Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Nov 8, 2011 12:57 PM

Lunch in Little Osaka?

I'm temping this week in a pleasant corner of nowheresville, Westside, near to Little Osaka. Where should I get lunch? I'm looking to spend $10 or under (answering phones doesn't pay that well), and the town finally shooed away all the food trucks that used to congregate near Sawtelle and Mississippi. Does anyone have any good recommendations? I tried Gr/eats today and found my salmon sandwich uninteresting. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'd wait until Ramen Jinya on Sawtelle opens and then spend my 10 bucks there...

    1. I work near there. Not knowing what exactly you're looking for besides price, here's a few suggestions. At that price point, I'd think Sawtelle Kitchen, Blue Marlin and either of the curry houses for sit down.

      Sawtelle Kitchen would be at the higher end of the budget especially before tax and tip even with their lunch specials. .

      Blue Marlin, I've found a little inconsistent depending on the dish. But it's solid a lot of times too. Some of the dishes such as the fried chicken lunch special are large enough that you can save half for dinner. This link is a little outdated for prices, but selection is about the same I'd say add a buck or two to prices and you'll get decent idea. But check their lunch specials or call them.

      The two curry house links

      Furaibo, you might be able to get under $10 with careful ordering? It's a izakaya. I've done their braised pork belly dish and a bowl of rice for lunch before. Quick and simple and pretty inexpensive, that should be under $10 before tax and tip. Their site is all in japanese. Their chicken wings are also very popular.

      If you want something that's non Japanese, go down to Pico and Sawtelle and hit El Super Taco for decent Mexican. Get the tortas. The tacos can be hit or miss, the chorizo can be very greasy. But carne asada and pastor is decent enough. 3-4 tacos at $1.50 each is a good lunch for me. I like the torta cubano a lot. . But I do like they give you grilled onions with the tacos and I like their salsas.

      Finally another inexpensive lunch option would be the hot dog cart that's by Best Buy's parking lot. Not on the Sawtelle side but on Corinth. Uncle Ced. $5 will get you a 1/4 pound dog, bag of chips and can of soda. Or $3.50 for a dog by itself.

      He's a really nice guy, very clean and meticulously kept as befitting an ex-marine. He has beef, Louisiana hot and turkey. It's not blow your mind hot dog, but solid and can't beat it for a value lunch.

      As for shooing away all the trucks, that wasn't the city's fault really, they just stopped getting as much traffic after the lofts were done and the cafe was open in the Teleflora building. The trucks now congregate down the street near Bundy and Olympic. If you're willing to walk that far, there's at least 3-4 everyday if not more. They get a lot of foot traffic from the media building there and the TV station on Bundy.

      Hopefully this helps. Report back when you can.

      Sawtelle Kitchen
      2024 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

      Blue Marlin
      2121 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

      El Super
      3321 W Century Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90303

      1. For that price point, I'd go to Chabuya, Hurry Curry, or perhaps grab a ready-made bento/sushi at Nijiya market.
        If you can spend a bit more, Sushi Stop is decently good for the cheap sushi variety.

        The other day I noticed a newer place that I didn't catch the name of open next to Restaurant 2117 that seemed to serve a little of everything (tonkatsu, okonomiyaki, sushi) - anyone try it yet?

        2002 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

        10 Replies
        1. re: TracyS

          The green (verde) Kogi truck will be in your neighborhood this week on Thursday and Friday...

          KOGI truck = delicious and crazy cheap. Burritos = $5 of amazing.

          Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

          1. re: TracyS

            I should've listened to you. Instead, I went to Ramenya because it was closer, got the shoyu ramen with wonton, and was severely disappointed. I'm not a huge ramen fan, but mainly because I'm new to it. This bowl, though, was so bland it was gross, that it was inedible in its vapidness. I did find the trucks on my way back, so I'll hit them up tomorrow (they're a bit further down on Olympic.)

            11555 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            1. re: Rosiepigs

              Chabuya is consistently good.

              2002 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              1. re: Rosiepigs

                Little luck today as well. At the truck stop there were only 3 trucks--Holy Aioli, Calbi, and a Mexican truck. i waited too long and the line for the Holy Aioili truck was too long, and I had Mexican last night, so I resorted to Calbi. Once again, a letdown. I got the beef burrito, which was more like a salad burrito with very little beef involved. Nothing sadder than a salad burrito--as Homer Simpson once pointed out, "You don't make friends with salad." I guess the lunch gods don't want me to dine yummy this week. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

                1. re: Rosiepigs

                  For very inexpensive lunches in that area try Ketchy's II. I like some of their curry offerings and you can't go wrong with chili cheese dogs either. It's an outside stand with hardly any seating. Cash only as far as I recall.

                  ADD: Yelp photo of their menu:

                  Ketchy's II
                  11270 La Grange Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                  1. re: Rosiepigs

                    Ugh, sorry to hear that. I had Calbi once and was unhappy enough to never try them again.

                    No luck with my other suggestions either?

                    I'd also second Tracy's suggestion of Nijiya. The food in their prepared case is pretty tasty and inexpensive. If you get there between 11-11:30, you'll beat the crowds and the food is just fresh made from the kitchen behind the counter. But it's takeout only and very limited seating outside the market.

