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Inexpensive nr Olympic & Sawtelle-dinner

Going to The Olympic Collections Center for a meeting, Have to drive across town so we get on the road at 3 and arrive 4:30 or so then get a bite to eat before the meeting at 6:30. Am trying to avoid Boston Market and the like. So far, Sofia (sp?) in the Westside Pavillion has been good. Trying to suggest new places to my friends as we do this once a month or so. Any place in the general area is good as long as we can park we don't mind a short drive. Just trying to get the bulk of the driving done to beat the traffic.

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  1. Your best options would seem to be on Sawtelle, north of Olympic. You could go to Mizu 212 for Japanese shabu-shabu. You could go to Yakitoriya for yakitori. You could got Hide Sushi for cheaper sushi (cash only, about $25-35 per person). There are a number of other places on Sawtelle, some of which would qualify as cheap eats.

    Across from Westside Pavilion, you could go to Apple Pan for a burger and pie.

    On Westwood Blvd and Pico, you could go to Junior's Deli.

    Along Westwood Blvd, you could go to Sunnin for cheap, tasty Lebanese. Or you could try some of the Persian places on Westwood Blvd, which are all tasty and not too expensive.

    1. There's Ramen-ya on Olympic a few blocks west of Sawtelle for cheap and tasty ramen.

      1. The strip mall a bit north of the Olympic Collection offers:
        - Hurry Curry (japanese curry)
        - Blue Marlin (japanese-italian fusion, entrees are $9-15)
        - Little Hong Kong (although this place, last time I was around there, looked closed?)
        - Pho Reign
        - Tiny crepe place with mean mean proprietor but yummy crepes
        - boba place
        - a sushi place i've never tried
        - Restaurant 2117, which i've also never tried, but looks fancier than the rest

        A little ways up from there is Asahi Ramen, which has great, somewhat inventive ramen (i like the curry ramen), and delicious gyoza.

        And if you're feeling festive, Furaibo is a fun izikaya -- beer, sake, small plates.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tannazie

          great suggestions....i really like the food at blue marlin.

          as for little hong kong cafe, they will be closed for a lil bit to fix damage caused by a small fire.

          1. re: tannazie

            I quite like Blue Marlin, esp. their spaghetti options (mmmm, mentaiko spaghetti with ika) and their home-made croquettes. Hurry Curry also has japanese spaghetti, though I find their a bit inconsistent (used to love them, but last few times were kind of disappointing-- dryish pasta, smaller portions) Both are right next door to the olympic collection, though, so would be super-convenient.

          2. Lots of good suggestions already. Within that center on the 2nd floor is a conveyer belt sushi place that has decent quality for excellent prices.

            Sawtelle Kitchen is a block and a half north on Sawtelle. There's also Curry House opposite the strip mall where Hurry Curry is. I and most people prefer Hurry Curry but CH is still pretty decent.

            A relatively short drive or decent walk would be Monta Alban on Santa Monica Blvd and Broxton? Good inexpensive Oaxacan.

            A closer walk would be Javan on Santa Monica Blvd.

            2nd the Furaibo rec. Definitely a fun place with friends to hang out while drinking and noshing. Along that vein of izakaya's there's also Nanbakan on the corner of SM blvd and Sawtelle. Or Terried Sake House and Sasaya on SM Blvd headed west.

            For Ramen, I'd prefer Ramen-ya over Asahi. IMO, better quality and definitely a wider selection of combinations.

            A little further west on Olympic past Ramen-ya is Tia Juana's. You can guess the cuisine from the name.

            South on Sawtelle and Pico is Big Tomy's. Gut bomb chili cheeseburgers if you're looking for extreme casual and inexpensive. Go west on Pico at that corner and you'll see SF Saloon a couple of blocks down. Good burgers and drinks at a relaxed bar.

            Depending on time of day, you're almost better off just parking and walking to most everything. With the exception of Monte Alban, everything mentioned is within 3/4 mile of that corner. Traffic around there can be maddening right after work.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jase

              Monte Alban is a good suggestion. Not to quibble, but they are on Santa Monica Blvd. at Brockton, a block or two east of Bundy. (Broxton is in Westwood Village.)

              If I recall correctly, S.F. Saloon has some happy hour specials. Some of the reviews on this board have lauded their burgers (they have a turkey-burger option) but a couple of posts have complained about seemingly rewarmed patties.

