HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


My Favorite Meals, Under $20, in these Recessionary Times

  • k

Fab's Dogs, Reseda
Chili Coney Dog, tater tots

Pita Pocket, Northridge
Shwarma pocket, with hot sauce.

Mom's BBQ, Van Nuys
BBQ ribs or catfish, or gumbo, coconut cake, or yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Auntie Em's, Eagle Rock
red velvet cupcakes.

Langer's Deli, Macarthur Park area
pastrami sandwich

Eastside Deli, Downtown Los Angeles
meatball subs

Italia Deli, Granada Hills
Eggplant parmigian heroes.

Pina's Bistro, Tustin
meatball subs, eggplant parm subs, tiramisu, rum walnut cake, cannoli

Pie n Burger, Pasadena
cheeseburger, strawberry pie, peach pie, butterscotch pie

Apple Pan, Westwood
cheeseburger, pecan pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie.

Europane Bakery, Pasadena
pumpkin squares, cupcakes, blueberry brown butter tart

Casa Bianca Pizza PIe, Eagle Rock
pizza, tiramisu

The Oinkster, Eagle Rock
pastrami sandwich

Din Tai Fung, Arcadia
dumplings, sauteed vegetables

Bolini's Pizzeria, Monterey Park

Attari Sandwiches, Westwood
cutlet sandwiches, sausage sandwiches

Joe's Pizza, Santa Monica

Fish Grill, various locations
grilled fish

Sanamluang Cafe, Hollywood
pad kee mao

Nate n Al's, Beverly Hills
Triple Decker pastrami

Zankou chicken, Westwood
rotisserie chicken

Reddi-Chick, Brentwood
rotisserie chicken

Let's Be Frank, Culver City
grass fed beef dogs

What's a few of yours?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Daniels's Tacos, Sun Valley
    good after 9 pm, when they have free fried onions w/ anything you get

    La Taquiza, LA
    mulitas, chicken salad

    Los Jarritos, Pomona
    enchiladas w/ green sauce, and rice and beans (best rice and beans!)

    Mario's Peruvian, LA (?), Melrose and Rossmore/Vine
    I usually get seafood saltado; some days it's made better than others

    Cafe Brasil near Palms neighborhood, on Venice
    lunch special is a steal

    2 Replies
    1. re: tenxtone76

      Mario's Peruvian Food is soooooooooooooo good. You will get full in an instance with their big portions and inexpensive prices.

      1. I'll play:

        Porky's BBQ, on Manchester just west of the Forum
        pulled pork sandwich with side (mac'n'cheese), $6.99 last I saw.
        note: 2-for-one on dinner specials (meat with two sides) on Tuesdays

        Hu's Szechwan, on National in Rancho Park
        lunch combo -- kung pao chicken or twice cooked pork w/ soup & salad ($6.95)

        Hungry Pocket, Pico across from Santa Monica College
        lamb shwarma pita ($5) or falafel pita ($3.50) with hot sauce

        Big Mike's, I go the the location on Main in El Segundo
        12-inch philly cheesesteak with onions and both kinds of peppers, rings, drink
        eat half sandwich, onion rings, and coke there, bring other half home -- just over $10

        Zankou Chicken, Westwood
        whole rotisserie chicken, pita, and garlic paste -- $9.99
        (share with a friend or eat half there, take home half -- a halfbird is $6.99)

        Dino's, Pico and Berendo (two blocks west of Vermont)
        crazy chicken special -- half-bird grilled, fries, slaw, tortillas (about $5)

        Carnitas Michaocan, No. Broadway at 19th, above Chinatown
        al pastor burrito (no beans) requested sliced from the rotisserie (about $5)
        plus one to bring home and a 4 oz cup of their superlative hot salsa roja

        Diddy Riese, Broxton in Westwood Village
        3 choc chip cookies w/o nuts, $1 (any time I see a parking spot or walk by)
        they are pretty soft when fresh -- better and crispier after the fridge

        Philly West, Westwood Blvd. south of Santa Monica Blvd.
        half-pound cheeseburger, drippy juicy, flame-grilled ($6 and change)

        Bay Cities Deli, Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica
        large Godmother, meatball sub, turkey and cheese ($7 or so)
        (big hint -- a couple of their extraordinary ficelle rolls, 30 or 40 cents each)

        Daily Grill, I go to the Brentwood branch on San Vicente
        happy hour, 4-7 weekdays -- pot pie, sliders, other bar food ($3.95 or $2.95)

        Lamonica's Pizza, Gayley in Westwood Village
        2-topping pizzas now close to $20, but 2 for 1 on Mondays

        kevin, you big spender -- all of mine under $10 or good for a meal and a snack!

