HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Lunch in Venice

The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 09:39 AM

We're flying down from San Francisco to go to the LA Louver Galley in Venice to see a Deborah Butterfield exhibit. The gallery is on N. Venice Blvd. right near the beach. Any suggestions for good lunch places? We eat pretty much everything, but have never been to the Venice neighborhood before. Not interested in pretentious places with attitude. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. ronnie_gaucho RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 09:51 AM

    you lost me at Venice and "not interested in pretentious places with attitude."


    but honestly, try Gjelina's weekend brunch menu. It's pretty good

    3 Replies
    1. re: ronnie_gaucho
      The Librarian RE: ronnie_gaucho Apr 11, 2009 10:28 AM

      Thanks for the Gjelina's rec. We're actually going on Wednesday, so I'll see what they have during the week.

      1. re: The Librarian
        bulavinaka RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 10:45 AM

        Gjelina is also on Abbot Kinney - about three blocks further south from 3 Square. I don't think they do lunch during the week, but the food is good, portions small, good "off-the-map" wine selections, and higher on the snoot scale. If Hinano is a "1" on this scale, then 3 Square is a "4", and Gjelina is probably a "6.5".

        1. re: The Librarian
          bulavinaka RE: The Librarian Apr 15, 2009 08:30 PM

          Update on Gjelina - they are now open for lunch during the week.

      2. b
        bulavinaka RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 10:24 AM

        3 Square on Abbot Kinney. It's a 10-minute walk from LA Louver. If you've paid for all-day parking, you might as well hoof it - parking is a hassle in the general area. Great food, beer & wine, and nice atmosphere (but it can be tight quarters when crowded). The food is kinda Bavaria meets California, but in a great way. Walk east on N. Venice Blvd, turn right on Riviera/Dell, walk on Riviera for a distance that would be the equivalent of about seven blocks, veer right on Westminster, cross Abbot KInney, turn right, walk to the end of the block, and you're there.

        If you want to walk through the Venice Canal neighborhood before/after, it's about three blocks to the southeast of LA Louver. The next major street to the south would be Washington. Hinano is a cafe/bar on Washington and a stone's throw from the sand. It's cash-only and a little on the divey side, so it rates high on "unpretentious." Great burgers, good beers, mostly locals, and nice folks serving you. If walking to here from LA Louver, head toward the beach, walk south on the Ocean Front Walk (the actual walk - not Speedway the alley) until you reach Washington, turn left and you're there. To walk the canals afterward, walk east on Washington for three blocks, go north on Dell for about two blocks, and this will take you into the Venice Canals. To get back to LA Louver, continue north on Dell, cross over Venice blvd to N. Venice, walk three more blocks, and your back at LA Louver.

        I hope you folks enjoy the exhibit and your stay. The weather should be pleasant. "June Gloom" can appear as early as April but I personally like it. And it's shoulder season for the nut-case factor in Venice. :)

        Hinano Cafe
        15 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292

        3 Square Cafe
        1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        2 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka
          The Librarian RE: bulavinaka Apr 11, 2009 10:30 AM

          Thanks for the detailed directions. I have zero sense of direction! I like "shoulder season for the nut-case factor).

          1. re: The Librarian
            bulavinaka RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 10:38 AM

            I'm the same - it can be months before I get a clue on the lay of the land. I've been in/around Venice for most of my life - otherwise, I'd be lost. For areas outside of LA's Westside, Mapquest is my friend.

        2. n
          NatKal RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 10:40 AM

          James Beach is on that block of S. Venice, right around the corner from Louver and has a great beachy atmosphere. I have always loved that place. The Abbot Kinney places mentioned before are also very good, but a bit of a walk. However, if you're in Venice, Abbot Kinney is a great place to visit. I also love Mao's Kitchen, on Pacific just north of Winward. It's very casual and they have great healthy-ish food and you can bring your own wine, if you'd like wine with your lunch. If you do go to Mao's, the Salt and Pepper Shrimp is insane. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to the Canal Club, also on the S. Venice Louver block. I literally had maggots crawl out of a sushi roll there. It was about 6 years ago, but I'll still never go back. Have fun!!

          1. n
            nosh RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 10:53 AM

            Gjelina is very good and quite trendy and hot, but it is only open for brunch on weekends -- dinner only during the week. Hinano serves a very credible burger -- one of the best values in town -- but it really is a divy bar, not just close to being one.

            One suggestion for a good, casual lunch fairly nearby is 26 Beach, which is sort of funky with pillow-strewn seating in one of its dining areas and a wide-ranging menu featuring a big selection of burgers, entree salads, and a bunch of other choices. Most lunch mains would be in the $12-15 vicinity. On the north side of Washington west of Lincoln but not really beachside, they have parking in the back. My choice for decades for the essential Venice experience was the Rose Cafe, which had a bakery and salad counter and both indoor and outdoor seating. They served an assortment of three prepared salads with greens, as well as omelets and sandwiches, but unfortunately I have been warned of a significant downhill trend there the last few years.

