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Lunch recommendations for Saturday--Santa Monica, Culver City, West LA

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Friends and I are making our quarterly trip to Penzeys in Santa Monica and Surfas in Culver City on Saturday. We are traveling from SGV.......We usually have lunch at Bay City Delis after our shopping (we did enjoy Bite Bar before it closed) but one of our group would like to go somewhere new. Would love some recommendations from Chowhounds. I find the reviews here helpfulfore eating at new places. BTW, would prefer a place that is very accessible; one of our friends is disabled. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Are you looking for something equally (or at least somewhat) casual and inexpensive like Bay Cities? What about ethnic? You'll be close to really good Oaxacan food at Monte Alban. We really like the lunch/brunch at 17th Street Cafe on Montana in Santa Monica. Excellent salads, sandwiches and breakfast fare, and one of the best tortilla soups we've found.

    Monte Alban
    11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    17th St Cafe
    1610 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Thank you; we go to Bay Cities because we really like the sandwiches not because it is relatively inexpensive....that's just a plus that it's cheap. The group likes good food and would like any type of cuisine. I will look closely at the menus for your two recommendations.

    2. You should try Xinos restaurant in Santa Monica Place. Best dim sum ever. Not cheap but you can really taste the quality.

      4 Replies
      1. re: MonkeyJazz

        Thank you; after looking at the menu I may visit Xino on my own. but I don't think this may be the restaurant for Saturday because of the location (3rd floor) and the type of seating.....one member of our group is disabled.

        1. re: foufou

          I recommend reading this thread before considering Xino, particularly as you are coming from the SGV:


          1. re: Peripatetic

            Thank you, I appreciate all the recommendations but when I am dining with a group democracy dictates that I may not eat where I would prefer. As I noted above, I am eliminating Xino, on this outing, because of accessibility concerns. And, btw, I did read the suggested thread. I am not a huge dim sum fan but I am always open to revisiting that opinion If it were up to me solely, we would go back to Bay Cities, or on our way back to Pasadena, we would go to Jitlada, or even better, not do lunch but an early dinner at either A-frame or Lukshon. Thanks again to everyone that provided a recommendation; I will report back on our choice.

            5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

            1. re: foufou

              I cant' speak to the food at Xino, but if it's concern over accessibility for the member of your group who is disabled I would have to believe that, the brand new Santa Monica Place, would have been built to the most stringent standards of the ADA.

      2. Lemonade in Venice is great for lunch. Wonderful salads and great pot roast sandwiches.

        1661 Abbot Kinney
        Venice, California 90291

        1 Reply
        1. re: wienermobile

          thank you; will give these suggestions to the group but will report back on where we decide to go

        2. How about Nook Bistro?

          Nook Bistro
          11628 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 9, Los Angeles, CA 90025

          1 Reply
          1. re: yogachik

            Nook not open Sat. lunch.

          2. There is Umami in Fred Segal that is even nearby penzeys... compared to other Umami burgers, the space here is nice and open making it very accessible. You don't even have go through Fred Segal to get in...



            Fred Segal
            500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dommy

              Yes except that because of some sort of Yahoo review or mass mailing, Umami at Fred Segal often has an hour or so wait.

              Fred Segal
              500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            2. I'd go to 2117 on Sawtelle. Great food, nice room, lovely people. A few dollars more than Bay City but worth it. http://www.restaurant2117.com/

              1. Tacos Por Favor -- Olympic and 14th in SM. Check out the shrimp ceviche tostada.

                Tacos Por Favor
                1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                1. In Culver City, there is the new L'Epicerie and Surfas Cafe offers some decent choices. There is also Father's Office at Helms Bakery. In Mar Vista, Curious Palate is quite good but, unless you sit on the patio, access for your friend might be a bit tight.

