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Lunch in Santa Monica without donating a nut?

Any affordably lunch spots in the Santa Monica / West LA / Venice area. I'm going to be taking out three people on a slightly tight budget (looking for a place no more than 10-15 a person). HELP!!!!

Any type of food. Sit-down preferred. I was thinking places like:

Il Forno
El Torito
Outdoor Grill
Manpuku (Tokyo BBQ)
(The Counter, if the wait outside wasn't an hour--in and of itself--at lunch)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Monte Alban for Oaxacan. On SM Blvd. just east of Bundy on the north side of the street.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      The thought of El Torito is nauseating! I second the motion on Monte Alban... far, far, far, FAAAAAR superior food to El Torito for LESS money.

      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        Try the goat (barbacoa de chivo) at Monte Alban. A revelation.

        1. re: ozhead

          I sure have =) Its almost as good as Birriera La Barca's goat birria tacos.

      1. re: fdb

        Although, I'm a ruthlessly loyal Il Forno fan, the menu looks tempting. I might have to try this Fritto Misto sometime. Any menu suggestions? It aaaaaaall looks really good.

        1. re: WORX4FUDE

          Can't recall exactly but there is a salad with goat cheese, and the raviolis. More if I can remember later....

        1. re: recovering_vegetarian

          Based on culinary deliciousness... how can you recommend Border Grill over Monte Alban?

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            I didn't recommend Border Grill over Monte Alban. It's just another option in the OP's price range/location. And I happen to like it.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Fritto Misto's fantastic! Hands down my favorite reasonably priced Italian in the LA area. Try the Santa Fe Ravioli or the Atomic Pasta.


          2. The Lazy Daisy on Pico is a nice place for lunch on a sunny day. It's nothing fancy but it's inexpensive.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fiercekitten

              I'm sorry, but I've found that place to be FAR more expensive than it's worth. Il Forno, down the street, provides pasta that's four times better for half the price. Lazy Daisy IS cute, though. =)

            2. Le Marmiton
              Library Alehouse
              Rustic Canyon has a great menu, and not too $$$, can be done without wine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yogachik

                If it is on a week day, how about Lilly's or Joe's on Abott Kinney in Venice. Both have Prix Fix lunch menus. Lillys is something like 11 bucks while Joe's is 15.00.

              2. Baby Blue's BBQ in Venice! Lunch specials....very good deals. I like their pulled pork, their mac and cheese and the grilled corn on the cob with Cotija cheese.....with the XXX sauce!

                I also like Blue Marlin (Japanese-Italian fusion) on Sawtelle. They have great $7.95 lunch specials...i like the fried chicken with the citrus ponzu dipping sauce.

                Monte Alban is great too. I like their carne sampler thing....with the different meats.

                Yeah, Fritto Misto is great...they have a daily special which is usually worth checking out and is inexpensive. Parking can be a pain at times though. Last time I had the pumpkin ravioli....but that was seasonal I think.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Xericx

                  I 2nd Blue Marlin... Sawtelle Kitchen can also be done for that amount... and also the old school Sushi place (that looks like something out 1950's Hawaii) is as well.

                  1. re: Xericx

                    My favorite at Blue Marlin are spaghetti with mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and uni omrice (omelette rice with sea urchin sauce). You get a salad and bread with your order. Their daily specials are also interesting and great value.

                  2. Father's Office if it's a boozy lunch...good selection of beer and wine, plus good burgers.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: keslacye

                      Don't think they open until 5 PM. Boozy and LATE lunch.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        I think they changed to noon opening time on the weekends.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          A burger at FO starts at $12 or more and you haven't even begun to add fries, tax, drinks, tip, etc...

                          1. re: nosh

                            nosh - think you meant this for keslacye. No?

                    2. For sitdown with table service, perhaps The Shack on Wilshire at 25th or so. Huge burgers in all configurations, daily specials, all sorts of sandwiches for well under $10. Sides of fries or onion rings could certainly be shared.

                      Nook Bistro is hidden in the back corner of the minimall on the S/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry, a block east of Barrington, just into W.L.A. They do a great combo ceasar salad and their fantastic mac'n'cheese at lunch for under $10. Also fine soups, salads, wraps, and bowls for under $10 -- their haute burger runs $12 but comes with fries. Great service, easy free parking, but I'm not sure they take reservations for lunch.

                      Counter ordering and very basic decor, but really good, tasty, fresh, inexpensive food at the new 10th Street Cafe, on the S/E corner of Wilshire at 10th. Run by the folks from Santa Monica Seafood, and will eventually be their new location. Spicy tuna burger or fish'n'chips for under $10, wonderful clam chowder, daily fish specials for about $13. If the chow is the focus, you should definitely check this place out -- parking in the back.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nosh

                        I went to your 10th St. Cafe and it was ROCKIN.... thanks!

                        1. re: WORX4FUDE

                          Hey, Worx -- I made a huge mistake over the weekend and tried out the awful chinese special at Chopstix rather than getting a great bowl of clam chowder at 10th Street! Never again. Saw your page and noticed you like Shadowbrook -- do you have a Santa Cruz connection? Email me...