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Chow Challenge: $5 lunch on the Westside => Cent. City, Culv City, WLA, SM, Brntwd, Wstwd, MDR and Venice

Awhile back, someone asked for recommendations for $5 or less lunches in the Pasadena area. I'd like to extend the same plea for the Westside area. Any type of cuisine is welcomed!! I think I'd skip the fast food places except for In 'n Out.

Oh, and drinks not included (of course!).

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  1. Oooh love the challenge!

    Tempura House, a cute moms and pops take out restaurant on Sawtelle Blvd had daily bentos for $5. It comes in two plastic boxes, one filled with rice and the other filled with a variety of yummy stuff. They seem to change the contents daily so I never know exactly what will be in them. But generally there's some sort of fish, meat, stewed vegetable, fishcake, pickled vegetable, tamago yaki, and of course two cute edamame pods. Good stuff!

    1. $5 cemitas from the Cemitas Poblanas truck parked just west of Venice and Clarington. The tacos there are cheap and good, too.

      Mitsuwa supermarket: The (small) bowl of ramen from Santouka is just over $5, but they have mini rice bowls for $3-something. Several bowls of noodles and other meal options from Sanuki are under $5.

      Falafel sandwich from Sunnin, $4.50. $5.50 gets you a Beef Shawerma.

      India Sweets and Spices have combo meals with rice, two items and a chapati for under $5. Around the corner at the Hare Krishna temple they sell food by the pound. Not great chow, but cheap.

      1 Reply
      1. re: WBGuy

        You could just eat the prepared sushi at the Mitsuwa market as well.

        While we're talking about ramen, Ramenya on Olympic is just a shade over $5 also.

        11555 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      2. The often mentioned Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica has a Poor Boy sandwich for $4.35, bologna, cotto salami,swiss cheese with the works; mayo, mustard (yellow, honey or dijon), onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, Italian dressing & mild or hot pepper salad. For $5.75 you can get their best sandwich, the Godmother: genoa salami, mortadella
        coppacola, ham, prosciutto, provolone with the works. Their bread is baked on the premises, several times a day, and is terrific.


        5 Replies
        1. re: Nukedli

          Go to Whole Foods, buy a head of organic romaine lettuce for about 2 dollars. Then go to El Pollo Loco and buy two thighs to go = 2$. Go home and put the thigh meat on the salad and add dressing.

          1. re: Iateitup

            Heck, if you wanna include supermarket items, might as well go to Costco and get the $4.99 whole roast chicken.

            Skip the lettuce. :)

            1. re: WBGuy

              Well, if you're going to Costco you can get:

              3 hot dogs plus
              3 drinks

              for around 5 bucks. Or two hot dogs, two drinks and two large churros.

              1. re: WBGuy

                or head to tj's for one of their pre-packaged salads.

            2. re: Nukedli

              Second the Poor Boy with the works and Hot Peppers! And raise you one with Waho's 1 Fish Taco combo with rice and beans..

            3. The regular salads at Tender Greens are $5 exactly, they're a nice size, and they come with a slice of garlic toast.

              1. El Super Taco - WLA - 11923 Santa Monica Blvd. (310) 312-6260
                $1.00 (or are they $1.10 now?) Tacos, Torta Cubana $4.99, easily accomplished here.

                Philly West - Westwod-ish - 1870 Westwood Blvd., (310) 474-9787
                Several Sandwiches under $5.00.

                Bella Pita - Westwood Village - 960 Gayley Ave., (310) 209-1050
                Falafel or Beef Wooshie $4.00. Actually the beef wooshie is a thin layer of spiced ground beef cooked inside a double pita sized sandwich pocket which they cut in half. Stuff them full from the condiment bar and its alot of food. (I thinky they have a vegan option for $3,25) If your really on a starving student budget, 2 people could split it and dine for $2.00 each, or $1.63 each for the vegan option.

                p.s. - They have a sister restaurant called "Westwood Burgers & Falafel" that they're converting over to the Bella Pita menu that is alot more accessable "right" next door, or on, a parking lot @ 1945 1/2 Westwood Blvd., (310) 475-4070

                If you ever get the hankering for that simple baseball food you had as a kid, they you can get the Diddy Dog Special - all beef hot dog w/ 16 oz. drink, add a bag of patato chips and an ice cream sandwich for dessert, and your out the door for $3.75 (approx.). @ 926 Broxton Ave., Westwood Village (310) 208-0448.