        4 Replies
        1. re: nosh

          i'll second your hungry pocket recommendation and raise you any of the lunch specials at shamshiri grill and the combination plate at samosa house which is served all day.

          1. re: westsidegal

            Can only call, not raise you back, westsidegal. Shamshiri's lunch specials are just under $10 (last time I ordered one) and gotta admit, with the generous serving of beef koobideh or chicken shawarma, the huge mound of rice, the vegies, bread, and refreshing shirazi salad, it is one of those rare meals I usually can't finish. And along with Lamonica's, they are the only place I listed that will deliver to my door.

          2. re: nosh

            I"ll second your Diddy Riese but I prefer the scoop of ice cream in the middle of two cookies. Used to be $1.00. I'd also vote for Versaille in Culver City or any of their 4 or 5 other locations...Famous Pollo Versaille ($9.95) with sweet plantains, rice and beans.

            1. re: nosh

              The Half Chicken Plate at Dino's Burgers is one of my favorite meals at any price!

            2. Sevan Chicken, Chatsworth
              1/4 chicken lunch special with rice and hummus

              Los Tres Hermanos, North Hills
              soft chicken tacos, crispy chicken tacos, or taquitos. Plus guacamole.

              Melody's or Las Fuentes, Reseda?
              crispy tacos, salpicon tostada, chicken and rice

              Mulberry St. Pizza, Encino
              slice of cheese or sausage & mushroom pizza, slice of cake

              Sandwich Express, Reseda
              Bhan Mi

              Panino's, Woodland Hills
              salami & brie sandwich

              guilty pleasure: Carney's, Studio City
              chili cheeseburger & fries

              6 Replies
              1. re: brandygirl

                Downtown! Downtown!! Downtown!!! ( that is, Downtown LA of course )
                Tons of hole-in-the-walls.
                Typical breakfast ( huevos rancheros / mexicanos / con chorizo &etc ) $4.00
                Typical lonche ( too long to list... ) $ 6.00

                1. re: brandygirl

                  I forgot Carney's. But I'll replace yours with three chili dogs and an extra large (not wimpy large) size coke to wash it all down.

                  1. re: kevin

                    I used to get Carney's chili cheese dogs--they were the best! But on my last two visits, the skin was so tough I couldn't chew it. Have you been recently? Should I give the dogs another shot?

                    I also forgot one of my favorite places:
                    My Hero, Northridge, for Roast Beef & Cheese sub sandwich.

                    1. re: brandygirl

                      Give it one more try. You are right though, I think once in a while the casings are just too much and/or the dogs weren't steamed properly so it's just not juicy either.

                      In my list, I also mentioned Fab's Dogs. The hot dogs over there are superb. And they have coney chili dogs. But these are way different than Carney's. For some reason, these feel like more of a gourmet dog, with a chili that you might actually want to eat with a spoon rather than the cornstarchy though still quite good Chili at Carney's and other places such as Tommy's.

                      there's another issue to think about too. Do you go to the Studio City Carney's or the Sunset Strip Carney's. I did have an off dog once at least at the S.C. location but not at the Sunset location.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Interesting. I've been going to the Studio City Carney's, and it never occured to me the quality might be different. Since you say the problem is a once-in-a-while issue, I will give it another try. Their chili dogs are so good it's worth risking a dud once in a while.

                        I have been to Fab's. Their hot dogs are fabulous, but I don't care much for their chili. If I go to Fab's, it's just a plain dog w/mustard for me.

                        1. re: brandygirl

                          Interesting, I like the chili at Fab's but it is completely different from the notion of chili employed at Carney's, and if you only like the Carney's style, than I guess Fab's wouldn't work. Maybe because Fab's is more like heavily spiced ground beef, almost like a sloppy joe sauce (for lack of a better term) than a full-on chili.

