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Torrance lunch spots

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So it looks like I might have a new job in Torrance. What are the good reliable lunch spots near the Carson Street / Normandie vicinity?

I was brought to The Depot for the interview: nice businesss lunch setting, good seafood oriented menu that day, but a little pricy for eating on my own dime on a regular basis. I know Musha is in the vicinity, but don't know that it's open for lunch. Noticed a motley collection of Mexican / Japanese / Hawaiian / Italian places along Carson Street.

All cuisines and price recommendations are welcome, although I have a fondness for the ethnic holes in wall over the pricy frou frou places. Where are your regular lunch places in that area?

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  1. Can't go wrong with Mitsuwa Marketplace for eating lunch alone.
    Santouka Ramen, Curry, and a good Katsu place in there as well.

    Old Torrance (Cravens/Torrance/Carson) has some good places for a cheap bite.
    Ichimi-an (Soba-Udon) as well as Rudy's (Diner food) Biscuits n Sausage Gravy is cool for lunch sometimes.

    All within 2-3 min of Western and Carson.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ToroTaku

      Edge of Gardena is Jaybee's BBQ
      http://www.jaybeesbbq.com/
      15915 S Avalon Blvd
      Gardena, CA 90248

    2. Hong Kong Bakery & Deli
      Kind of fast food take out and some tables inside to eat at. Some dim sum items and Hawaiian plate lunches. Cheap.

      www.hkbakery.com
      21720 S Vermont Ave
      (SE corner at Carson
      )Torrance, CA 90502
      (310) 328-8353

      1. By Brazil used to be *the* go-to place for Brazilian buffet, but they took a significant dive in quality a couple of years ago. It might be worth giving it a shot, though.

        As mentioned, Santouka is a rock-solid pick.

        There's a Pakistani place on the SE corner of Carson and Vermont (haven't tried it yet). The pho place across the street from there is substandard.

        Los Paisas on Western is good for cheap Mexican. El Taco Loco #7 on Western, a real hole, for the 4-taco lunch special. La Capilla for sit-down, cheap-ish Mexican (the lunch special is usually a great deal). Acapulco Cafe (*NOT* the Acapulco chain) on Carson, east of Harvard/west of Normandie, solid sit-down Mexican diner food.

        New York Deli on Sepulveda, east of Crenshaw, for a surprisingly solid pastrami sandwich (for the South Bay, that is).

        The Yellow Basket at the corner of 182nd and Western gets an astounding amount of Toyota/Honda traffic.

        P.S. I'm still waiting for you to divulge your source of 50 lb. bags of Sir Lancelot! I can't get it at Restaurant Depot (over by Alpine Village, Torrance Blvd. and the 110) -- all they have is Harvest King, Power and Mondako...

        -----
        By Brazil
        1615 Cabrillo Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

        5 Replies
        1. re: Joe Blowe

          Thanks for the responses, everyone. Keep them coming.

          JoeBlowe, the only So Cal distributor for KA's Sir Lancelot is Goldberg & Solovy in Vernon. G&S is wholesale to the foodservice trade only, so I hope you have a way to get a cash & carry account. Be advised that Sir Lancelot has always been more expensive than the high gluten flour brands sold at Restaurant Depot. Expect to pay about 50% more for it than the brands at RD. Personally, I'm not convinced it's worth the difference to insist on Sir Lancelot at my level of baking.

          1. re: Professor Salt

            Thanks for the info. As you probably know, Restaurant Depot/Jetro is open to the trade only, and I managed to open an account there with my FEIN. If G&S requires more than that, then I'm outta luck. But, if you say that Lancelot may not be worth the premium, then that's good enough for me!

            Sorry everybody for the hijack, back to business...

            There's an Indian buffet on Carson, just east of Crenshaw. Haven't been yet, but I've heard good things about it.

            Freshia Market, NW corner of Crenshaw and Torrance Blvds., home to Kyochon and a few other take out places.

            Nijiya Market, NE corner of Van Ness and 182nd, may have the best prepackaged onigiri I've ever eaten. I have to go back and get the name of the brand.

