Another day, another bone-dry turkey and swiss sandwich for lunch from the store at the bottom of your office building. Weekday lunch is so habitual that it’s easy to forget you don’t always have to be eating from the nearest place with a pre-made salad section. It’s even easier to forget about the great LA restaurants that also happen to serve lunch. So let’s change that. From Korean BBQ to handmade pasta to our favorite Thai food in the city, here are 16 spots that’ll make your weekday lunch so much better.
Lunch at Petit Trois isn’t exactly your pop out of the office for a quick bite spot. But when you’ve told your boss you have a not at all made-up day-long doctors appointment, or are just OK with sneaking out for a long lunch and napping with your eyes open for the rest of the day, this is your place. This tiny French spot is much less crowded during the day, and perfect for a lunch that involves red wine, an extremely rich burger, and remembering not to post on social media so as to let your boss know where you really were.
Perhaps the greatest secret about Pizzeria Mozza is the bar special, served 12pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday. For $30 you can show up to one of the best pizza places in the city, and get a pie, a glass of wine, and a dessert. You can only take advantage if you’re sitting at the bar, so you might have to wait for a seat, but the goat cheese, leek, and bacon pizza is worth whatever time standing on Highland you have to invest.
Not all lunch excursions call for a meat feast, but Craig from across the hall accidentally invited the whole department, and now you need a place that’ll comfortably feed 12 people. Go to Parks. Open daily at 11am, this Ktown staple serves their full menu at lunch (including massive combo platters ideal for groups), as well as personal lunch boxes that include a protein, soup, and banchan, and range from $9-$12.
Belle Vie turns into a bit of a party at night, with the owner bouncing from table to table, pouring wine and recommending dishes in a strong French accent. Lunch is quieter, but still filled with things that will make you want to move to Paris tomorrow. Like a ham and butter baguette.
A multi-course tasting menu place might seem like an aggressive lunch move, but Orsa & Winston goes casual during the day. They serve a Japanese-influenced menu with grain bowls, plates of house-smoked fish, vegetables, and some fantastic sandwiches served on the kind of very white bread you loved when you were five.
Son Of A Gun seems like a classic middle child - stuck between eldest overachiever Animal and youngest cool kid Jon & Vinny’s - it’s not surprising this seafood spot on West 3rd gets regularly overlooked. But Son Of A Gun has things way more figured out than Jan Brady. Including a slightly more casual lunch (with a few more sandwiches and salads than dinner), served in a room that works well for lunch meetings with clients you like.
Factory Kitchen is one of our favorite Italian restaurants downtown, but its best feature might be the fact you don’t have to wait for a date night to get their pesto handkerchief pasta and giant mountain of prosciutto. Open weekdays from 11:30am-2:30pm, this Arts District spot definitely pulls in a corporate work lunch crowd, but the atmosphere stays casual and walk-in friendly. The lunch menu is nearly identical to the dinner menu, except more affordable.
Sushi Fumi used to be one of our go-to dinner spots for an excellent, simple omakase that didn’t involve dipping into our savings. And it still would be, except they’re so busy at nights here now that they don’t serve the omakase anymore. Lunch is a different story - you can still sit at the bar and be handed piece after piece of nigiri. With as many added-on orders of the yellowtail belly as you can handle.
We don’t need to remind you that Night + Market is home to some of the most consistent Thai food in the city. Or that, for being on the Sunset Strip, prices are still really reasonable. But what does tend to get forgotten is their Tuesday-Thursday lunch service (that runs from 11:30am to 2:30pm). The daytime menu is shorter than the dinner menu, but all your favorites are still there. And that includes the crispy rice salad.
Kali has been around for a few years, but outside of the Paramount power-lunchers, nobody really knows about it. This minimalist restaurant on Melrose is great, and not nearly as fancy as the menu filled with things like sea urchin pasta and kabocha squash soup might make you think - almost everything stays below $20. The black barley risotto is still our favorite dish.
Ostrich Farm technically calls its daily 10am-2pm menu “brunch”, but don’t let that deter you. If you look at the menu at this modern Echo Park spot, there are plenty of very solid salads and sandwiches and probably our favorite grain bowls on the Eastside. And if you happen to feel like some eggs today, they have those too.
At this point, it’s safe to assume most everybody knows what Jon & Vinny’s is. But far fewer people realize it’s actually an all-day restaurant. Open every day from 8am-10pm, eating their spicy fusilli at 2pm isn’t just a life perk, it’s the true hack to this pizza and pasta spot. Securing a dinner reservation at Jon & Vinny’s is still very much a struggle, but if you show up anytime between 11:30am and 5pm, you’ll walk right in and enjoy the exact same menu they have at night.
Sometimes you just need some brisket to speed up a never-ending Wednesday. And if you’re in the Valley or slaving away in one of the movie studios, Barrel & Ashes is where you should be eating it. The Studio City barbeque joint is on the more upscale side, but you can still walk out eating a lot of meat for under $30. Also, their chicken sandwich is one of our favorites in town.
La Carmencita is a Baja-style Mexican restaurant on Highland Blvd. that’s become a neighborhood go-to for affordable tacos, ceviche, and strong margaritas for actors to drink after getting out of rehearsal. But most people don’t realize you can do all of that during the day as well. Open every day at noon, La Carmencita has a low-key atmosphere that’s very acceptable to eat alone in. The cheesy shrimp cazuela is a must-order.
Lunch is a well-practiced art in Brentwood, and Pizzana is one of the newer options for studio executives taking meetings and stay-at-home dads meeting each other to discuss the soccer team. You’re generally able to walk right in and get a table, and while there are certainly salad options for those currently not letting carbs into their bodies, you’re here for the very good pizza.
You probably wouldn’t think of Belcampo for lunch, because it’s hard to imagine what this big windowless room behind a butcher in Santa Monica would be like during the day. Turns out - better than you’d think, although still very full of meat. That room feels brighter than should be possible, which you may or may not notice seeing as you’re concentrating very hard on housing one of the better burgers on the Westside.