                2. SGV edition...

                  Rudy's, Monrovia
                  Full (and good) rib-eye steak dinner for around $13. (rice, beans, and salad instead of potatoes) plus a ton of Mexican dishes under $10. $2.50 gets you a margarita and an all-you-can eat appetizer bar during happy hour Monday - Thursday

                  Jakes, Azusa
                  bacon wrapped dogs

                  Aruffo's, Claremont
                  Many Italian entres under $20

                  Petrillo's, San Gabriel & Glendora
                  Pizza & delicious bread

                  The Hat, many locations including Alhambra, Temple City, & Glendora
                  Pastrami, burgers, & tons of fries

                  In 'n Out, All over but especially Baldwin Park headquarters location
                  Double-Double with money left over to buy a souvenir in their store

                  Warehouse Pizza, La Verne

                  Back Abbey, Claremont
                  The Abbey Burger

                  Lucky Baldwins, Sierra Madre
                  Mussels & beer

                  Guacamoles, El Monte
                  Good, sit-down mariscos & tacos

                  1. Monte Alban

                    Mario's Peruvian - second this

                    Greenleaf Chop Shop - what can I say, I like to design my own salad and the fresh ingreidents including chopped hard boiled egg whites

                    Beverliz Cafe - omelettes, gyros

                    Eat Well - buddha bowl w/ egg whites

                    Ed's Coffee Shop (on Robertson) - omelettes

                    Gilbert's El Indio

                    Il Forno - power lunch specials

                    Babalu - grilled veg salad

                    3rd stop

                    Bread and Porridge - breakfast fare esp omelettes

                    Carnival in Sherman Oaks

                    Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks


                    California Fresh - that eggplant salad

                    Eduardo's - chicken and salsa


                    Puro Sabor

                    Simon's Cafe

                    ...and so on...

                    ...and the list continues

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Emme

                      where's the beverliz cafe for gyros.

                      and also gilbert's il indio.

                      1. re: kevin

                        beverliz cafe is on s. beverly dr. just south of gregory on the east side of the street

                        gilbert's is at 2526 pico blvd in samo

                    2. Noodle House on Garvey in Monterrey Park - Shrimp and pumpkin dumplings, pork and leek buns
                      Phillipe's - Lamb dip with potato salad
                      JnJ Burgers and BBQ, Adams, just east of Fairfax - pork rib dinner
                      Hawkin's House o Burgers, Altadena - bacon cheeseburger and fries
                      Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles - Big Mama's Special
                      Tacos Baja Ensenada - Whittier Blvd, ELA - 5 tacos pescado
                      Sea Harbor Rosemead - dim sum

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: martyR

                        Ethnic is your best bet for the cheapest meals:

                        1) Golden Deli in Alhambra
                        2) Indo Kitchen in Alhambra
                        3) Palms in Hollywood for Thai
                        4) Liliana's in East L.A. for tacos adobada and tamales
                        5) Sinbala in Arcadia (can make two meals out of one)
                        6) Country Bistro in the Diamond Plaza in Diamond Bar (can make 3 meals out of one meal)
                        7) King Taco
                        8) Daisy Mint in Pasadena
                        9) Porto's sandwiches - cheap and good

                        1. re: misseatalot

                          I second King Taco, Porto's, Palms, and Sinbala.
                          Instead of Golden Deli, Vietnam House is a little better.

                          1. re: tenxtone76

                            King Taco is probably the worst value of L.A's basic taquerias... and the food (with exception of their Pollos Rostizados at select locations) is very pedestrian at best.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              I agree concerning value but, disagree when it comes to their Al Pastor which is better than pedestrian.

                              1. re: JAB

                                Ditto on the Al Pastor. King Taco is one of the better deal joints in Old Towne Pas. Dinner and a date for under $15.

                        2. re: martyR

                          martyR, I'll agree that the lamb (and pork) dip at Phillipe's is much superior to their beef, which tends to be dry. But except for coffee, Phillipe's has no place on a thread about value dining, at least not anymore. One dip sandwich, a small side scoop of potato salad, a lemonade, and at least a token as a tip and you are at $10, and I'm still not nearly satisfied even at lunch. Their dips have become downright chintzy -- like appetizer portions. Gotta agree with kevin's original list -- for a true value sub in that area, Eastside Deli is the place to go. kevin suggested the meatball, and if that is a bit bland spice it up with some sausage. Their hot roast beef or pastrami is drippy great too.

