HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Favorite places to eat at often

I eat out frequently and have yet to find many restaurants that fit the need for a tasty, all around menu that is reasobnably priced. I am not looking for ethnic here - nor am I looking for a diner or coffee shop. Maybe a place with fresh, delicious food and a varied menu that is consistently good and has entrees under $20. I live in West L A, but Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Brentwood, Beverly Hills would all be fine.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Nook is always my fallback option when I run out of places to eat.

    3 Replies
      1. re: donnival

        Nook Bistro, in the back corner of the minimall on the S/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry, a block east of Barrington. I think just about everything on the menu is $20 or under (except the ribeye steak) and are generously sized and include sides. You can eat a satisfying dinner for less with their gourmet burger, the mussels, or the mac'n'cheese and a ceasar salad. Their menus, including prices, are online on their website: www.nookbistro.com

        1. re: westsidegal

          Second for 26 Beach. Great burgers and salads.

        2. My fallback places tend to be Italian (does that count as ethnic) --- in Beverly Hills I like Il Pastaio. If you are willing to drive to West Hollywood definitely check out Vivoli Café & Trattoria.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Obessed

            Il Pastaio was good 8 Years ago... the quality just keeps getting worse and worse... had the misfortune one day of overhearing an inspector from the health dept. too....

          2. The Kitchen, hands down.
            A little bit out of your area listed above, but completely worth the extra driving miles.
            4348 Fountain (at Sunset)

            1. Bella Roma SQPR
              1513 S. Robertson Blvd
              Los Angeles, CA 90035
              (310) 277-ROMA
              Just South of Pico Blvd

              Consistently good. Bravo Roberto!


              1 Reply
              1. re: RicRios

                I agree with the Nook, but you can't go during prime hours without a reservation. Many years ago, when we lived in the South Bay, we used to go with our son to the Kettle. I wish there was an analogous restaurant in Santa Monica/West L.A. to drop in for something.

                1. re: J.L.

                  Metro fits the bill 100%. Casual, reasonable prices, solid food, nice Euro-options, great staff, easily accessible.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    I am intrigued by Metro Cafe, but I have no idea what to order. S & W is my favorite breakfast place, and I like Hu's, Thai Boom, or Victor Jr.'s for casual lunches or dinner. If I'm going to go for pasta, I need to try Brunello's. What is best and special at Metro? Which meal is most interesting or the best value? Their burgers and sandwiches and even egg dishes are all around $10, the top-priced steaks are in the mid-$20s -- they have a goulash and some other pastas in the midteens -- is that the way to go? I'm not usually thrilled by dinner entree salads...

                    1. re: nosh

                      Some of the things we have had and liked include:

                      Serbian Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, red peppers, olive oil, red vinaigrette, salt, fresh ground pepper, feta cheese, Mushroom Ragu With Rigatoni, Lamb Osso Bucco with pappardelle, Skirt Steak with grilled vegetables, Chicken In Spinach And Mushroom Sauce + their Serbian Sausage Plate that I am not going to attempt to spell but it starts with the letter C and I just point to it so as not to embarrass myself by slaughtering its correct pronunciation.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Servorg's list of likes pretty much sums it up, plus their burger ain't half-bad either - our two kids split that one, and the folks at Metro always throw in some extra fries, knowing that munchkins chew through fries like termites on wood. The schnitzel is perfect (to me, it's like a Euro-tonkatsu, or maybe tonkatsu is a Nipponified schnitzel).

                        I am a recent lamb convert so I've yet to try their lamb dishes - if Servorg says the lamb osso bucco is on his list, then it's a slam-dunk.

                        Veteran poster Dommy recently wrote up her breakfast visits to Metro - I rarely go out for breakfast, but the next time I do, it will be there:


                        Oh yeah - the Serbian sausage dish Servorg is referring to is Chevapchichi - definitely for carnivores. I'd guess it's a combo of chopped up beef and lamb (not ground in texture), diced onions, parsley, and somewhat lighter on the seasonings than I expected, but still very good. They're kinda rare on the inside so just a heads-up if you're expecting something else.

                        As far as dining goes, Metro is casual, but I think you'll feel it's a step up from Hu's, Thai Boom, or Victor Jr's. Nothing wrong with those places - I like them as well - but the service, plating, etc., is definitely better, as well has having some decent beer and wine choices. This is the kind of place you would go to if you feel like having more of a dining experience with good European-based food choices, while keeping the tab in check...