                1. Taco places seem a good bet:
                  Tacomiendo - $5 for a torta or a basic burrito. $1.75 per taco. About $5 for a hamburger.

                  11462 Gateway Blvd. in W. LA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: igj

                    I checked out Tacomiendo a couple weeks ago -- tacos are now $2 and burritos $5.50.

                    1. re: nosh

                      That's a shame. They always seemed right on the cusp of cheap enough for the quality; that might push me over the edge. Then again, Mexican, but non-Oaxacan, options in W. LA are slim in that price range.

                  2. $5 Express Lunch (has to be taken to go) at Buon Giorno Caffe: 1431 Santa Monica Blvd (menu includes pastas, salads with chicken, paninis)

                    3 Taquitos (comes with guacamole and sour creme, salsa) for $5.41 at Taco's Por Favor

                    Slice of pizza, drink, and small salad at The Slice on Wilshire at 10th in SM for $5.50

                    2 Tacos at Pancho's Tacos on Lincoln Blvd at Ashland.

                    1. Chutney's at Barrington & Pico has a lunch special for $2.99. It's two pieces of tandoori chicken with naan & salad. For an extra $2.00 you can get a mango lassi.

                      1. The Thai Mex Barbecue at the Thursday Century City Farmer's Market offers a chicken salad (very good grilled chicken on mixed greens) for $5. Don't forget to add some of their excellent peanut sauce.

                        1. japanese restaurants in the mitsuwa have a few sub 5 dollar options, including stuff like udon and soba. ramen is just above 5...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: modernist

                            I was just going to suggest the Mitsuwa food court. They just opened 2 new stands with lots of options. Although I would opt for the $5.99 ramen bowl at Sontouka for sure!

                            1. re: CarlieInLA

                              At bay cities, you can get a slice of the chicken parmesan for $4.99 and add a medium roll for $0.30.

                              La Playita has burritos for $3.50.

                              Spumoni on Montana has a side of meatballs that is served with a disk of bread for something in the neighborhood of $3.

                          2. Ah, the $5 lunch on the westside! These are some of the favorites in my rotation:

                            Taqueria Sanchez -- Centinela south of Washington -- A shrimp taco ($1.65), an al pastor and a carnitas ($1.25/ea), served with chips and their good salsa bar.

                            Zankou Chicken -- Sepulveda south of Santa Monica Blvd -- A half rotisserie chicken served with pita and their amazing garlic sauce goes for slightly over $5, but a whole chicken is about $9 so go with a friend.

                            Cheng Du -- the former Chungking is on Pico east of Barrington and the former Panda Cave is on Westwood north of Santa Monica Blvd -- Some of the lunch special combos are just under $5 (chicken chop suey) and some just over (Mongolian beef), served in big portions with a decent egg roll and the best hot'n'sour soup around.

                            Tommy's Burgers -- hut on Gayley just south of In'and'Out -- double-cheeseburger combo is larger than In'and'Out and slightly less expensive. Beware of the chili, however, gloppy and tasteless.

                            If you can add a couple more dollars, I'd suggest:

                            Philly West -- dive bar on Westwood south of Santa Monica Blvd -- Good cheesesteaks, but my favorite burger in town -- slightly above $5 and add tip.

                            Hu's Szechwan -- National and National -- deluxe lunch combos include soup, a really nice light Chinese chicken salad, and a large entree. I like the twice-cooked pork, the eggplant (if I'm sharing with a friend) and they just added a good kung pao chicken.

                            Victor Jr.'s -- north side of Washington across from the studio -- good meatball sub or eggplant parm sandwich.

                            Markie D's -- Washington just east of Sepulveda -- huge tasty philly cheesesteak.

                            Also add my thumbs up to Bay Cities (especially the hot side, where there is never a long line), Bella Pita (though I'm surprised it is still around in its location of restaurant death), and El Super Taco. And throw in Tacos Por Favor, Thai Boom, and Togo's for huge fresh-made sandwiches.

                            1. In Venice: pizza slices at Abbot's Pizza on Abbot Kinney are about $2.75 (also on Pico in SM); sausage sandwiches at Jody Maroni's on the boardwalk are under $5 and you can add a drink and fries for about $2 more; Tortilla Grill also on Abbot Kinney has a bunch of options under $5; lunch specials at Wacky Wok at Washington Blvd and Abbot Kinney or Thai Beer east of Lincoln on Washington (technically Marina Del Rey).