                  Father's Office
                  3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

                  The Curious Palate
                  12034 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA

                  Cafe Surfas
                  8777 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                  L'Epicerie Market
                  9900 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                  1. Lots of great suggestions here already, I'll chip in with another downtown Culver City one, Mezza. We find it a good place for catching up with friends on a mid day lunch. They have lots of great small plates. Order a bunch of stuff, different glasses of wine and enjoy the company and conversation. I also think it's fairly reasonable pricing for the amount and type of food.

                    1. New Trial and Jase have recs that I personally like as well. If you're going to Surfas on Saturday afternoon, you will be a couple of blocks from Father's Office. Take advantage of one of the days that they are open for lunch. If you like great drink choices with excellent food, this is your place. If you're not familiar with Father's Office, search this site for their "rules." I used to be a detractor after a couple of run-ins with their rules, but I've gotten back on board. Their Culver City location is better located, bigger, and more laid back.

                      Mezza serves excellent Lebanese cuisine. The portions are generous, the service is very good, and please save room for dessert.

                      Father's Office Bar
                      1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                      1. Look at "Sauce on Hampton" it's always our first choice (and I love Bay Cities)

                        1. One more for consideration-- Huckleberry.


                          1. Thanks again for all the wonderful recommendations; I am saving this board to revisit for future trips with this group of friends. As a long time lurker, I know that the focus of this site is on the food but other factors; i.e., convenience, accessibility, comfort, etc. can also impact choosing a restaurant. We started our day with coffee and pastries at Cafe Surfas which was one of the recommendations. As often as we have gone to Surfas we had never tried the Cafe.....the Cafe has a grilled cheese sandwich that looks interesting (we sampled some wonderful cheeses in the store) and will try it on another visit. I forgot about the famer's market and we found that the places we normally park were full...luckily we found street parking on 4th near Penzeys. We did not want to give up our parking space so after Penzeys we tried to walk to Umami but the group was only able to walk as far as Pottery Barn and we turned around and walked back to the car. We found ourselves at Joe's in Venice for brunch. There is parking in a lot behind the restaurant and Joe's validates.

                            Joe's was a great brunch choice and really worked for this group with very different but strong food preferences. I now regret that I have not taken advantage of the coupons that I have seen for this place from Groupon and LivingSocial. The meal started with excellent brioche toast and banana bread and a delicious orange marmalade. I had the blue crab hash with perfectly poached eggs....the other entrees at our table included salmon over wasabi mashed potatoes, pork and pate sandwich, chicken and mushroom ravioli, and pancakes with eggs over easy and applewood smoked bacon. We were all very happy with our choices; however, one of our friends did not find the hot food served as hot as it should be. This restaurant has a good wine list for a small place and my friends enjoyed their wine selections (I had a very spicy bloody mary). Brunch entrees are served with an appetizer and we had the fruit plate (strawberries, blackberries, nectarines and mascarpone), crisp green salads , and lentil soup with pig ear (delicious!).. Service is attentive and accomodating. We had very comfortable seating on upholstered banquettes. This restaurant is loud but not uncomfortably so. But for the fact that the group is interested in exploring some of the other recommendations in this board, we would probably return to this place sooner rather than later. Joe's is definitely a place that I would check out for dinner with a reservation.

                            Cafe Surfas
                            8777 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: foufou

                              Thanks for reporting back! Joe's was the first eatery on Abbot Kinney that was much more serious about food. They set a high bar for a street that previously had very little going on other than Hal's and Capri. They've had their ups and downs over the past few years (mostly due to kitchen staffing issues) but I think they've stabilized and are back on their game again. It always amazes me how much they get done in that moderately-sized kitchen. They even bake most of the baked goods that are served there (yup, brioche, banana bread included), so pulling off all they do with consistency is amazing to me.

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                Yes, I am a home baker who is rarely impressed by restaurant baked goods and I was impressed; in fact, the bread on my friend's pork and pate sandwich was also top notch...one of my friends has called me to say that she would like to go back to Joe's and I think it has as much to do with how well we were treated as the food.

                              2. re: foufou

                                Good call on Joes! Glad you guys enjoyed your day and that you reported back! :)