                        I've only eaten at Brunello's once so far, but our experience there was very good. The pasta is perfect - I didn't ask, but if I had to guess, either they are making their own, or someone is for them. The only reason I haven't been back again since is because I rarely go to the neck of the woods nowadays. But they're definitely worth a try:


                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          The schnitzel is also very good, although not in any way a light meal:

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            Metro is one of those places we don't go to enough especially since everytime we go, we enjoy it immensely. My wife and I love lamb and we need to try that lamb dish. The service there is always so gracious too.

                            The burratta, goulash and chevapchichi are our faves. Last time we went, my wife and I were starving and we ordered all of the above and also got a bowl of mushroom soup and a third main, an oxtail ragu with rigatoni. One of the brothers was shocked at how much we ordered and was methodically eating while chatting away..

                            We told him, we loved the food and any leftovers would be just a bonus. He told us dessert was free if we could finish everything. Well, we really were planning on taking home leftovers and usually hate those kinds of free offers since it smacks of a challenge instead of just enjoying the food. But we actually were hungry and was catching up with each other after a long week. Next thing you know we were only a few bites from cleaning everything.

                            Even though we told him not to worry about the dessert and just bring us coffee, he brought it anyway. It was a great fun casual evening to help get over a tough week and we tipped very heavily.

                            I'm glad this thread reminded me of that place, we definitely need to go more, might be dinner tomorrow night. Get the lamb and schnitzel.

                            1. re: Jase

                              sounds great, and you know what, i've never been there before.

                              You're talking about Metro Diner right, do they have hungarian dishes on one side of the menu and american diner dishes on the other. anyone have an address and does it have a website?

                              what are the entree prices in the high teens?

                              1. re: kevin

                                They intermingle the Serbian dishes with the other dishes, (sort of a Continental menu if that term is still in use). Prices are low to high teens. Great, friendly neighborhood place. For a website visit the place link below.

                                Metro Cafe
                                11188 Washington Pl, Culver City, CA 90232

                    1. re: Servorg

                      3 Square is solid - I think it's a great place to take those who may be a little uninitiated about Venice and the level of good reasonably-priced food that can be found around here. My one qualm is the square-footage/guest ratio there. This issue alone makes me want to vote yes on Prop 2...

                    2. Metro Cafe as previously mentioned and seconded-- really good Central European food.

                      El Brunello Trattoria on Washington Blvd in the eastern portion of Culver City near La Cienega -- has had several positive write ups on the Board of late

                      La Dijonaise in the Helms Bldg in Culver City -- reliable, reasonable bistro food

                      Hop Li is a good everyday Chinese place -- on Pico

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: NAspy

                        We truly enjoyed a lunch at Brunello a couple of weeks ago and agree that they are a viable place for this thread's list. The food was solid and the service was very attentive except for one little gaff, which they were extremely apologetic about and overly compensated us for. Based on our experience, they really really want you to be a satisfied guest:


                        1. re: NAspy

                          Thankfully there's 'Hop Li'...I won't eat anywhere in the city unless the place has an "A"...been burned one too many times without the "A".
                          I went to pick up 'take-out' a few months ago and they had a "B" in the window....ugh.
                          They apparently closed for awhile...and reopened with brand new state of the art kitchen...I actually witnessed the beautiful stainless steel kitchen. Great food IMO unless someone knows of great Chinese food somewhere else....this tends to get subjective though, doesn't it?

                          1. re: latindancer

                            Sorry, can't help; most of my faves have Cs...

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              I agree. When I see that bright red "C", I jump for joy.

                              Also, it's pretty cool considering that a C grade is very rare these days.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                Yup, A ratings and great chinese food is almost mutually exclusive

                          2. Give Enzo & Angela a try. Small trattoria upstairs at Wilshire/Barrington. Lots of fresh specials and friendly, husband and wife run place. Also Nic's in BH has a new 3-course $21 price fixed menu on Mondays. One of the best oyster dishes in town.

                            1. bossa nova on pico on the westside is a good place to grab an inexpensive meal. their portions are large - you can share or take home leftovers for lunch the next day. they have lots of options - pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, brazilian grilled meat plates, appetizers, etc. an added bonus is that it stays open until 4am.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: trishyb

                                u have a number and address to this place?

                                1. re: Poeticalmath


                                  Bossa Nova Brazilian Cuisine
                                  10982 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                              2. Larsen's in Encino for sliders.
                                Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks for shawarma.
                                4 on 6 in Encino for great, well-priced sushi.

                                1. we've eaten at the Library Alehouse on Main in SM 3 times this week alone. the turkeyburger (no, really) is big, juicy, and flavorful. mashed potatoes are admittedly a bit heavy, but fries are good, and they've got a killer beer selection.
                                  2 people, 1 drink each, 1 burger each (turkey and ahi) = $35.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jdwdeville

                                    Brent's Northridge. Good old standby anytime.