                          And please add Sorrento's deli in Culver City to my list. My goodness, big individually made sub sandwiches, no skimping on the meat, for prices similar to bargain bahn mi.

                          1. re: nosh

                            I personally prefer Sorrento's cold subs. I've found that their meatballs seem overly simmered and their sausages can be tough. But their Italian-style cold cuts make for a great sandwich.

                            1. re: nosh

                              i have to 2nd sorrentos. they give alot for a little and are super nice. let you sample while you wait for your meal. i've eaten suasage and meatballs while waiting for a sub to be made and when i tried to pay for them was told my enjoyment was the payment. xoxo to sorrentos

                          2. Newsroom, West LA
                            It's on Robertson and they have a fab happy hour. Some great dishes like chicken caesar are half off.

                            Tommy Burger
                            Everywhere...still does the trick.

                            Costco, everywhere
                            An everything pizza for $10?!

                            Galangal Thai, West LA
                            On Santa Monica, great food with bargain lunch prices

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: gourmandadventurer

                              Tommy's is NOT the same everywhere. There is the original on Rampart west of downtown, and I'm confident that the one on Pico and Lincoln in Santa Monica is the same ownership. They have very similar chili and the garnishes are the same (big chopped onion, thick-sliced tomato, etc.). The one in Santa Monica has become a favorite of mine because they have fries that are thicker than the usual fastfood chain fries, and when I order them welldone they will take the time to actually fry them extra crispy. But if you go around town, a lot of these are imposter stands, like the "Tomy's" on Pico at Sawtelle. There is another copycat on Venice west of Robertson. I'm not saying that these can't be good, but they are NOT associated with the original Tommy's. If you see a "big" in the name or only one "m" or some other discrepancy, you can take your chances but you are not patronizing the original Tommy's.

                              1. re: nosh

                                The original Tommy's has a cursive logo, so watch out for that. Yes, Beverly and Rampart is the original. And the one at Pico and Lincoln is also included in the chainlet. There is also one on Sunset Blvd, east of Western.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  There is one on the corner of Roscoe and Haskell. Been there more than 30 years.

                                  1. re: susans

                                    The point is... they all suck! Long live Dino's & the Greek Meat Distribution Mafia!

                                2. re: nosh

                                  Original Tommy's on the corner of Beveryl and Rampart....awesome. Killer breakfast sandwiches!. I think their breakfast sandwich is possibly better than their burger. I had a girlfriend that lived near the Original Tommy's in Long Beach on the corner of Anaheim and Ximeno. When I found out they made breakfast sandwiches....it was all over baby.

                                  1. re: FDawson

                                    I do not agree. While it's good, even though i like sausage, i'd prefer one of their meat patties under that fried egg and chili.

                              2. taqueria sanchez on centinela.
                                i believe EVERY meal they serve costs less than $10.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  The al pastor "tostada" is a meal for two - I think it's seven bucks...

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    i also love their shrimp tostadas, all their tacos, and their mojarra frita (whole fried fish)

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      In other words, for the most part, it's all good...

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        My usual at Taqueria Sanchez is a shrimp taco ($1.75 last time I was there), an al pastor, and a carnitas taco ($1.35 each). Served with chips, some of the dark hot salsa from the bar -- a good, satisfying lunch for less than $5 plus a drink. Tried their crispy taco for a crunchy, cool change. Often get burritos to take home. Seen some of the regulars eating a red soup with lots of vegies and other stuff in it that looks tasty. Yes, everything I've had there is good, the staff is friendly, the place is very clean, and there is easy parking in the back. And definitely as inexpensive as any taqueria on the westside.

                                        1. re: nosh

                                          Yeah my Taqueria Sanchez usual was the Shrimp Soup (Guajillo Broth, chunks of Chayote, Potatoe, Carrots etc.,. Shrimp & Garnishes), Nopales Gordita, a plate of Refried Beans... & cup of City of Los Angeles special vintage tap water... delicious, soul satisfying, stick to your ribs, nutritional packed meal < $10

                                        2. re: bulavinaka

                                          re: taqueria sanchez
                                          people should be warned that they close early (like around 7pm on weekdays and , i believe, even earlier on weekends.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            Yeah... its pretty much a lunch place.

