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!).
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).
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.
$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.
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.
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 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.
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!