            I just remembered there's a new pho place in the shopping center south of Wal-Mart, Normandie just south of 190th. Pho 66, Pho 77 something or other. Will have to hit that soon...

            I used to be a big fan of Menbei Ramen, over by Musha, but I think they may have headed downhill. Who cares, though, when you have Santouka!

            Shisen Ramen, SW corner of Western and Sepulveda, for paiko ramen and tantanmen.

            BCD Tofu sucks, IMHO. Best to go to Da Maat, 2814 Sepulveda Blvd. # G. Owned by the folks who run Cho Dang.

            http://www.yelp.com/biz/pollo-a-la-br...

            http://www.elpolloinka.com/html/locat...
            .
            .

            1. re: Joe Blowe

              BCD Tofu will do in a pinch, but I also prefer Cho Dang (the one in Irvine, anyway). I see there is also a Cho Dang in Torrance. Will have to give that one a shot.

              With the weather starting to cool off, I'm looking forward to trying Da Maat's soon tofu, thanks for the heads up.

              -----
              Cho Dang Tofu
              22549 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

            2. re: Professor Salt

              wow, never heard of ny deli before.

              1. re: kevin

                yeah. they have two locations within two blocks or so of each other and EVERYONE should get way stoked on them.

          2. I work in Carson and frequent that part of Torrance.

            Here are some other options:

            Three Brothers for Hawaiian style plate lunch. On Western below Sepulveda. I like their chicken katsu, teriyaki and sweet-sour.
            Katsuhana in the Mituwa Marketplace is famous for tonkatsu.
            Back Home Lahaina is on Carson near the 405. Great Hawaiian fried chicken.
            On Lomita W of Western is Gaja for okonomiyaki and Chantilly for great Japanese French pastries.

            1. New York Deli is great...there are actually two of them, about 1/4 mile apart from each other on opposite sides of Sepulveda. Their corned beef is always lean and delicious. Another hole in the wall place is Ramona's. They have one location on Crenshaw across the street from El Camino College, and another at the actual factory on Western near 135th (might be a little far for you.) Their beef and potato burritos (add cheese) can't be beat.

              -----
              Ramona's
              16300 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90504

              New York Deli
              2225 Sepulveda Blvd # 7, Torrance, CA

              New York Deli 2
              2424 Sepulveda Blvd Ste L, Torrance, CA 90501

              1 Reply
              1. re: kerryhb

                Definitely agree with New York Deli #2. Outstanding sandwiches (the pastrami is without equal). The quality of the food and service is always consistent, in part due to the owner being onsite at all times. In addition to a small takeout area they have a large dining area for lunch/dinner. When I get a pastrami craving I drive in from Orange County. Well worth the drive.

              2. Give Harry's Smoke House BBQ in Lomita and Bodacious Q in Carson some love, or would that be a reverse 'busmans holiday' for you?
                Country Touch Cafe on 190th might be a little far for lunch, I don't know. However, north of Torrance Blvd the major streets move faster through industrial parks.
                Eschbach's on Western gives great sub.
                Hannum Market on Sepulveda is slightly further that Freshia for Korean take out if that floats your boat.

                A little farther but not quite as far as Pollo A La Brasa, Nino's (shack) is good for Peruvian. Heck, El Rocoto on Artesia is closer and a much nicer room.

                11 Replies
                1. re: DiveFan

                  which is better harry's or bodacious? and do they both do beef ribs, which one has the better beef ribs?

                  1. re: DiveFan

                    Just found their menus, neither have beef ribs. I've been going to Bodacious for a long time and love their brisket. I've only been to Harry's twice but IIRC he makes a good pulled pork sandwich.

                    1. re: DiveFan

                      Divey, I couldn't google anything on Hannum Market. Do you have a cross street on Sepulveda for it? Do they have a food court a la Freshia and Mitsuwa, or is the take out food from the departments within the supermarkets?

                      How would you compare the Gardena Pollo a la Brasa location to their original K-Town store? Do they have the same rapid turnover so the chickens aren't sitting around getting crappier by the minute?

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        It's actually Hannam, better known locally as Market World. No food court, and really no take out except for panchan.

                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/market-world-...

