Lunch in West LA
I will be working at a law firm this summer in West LA. One of the best perks is a summer full of lunches provided by the firm. I'd love to hear any suggestions that you might have - anything from quick lunches in the area to nicer places to try. The attorneys will likely choose the spots we go to most of the time, but I'd like to have some good suggestions to offer as well. I'm a vegetarian so some sort of vegetarian option is a must, but does not have to be the focus of the restaurant. Thanks!
Oh yeah! Forgot to mention that.
re: veg options on Sawtelle - you will be pretty limited if you are a true vegetarian or vegan, since most Japanese places use a lot of fish.
That said, there are a few options, and I'll post some suggestions for veg eats on Sawtelle:
* gr/eats - has good vegetarian and vegan options, as well as non-veg options. I like the veg paella a lot - it's not a true "paella", but it's very tasty. The food isn't like OMG amazing, but I like it.
* Tofu-ya - Soon tofu restaurant. Despite the name, most Korean "soon tofu" places are not at all vegetarian friendly, even when they have names like "tofu house" that sound so promising. They will do the mushroom soon tofu w/o the beef, and with veg broth. They might be lying, but it hasn't made me even a little sick so far, so I think it's legit. Of the banchan they'll put out on the table, the kimchee and fish cakes are /not/ vegetarian (fish); the cucumber pickles, cold noodles (japchae), and bean sprouts are, as far as I've been able to ascertain. They will give you an egg whether you want one or not, but you can send it back if you don't want it.
* Blue Marlin - Went here for lunch with some co-workers. They will be happy to prepare a lot of the spaghetti dishes vegetarian, but you MUST SPECIFY when you order, even if the dish has an asterisk indicating that it can be made vegetarian - mine came with shave bonito, possibly chicken stock, and butter. The curries are not vegetarian.
* Yashima - The Sansai Soba that does NOT have broth is vegetarian. It's also pretty tasty. All of their regular broth is made with fish. I didn't ask whether the inari pockets are boiled w/ any sort of fish seasoning, but I imagine they are probably vegetarian. Staff seems fairly helpful and willing to accomodate vegetarians - just be sure to ask carefully about fish products. The tempura might be Ok too - I didn't try it since I don't eat egg and didn't want to try and find out whether they use egg in the batter or not.
Thanks so much for these recs! I've stayed away from tofu houses (and I live in K-town, so frustrating) so it's fantastic to know that there is an option. This is so helpful since I'll be in walking distance from Sawtelle. I don't do fish, and any fish sauce in a dish makes me sick, so it's good to have some go to options.
Is there any curry in the area that might be vegetarian? I'm thinking not, but there are so many curry houses around that area.
Assuming you're talking about Japanese style curry, that's a tough one. I think gr/eats (Giant Robot's restaurant) may have a vegetarian curry, but only at dinner - it's not on their normal lunch menu. Iso, an asian fusion type place in Westwood village has a (supposedly) vegetarian curry that's all right. Sometimes they have potato croquettes, or they can do it with tofu. I think they've kind of fallen off, but couldn't hurt to try if you're in the area. Not super nearby, but Buddha Belly (on Beverly) has a vegan Japanese style curry that I think is pretty tasty, if overpriced. The restaurant itself is meh, but once in a while, I crave their curry. Uh I think the Korean guy at the farmers market does a [ostensibly veg] curry, but not sure if he's still doing the Westwood farmers market (which is on Thursday afternoon, btw).
I've asked at Hurry Curry and Curry House, and I think they both have meat products of some sort in the curry roux. I asked at Blue Marlin, and they also do. I forget if I checked w/ Yashima. My friend claims one of either Curry House or Hurry Curry (can't remember which) has a curry that's vegetarian, but I'm not sure. If you find anything on Sawtelle, definitely let me know.
BTW, check out Beard Papa (for cream puffs) if you've never been.
Oh - there's also some stuff a bit north of there on Santa Monica Blvd - Le Saigon (Vietnamese) has one option which is veg w/ no fish sauce - I thought it was actually pretty tasty. Not that much in the way of good viet on the west side, but check it out. California Roll Factory, couple doors down, has a bunch of veg and vegan rolls. It's very uhhh... well my coworkers swear by it, but definitely (as the name implies) not a purist sushi place by any means.
I don't know where exactly you'll be, but I'll give a few suggestions in Westwood, where I work. You should post cross-streets so we have a better idea of what neighborhood you're in.
Since no one's mentioned it yet, definitely check out Native Foods in Westwood. Great vegan food that will still please non-vegetarians. If you're nearby California Vegan or the Vegan Joint, check them out, though not worth making too far of a trip for.
Also, South Street, the cheese-steak place in Westwood, makes a great vegetarian sandwich - broccoli rabe, pizza sauce, eggplant, mushrooms, grilled onion, cheese if you want it. Really tasty. And if you're near that area, there's a small falafel place on Gayley that's been mentioned on this board recently, which is also pretty good.
Le Pain Quotidien has good veg and non-veg open-faced sandwiches, their soups are always veg., usually have gazpacho in the summer time, bread is great.... prices are kind of high.
South of Wilshire, Shamshiri (mentioned elsewhere in this thread) and Sunnin are worth checking out for Persian and Lebanese, respectively.
For high end stuff, check out La Cachette. I wasn't that impressed when I went, but they do have good vegetarian options.
If you're near Santa Monica, check out Real Food Daily and Chandni.
Nook has a nice atmosphere and good comfort food. I also like the boiled peanuts they serve instead of bread.
11628 Santa Monica Blvd #9 (southeast corner of SM Blvd & Barry in a mini-mall)
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Il Moro is a popular lunch spot for all the lawyers in the nearby office buildings.
11400 Olympic Blvd. (entrance on Purdue, South of Olympic
)Los Angeles, CA 90064
Where in West LA (heck, if you're willing to say, which law firm?).
If you're working near the Century City Westfield mall where many law firms are, I'll suggest Roni's and Clementine.
Clementine gets a lot of talk on this board, almost all positive. Its two biggest drawbacks are it's very crowded at lunch and it's expensive ($10-15 for lunch). But everything around there is expensive, and the food quality there is higher. My favorite is the salad trio, where you just pick whichever three salads in the glass case look best to you. I love the beet salad, tuna macaroni salad, and cous cous. But everything is good.
Roni's is my fiance's suggestion. He eats out around there quite a bit and that's his favorite lunch spot. Lots of hearty burger style food, cheaper and bigger portions than most places around there.
Where in West LA, or would anywhere in west LA work for you?
A couple favorite lunch places of mine are Chaya Venice (sushi and fusion) and 26 Beach Cafe (huge menu), both in Venice. In Santa Monica, you should try The Ivy at least once and their famed grilled vegetable salad, and I also love their corn chowder. In Westwood, I love Tanino - very well done Italian. In Culver City, Tender Greens has great huge fresh salads - very casual place. Also in Culver City are Beacon (Asian), Bistro de L'Hermitage, and La Dijionaise (both sort of French, salads, sandwiches).