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Weekday Lunch Places in Santa Monica - 5th and SM

So, I switched jobs a few months ago and now I work on 5th and SM. I need some variety in terms of lunch options. So far, places that I patron:

Border Grill ($10 bar lunch specials)
10th Street Cafe
Bay Cities
Jack N' Jills
Fred Segal cafe

What else is around that's good tasting and doesn't break the bank. Anyone know of any decent Pho or Vietnamese near the promenade? A good burger (barney's doesn't count)?

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  1. If you stick to the lunch specials, Fritto Misto (6th and Colorado) has pretty good food for a reasonable price. There are usually 2 or 3 daily specials which include pasta and a salad, plus every day there is a special that varies with the day of the week. The regular dishes can be a little more expensive, but are definitely enough to take home.

    Ninjin next door has decent sushi and Japanese lunch specials (although I think it would run you more like $12).

    Cha Cha chicken is great when the weather is nice, but a little farther away (Pico and Ocean).

    1. Buddha's Belly
      Anisette (pricey, but you can do it on the lower side)
      Joe's Pizza
      Richie Palmer Pizza

      1. Decent Pho near the promenade ?? I don't think there's any decent Pho west of downtown LA. Santa Monica may be a foodie neighborhood but it sucks for Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean (No, I don't consider Chinois real Chinese). Even for Japanese food, you want to stay east of Bundy (there are a couple of exceptions).

        Houston's has a pretty tasty burger. I like the veggie dishes at Falafel King. Joe's Pizza has good slices although I prefer Abbot's. Also I do recall eating a tasty brunch at Jinky's on 2nd. For the most part though in downtown Sammo, you're either eating high-end or you're eating tourist crap.

        1. I agree with Buddha Belly and Ninjin since it's so close. Wahoos on Wilshire b. 4th & 5th is cheap and pretty quick. Also, there used to be a Wild Oats with a lot of prepared foods Wilshire @ 5th, but it may be a Whole Foods now. Anyone been?

          1. Head up to Wilshire & 5th for healthy fare at Newsroom Cafe. Then pop into Vanilla Bake Shop a couple doors down for Cupcake Babies or Icebox Dessert Shots--tiny portion, less guilty. :)

            1. On the north side of Wilshire at 9th is The Slice. I was unimpressed with the sausage slice I sampled there a couple of weeks ago -- pretty bland. But the staff was very pleasant and they have some outside tables on a little patio that could be nice in good Santa Monica weather. They offer a small selection of pastas, sandwiches (eggplant or chicken parm, sausage), salads, and calzones for under $10.

              I agree with your mention of the 10th Street Cafe, run by the Santa Monica Seafood folks. Good basic seafood in a no-frills basic room. Do you know if and when they plan to close to renovate for the inclusion of the seafood market to integrate with the cafe?

              Houston's makes a decent burger, but it is well over $10. And beware of the unadvertised mustard they automatically put on the bun.

              Bay Cities is a great choice. Besides the deli sandwiches, they offer several standard items (meatball subs, lasagna) as well as daily specials that include a couple of sides for under $10. And at lunch, while the cold sandwich side is packed and backed up bedlam, there is barely a wait for the hot items on the side closer to the entrance.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nosh

                I was in 10th street the other day, they said they'll be open another 3 months or so and then remodeling for the rest of the year.

                I've been to Buddha's belly, but it seems to me far inferior to the one on Beverly.

              2. Kaido has good and reasonable lunch specials. Strip mall on SM Blvd and Stanford. Closer than Sawtelle Blvd for good Japanese. Sushi, sashimi, tempura and tonkatsu are pretty good here. Great service.

                The Counter has a good burger, not as good as the hype. But go early for lunch, or eat at the counter.

                For Vietnamese, if you really have to have it, I would recomment Le Saigon or Pho 99, but nothing special here. And a bit far from the Promenade. The nearest good Pho is in Lawndale, Saigon Dish.

                1. Yangtze on the Promenade is pretty good for Chinese.
                  Bay Cities has a terrific eggplant parmgiana sandwich -- but it's not available every day. Agree the Counter has just okay burgers, but the sweet potato fries are so good, it's worth going just for that. Outside of Father's Office-- which is not open for lunch -- I don't think there are a lot of great burgers around Santa Moinca these days.
                  If you like hole-in-the-wall Mexican, Pancho's on Lincoln has a good jumbo burrito.
                  Personally I like the King's Head for fish n' chips, but I know it's not for everyone.

                  1. Il Forno Caffe does good lunch specials. http://www.ilfornocaffe.com

                    Monsoon on the Promenade has decent Japanese fare and lunch specials, but be sure to order light oil (otherwise they drench it), and stay away from the sushi.

                    STAY AWAY from Ma'Kai, as I just had a horrible dinner there last week.

                    1. there's no Pho in Santa Monica.

                      Sham is pretty good.

                      Bay cities is great. You can order online to pick up when you arrive, so you don't need to pull a ticket and wait.

                      As someone else said, Cha Cha Chicken might be too far away, but it's worth a trip. Also Cora's Coffee Shoppe.

                      I also like Jinky's on Second for lunch.

                      what about the new tapas place, Pinxto? Do they do lunch?

                      1. Oh, and don't forget Tacos Por Favor on Olympic at 14th.