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Jul 29, 2013 09:16 PM

Need help: quick solo weekday lunch near Burbank Airport or near downtown LA?

I'm flying into Burbank right before lunchtime tomorrow but I have a 1:30 appt in downtown LA. I will have a rental car. Other than going to In-N-Out, are there any other quick options (less than 1 hour) that one might suggest? I'm assuming I'll have better options downtown, but maybe Burbank has some hidden gems?

I eat everything and am game for any non-chain option, though preferably not Chinese (unless it's Muslim Chinese or Beijing/Northern Chinese fare, as I'm picky about my Chinese food). I assume most ethnic places can get me in and out in under an hour.

No budget constraints, but no fine dining given my time constraints.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can provide!

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  1. Try Marugame Monzo for a bowl of decent udon. It's located in Little Tokyo (which is Downtown-adjacent).

    Marugame Monzo
    329 E. 1st St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90012

    5 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      Unless you can go after your meeting, the wait will be a killer during the height of lunch time....

      if you want quick, and you don't mind sandwiches, there's always Blue Cow Kitchen or Mendocino Farms. Ricardo Zarate's Mo Chica has a Lunch Prix Fix.

      But then again, what time is your flight arriving? You know it will take some time to catch the shuttle to get to the rental car agencies that are located outside of Bob Hope Airport; and lastly, around lunch time, traffic can be bad, so allot for about 30 to 45 minutes to get into Downtown.

      1. re: TripleAxel

        Wow, good point! I saw the rental car counters listed on the actual airport map, so I wrongly assumed I wouldn't have to take a shuttle. Oops. It's looking like I may not have enough time to do more than grab a sandwich somewhere really quick!

        1. re: smiles33

          My bad. The major agencies such as Enterprise, Hertz, etc. do have counters in the airport terminal (not sure where you pick up your car though), while the smaller agencies do require a shuttle to get to them off site.

          1. re: TripleAxel

            Avis was on-site, just next door to the baggage claim so no shuttle, but it still took over 25 minutes to actually get into my car and drive off!

            So I ended up having a late 2:15 pm lunch in Little Tokyo, right next door the meeting. Someone down-thread rec'd Toshi so I ran in, sat at the sushi bar and just ordered nigiri (I forgot about the chirashi suggestion!). It was fast and good. Thanks again to all!

            1. re: smiles33

              Glad things worked out for you! :-)

    2. It might help to know what part of downtown your appointment is in.

      For example, the travel time by car from the city hall area to the Staples Center area can be a good 1/2 hour if you are not familiar with the streets.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'm going near 2nd/Spring St. Google maps says 16 miles/23 minutes but I'm going to allocate 40 just in case of bad lunchtime traffic. I'm not familiar with the streets at all and haven't driven downtown in years. Last time I was there, my sister-in-law picked me up and took me to Bottega Louie for dinner but I didn't get the sense that they're fast per the suggestion down-thread (can you really eat and get out in less than an hour there?).

        1. re: smiles33

          In that case, you might want to go a couple of blocks over to Grand Central Market (3rd & Broadway), as there are a couple of new food vendors there now (including Sticky Rice, which serves Thai), and there's also choices of kebab or regional Mexican cuisines as well (Michoacan, etc.). Everything here is pretty quick. Also, there's Pitfire Pizza on 2nd & Main, as well as the new Indian gastropub, Badmaash (which may not be quick enough)....

          1. re: TripleAxel

            That's probably a good suggestions. GCM, while not great, is certainly quick and definitely better than years past.

            1. re: TripleAxel

              Nice! You might just see me in line at Sticky Rice, in that case.

              Since you're at GCM anyways, I'd highly advise: GET SOME BULGARINI GELATO (they have a cart there now)

              1. re: J.L.

                i thought you want to remain anonymous ? :)

                have you tried the bulgarini cart in downtown yet ?

                btw, i'm presuming you work in downtown ? but never really partake of the sushi goods there, correct ?

                1. re: J.L.


                  I believe our friend kevin here is stalking you. Better get that restraining order ready.

          2. portos in Burbank, but there could be a bit of a line. Make sure you account for traffic in your travel times

            1 Reply
            1. re: LisaN

              +1 - media noche sandwich + side of potato balls & perhaps a cheese roll to go! There will be a lunchtime line, but it moves quickly & you won't have to deal with navigating downtown traffic/parking. It's like a big cafeteria (so no restaurant ambiance).

              Another idea: just north of downtown: Homegirl Cafe - easy parking (in the rear), good cause!

              OR - head to Langer's for a #19 (amazing pastrami sandwich!!). I recently did this during a downtown Jury Duty stint & I was in heaven. They have a parking lot a block away... tons of reviews on the boards... but that would be my #1 spot. Sit at the counter for quick service. I was in & out in about 30-40 minutes and it's a quick drive (about 2-3 miles = 10 mins) to downtown.

            2. Bottega Louie
              700 S Grand Ave
              Los Angeles, CA 90017

              super fast, super awesome, cheap and you can valet to save time

              5 Replies
              1. re: Plukovnik

                ... And you'll be temporarily deaf for your ensuing meeting as well! But hey, two-way discussion in a meeting is a concept that's overrated anyways.

                1. re: J.L.

                  The location is right, the food is great, the price is right and it's fast especially with valet. All criteria met. She didn't say it needed to be in a library.

                  1. re: Plukovnik

                    I actually don't mind loud, lively eateries at all (the energy can be great at a lot of these places) - But the noise level at BL is at another level altogether.

                    Oh, and about the food there - It ain't great.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      it might just not even be fit for dogs.

                2. re: Plukovnik

                  I ate dinner there a couple years ago with my sister-in-law and enjoyed it, but it seemed slow (if memory serves me correctly...). I don't mind noisy, especially if dining alone! But given the rental car delay/shuttle that I hadn't anticipated, I don't think I have time for more than a quick 20-30 minute lunch now. Damn! Next time.

                3. If you're taking the 5 to the 110 downtown, not a lot of worthy stuff right off the freeway and you don't want to venture very far off if time is a constraint.

                  If you can go by Little Tokyo (east side of downtown), the chirashi at Toshi is good. Also lunch at the Spice Table is good and fairly quick. As you move west of there Baco Mercat is good.

                  I've never eaten there, but a lot of people think Phillipe's is a fun lunch spot, being cheap and quick and LA historical.

                  And in response to Plukovnik, I love Bottega Louie, but it's not super cheap or super fast. I have a hard time spending less than $25/per and less than an hour in there. But love it. Maybe just different standard on my part.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Robert Thornton

                    I agree with you but I'd say $25 for lunch downtown is reasonable. I can get in and out quickly if I valet and pretty much have an idea what I want to eat.