                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                              I think the Centinela location closes at 8PM on fridays and saturdays.

                                  2. Chabelita - on Western north of the 10 freeway about 2 blocks, right near the fire station on the left side of the road if you're going north. Tasty carne asada tacos.

                                    1. "Pie n Burger, Pasadena
                                      cheeseburger, strawberry pie, peach pie, butterscotch pie

                                      Apple Pan, Westwood
                                      cheeseburger, pecan pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie."

                                      Add a drink, fries and tip and both of these will take the whole Jackson.

                                      1. Many good (stationary) taco trucks, mentioned in other threads, are hereby incorporated by reference.

                                          1. For me, the best deal in town is Beverly Soon Tofu. Healthy and hearty delicious meal with lots of great complimentary side dishes well under $20. I dig the atmosphere too. Great Koreatown spot.

                                            1. STUDIO CITY, East SFV -- for $20 or less --

                                              Poki Bowl at DAICHAN, Ventura Blvd, at Eureka -- $14 (incl tax) for a big heap of rice (I choose brown), raw fish (I choose salmon) kombu & wakame seaweed, sliced green onion and shredded lettuce all lightly dressed with sesame oil dressing. WOW! Add a miso soup or a few pieces of tempura and should still be under $20. Tea, no alcohol... You will feel so sated and healthy after this beautifully balanced meal.

                                              Laurel Burger and one beer or wine at LAUREL TAVERN on Ventura Blvd.

                                              Sushi to go from SUSHI DAN SASABUNE, off Laurel Canyon, at Riverside

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Maxmillion

                                                daichan, is the joint three storefronts down from nozawa in the same mini mall right?

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  yep -- cute and quirky place, fantastic and varied menu, inexpensive options, nice people and excellent service -- only downside ------no cold sake!

                                                  Daichan Japanese Soul Food Restaurant
                                                  11288 Ventura Blvd #F, Studio City, just E of Tujunga at Eureka. (818) 980 8450
                                                  Open: Mon-Fri: 11:30am– 3pm, 5.30– 9pm
                                                  Sat: 12pm– 3pm, 5.30–9pm. Closed Sundays.

                                                  1. re: Maxmillion

                                                    hey, i'm sure nozawa wouldn't mind if you stopped in an ordered a cold sake to b e delivered to daichan.

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        At first I laughed as well, but oddly enough for the rep I just might think they would.

                                                2. Santouka in West LA

                                                  101 Noodle Express in Alhambra
                                                  Real Shandong dumplings

                                                  J&J in San Gabriel

                                                  Nature Pagoda in San Gabriel
                                                  Clay pot rice dishes.

                                                  Monte Alban in West LA

                                                  Samosa House in Culver City

                                                  La Vie in Rosemead

                                                  Gloria's in West LA

                                                  1. Couple deals I just found.
                                                    Tender Greens in Culver City-Sunday night pot roast dinner for $10

                                                    Cafe 50s in Santa Monica and in Venice-Wednesday nights if you wear old school matching pajamas you eat free with beverage purchase.

                                                    Edison downtown has $.35 martinis on Thursdays and free grilled cheese and tomato soup.

                                                    Many Indian buffets abound...

                                                    1. List based on very recently eaten, good, under 20:

                                                      M Cafe - Bento Box -- lunch today, heaven, as is almost everything there

                                                      The Stand - kosher dog (choose your toppings, I like the southern slaw dog) regular dogs are so-so, kosher are excellent

                                                      In N' Out -- #1 rules, of course, with raw onions, had it last night, did not disappoint

                                                      Bravo Pizzeria -- slice with sausage and pepperoni, not bad at all

                                                      Whole Foods on Rose -- brown rice bowl with dark meat chx, good

                                                      Peet's Coffee (La Brea Bakery?) -- dried fruit and nut scone, good

                                                      Bergamot Cafe -- breakfast wrap, good

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: la tache burger

                                                        Just came back from M Cafe in Downtown CC for lunch. I considered it a recon mission for possible visits with my vegan sister, but I actually liked it quite a bit. I had the Kabocha croquettes with tofu tartar sauce, brown rice with a sort of furikake on top, and a small dab of red cabbage cole slaw, while the Misses had the Tuscano panini with a side of squash, red beans and chestnuts braised in maple syrup. Even with my healthy appetite, I just finished my meal, while only half of the panini could be finished by my better half.