              As is often the case, your best choice may be Nook Bistro, which is in the back corner of a minimall on Santa Monica Blvd. and Barry, a block east of Barrington. I just checked their website, and to my surprise they open for dinner at 5 (I expected 6). You could have a glass of wine and share a bunch of starters: great mac'n'cheese, mussels, very good soups. They have an upscale burger but note that their large plates are very generous -- you may snooze through your meeting.

            2. for inexpensive Chinese in the area I like Hop Woo on Olympic and Sepulveda. BYOB (maybe not before a meeting) and good lobster and roast Duck specials. Dinner fcan be about the same price as Ramen, which would also be good for a lite inexpensive meal at Chabuya, Asahi, or Ramenya.

              1. Thanks for all these great suggestions. The mini--mall with Hurry Curry sounds especially great. I passed along the ones on the list by the 3:30 departure time (I didn't go today), but unfortunately the pedestrian majority had already chosen (we did have to refuse Boston Market in the past.) They went to Maria's Italian Kitchen on Pico. This is a small chain. I've eaten at the Santa Barbara once once (good chopped salad, horrible calzone.) My friend liked the sausage sandwich.

                Next meeting we will get to pick from these suggestions. I'm going to try Monte Alban either way.

                6 Replies
                1. re: coconutz

                  One more for future reference. La Talpa on Pico, just east of Barrington, has good old-school Mexican. Very good enchiladas, chili rellenos, and I love the flavor of their special asada taco. The prices are extremely reasonable. They also have free valet parking in back of the restaurant in an alley.

                  1. re: Jwsel

                    One of my neighborhood go-tos for Mexi-comfort food... but a note: the sign outside says The Talpa, just so noone gets confused looking for La Talpa (or El Talpa, as I have also heard it called).

                    Very friendly place; reliably OK food (this is not gourmet heaven, after all); beer and wine only, but they do make a decent enough margarita out of agave wine.

                    1. re: igj

                      For old-school steaks, try Billingslys (sp) on Pico (just west of Sawtelle). Sit in the shadow of the fish tanks and order the top sirloin, rare. Great stuff! I miss the Billingsly's in the Valley. :( :( :(

                      Note to self: learn how to spell "Billingslys".

                      1. re: CucumberBoy

                        It is Billingsley's. It is named after the "Beaver" mom. There have been positive reviews of the place for good-value old-time food. But ignorantly, trying to be helpful, I recently posted a suggestion for Billingsley's many under $25 steak dinner options on their website menu. And I got flamed. The few people who had tried their steaks uniformly said they are disappointing.

                        1. re: nosh

                          Thanks, nosh; what do those "few people" know about BILLINGSLEY'S anyway? LOL. It's been over a decade since I've eaten at the West LA restaurant; the one that used to be at the Van Nuys golf course was never as good, although I miss that room terribly. Two words: GREEN GODDESS.

                  2. re: coconutz

                    Hurry Curry is the best! Get the medium with rice and chicken cutlet. MMM.....

                  3. 2117 on Sawtelle is great. It is a bit fancier than the others but not expensive.

                    1. Another idea that is right down the street from the Olympic Collection: gr/eats

                      It is the casual and inexpensive restaurant run by the Giant Robot folks. More Japanese fusion, with numerous daily specials. They have a lot of seafood dishes and veggie options. They open for dinner at 5:30, so enough time to get a meal in before a 6:30 meeting--and a 5 minute walk from your final destination.

                      2050 Sawtelle Blvd


                      1. Places I've enjoyed on Sawtelle:

                        Ramenya - get the 'ajo ramen' if you're a garlic fan. This is GREAT. Maybe not so good before a meeting now that I think of it.

                        Tofuya - not as good as tofu places in ktown, but it's decent for westside. I usually get the soon tofu combo with a side of bulgogi if I'm starving, and I still end up getting leftovers.

                        Yashima - 3rd floor of Olympic collection. Soba/udon/tempura place. Casual, quiet, reasonably priced. I like their daily bento specials even though I've only tried Friday's. Servings are HUGE if you get a combo. Just don't go in expecting sushi.

                        GR/eats - The food here isn't mindblowing, but tastes fresh enough. I like their omu-rice there.

                        Blue Marlin - I'm not a big fan of uni, but their uni and spinach spaghetti was delicious.

                        Crepe Nazi - I forget what this place is called. Crepes 2 Go or something. It's a hole in the wall in the same place as Blue Marin and Tomato Bank. You'll know why people call him the Crepe Nazi once you see the place.

                        Asahi Ramen - It's okay, but the ramen at Rameny is definitely better.

                        1. i would go to shamshiri grill on westwood blvd just north of santa monica blvd.
                          be aware that their portions are huge, so order accordingly.