10 Under-the-Radar Lunch Deals in LA

Burgers at Spago, bento boxes and more
October 20, 2014
by Lesley Balla

Some days lunch means a quick hit at whatever food truck is closest or your favorite grab-and-go salad spot. But if you're lucky, other days call for sit-down meals at a top table in town. Whether you're looking for a bang-for-your-buck lunch or a dish you'll only find during the day, here are 10 delicious options. 

Pizzeria Mozza: This deal is especially good for late lunchers who like to skip the rush at the still (and always) popular pizzeria. Drop by for a pizza, glass of wine and dessert for only $20 at the wine or pizza bar between noon and 5 PM on Mondays through Thursdays. Hard to beat.

Craft: One way to save a few bucks Tom Colicchio’s Century City restaurant but dine in style is with the daytime prix fixe menu. Choose from dishes like little gems with avocado and peanuts or pumpkin and apple soup; albacore tuna with hearts of palm and grapefruit or beef pastrami with polenta and Brussels leaves; and the chocolate tart or Camembert cheese with Matsu apple and ruby port. Three courses for only $39.

Faith & Flower: The new Quick Fixe menu from chef Michael Hung is an easy way for busy Downtown office workers to grab a bite. The three-course menu ($18) includes a choice of dishes like kimchi deviled eggs or little gem lettuces with miso vinaigrette; a crispy chicken sandwich with roasted tomato aïoli, open-faced trout confit melt, or whole wheat penne with roasted eggplant; and chocolate pudding for dessert. The menu is available Monday through Friday, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM.

Pot: The only downside to Roy Choi's restaurant at The Line Hotel was that it wasn't available during the day. Problem solved. Lunch is now served in the hotel lobby daily, where you'll find Choi's steaming cauldrons on the menu, including the Bootknocker ($10), but also lunch-only specials like a chicken katsu bowl, pork-belly sandwiches and Spam banh mi for $12.

Akatora: The Manhattan Beach Japanese spot offers bento boxes at lunch, which include sashimi, tempura, assorted vegetables and your choice of chicken karaage, salmon teriyaki or miso-glazed cod. They also come with miso soup, steamed rice and salad, all for only $13.

Sushi Tsujita: Sawtelle's hottest new sushi spot from the ramen rock stars serves only omakase meals for lunch and dinner, but those soar upwards of $180 per person. But at lunch, you can find a fine wallet-friendly alternative in the chirashi bowls: warm rice topped with a variety of sashimi pieces of the day for only $15.

Spago: Ok, we can’t say that a $22 burger is necessarily a “deal,” but the fact that it’s a burger at Wolfgang Puck’s Beverly Hills flagship, which is only available at lunch, is definitely a treat. And if you didn’t know the smoked salmon pizza ($28) was back on the menu regularly at lunch, you do now.

Fig & Olive: The bright and airy Melrose Place restaurant has a lighter touch with all of its dishes (no butter, all extra virgin olive oil), and only at lunch will you find cured salmon bruschetta ($14), rosemary chicken panini with mozzarella, artichokes and cumin-scented mayo ($14), and a lovely lobster roll on shallot-thyme brioche ($17).

RivaBella: To linger on the West Hollywood restaurant's gorgeous patio is a luxury few get to do during the day. But the $14 Local's Combo lunch deal is for all, nonlocals included. Start with soup of the day or salad, and then choose a pizza (topped with porcini mushrooms and gorgonzola, perhaps), a half pasta (cavatelli with broccolini and chile, among others) or a sandwich (maybe roasted turkey with fontina, arugula and mostarda).

Mendocino Farms: The best way to enjoy Mendo, as fans know it, is to try as much of the menu as possible. It's super easy with the Blue Plate Special, a regular deal on the menu that includes a half sandwich of your choice plus a cup of soup or side deli salad for only $9.25. The sandwiches are so big here, a half will usually do. Available at all seven locations, including the newest in Sherman Oaks and Costa Mesa.

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