                                                        Most lunch menu items can be had for around $6-$12, everything looks very fresh (lots of turnover from brisk customer traffic), and everything we had was very well prepared and seasoned just right. Regardless of whether your a vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or even meatarian, I think you'll find at least a few things you'll ponder over for a good meal.

                                                        1. re: la tache burger

                                                          Those interested in hot dogs at The Stand should know that on Mon eves, plain dogs are a buck and loaded dogs are $2.50. Hurry!!

                                                        2. To save even more money, places within walking distance of us in Mar Vista.

                                                          Ramen in Santouka inside Mitsuwa

                                                          Chilaquiles for me, patty melt for my wife at Pepy's diner in the bowling alley

                                                          Lechon asada or garlic chicken at Rincon Criollo on Sepulveda. Wash it down with a mamey shake.

                                                          Any of the lunch specials at Thai Boom on Venice

                                                          Tara's for Himalayan on Venice

                                                          Ayala's on Venice for some pupusas

                                                          All three of the above around veteran and venice, west of Overland, north side of the street.

                                                          Second Taqueria Sanchez. I like the al pastor, but stay far away from their tortas

                                                          Menudo at El Abajeno

                                                          Cemitas Milanesa at the truck outside of Top Valu

                                                          Sazon on Wash blvd and Centinela, any of the white board specials.

                                                          Clayuda from the truck on Venice and Inglewood, there after 8 p.m. Avoid the truck that's a couple blocks west on the same side of the street across from Good Hurt.

                                                          Those are our regular rotations for inexpensive good meals.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Jase

                                                            No love for KBBQ?

                                                            $15.99 and let the fun begin!

                                                            1. re: CostcoWater

                                                              My favorite spot in Ktown atm

                                                              Gui Mok

                                                              Awesome pork belly, if you love bacon, you gotta try out this out

                                                          2. Lots of good suggestions to be found here. I'd add the following to the list:

                                                            1) Tony's Mexican Grill in Sherman Oaks

                                                            2) Versailles - many locations. I know that reviews are mixed, but for the price the garlic chicken is a tough deal to match.

                                                            3) Jaipur - West LA, really nice lunch buffet.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: anothernotch

                                                              2) The Garlic Chicken at Birriera La Barca is far superior than the version at Versaille (and only $9 a plate)

                                                              3) In the vicinity All India is vastly superior to Jaipur... no comparison. The leftover grilled chicken braised in yogurt sauce is stunningly good.

                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                "The Garlic Chicken at Birriera La Barca"
                                                                Where's it located? Google shows a few results: El Monte, City of Industry or Chicago.

                                                              2. re: anothernotch

                                                                Jaipur, if mean the joint catty corner from the Westside Pavillion shopping center, does serve up some good eats at the buffet during lunch and the price is right. I have never tried it for dinner though.

                                                                As for Versailles, I'm not a fan but I do do it has its fair share of fanciers.

                                                              3. Cheeseburger from Philly West, on Westwood - finally got around to trying it, and it is very good.

                                                                Torta de tinga from El Super Taco - their tortas trump the tacos (and burritos)

                                                                Al Pastor burrito from La Taquiza - probably one of (if not) the best burritos I've had in LA (though I'm still partial to my Mission burritos from the Bay)

                                                                Tacos from El Chato taco truck - Olympic & La Brea (after 8pm not on Sundays, though last time I was by there they weren't either, so...)

                                                                Langers Pastrami no 19, all you need

                                                                stick with the pulled pork sandwich at Porkys - everything else (except Golden Bird) is avg, and somewhat overpriced.

                                                                And, I don't live near it, but The India Restaurant has THE BEST indian buffet Ive found

                                                                Also, has anyone tried the Cuban sandwich from Versailles? I liked the Garlic chicken...