                    Since you are going all the way down to Olympic/Bundy for the trucks, you may want to try Lemon Moon inside that media building. But your $10 price point will mean you have to pick and choose carefully.

                    Site is up to date with pricing

                    Lemon Moon
                    12200 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                2. re: TracyS

                  I did a few weeks ago. I can't remember which versions of the 2 okonomiyakis I had (could they possibly taste that different, if they all share the same base?), but I thought it was tasty and a decent value for the money. Don't think an okonomiyaki + drink will less than $10, though. I have a vague recollection of eating an appetizer there, but it was apparently so unmemorable that I can't recall what it was! Was it tuna on crispy rice? I can only remember that I enjoyed whatever sauce was on the plate (sorry). I was pleased enough overall w/ the food, though, that I'd go back.

                  There's also a restaurant on the other side of Blue Marlin that has multiple bowls based on some combination of rice, tuna, eel, and roe (in addition to ramen and some random appetizers). The food is hardly gourmet and the surroundings are somewhat, er, industrial, but it's affordable and has a pretty wide variety of food. I find the tofu nuggets + miso sauce to be weirdly addicting.

                  I was completely unimpressed w/ the value of the Sushi-Stop sushi. Yes, it's cheap, but you get what you pay for. I can't understand why there's a line for that place. Thought the curry bowl here was also a waste of $. I expect the curry bowl at that price to be a reheated version of something that was purchased frozen at the supermarket, and this actually tasted somewhat worse than that. Completely insipid and bland.

                  There is a small cafe called Mozzarella (I think) in the Olympic Collection (1st floor). Only went there once (for a caprese salad) and was surprised at how tasty it was. On the second floor, there's a place (the name escapes me) that has a variety of ramen and soba. Can't recal if you can get out of there for < $10, but I remember it being relatively affordable and actually pretty tasty. I also like the Korean tofu place near Asahi Ramen, but I'm not sure if that (or the other items on the menu) might be a little too heavy for lunch.

                  Asahi Ramen
                  2027 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  1. re: ilysla

                    I'll add some names to your places. =)

                    The fish rice bowl place is Wakasaya, which I tried before and would still choose Sushi Stop over for cheap sushi. Yes Sushi Stop is not gourmet by any means, but for $2.75 an order, I do like the aburi/flame-seared sushi selections and whatever's on special (uni, sea scallop, real crab). Would definitely not order a curry bowl there with Hurry Curry and Curry House just steps away.

                    The noodle place on the second floor of Olympic Collection is Mishima which is a good rec in that price range. They do Japanese rice bowls like tanin don and katsu don, and soba and udon that are pretty good - I don't think they have ramen.

                    The Korean place further up Sawtelle is Tofuya where you can get the standards like galbi, bulgogi, soon dubu, bibimbap a la carte or in massive combos.

                    2123 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                    1. re: TracyS

                      Thank you! I'm not normally that bad w/ names, but I guess 1AM is a little late for the brain to be working properly. ;) And, yes, I think Mishima had udon but not ramen.

                      The problem is that I needed a curry bowl to make me full! I think that's the problem w/ sushi, in general (for me). Some people seem fine w/ just a few orders of sushi; I could eat an aquarium (or freezer case) full of it (which is why I'm actually okay w/ going to the AYCE-in-1 hr places). Didn't like Daichan (is that what's called?) in the Olympic Collection for the same reason... and b/c the sushi was room temp by the time it had made its way around the conveyor belt.

                      Also agree w/ those above who found Calbi disappointing. Kimchi and BBQ-flavored lettuce just doesn't do it for me....

                      11288 Ventura Blvd Ste F, Studio City, CA 91604

                  2. re: TracyS

                    I stopped by Chabuya today, but I wanted chicken ramen and didn't feel like chicken/mushroom (I've never been a huge fan of mushrooms.) instead, I went to Tofuya and went with their bulgogi special, as I was afraid the tofu soup wouldn't fill me up. bad choice. Everyone else was getting the soup, while my bulgogi was just functional. I should listen to y'all more.

                    2002 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                  3. Second the recs for Furaibo and Hurry Curry of Tokyo, and I've heard good things about Sawtelle Kitchen. But if you want ramen you should definitely hit up Tsujita L.A. They just started serving ramen and tsukemen at lunch and both are pretty phenomenal (and can be had for under $10).

                    2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: midtownlunchla

                      You've heard good things about Sawtelle Kitchen? Went there a few months ago and thought it was downright awful. There are plenty of good places on Sawtelle - that isn't one of them.

                      Kiriko is very good. After a few so-so experiences, I've had a great run. (hm...maybe I'll go tonight). I also like Robata-Yah (owned by the guy behing Jidori chicken.) I like their skewers. Chef did time at from Chinois. If you want to do a low carb meal - just get the skewers.

                      11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                      Sawtelle Kitchen
                      2024 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                      2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                    2. I recommend Tempura House on Sawtelle. If you don't pay attention, you will miss it. It's run by an elderly Japanese couple and the food is homemade. Nothing fancy. They serve bento and plate lunches. Prices are cheap compared to the rest of Little Osaka. You can get a decent lunch for under $10 and still have money left over. I had curry rice a few months back and I think it was $5. It's a bit dark and dingy inside, but don't let that dissuade you. Imagine going home and eating Mom's comfort food (country Japanese style).