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Help Me Expand My Westwood-based Lunch Rotation

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I live next to Westwood Village. I don't like spending much more than $10 for lunch. Now I go to:

BJ's -- good lunch specials, half-sandwich, good skinny fries, salad under $10.
Philly West -- philly cheesesteak.
Hu's -- combo with entree (kung pao chicken or twice-cooked pork) soup & small chinese chicken salad
Shamshiri -- lamb koobideh skewer + rice + grilled veggies + shirazi salad = $8.85++
Amandine -- quiche or french toast (if early)
The Shack (Wilshire) -- on Wed, all burgers are $2 off, i get the double-cheeseburger.
Label's Table -- their deli sandwiches are bigger and less expensive -- pastrami $8.50.
800 Degrees -- yep, a pizza qualifies, but it really doesn't do it for me by itself...
Victor Jr.'s -- i like their Italian beef dip, but it was dry last time.
In'n'Out -- sometimes satisfies but only once every couple months.
Tacos Por Favor or Taquieria Sanchez -- the hot sauce is almost more important than the tacos.

am thinking of trying Roast, but on the upper end of my price range -- will two roast beef sliders at $9.95 satisfy?

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  1. Have heard great things about Fundamental and it sounds in your range.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BSW6490

      +1 for Fundamental LA. Some of the best sandwiches in the city.

      1. re: wienermobile

        Fundamental's website has a 2 day olf tweet: "still closed for lunch/brunch temporarily. " Too bad, because we still haven't gotten around to trying this place and want to do so.

    2. Another likely suspect would be Attari Sandwich Shop http://www.atarisandwiches.info/ and if you like classic coffee shop style places then you should also try out Mary & Robbs http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta... and they are on Face Book as well: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Ro...

      1 Reply
      1. Try Simpang Asia right across from Hu's. I love this place. I love SE Asian food in general, Simpang is the best in town (better than Ramayani, although Rama is probably closer to you and also worth a try. Simpang is better though)

        Yamadaya has a branch in WW now just south of Wilshire on WW blvd. I personally think their ramen is so-so but enough people rave about it for me to admit I might just be too dumb to "get it" or something

        Naan hut has a new expanded menu in addition to the great sangak flatbread they've been putting out for years, if you're feeling like persian, go here. the WW blvd places IMO can't compare. I like the kabobs across the street at Glaat kosher market, I haven't had naan hut's kebabs yet.

        Unfortunately, when it comes to the culinary wasteland that is westwood, I have a much much much longer list of "don't ever go there"s than I do rec's, sad to say

        3 Replies
        1. re: BrewNChow

          "... the culinary wasteland that is westwood..."

          North of Wilshire, maybe. It's definitely not that bad south of Wilshire (and yes, I am UCLA alum and still go to Westwood weekly).

          1. re: J.L.

            I agree, i meant the bruin definition of westwood, which is how far I'd w ould ever walk under any circumstances, and it extends exactly to wilshire and to sunset, veteren to the west and hilgard to the east

            Still, south of wilshire isn't exactly amazing either imo

            1. re: BrewNChow

              Agree that the whole area isn't exactly a culinary mecca, especially if we're considering the OP's price range. I live near Westwood and work in Century City, and I have trouble finding cheap options on a regular basis.

          1. Thanks for the recs so far. I will try them and report which make the regular rotation.

            Note: According to their website, Fundamental currently is closed at lunch temporarily. Please someone post when they reopen.

            I should add these to my list of regulars, especially when I drive:

            Bay Cities Deli -- sure, sandwiches, but I like the potroast dinner on the hot side.
            Dino's -- great chicken, awesome "sauce" marinade.
            Carnitas Michaocan -- good asada, better al pastor, best hot sauce in SoCal.
            Eastside Deli -- love those messy hot sandwiches, usually more than I can eat.
            Portos -- a LONG drive to Downey, but love those potato balls.

            7 Replies
            1. re: nosh

              For Porto's: from Westwood, wouldn't their Burbank store be a shorter drive than Downey?

              1. re: ozhead

                For either location I'd need a fully functioning "transporter" system like Captain Kirk used on the Enterprise if I was going to put it into my regular rotation from over here on west side...

                "Beam me up, Scotty!"

              2. re: nosh

                If you're driving to Eastside Deli or Portos, you might as well throw Langer's in the mix.