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: mdpilam

                                                                  Last time we ate the buffet lunch at The India in Artesia, I counted 23 items on the buffet with salad and three desserts. Filled with locals too that attested to the quality of this place. Chowpup said he wanted to move in next door so he could eat there every day.

                                                                  1. re: ZoeZ

                                                                    I've only been to the lunch buffet at The India Restaurant a couple of times but, as I've posted before, if you exclude the veg. places, it's the best Indian buffet around. They had wonderful Lamb Shanks one of the times that I went there.

                                                                    India Restaurant
                                                                    17824 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                                                                2. La Perla Del Pacifico in the La Fiesta Mall on Sherman way is always a bargain with huge portions of incredible and unique Colombian Pacific seafood, but this Sunday they are doing a 2 for 1 special on their encocado de pescado, select shrimp dishes, and arroz con camaron.I was there tonight and they were handing out flyers.The cure for your recession blues.

                                                                  1. boat noodle or duck noodle at ord noodle in thai town. dirt cheap, fast and goooood!

                                                                    1. Don't forget about Farmers Market (3rd & Fairfax):

                                                                      Moishe's chicken
                                                                      Gumbo Pot
                                                                      Banana Leaf
                                                                      that Brazilian Place
                                                                      the bars have daily beer specials
                                                                      etc., etc.

                                                                      1. Love this post, Kevin:

                                                                        The Godmother at Bay Cities
                                                                        Carnitas tacos at the Isla Bonita truck at Rose and 4th in Venice
                                                                        Chow Fun at Won Kok, Chinatown
                                                                        Vermicelli (Bun) with pork at Vietnam Restaurant, San Gabriel
                                                                        Eggplant Parmigiana sandwich at Vito's, WeHo
                                                                        All meat pizza at Vito's, WeHo
                                                                        Drunken noodles at Ayara Thai, Westchester (Thai Town such a hassle)
                                                                        Kobe Bistro Burger or pastrami at Tops, Pasadena
                                                                        Phillipe's lamb sandwich, Downtown
                                                                        Kurobuta tonkatsu (pork cutlet) for lunch at Torafuku, West LA
                                                                        Shio ramen with pork at Santouka, Torrance
                                                                        Katsu Curry at Tamatebako, Torrance
                                                                        Pulled pork sandwich at Baby Blues, Venice
                                                                        Shioyaki (broiled) mackeral with udon at Kotohira, Gardena
                                                                        Brooklyn Bagel Bakery bagels, Rampart
                                                                        Cream puffs at Chantilly's, Lomita
                                                                        Hawaiian fried chicken at Back Home Lahaina, Manhattan Beach
                                                                        Hamburger and lemon lush pie at Jongewaard's, Long Beach
                                                                        Shave Ice with Lappert's ice cream at Tutu's, Simi Valley
                                                                        chicken wings and waffles at Pann's, Inglewood
                                                                        Glacier Ice Cream (white peach or key lime), Manhattan Beach
                                                                        Chateaubriand at Favori, Santa Ana
                                                                        Diddy Reese ice cream sandwich, Westwood

                                                                        Most of these are under $10.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Ogawak

                                                                          chateaubriand really? i thought that is an old-world, continental french dish, at least $25 or $30 per person, please explain. also, is favori the vietnamese french joint that also serves up a famous fried catfish?

                                                                          i've now heard multiple notices for Vito's egpplant parm, i'll have to make a beeline there.

                                                                          and chantilly's sounds great, although i never seem to be in lomita, nearby, but not close enough.

                                                                          another visit to baby blues is in order, although with the shrimp and ribs and banana pudding i'll be way over the the Recessionary Budget.

                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                            Make the effort to try Chantilly. You can easily do lunch or dinner for <$20 at Kotosh at Kamiyama (stick with the more traditional Peruvian dishes - sushi will eat up the $20 per ), which is kaddy corner from Chantilly. Afterwards, walk over to Chantilly for some pastries and coffee (first order a five-box of cream puffs to go), and you'll retreat back home full, smiling, and satisfied. Rinse and repeat...

                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                              Yes, I shall, hopefully, so little time so much to eat.

                                                                            2. re: kevin

                                                                              Yeah, Favori is a real price-buster, but don't let the prices fool you. The food is excellent. I think the chateaubriand was $14.00, if you can believe that. It is a great French bistro for recessionary times.

