a scoop between your choice of cookies.

                Stan's Donuts -- heavy and expensive, but interesting flavors and Westwood history.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nosh

                  Well if you're going to Zankou, you should try their shwarma, which is pretty darned good.

                  On Sawtelle, which is referred to above, Hurry Curry of Tokyo has Japanese curry for reasonable prices.

                  Also on Sawtelle you might also want to check out Furaibo for good lunch specials. It's an even better place to go for late night beer and Japanese-style chicken wings.

                2. I don't know what kind of food you want--but a thought came to me as I was reading the other comments. If you are going with somebody go to 25 degrees(really good burgers) at the Rosevelt Hotel, it's historical, beautiful and the lobby area is great for a drink afterwards. If you are going solo then I would go with bite bite suggestion-farmer's market/grove...good people watching and you can always see a movie by yourself...

                  1. If you can get into the SFV and into chatsworth, Head to woodlands Pure. Great breakfast/lunch buffet. fabulous dinners. Amazing prices. Vegetarian Indian, with dosas aplenty. If you spend even near $15 for an entire stuff yourself silly meal for one, I'd be amazed!

                    You can also eat like a king for less than $15 in Little Ethiopia on Fairfax, just a bit south of the Peterson Automotive Museaum and LACMA Any resteraunt except meals By Genet is reasonable. her food is good, but a little higher priced. I like Rahel best, but Messob is good, too.

                    1. Wow, thank you guys for all the suggestions! I'll look into it some more and see what my sisters are up for.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DougOLis

                        Lots of great places to go up here in L.A. I recommend...Pinkberry! Lots of locations around the westside. Excellent cool treat. :) Theres also Tito's Tacos, the best cheap eats in my opinion. Located on Washington Blvd., off Sepulveda. Oh theres also Damon and Pythias, which offers soups, salads and sandwiches, all made to your liking. Its right in Westwood Village. God, there's so many to think of huh?

                        1. re: DougOLis

                          Oh oh, I just thought of one more you have to hit for breakfast or brunch, The Griddle Cafe on Sunset and Fairfax, it is a little ways away. http://www.griddlecafe.com/ They have the best omelets and pancakes I have ever eaten. Lots of interesting, unique combinations and you can totally share your meals, HUGE, GINORMOUS portions! :) good people watching too :)