                        Gardena Brasa kicks the L.A. branch up and down Vermont! And you usually have to wait a good, long time for chicken there...

                        1. re: Joe Blowe

                          Thanks for the update. Having to wait for chicken is a good sign that I'll be getting fresh off the rotisserie food. Really looking forward to smoky, wood roasted chicken and aji .

                          -----
                          Hannam Market
                          3030 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

                          1. re: Professor Salt

                            BTW, once you get settled down in your new job, if you wouldn't mind meeting for lunch to discuss your Komodo Kamado I'd be much obliged!

                            Let us know how the Torrance picks work out...

                            1. re: Joe Blowe

                              Sounds like a plan. Drop me a line professorsalt AT yahoo

                          2. re: Joe Blowe

                            One note on Hannam (Market World) - they have a great selection of pre-packed kim bap (Korean sushi). They get loads of it delivered from local shops every day. I think they have 6-7 different brands, and they're all fresh. They have beef, fishcake, and vegetarian varieties. They also have a nice prepared food section, especially if you get to the stuff when it's just made. And once in a while, they'll make a huge cauldron of ddok bokki and sell it for $1 a plate - my Korean friend says it's the best he's had in the US. The prepared food section is much more extensive than the same section at Freshia. When I worked in the area, I would sometimes just go pick up a few panchan and a couple of hot things and have a nice, cheap little lunch. :)

                          3. re: Professor Salt

                            Looks like you got your answers on Hannum Market, Pollo A La Brasa and the numerous Japanese options in Torrance.
                            As long as were talking the Gardena Vermont 'strip', I should mention some other possibilities:
                            - Gardena Bowl (Hawaiian)
                            - Bob's Okayuza (Hawaiian)
                            - Manolos (Mexican - cemitas!!)
                            Links to follow...

                            1. re: DiveFan

                              Sticking with Hawaiian and not too far away and still in Gardena is Bruddah's on Gardena Blvd - my personal vote for home away from home grindz.

                              1. re: DiveFan

                                Third the vote for Bruddah's, which also has some Filipino dishes :-).

                                -----
                                Bob's Okazuya
                                16814 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                                Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
                                15707 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                                Nino's Place
                                16104 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                                Birrieria y Taqueria Manolos
                                831 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

                          4. Now you're in my part of the world, Prof. For basic lunches, try the Torrance Bakery in Old Town Torrance for their sandwich deals (sandwich, chips, and cookie for about $6) or generous chef salad. They also have two or three hot items each day, and decent soup. Down the same block, on the other side of the alley, is a cute little coffee shop, good for breakfast type of foods, also very reasonable. Around the corner is Rudy's, your stereotype greasy spoon diner.

                            I'll second Mitsuwa, and add that Kappo Seafood is in that complex on the corner of Carson and Western. Avoid the Grand World Buffet - greasy pan-asian in its highest form. If you get dragged there, stick to the Mongolian bbq (made to order). At Alpiine Village, you can get decent cold cuts and bread for making your own sandwiches at the butcher inside the market (not at the deli counter). Don't forget that La Espanola is very nearby, and has a lunch menu (bolillos, etc.) every day; paella on weekends. I'll post more as I think of them. Welcome to the nabe!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: CynD

                              CynD: La Espanola has hot dishes for lunch? Really??? I've been there a few times to buy Jamon and recently paid an arm and a leg for Iberico but it was for a client. It definitely beat the Jamon Serrano they usually have in their window.

                              Paella... hmmm... must try.

                              1. re: ToroTaku

                                No, Torrance Bakery has hot dishes. La Espanola has bocadillos (I mislabeled those in my post above), although it's worth calling to see if they might have some hot dishes too.

                              2. re: CynD

                                I'd elaborate on Kappo Seafood a little bit. I was introduced to it by a Tokyo-based business associate, and I think it's extraordinarily good for a full-menu Japanese restaurant. It can be very spendy if you order sushi a la carte, but I have never had less than a great eating experience there.