            9 Replies
            1. re: nosh
              goodhealthgourmet RE: nosh Apr 11, 2009 11:35 AM

              nosh beat me to it - 26 Beach gets my vote for solid food and zero attitude.

              1. re: nosh
                westsidegal RE: nosh Apr 11, 2009 11:38 AM

                fwiw, to me, the food at 26 beach is head and shoulders above that served at rose cafe.
                the ambiance at rose cafe, though, is good.

                1. re: westsidegal
                  kevin RE: westsidegal Apr 16, 2009 10:15 PM

                  what about Sauce, i heard it just opened up, any good?

                  1. re: kevin
                    bulavinaka RE: kevin Apr 16, 2009 10:35 PM

                    Poster mstinawu mentioned Sauce below. Others have posted on other threads as well, and the consensus has been good.

                    1. re: bulavinaka
                      kevin RE: bulavinaka Apr 17, 2009 08:58 AM

                      i missed her missed below, my apologies.

                      how about james's beach for the fish tacos much heralded in the new flick "i love you man"

                      1. re: kevin
                        bulavinaka RE: kevin Apr 18, 2009 06:54 AM

                        No apology needed - your response is another shout-out for Sauce.

                        I have to see that movie. Evidently, the production crew spend a lot of time on the boardwalk. :) I wonder if James' Beach got a bump up in business? They were one of the first restaurants to bring finer dining to Venice Beach that is still open. Any windfall from this movie is well-deserved just for that reason.

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          kevin RE: bulavinaka Apr 18, 2009 08:16 PM

                          now i gotta try those fish tacos.

                2. re: nosh
                  burumun RE: nosh Apr 11, 2009 11:42 AM

                  Rose Cafe may have gone downhill, but they still have the best apple tart tatin around.
                  Plus, yes, nice ambiance, food still good, and fun gift shop.


                  1. re: nosh
                    Emme RE: nosh Apr 11, 2009 06:11 PM

                    26 Beach was going to be my rec too, along with the above mentioned 3 Square.

                  2. mstinawu RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 11:43 AM

                    Sauce on Hampton for fresh, SOLID, pleasantly priced food.

                    1. Baron RE: The Librarian Apr 11, 2009 06:23 PM

                      For me, the go to lunch place is Joe's on Abbot Kinney. Very close to where you'll be. They have excellent food and good value. They have a prix fixe menu for lunch. Three courses for about $15.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Baron
                        nosh RE: Baron Apr 11, 2009 10:23 PM

                        On their website, the weekday prix fixe is two courses -- soup or salad and a choice of about eight entrees. But Joe's is indeed very good. It is a pleasant space, sort of an enclosed patio, and there is a shared valet parking lot right in the back. It is one of the most popular weekend brunch spots in town; I didn't realize that they served weekday lunch. It is an excellent value at those prices -- my only quibbles are that the tables are close together, the dining areas are covered with fabric and not really outdoors, and the servers can lose a bit of enthusiasm if you don't order alcohol.

                        1. re: nosh
                          bulavinaka RE: nosh Apr 12, 2009 05:45 AM

                          If Joe's had Lilly's patio, it would be a truly fine place.

                          1. re: nosh
                            Baron RE: nosh Apr 12, 2009 06:14 PM

                            My mistake. I thought the lunch included a dessert. Oh well, it's still very good. I see they raised their prices a bit. Sign of the times. I hear Lilly's is good too.

                        2. The Librarian RE: The Librarian Apr 16, 2009 02:30 PM

                          Thanks for all your great suggestions. As it turns out, we were in Venice too early to eat lunch. Later we had forgettable BLTs at a place on Wilshire near LACMA (which is CLOSED on Wednesdays- aggghhhh!), but I did have an excellent limeade at Singapore's Banana Leaf at the Farmer's Market. The whole trip was fun, and kind of screwy, but the Deborah Butterfield show and LA Louver were definitely worth the trip!

                          1. b
                            BD11 RE: The Librarian Apr 17, 2009 09:54 AM

                            You should check out Koo Koo Roo. I great place that serves various forms of chicken. A lot to choose from and this is a healthy place

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BD11
                              LMelba RE: BD11 Apr 18, 2009 09:14 PM

                              Um, Koo Koo Roo? Is that a joke?

                              I'd recommend Joe's, Primotivo or the French Market Cafe.

                            2. a
                              apple7blue RE: The Librarian Apr 19, 2009 01:18 AM

                              How about Abbot Pizza Co? Get an Athens Pizza Pie with some sort of bagel crust and also don't forget to get the free mustard sauce

                              Show Hidden Posts