                1. re: lil mikey

                  I love Langer's. But even their simplest pastrami sandwich with tax and tip brings it into the category of a lunchtime splurge. Same with Yang Chow (yeah, I know) -- love the slippery shrimp, but no lunch specials so a splurge.

                  1. re: lil mikey

                    You might as well eschew the "Westwood-based" from your original post and just ask about the greater L.A. area.

                  2. re: nosh

                    I'm assuming you're talking about recs for workplace lunchtime from Westwood. From Westwood to Downey for lunch? How much time for lunch break do you get?

                    1. re: nosh

                      A fairly easy/doable commute is over the 405 and into Brentwood for a burger from Barney's Burgers on San Vicente: http://www.barneyshamburgers.com/ or even the NY Bagel Company in the little mall next door to Tavern: http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta...

                    2. Have you ever tried Bella Pita...fresh made to order food at a very reasonable price and they have a sauce and salad bar where you can add whatever you like.

                      Also I would suggest sockos next to diddy reese, they make their bread fresh daily and are extremely accomidating

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sachin24

                        Bella Pita's actual food itself is decent enough, nothing to write home about but nothing likely to dissatisfy

                        However, their "really really hot sauce" (yeah that's actually what they call it) is unforgettable.

                        My go-to order at Bella? A large container of really really hot sauce, to go.

                        I can't second your rec on Socko's, sorry their sandwiches are pretty bad. Fat Sal's may be known for sandwiches that are banned in 8 states, but if you order a normal sub from the "signature heros" part of the menu, you'll get a better sandwich than at socko's. Jersey Mikes is OK too. I'd go to quizno's a million times before going to socko's again

                      2. Wally's Cheese Box on Westwood Blvd, just north of Olympic, has a limited selection, but some very good sandwiches. Top-quality cheese and nice charcuterie on La Brea Bakery bread.

                        If Simpang Asia is too far, Ramayani on Westwood, just north of Wilshire, has good Indonesian food. The lunch specials will fit your budget.

                        If you are driving all the way to Tacos Por Favor or Taqueria Sanchez, consider The Talpa on Pico, just east of Barrington. It has been their forever and is a bit kitschy, but the chips and salsa are good and spicy, and I particularly like the carne asada taco and the chile relleno. Their website has some $5.50 lunch specials.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Jwsel

                          Just as a factual point: Ramayani is just north of Sanata Monica Blvd., not Wilshire.

                          1. re: J.L.

                            Thanks for the correction. Of course, it's north of Santa Monica.

                            Hole in the Wall Burger Joint -- burger only without the expensive toppings, fries or drinks -- is right around $10 with tax.

                        2. Zankou Chicken is fairly close (a helluva lot closer than Hu's!).

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                            I love Zankou -- how could I have omitted it? It is right next to my vet's office where I pick up food. I get either the chicken tarna wrap with extra garlic or the whole chicken -- half for there and half for dinner later.

                            1. re: nosh

                              Mmmmmmmm zankou

                              I fell in love with sunnin last month. The hummus is extraordinary, but i also love shamshari....

                              1. re: echoparkdirt

                                I haven't been to Sunnin since it moved across the street. Stupid website menu -- had to go to menupages to get prices. Seems that most dishes -- lamb kebabs, shawarma, kefta or koobideh -- are about $3-4 more than Shamshari's lunch specials. Are we talking two skewers instead of one?

                                1. re: nosh

                                  Also, right around the corner from Zankou behind the Winchell's donuts is Hole in the Wall Burgers.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    Weird, the site's really acting up on my iPhone. I was trying to reply to bulavinaka below and the first I tapped Reply it took me to my profile and the second time it let me reply but attached it here instead of down there.

                          2. I concur enthusiastically with the suggestions of Simpang Asia, Attari Sandwich. Mary & Robbs is also on our family's regular dinner rotation, although I'm not sure if it quite fits your price point. Another classic coffee shop well worth a try is the one at Rancho Park Golf Course, at Pico & Patricia.

                            I'd also suggest Fresh Corn Grill (especially the soup; Cajun shrimp pizza is also good but again might not fit your price point). You could give Aroma, on Overland S of Pico, a shot: the best thing on the menu, the pljeskavica (onion burger) is $12, I think, but very much worth it, one of the best burgers in LA.

                            The salads and sandwiches at John O'Groats are mostly too expensive for your budget, but if you stick to the breakfast side of the menu you could probably do pretty well.