                              3. Hi Professor Salt,

                                Definitely second many of the suggestions here. You now have access to some good Ramen (Santouka, Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen), Hawaiian food (Bruddah's), and even Okinawan (Shin). :)

                                (Also, if you're so inclined, after work (for dinner), you're now in the area to try lots of great Japanese Izakayas (Bincho, Musha), Yakitori restaurants (Shin Sen Gumi), Koryouri-ya (Kagura), Tempura specialists (Komatsu, Inaba) and more. (^_~)

                                -----
                                Santouka Ramen
                                21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                Bruddah's
                                1033 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

                                Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
                                2015 W Redondo Beach Blvd Ste D, Gardena, CA 90247

                                Shin Okinawa Izakaya
                                1880 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: exilekiss

                                  hi exilekiss,

                                  Yeah, I'm stoked to be working in Torrance Prefecture : )

                                  Santouka and Shin Sen Gumi ramen I know very well from their OC locations, and the other Japanese specialty shops will be in daily striking range. Can't wait.

                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                    You already know Otafuku, I'm thinking. But anyhow if you don't that's a great place.

                                    Alos, for breakfast on PCH and Torrance Blvd, is a joint called the Cozy Corner or Cozy Shack, it's tiny and pretty good too. Also, Don't forget B and R Burgers in nearby Hawthrone. And the soul fooder, Flossie's Healthy Home Cooking on Redondo Beach Blvd.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      I've heard of Otafuku, but never been. What's their specialty?

                                      Flossies I know and love. Great fried chicken. Kinda spendy for soul food, but OTOH, you do get about 11 pounds of "meat plus three" for the price.

                                      -----
                                      B & R's Old Fashion Burgers
                                      3512 W Rosecrans Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

                                      Flossie's
                                      3566 Redondo Beach Blvd, Torrance, CA 90504

                                      1. re: Professor Salt

                                        Otafuku on Western in Gardena for Soba noodles, zeiro soba. this is the handmade stuff. If you do a search there should be a few hundred posts on this place. Also, it was reviewed in the Times a few years back along with the LA Weekly. great stuff, they do have tempura too. But I'm a purist when it comes to this place so soba buckwheat noodles does the trick for me. For some reason, I think you have to enter from the back where there is a tiny parking lot. Blink and you'll miss the tiny place.

                                2. If you're willing to hit Torrance-adjacent, we've had several great lunches at Kotosh at Kamiyama in Lomita. Peruvian and sushi - okay, quite snickering - I know most places that do ________ and sushi suck at both. This is the exception to the rule. Peruvians love, cherish, and worship seafood. I think very few food cultures offer greater reverence to things from the sea - maybe the Japanese? Well, this why the _________ and sushi combo works here. Kotosh is a Peruvian restaurant that is owned and operated by Japanese-Peruvians and their offspring. Order from both the kitchen and the sushi bar and you should have one quite satisfying meal, and forget about dinner...

                                  Here's J. Gold's take on the place:
                                  http://www.laweekly.com/locations/kot...

                                  For the article below, scroll about halfway down after clicking on to the website...
                                  http://blogsperu.com/blog/3753/

                                  1. I'm attaching additional links for my own, I mean, everyone's convenience :)

                                    Thank, everyone. This list ought to keep me busy for a while!

                                    -----
                                    Pollo A La Brasa
                                    16527 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                                    Eschbach Meat Products - CLOSED :-(
                                    18045 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90248

                                    Alpine Village Market
                                    833 Torrance Blvd Ste 1A, Torrance, CA 90502

                                    Country Touch Cafe
                                    3717 W 190th St, Torrance, CA 90504

                                    JayBee's BBQ
                                    15915 S Avalon Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248

                                    Bodacious Q
                                    637 E University Dr, Carson, CA 90746

                                    Harry's Oklahoma Style Smoke House BBQ
                                    25501 Narbonne Ave, Lomita, CA 90717

                                    Los Paisas
                                    21168 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Kotosh at Kamiyama
                                    2408 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

                                    Gaja Moc
                                    2383 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

                                    La Espanola Meats
                                    25020 Doble Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90710

                                    Nino's Place
                                    16104 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                                    El Rocoto
                                    1356 Artesia Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248

                                    El Pollo Inka
                                    23705 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

                                    Shisen Ramen
                                    1730 W Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA

