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Best Lunch near 3rd Street Promanade?

My son is going off to college and is currently working near the third street promanade. Looking for place to get a tasty lunch with him during his lunch hour, while he's still here. Ideas??

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  1. I live right by the Promenade and consider it a waste land as far as food goes. Sure, there's Fraiche and Anisette Brasserie, but not much in the way of good, inexpensive food.

    I'd probably end up at Houston's if I had to stay near the promenade.

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    Anisette Brasserie
    225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

    2 Replies
    1. re: Azizeh

      my wife works down there, it's definitely pretty rough going...Chain-wise Houston's and Wolfgang Puck would work, I think a teenage boy going off to college would probably be into the huge, bar food-centric menu (think burgers, wings, nachos, etc) at Barney's Beanery (maybe not you)...Anisette is good but pricey - if you like sushi, the Sushi Roku down there has some pretty decent lunch specials

      1. re: Azizeh

        The query was for tasty food, not inexpensive food.

        Fraiche and Anisette are the best - and both very good. Fig at the Fairmont would be my third choice. And then there's the best of the rest; Houstons is decent "chain" food (better than the Olive Garden - on a par with Daily Grill), Locanda del Lago, the restaurant in the Shangri La hotel.

      2. I am your son's age, well in the stage of life he's entering. I like Comfort Cafe at Fred Segal Santa Monica. It's a casual place with good food. I also really like Locanda del Lago, but I would reserve and order ahead if you go there since its during his lunch hour. Someone mentioned chain places, I'd go to Il Fornaio, and reserve a spot and order ahead. Monsieur Marcel is good. I think my number one choice at this very moment would be Cafe Crepe.

        Edit: This is also my rebuttal to the area being a wasteland or rough going for good, inexpensive food.

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        Fred Segal
        500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Locanda Del Lago
        231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Il Fornaio
        1551 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Cafe Crepe
        1460 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Comfort Cafe
        420 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Monsieur
        1260 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        2 Replies
        1. re: apple7blue

          Is the Comfort Cafe still at the Santa Monica Fred Segal? When we ate at the Umami Burger there recently I didn't notice any other place to eat outside of Umami (but then again I didn't go exploring, so it may well be someplace else in the store?).

          1. re: Servorg

            Yes it is. It's across the street of where you ate, and inside. I ate there very recently.

        2. I used to live near there. It can be slim pickings but here are some sneaking good choices:

          Wahoo's fish tacos - its a chain but their cilantro sauce is good

          Bay Cities - not too far depending on what end of the promanade you start from.

          Warsawa - interesting and pretty tasty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cjelias

            Warszawa is not open for lunch.

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            Warszawa Restaurant
            1414 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          2. In addition to some good suggestions...
            Joe's pizza for a good slice

            Huckleberry for good and casual comfort food

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            Joe's Pizza
            111 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Huckleberry Cafe
            1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            3 Replies
            1. re: AAQjr

              Hmm, does that Joe's still exist? I thought I saw a gyro shop or something.

              1. re: jaykayen

                Joe's is very much still in existence.

                1. re: jaykayen

                  That place (I think Alexandra's) has been there for a while, it is next to Joe's.

              2. I like Buddha's Belly. Great lunch place. Santa Monica location http://www.bbfood.com/

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                Buddha's Belly Restaurant
                7475 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. If you're going for something casual, Umami burger. More upscale, Anisette or Fig. Sandwiches: Bay Cities or HuckleBerry (though both are a bit off the promenade).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mdpilam

                    Yes, Umami Manly Burger and cheese tater tots.

                  2. Houston's lunch is very solid. I know it's a chain, but the restaurant is very attractive, the service is excellent, and I could eat their Thai Steak Salad all day long.

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                    Houston's Restaurant
                    202 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    1. Fig, in the Fairmont Hotel is terrific. Also, there's a branch of Umami Burger at Fred Segal.

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                      Fred Segal
                      500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                      1. Dont know why people say there are slim pickings, there's actually a lot of options - they're just not on the Promenade itself

                        Buddha's Belly, Anisette, Houston's, Fraiche, Fred Segal, Swingers (a couple blocks away), Bay Cities, Fritto Misto, Le Pain Quotidian, Border Grill, Robata Bar, Joe's Pizza....I could go on, actually.

