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May 17, 2007 06:41 PM

Cheap Eats in LA?

So my first post ever was about sushi. I quickly realized that all this time I was living in blissful ignorance. Urasawa? What is that? Quickly turned into, "Ohhh, looks lovely but perhaps after I save a bit..."

Once a professional but now a full-time student (i.e. zero cashflow). Sadly, my tastebuds cannot unlearn what little they know (b/c what little they know has at times felt like love to them and how can they say goodbye to that? : P). Need to ration out sushi nights. But what to do in the meantime?

Living-off-savings-and-student-loans type people unite! Let's share with each other what awesome cheap eats sustain us.

I'll start! (^_^)

1) Tito's Tacos (Culver City) - taco ($1.20), meat and bean burrito ($2.40), and the salsa (yum!)
2) Daily Wok (Gardena) - pho ($4.25), spring rolls ($2.25)
3) Ralphs (Marina Del Rey) - salmon and avocado sushi rolls ($6.25)
4) Whole Foods (Westwood) - milano panini ($6.99)

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  1. One of the things I love most about LA is that there are so many great inexpensive delicious foods! Great places get mentioned here all the time providing inspiration for's what comes up in a quick search:

    1 Reply
    1. re: hrhboo

      Hey, how do you edit your responses on this thing? I tried to edit a comment and it keeps posting it twice... : ( BOOO...

    2. the two best deals i've found are:
      1) the all-you-can-eat deal on falafal sandwiches that is offered by the hungry pocket on mondays and wednesdays.
      their sandwiches are fresh and great.
      the price was about $7 last year
      and if you have a little extra money they will squeeze some juice to order for you.
      they have the very best homemade piquante sauce in town, too. be sure to ask for it.
      Hungry Pocket 1715 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica 90405 Btwn 17th & 18th St Phone: 310-450-5335
      2) thai boom
      they offer their lunch special menu all day long.
      fantastic quality.
      fwiw, i love almost all their food except their noodle dishes. that leaves a TON of other terrific options.
      on venice blvd and midvale (west of overland)

      1 Reply
      1. re: westsidegal

        You've said two of my favorite words: "falafel" and "all-you-can-eat"... OK, the latter is not a word but a phrase but you know what I mean. Thanks for the info! I'd never even heard of Hungry Pocket! It sounds yummy, it's not too far from my house, and it's cheap. Lovely. : D

      2. Fortunately, I'm not confined to the student lifestyle, but we still need to be able to go out without breaking the bank. In the SFV, we do Swann Thai (Sherman Way & Coldwater), and get stuffed for under $20. Their small plates menu has amazing stuff for like $2.50 each! Also, Pho So 1 on Van Nuys - get a huge bowl of Pho for like $6. Two of us usually get out of there for $20 even with coconut juice & spring rolls.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alexfood

          Thanks for the tip! I will definitely look those places up (most likely the pho place - I am a pho fiend) the next time I'm in the SFV. Unfortunately, with gas prices the way they are, I may end up driving two bowls of pho and a spring roll's worth of gas getting there and coming back! : P

          1. re: alexfood

            Sherman Way is a cheap eats mecca. Anyone on a budget and with a taste for ethnic food should pay a visit. Krua is my regular Thai place but Swann is among several other excellent and inexpensive options. My new fave is el Hatuchay, a totally humble and welcoming Peruvian restaurant.
            High-end restaurants may be lacking in the Valley but we got the low-cost ethinic stuff in abundance.

            1. re: bodie

              El Hatuchay is very good but try Las Quenas, which is a couple blocks east, on Sherman and Bellaire, for even better -- and make sure to get ceviche with octopus in it, and if budget allows, leche asada for dessert. Both Las Quenas and El Hatuchay have "menus", which is two or three courses for a fixed price. First course is usually salad or papas a la huancaina, but you may get lucky.

              Also on Sherman Way: Sunshine Thai (Fulton-ish), Bua Siam (Coldwater Canyon), BBQ Unlimited [Cantonese] (Coldwater Canyon-ish), Pho 999 (Coldwater Canyon), Pollo A La Lena (Coldwater Canyon), Sanamluang Thai (Coldwater Canyon-ish), Khun Dang Thai (Fulton-ish).

              Nearby and worth it: Wat Thai (Coldwater Cyn/Cantara, weekend lunch only), Sri Siam (Coldwater Cyn/Vanowen), shepherd's pies at Mom's Place (Coldwater Cyn/Vanowen), Golden Fork/Zolotaya Vilka (Fulton/Vanowen), El Criollo Cuban (Fulton/Victory), takeaway from Vallarta Market (Victory/Ethel), Carnitas Michoacan (Victory/Coldwater Cyn), falafel sandwiches from Top Falafel (Victory/Coldwater Cyn, behind Uno's), Tasty Burger (Vanowen/Whitsett), Skaf's Lebanese Grill (Oxnard/Laurel Cyn).

              If you can't fill your belly for under $10 at any of these places (maybe $15 at the Cuban place), you're a way bigger eater than I am... and I'm not a little guy.

          2. Taste, quality, size for the money -- a must try no matter what budget.

            Tito's Market (Beef empanadas -- $1.10)
            9814 Garvy Ave.
            El Monte, CA 91733
            (626) 579-1893

            3 Replies
            1. re: JeetJet

              Minor correction: it should be "Garvey Ave." If you're in the SGV, we've a number of cheap places. I have some listed on my restaurant review website:

              1. re: raytamsgv

                You are right.My Thanks. From the 10 go South on Rosemead Blvd. Form the 60 go North on Rosemead. At Rosemead Blvd. and Garvey Ave go East on Garvey and Tito's will be on the right. The market is in the rear of the "U" shaped strip mall. Tito's subs and empanadas built the strip mall.

                Tito's Market (Beef empanadas -- $1.10)
                9814 Garvy Ave.
                El Monte, CA 91733
                (626) 579-1893

                1. re: JeetJet

                  I go to Monterey Park pretty often so will definitely swing by to try this place next time I do. Thanks! : )

            2. i don't know if i'll ever be able to afford urasawa.. but as of now (i am a grad student with zero cash flow) i LOVE sushi don in valley village (laurel canyon exit off the 101). 5 pieces of nigiri (2 albacores, 1 tuna, 1 yellowtail, 1 salmon) plus 5 pieces of any kind of roll you want (their blue crab rolls and scallop rolls are my favorite) for $8.95! they get their fish with their sister restaurant, sasabune.

              i also love sunnin lebanese cafe in westwood for their chicken kebab sandwich for $5.50!

              dino's burgers (pico near normandie) for their chicken maniaco for about $5.

              chutney's (pico x barrington) for their lunch specials. i think a quarter chicken plate is something ridiculous like $2.95. everything is cheap though. and GOOD.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jwn

                YAY! Fellow grad student!! You feel my pain. Furthermore, every single one of your suggestions sounds appealing and they're cheap! HOORAY! : D

                I cannot WAIT to try the sister restaurant of Sasabune place in Valley Village. Thanks!!! : )

                1. re: jwn

                  Update: I was in and out of town for a while but snuck in a trip to Sushi Don back in June and was blown away! So fresh and so cheap!! Can't thank you enough for the recommendation. Sooo happy to be back in LA. There are so many more places to try that y'all have so kindly suggested! : )