Good lunch places in Santa Monica?
I work in the Watergarden office complex on the corner of Cloverfield and Colorado in Santa Monica. My co-workers and I tend to eat out nearly every day, but we've fallen into a rut. I'm looking for recommendations of other good places in the area that we could try out for lunch. For reference, here's a list of our usual places:
Curry House, Pot 'n Pan Thai, Houston's (a bit pricey, but awesome), gr/eats (adorable little place), Cha Cha Chicken, Echigo, Taka Sushi (best lunch specials ever), Akbar (the free naan and condiments are great), Greek Cuisine Stop'n Cafe, Jinky's, Bay Cities Deli, Fritto Misto (I'm not a fan -- everything is oily and bland), El Cholo (Not a fan of this place either -- inauthentic and too heavy), Sham (sort-of ok, but often too oily and bland), Zankou chicken, Darya, Swingers.
Have you and your coworkers tried Nook or Monte Alban for lunch?
Also, there's a cafe with the same owners as Nook, I believe, at Bergamot Station. They have a delicious mint lemonade and good iced tea, salads and sandwiches. They have specials that change daily and there is outdoor seating. Plus, you can look in some of the art galleries while you're there.
not sure how far you're willing to drive, and you've certainly sampled a lot...
on montana, babalu, cafe dana, le marmiton, montana cafe, grateful bread
riva in santa monica
monte alban in west la (10 min drive)
nawab of india
tacos por favor, tacomiendo
fred segal cafe - good salads and people watching ;)
cora's coffee shop
don't know if you've done il forno's power lunches
second lemon moon for several reasons:
1) you can actually get in and out of the place in a reasonable amount of time
2) food is good and reasonably priced
3) normally they have adequate seating
4) one doesn't have to go through a rigamarole of ordering by fax in advance in order to get in and out in time. doing this sort of faxing/meal-planning at work was simply not acceptable in my office.
5) validated adequate parking
6) i've never seen the kitchen get slammed (once, at the counter, they were working on a to-go order of 45 build-to-suit burgers. needless to say they were slammed.)
http://www.cynthiasonthecorner.com/ and 17th Street Cafe http://seventeenthstreetcafe.com/ - both on Montana in SM and close to one another + R + D Kitchen http://www.hillstone.com/#/restaurant... (an offshoot of Houston's/Bandera) right there with the other two places mentioned above.
Cynthia's On The Corner
1518 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403
This actually just closed down last week. Sad to see it go, it was a good option and had a decent chicken caeser wrap. I work in the same area and besides the many places already listed, I'll add California Chicken Cafe and the many trucks that have been making their way to our area either in front of MTV or on Pennsylvania. I second Lemon Moon, Tacos Por Favor and Bergamot Cafe.
The Counter is pretty good. Awesome burgers. Tacos Por Favor is pretty good, too. Low end SoCal style Mexican. Can't really go wrong there. There's a little cafe at Bergamot Station that is pretty good, too. Read a good review the other day. Not sure of the name, though, but it's right in your neighborhood.
It's called Le Petit.
I like Gilbert's a lot too, although I usually only make it there for dinner. Be forewarned not to expect authentic Mexican food. Instead, I think it's Americanized Mexican food at it's best. It's the stuff I grew up on and like comfort food to me. Definitely less greasy than El Cholo and not overpriced like El Cholo is. If you're looking for authentic, go to Monte Alban as Emme recommended.
OP doesn't mention whether he/she has tried Mrs. Winston's in the Watergarden itself, but I'm a fan.