Finding a place to eat dinner in West Hollywood is easy. Finding a place to eat dinner in West Hollywood that won’t give you money anxiety when you lay in bed later is not. But that doesn’t mean they’re nonexistent. Sure, you could easily get a rotisserie chicken from Ralph’s or another wet salad from that organic place on your block, but you can do better than that. Finding a legitimate dinner for $30 (here, we’ve defined “dinner” as an entree with either an appetizer or a drink) is possible, you just need to know where to look. Whether you want udon or fried chicken or Spanish street food, use this guide to eat affordably in West Hollywood.
Kochi is a small udon spot on La Cienega, and one of the few restaurants along that street that’s actually affordable and where showing up in pajama pants is entirely acceptable. Kochi’s menu is fairly big, but we recommend sticking to the signature udon section. If you’re in the mood for sea urchin, their uni cream udon is great - and at $18, pretty reasonably priced. That said, the mentai cream udon with red caviar is our usual go-to.
At first glance, Escuela’s menu of $5 tacos (and a lobster one that’s $11) doesn’t exactly seem like a crazy bargain. But the tacos at this low-key spot on Beverly are big, so you only need one or two of them. From there, add in a tostada or two to fill out the meal, and then just eat their fantastic housemade tortilla chips until the food coma hits. Escuela’s true money-saving feature, however, is the fact that it’s completely BYOB. Proceed accordingly.
Despite a name that sounds like a sad dive bar in Santa Clarita, Electric Owl is one of the more reliable spots to grab a low-key drink and some food on Sunset. The indoor/outdoor space looks like a train station from the 1920s, but in a way where you can bring a date and not feel like you’re at Universal Studios. The cocktails are all fantastic, and pretty much everything on its crowd-pleasing menu falls under $20. Get the white pizza.
Jones is an Italian restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd., and one of our favorite hangout spots in the entire city. They might not have the best pasta of all time, but when it comes to drinking too many martinis and splitting some spaghetti and meatballs with your friends, there’s no place we’d rather be. Skip the more expensive main entrees, and concentrate on the salads, pizzas, and pastas that all fall well under $20.
When it comes to eating on the Sunset Strip, your options are generally overpriced hotel restaurants and bacon-wrapped hot dogs from street carts. But one place that finds the middle ground is Daikokuya. One of LA’s best ramen spots, Daikokuya has expanded rapidly around town, but their quality hasn’t dropped a bit. Plus, their Sunset location is dark and intimate, with the same level of kitschiness as their original Sawtelle location. All the ramen hovers around the $12 mark.
If you live around Melrose and Fairfax, Ta-eem is a secret you have tried to keep to yourself for as long as possible. This order-at-the-counter and completely Kosher Mediterranean restaurant is home to some of our favorite shawarma in the city, and a $17 dinner plate that comes with hummus, Israeli salad, and basically an entire plastic bag of pita bread. Come peak dinner rush, the large space is slammed with every family in the neighborhood, but if you can weather that storm, there are always a few open tables in the back to take over.
Saint Felix will always be known for its Happy Hour, and deservedly so. Running every day from 4-8pm, there’s a huge food menu plus tons of specials on cocktails, beer, and wine. And nothing is above $10. But if getting to Weho before 8pm on a weekday is a pipedream reserved only for the casually unemployed, their regular menu is still very affordable with kobe beef sliders you’re definitely getting involved in.
There was a bunch of useless hype around Sweet Chick when it first opened because it’s owned by the rapper Nas, but since then, this chicken and waffles spot has settled in to become one of the more affordable dinner options along Fairfax. The chicken and waffles are solid, the cocktails are excellent, and the large space is bright and casual and good for a quick dinner with your friend’s little sister who keeps asking how many acting classes are too many acting classes.