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ISO: Vegetarian late lunch/early dinner with drinks between Downtown and LAX?

Hey LA,

SF hound in town for a conference downtown at LACC. I'm meeting up with a friend on Wednesday for a late lunch/early dinner before she graciously drops me off at LAX for my flight back to the Bay Area. Can you all please help me with the following:

- vegetarian (lacto-ovo) menu with unpretentious food, prefer something along the lines of Latin American/French/Italian/Californian/New American as opposed to, say, Asian flavors
- great beer or cocktails a plus
- open during the typical pre-dinner hours (I need to be at LAX by 7pm, and anyway it'd probably be prudent to get a head start on the inevitable traffic from the NHL game Wednesday night)

I realize the last list item makes things a bit tricky: for example, I was looking at Café Pinot, but they are closed between 2:30pm and 5:00pm, when we'd likely be dining.

Your help's much appreciated!

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  1. not too many french places that are vegetarian friendly AND unpretentious AND open between lunch and dinner.

    if you would consider persian food in a restaurant that serves wine , you might consider Shamshiri Grill in westwood which offers a whole section of their menu devoted to vegetarian entrees (AND many of their appetizers are vegetarian as well).

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      Yeah, I recognize it's a bit of a tall order. I'd consider Persian cuisine but my friend is a little more picky than I am; I'll propose it as an option. Thanks!

      1. re: Discokill

        Good idea, thanks! I'll take a look at the menu. Would be smart to eat somewhere relatively close to the airport versus downtown. Any favorite dishes/drinks at Akasha?

      2. Downtown, right?

        Border grill's happy hour starts at 4pm, and they have many good veggie options. (Their potato tacos are very good!) And their drinks are tasty : )

        5 Replies
        1. re: happybaker

          fwiw,
          if i had to be at LAX at 7pm,
          i would not be STARTING to order food and drinks downtown at 4.
          ymmv

          1. re: westsidegal

            There are ways to drive it, easily in that time, at that time of day. We've done it.

            That said, perhaps Culver City is the way to go for fewer worries : )

            Or nab a happy hour in Abbot Kinney...

            1. re: happybaker

              Great advice; I'd rather be midway through my meal by 4pm rather than sitting down to start it at that time, and being situated a little closer to LAX would definitely help. Any spots in Culver City or along Abbot Kinney that spring to mind, aside from Akasha as suggested above? Other spots in Venice or Marina del Rey would work, too.

              1. re: graceface

                Gjelina on Abbott Kinney serves a limited menu (pizzas and salads) through the afternoon between lunch and dinner service. Hal's, Chaya Venice, Cafe Del Rey - all have happy hour type menus through the late afternoon hours, with a number of veg options.

                1. re: cookie monster

                  if you end up at Cafe del Rey's lounge area, i recommend their Truffle Pizza with caramelized onions.
                  also, for airport trips, there is a lot to be said for having the parking lot right in front of the restaurant.

        2. Follow up! First off, thanks everybody for all the suggestions and advice.

          My friend and I ended up going to Gjelina for beers and pizza. It was the first dining experience there for both of us and overall, we both really enjoyed it. Although we got a late start and ended up tucking into our meal at 4pm (just what I hoped would not happen), being close enough to LAX made it worrry-free.

          Food-wise, we shared a beautiful pizza with squash blossom, cherry tomato, and burrata, which was delicious. I really liked the savory, sour crust and puffy cornicione. Pizza came out promptly with the dish of requisite condiments: oregano, crushed red peppers, and parmesan; I didn't bother to ask if they had bottles of hot chili oil like they do up here at Pizzeria Delfina. Anyone know if they do? We also ordered the cheese selection, which was delicious. Other than the aged Humboldt Fog, I've completely forgotten the other (cow's milk) cheeses (Blame my dog-tired state). Hopefully if I give the restaurant a ring today, someone can refresh my memory.

          Service, on which I've read hit-or-miss reports, was generally congenial and attentive, regularly refreshing drinks and bread to go with our cheeses. Probably didn't hurt that we were sitting at the bar as opposed to a table. No one "saw" us out the door when we left (not even the woman right by the door), but in spite of that, no major complaints here.

          Once again, thanks for the collective wisdom! I hope to return the favor in kind.

           
          1 Reply
          1. re: graceface

            Thanks for reporting back. That pizza looks delicious. One of the many things I love about living in Venice is the proximity to LAX - 30-40 minutes in the heaviest traffic and a lot less at non-rush hours.