                                                                              And famous for their catfish as well. Bring a friend. I never seem to bring anyone who wants to try it. But I like their Vietnamese dishes equally, esp their vermicelli and their 5 courses of beef.

                                                                              I have dreams of Vito's eggplant parm. But eat it there; It doesn't travel, it's so delicate.

                                                                              1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                Eggplant parm is definitely in the works at Vito's, and one of these days I'll have to get out to favori, but then again when i'm in that area of santa ana, westminster/garden grove is so close that i'll be tempted to skip for a banh mi and a cafe sua da.

                                                                          2. Huaraches at huaraches azteca
                                                                            the park burger at the park
                                                                            dino's chicken
                                                                            Papa cristos tsipoura
                                                                            haejangchon all you can eat awesome kbbq
                                                                            orochon ramen
                                                                            good bad chinese food at zen mei bistro
                                                                            al wazir in hollywood
                                                                            tigeorges chicken
                                                                            sandwiches from tangs donuts
                                                                            mamas peruvian in glendale

                                                                            i'm salivating so i must stop

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: tooth

                                                                              wow, what kind of sandwiches from tang's? that's the joint next door to saito's sushi and garage pizza, right?

                                                                            2. My favorite spots Are;

                                                                              Caveman Kitchen- Rotisserie Chicken, Fresh Burgers, and Saltados. Eclectic but good, Inexpensive. Nothing over $10. Thats Recession proof. Check out www.eatcaveman.com

                                                                              Dino's Chicken- eat for $5.50 greek style chicken with fries and cole slaw

                                                                              La Taquiza-quality mexican food at great prices, really fresh food

                                                                              1. now we need to add practically everything on the menu at mariscos chente.

                                                                                the two items that i've tried so far-- i've swooned over both--are
                                                                                camarone de la pimienta
                                                                                camarone de la diabla

                                                                                1. Malo Monday $1 Taco Night rules.

                                                                                  Any sandwich from Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica.

                                                                                  1. There are getting to be more of them, the longer we live in Hollywood.

                                                                                    $20 or under for diner for two:
                                                                                    Stephano's Two Guys From Italy - tied for the best pizza I've had since leaving NJ (the other is Pizza Pete on Balboa)
                                                                                    Skooby's - the fries, the f'n fries
                                                                                    Al Wazir - Astoundingly good for the ridiculously low prices and the absolute best pickled turnips (I'm a pickle freak)
                                                                                    Canter's - The mish-mosh soup rocks, don't care what anyone else says.
                                                                                    In OC: Lucia's Taqería, Nha Hang $1.99 (that amazing crispy chicken!), Banh Mi Che Cali, Pho 79, Pizza Pete's

                                                                                    Easily under $20 each:
                                                                                    Lucky Devils - great burgers cooked to order and Stone on tap, cheap? WIN!
                                                                                    Mao's Kitchen - love their beef/yam with sesame and they have (again with the NJ stuff) the best old-school east coast egg rolls I've found on this side of the continent
                                                                                    In OC: Bukhara, Ichiban (an emotional favorite)

                                                                                    1. Gyu-Kaku Happy Hour in Huntington Beach
                                                                                      $1 Japanese draft, $3 meats, 50% off appetizers. Can feed two for $20, if you show restraint, which is hard to do at Gyu-Kaku.

                                                                                      Porto's Bakery
                                                                                      Media de noche Sandwich, Iced latte, cheese puffs

                                                                                      Ruen Pair in Thai Town - Spicy Clams with fried basil or Pad See Ew. Everything on here is cheap and it's good.

                                                                                      Krua Thai - Pad Thai or Pad See Ew and Thai Iced Tea or Shaved Ice with fruit.

                                                                                      Boho in Hollywood - Entire food menu is 50% off on Tues. Fried Oyster Po' Boys. Rice pudding.

                                                                                      Ruen Pair Restaurant
                                                                                      5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                                      Porto's Bakery
                                                                                      315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

                                                                                      Krua Thai Cuisine
                                                                                      935 S Glendora Ave, West Covina, CA 91790

                                                                                      6372 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

                                                                                      Gyu-Kaku Restaurant
                                                                                      7862 Warner Avenue, Suite 109, Huntington Beach, CA 92647