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                        Border Grill
                        1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        Fred Segal
                        500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        Fritto Misto
                        601 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        Buddha's Belly Restaurant
                        7475 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                        Robata Bar
                        1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        19 Replies
                        1. re: yogachik

                          Not to mention the choices are about to increase by a factor of 4 or 5 since Santa Monica Place is so very, very close to reopening with a bunch of new, exciting food choices from what I keep reading - http://www.santamonicaplace.com/dining/ as you can read here.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            The market seems interesting place to get good ingredients. My concern is that they will charge us the privilege of spending our money there, heh . . .

                            1. re: apple7blue

                              I understand that the mall is set to reopen tomorrow, Aug. 2. I wonder what the traffic in the parking garage will be like? It's going to be a wonderful addition to the Santa Monica / west side / LA dining scene. That's for sure.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                It opens on August 6th. There's a big preview opening on the 5th. I'm also excited, and i don't like malls. But the new restaurants look pretty darn good.

                                1. re: yogachik

                                  I was talking to someone associated with one of the restaurants the other day and he said that they were opening on Monday. So maybe some of the food places are opening in advance of the Nordstroms?

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    They might be open, but maybe they debut on the 5th/6th. To iron out wrinkles?

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      I know a couple people associated, also, and there are soft openings the next few nights, but not open to the public.

                                  2. re: Servorg

                                    Just checked some of the restaurants that are going to be there. Is there really a need for another Fatburger and Stefano's Pizza (since both are on the promenade)? Or are they moving to this location? And I don't know anything about Pinches Tacos, so hopefully it's good because this location could definitely use a good Taqueria, but $2.50+ tacos?! C'mon. (unless they are huge)

                                  3. re: apple7blue

                                    They're hoping and shooting for something along the lines of San Francisco's Ferry Building. If they can come close to that in terms of quality of selection, then the prices might be easier to swallow.

                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      How do you think Frank Gehry's architecture compares to the Ferry's architecture? And what do you think of the new design?

                                      1. re: apple7blue

                                        I haven't seen but a couple of renderings of the new mall myself. And I find the Ferry Building itself to be more utilitarian and historical. The style of architecture itself was very popular at the turn of the the previous century, and it does impress me that it has survived two major earthquakes with little damage.

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          Neither have I . . . though the new department stores' details remind me of the great department stores being built around the world now, though a pale reflection. I like Frank Gehry's work, but the old mall sucked. I think the Ferry Building is the most aeshetically pleasing, but Gehry's design is colored by the horrible mall within. I think his mall work isn't that good also. The renderings of Santa Monica Place are unspectacular commercial crap. The eating area on the roof seems an interesting experience especially so close to the ocean winds.

                                          1. re: apple7blue

                                            The rooftop dining area is supposed to face an give a view of the ocean. This could be one of the hottest seats in the Westside if the food is even half-decent. A relatively unimpeded view of the sun setting over the Pacific for the price of a mall court meal.

                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                              Even if the food sucks in the place itself, there are plenty of places in the Promenade and nearby to grab a picnic off of. Hopefully, it's not the case. I think a lot more places will open there because there are only a few vendors listed so far. Unless, they really, really scaled back the plans to the community opposition. I think the community opposition saved them, because they weren't overextended in the market crash.

                                      2. re: bulavinaka

                                        The Market section will not open until late 2010 to early 2011.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          I've heard that the line-up of places isn't even near complete. I'll be curious to see who eventually moves in there and what they're offering. This could pair well with the FM on Arizona, like the Ferry Building does on FM days by the Embarcadero.

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            Except the market is on another street right? It's not adjacent like Embarcadero . . . they should add a real skate park though in Santa Monica.

                                            1. re: apple7blue

                                              Yeah, I hear you, but we all could use a little more walking in LA, right? :) It just gives me a reason to walk back to the car to drop off the produce from the FM and walk over to the Promenade.

                                  4. re: yogachik

                                    Also a short walk away (not in LA terms, but in reality), is Huckleberry. It's about a 10 minute walk from the Promenade. Within a 10 minute walk are even more options, if that walk is okay with your son.

                                  5. I live two blocks away but don't love anything within a short walk. My choices for lunch would be Anisette, Border Grill, Ye Olde Kings Head, and Real Food Daily. (I have not been to Fig and it may well be the best option.)

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                                    Border Grill
                                    1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                    Real Food Daily
                                    414 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048