                            Apple Pan's inflated prices put it outside your budget, as many have bemoaned here, but if you just had pie for lunch, once in a while, I think it might be worth it. :-)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: PayOrPlay

                              South on Westwood Blvd - California Chicken Cafe, Mandarin Kitchen lunch specials and the Chinese Chicken Salad from Feast from the East.

                              A little further near Century City is Clementine which has a combo for $9.75 - 1/2 sandwich, soup or baby greens, and drink or a cookie.

                            2. Couple of other suggestions not mentioned yet:

                              Ramen Yamada-ya: bowl of ramen is around $8+
                              Noodle Planet, Mr. Noodle: slightly different Asian food places, seems like they are better at different things
                              Bibigo, Gushi: Bibigo is much more traditional, quantity is more at Gushi

                              Sandbags and Angelino's Cafe are the two places I tend to go to. Fundamental-LA was better, but as noted is currently reworking the lunch menu. Take out Italian also at Angelino's.

                              Burger options:
                              Have not gone to Five Guys, but every once in a while I will splurge on calories and drive to Hole in the Wall Burger - same distance as going to Zankou.

                              Newer restaurants:
                              The new Umami restaurant hasn't opened yet. Have not gone to Native Foods since the remodel.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: thranduil

                                Grab a Ficelle from the Larder at Tavern. Great sandwich on a thin homemade sourdough baguette and filled with thinly sliced fresh turkey, provolone, peppers, shredded lettuce and olive oil. wonderful sandwich. they make a couple of other Ficelles with other ingredients but the turkey one is my favorite. $8.00

                                1. re: thranduil

                                  BrewNChow mentioned Yamadaya already.

                                  1. re: J.L.

                                    J.L. I tried tsukemen at Tsujita recently per your rec, and I really enjoyed it. Since the geographical area being discussed have blown past the borders of Westwood already, I would say it would be a place that fit the OP's criteria. Without the char-siu, both the tsukemen and tonkotsu are right at the $10 price point.

                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                      Glad you liked it. I just went to Tsujita this past weekend myself.

                                      As for geography, we blew past Westwood at "Downey". Way past it.

                                  2. re: thranduil

                                    New Umami in Westwood? Please tell me more! (And don't laugh at me for not knowing about it already!)

                                    1. re: sablouwho

                                      It is different from all other Umami's and is named U-Mini. This is their fast food version and you will order at the counter with tablet-only customer service and app ordering with a limited menu, and they will be trying out new limited edition burgers. Only 45 seats. This is the version they hope will go nationwide. Should open sometime this summer.

                                      1131 Westwood Blvd. Westwood.

                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                        The name alone is simply adorable! I can't wait to give it a try--I live pretty close by!

                                  3. P'tit Soleil opens Wednesday. Depends if you like poutine...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: thranduil

                                      Its parent eatery Soleil already offers lots of poutine options.

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        Have you had a chance to try their poutine? Just wondering if the curds are the type Canadians are used to. We have a friend who is still in the hunt for the big cheetos-sized curds on the dryer side...

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          I've only had their poutine once and the curds are more authentic than most places. I think the most authentic cheese curds on a poutine that I've had in L.A. was one of the food trucks serving poutine but I can't remember which.

                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                            Poutine Truck? Not sure if it's currently active though.There's always the "poutine" at Animal and ink...

                                    2. Got a couple more for you TS

                                      Johnnie's Pastrami
                                      Nagila Meeting place for Laffa wraps (Israeli burritos, best burrito I've had in WLA and it's not even a real burrito)

                                      1. If price is an object...

                                        Hawai'ian Plate Lunch at Ono Hawaiian BBQ (NW corner of Santa Monica & Bundy). Many don't like it, but I do.

                                        Doughnuts for lunch? Sure, why not?! Go have a buttermilk bar or five at Primo's on Sawtelle & National.

                                        Which Wich just opened on the SE corner of Sawtelle & Olympic, and I like their customize-able sandwiches.

                                        An impromptu outdoor selling featuring yakitori, yakisoba and/or okonomiyaki sometimes materializes like magic in front of Nijiya Market on Sawtelle, selling delicious, hot, cheap Japanese street fare.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          My son was toying with the thought of sandwiching a burger patty or tonkatsu inside a Primo's buttermilk bar. Blasphemy.

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            Tell that boy he needs to come up with something that's NOT a straight rip off of Krispy Kreme burgers, dammit! ;-D> http://www.aldenteblog.com/2008/07/al...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Simultaneous innovation. :) After seeing that shot, I hope he never tries it though...