                                    By Brazil
                                    1615 Cabrillo Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Mitsuwa Marketplace
                                    21515 Western Av, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Eat At Rudy's
                                    1340 Post Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Ichimian (Bamboo Garden)
                                    1618 Cravens Ave., Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Back Home In Lahaina
                                    519 E Carson St, Carson, CA 90745

                                    Kappo Seafood
                                    1757 W Carson St Ste S, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Torrance Freshia Market
                                    2515 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA

                                    Nijiya Market
                                    2121 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

                                    BCD Tofu House
                                    1607 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Torrance Bakery
                                    1341 El Prado Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Hong Kong Bakery & Deli
                                    21720 S Vermont Ave, Torrance, CA

                                    El Taco Loco 7
                                    22502 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    La Capilla Mexican Restaurant
                                    1332 Sartori Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Acapulco Cafe
                                    1406 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Yellow Basket
                                    18189 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90248

                                    Men-Bei
                                    21605 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                    Da Maat
                                    2814 Sepulveda Blvd, G Torrance, CA

                                    Three Brothers Restaurant
                                    23722 Western Ave Harbor, City, CA

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Professor Salt

                                      Thatsa lotta links, thanks Prof!

                                    2. I like La Capilla for huge servings of Tex-Mex stuff smothered in cheese, but for more authentic Mexican, I go to El Indio on Western just North of Sepulveda. It's very divy and very authentic. I love their chicharrones and their al pastor tacos with the meat carved off the spit.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: huaqiao

                                        Thanks for that El Indio tip - my wife often is working in the general area...

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          Double thanks for the El Indio tip, that's the kind of Mexican food I'm looking for.

                                          Are their chicharrones the stewed kind that's all jelly like, or is it chicharron carnudo, the meat on fried pork bellies that's still crunchy? Most taquerias serve the first type (guisado), not the second.

                                          -----
                                          El Indio
                                          22816 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                          1. re: Professor Salt

                                            It's the crunchy kind. It's basically an inch thick slab of bacon that's been deep fried.

                                            They have chicharron in salsa verde where they cook it in the sauce so it's more jelly-like, but if you order it by itself it comes just as a beautiful crunchy artery clogger. :)

                                      2. What a great list! I've worked in the neighborhood for almost seven years and haven't seen most of these. Thank you!!

                                        My humble contribution is the California Fish Grill on Artesia, between Western and Normandie (in a strip mall with another El Pollo Inka location). You stand up and order, and have to get there either before noon or about 12:30 to get a table, but the fish is good quality and inexpensive. Their grilled fish are good (I'm partial to the salmon), and if you're feeling a little indulgent, the fish tacos are generous and flavorful (lots of fish, not overbreaded).

                                        Also, behind the Wal-mart is a little strip mall with a variety of mostly non-chain fast food restaurants. The newest is a kabob place with a menu almost identical to Daphne's Greek Cafe. Worth putting on the lunch list. Enjoy!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: chellebelle

                                          I didn't know about California Fish Grill's Gardena location. I live near their Irvine store, so I know and like their simple grilled fish for a relatively low price formula.

                                          -----
                                          California Fish Grill
                                          1425 W Artesia Blvd Ste 9, Gardena, CA 90248

                                          1. re: Professor Salt

                                            there's also Malibu Fish Grill on PCH in Redondo I think. If my hunch is correct, it's another location in the chainlet that is also in Tustin on 4th St.

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              I think you're right. I drive past their Huntington Beach store too, but have never stopped in.

                                              -----
                                              Malibu Fish Grill
                                              725 N Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                                            2. re: Professor Salt

                                              Every time I go to that little strip mall where the California Fish Grill is, I always stop by the boba place(used to be Tapioca Express though I think they changed names or something) afterwards to get a papaya milk. It's more a papaya smoothie than just plain papaya milk and they do make it out of fresh papayas. Don't know how it compares to some of the stuff in SGV, but it tastes pretty good to these Taiwanese taste buds. :)

                                          2. bamboo garden for the 'thick' fresh, hand made soba!!!!!!!!

                                            1. Billy's on 190th St near Anza for credible corned beef on rye & matzoh ball soup, pickles & sides (slaw, pot salad) could be better..