Culver City is an oddly large, office-filled place, right in the middle of the city. All of which means you’ll be eating lunch here at some point. And while there’s a lot of fast casual going on around these parts, Culver also has some of our favorite places to eat in the middle of the day. From a bakery with excellent pizzas and a cafe that’s from the future to all you can eat Indian buffets and the best tortillas in town, these are the 19 lunch spots to know about in Culver City.
This little spot inside Platform has a constant line at lunch, but any wait is absolutely worth it for the best tacos on this side of town. We’re especially into the mushroom ones, served on flour tortillas we regularly think about in 11am meetings. If you’d like to pretend to be healthy, they do a classier version of a burrito bowl. But you should still get one of those tortillas to go with it.
You’ll probably have to make a specific trip for lunch at Lodge, which is on an otherwise pretty empty stretch of Washington Boulevard. But after you’ve done it once, you’ll be back every week. You can’t go wrong with anything on the constantly-changing menu (think hummus and pita, wood-roasted cauliflower, sandwiches, and simple pizzas) - unless you’re trying not to order too much. A word of warning: if you lay eyes on a cinnamon roll here, you’re going to have to order one.
If people from the future came to LA and were looking for something familiar for lunch, we’d send them to Destroyer. This breakfast and lunch spot in the Hayden Tract seems like it was beamed here from outer space, and we definitely mean that as a compliment. The food is like nothing else you’ll find in LA, but despite the odd flavor combinations and out-there presentation, they never forget the main requirement for good food - that it tastes excellent. Grab a couple co-workers you actually like, order a bunch of stuff to share (including the incredible beef tartare), and get back to the office much later than you meant to.
Wheel House is a little cheese shop in far west Culver City that seems perfect for picking up cheese, cured meat, and wine for that dinner party you forgot you were hosting tonight. Which it certainly is. But it’s also one of the best spots in Culver to get a sandwich. There are four to choose from, each with only three or four fillings, but there are no bad options. They’re also made fresh - the chatty people behind the counter will grab the French ham and Swiss cheese, slice them thinly in front of you, and carefully arrange it all on a crusty baguette slathered with grape mostarda. Minimal, yes. Delicious, also yes.
As far as we can tell, a “bäco” is what you get when a taco and a pita sandwich have a baby. We fully support this union, especially when it involves the shrimp bäco. Bäcoshop is right in the middle of downtown Culver, and while it might be another of the fast-casual pilot programs this part of town seems to specialize in, this one is actually excellent. Don’t skip the cheddar hash browns.
Wednesdays are Guerrilla Taco Days at Cognoscenti Coffee, and most of Culver City knows it. Be prepared to stand around the truck waiting for a while, but when it’s for some of the most interesting tacos in town, you’re fine with it. The menu is always changing, so there could be a king fish tostada, sweet potato tacos, or sea snail and garlic butter taco for when you need to live on the edge.
Sweetgreen is a chain that’s quickly succeeding in its mission to sell you a salad no matter what part of town you’re in. But we have to say, they’re really good salads. The Culver City location is in Platform and is labeled as The Lab, which just seems to mean you can try out their new ideas for bowls of green things. We end up at Sweetgreen when we want something healthy but also don’t want to have to think about what to eat, and we never regret it.
We like Mayura for their South Indian, mostly vegetarian food. We really like Mayura for their $12.95, all you can eat weekday lunch buffet. This is maybe not the thing to do when you have to go back to the office for meetings you actually need to concentrate in, but it is good preparation for a 3pm nap.
You can sit in the main dining room at The Cannibal and have a very good lunch of meat-filled sandwiches, or even a steak frites if it’s been that kind of day. But our preferred course of action is to go next door to The Cannibal Butcher Shop for a take-out banh mi. There are only two - grilled chicken or lemongrass beef - but both are excellent choices, with enough vegetables in there to make you feel like you might have done something good for your health.
Someone suggested ramen for lunch, which seems like a not-great idea. Eat some fatty pork tonkotsu ramen, and you’ll end up making a nest under your desk for your afternoon sleeping needs. Tentenyu, and their lighter, chicken-based broth, is an ideal way around this issue. It’s not the best bowl of ramen you’ll ever have, but it gets the job done.
For all the offices in Culver City, there aren’t many places for a business-y lunch with someone you’re trying to impress. Other than Lukshon. This modern Asian spot in the Helms Bakery complex has a big front patio, fancy but not intimidating food, and enough space for you to whip out your computer for that presentation you’ve been working on.
Jackson Market is in a residential part of Culver, inside an actual house that you’d probably walk past if you weren’t looking for it. But you should be looking for it, because this neighborhood marketplace makes some very good sandwiches and fresh-pressed juices, and has a great back patio (complete with pond). Use Jackson Market when you tell everyone in the office you have a lunchtime appointment, but really just want to sit in a quiet corner for an hour while you eat.
Honey’s Kettle looks like a bland corporate brainstorm’s idea of a fast-casual fried chicken restaurant. Honey’s Kettle is not that. This isn’t a chain - just a single location in Downtown Culver that serves very good fried chicken. They use quality ingredients too, so you can feel slightly less guilty about the three-piece combo and biscuits you’re definitely ordering.
Culver City has a bad problem when it comes to restaurant turnover, but Tito’s is an exception - they’ve been around for more than 50 years. This walk-up spot on Washington has constant lines of people waiting for their cheese-covered, crispy-shelled tacos, but it’s worth knowing that the burritos are just as good.
Japanese omesubi are like sushi with training wheels - they involve plenty of rice and seaweed, but no raw fish. Instead, the omesubi at Sunny Blue are filled with things like chicken curry, mushrooms, or (our favorite) miso beef. They’re made on the spot as you order, and are an easy and quick way to get lunch, whether you’re grabbing them to go or sitting on the quiet side patio.
If balls of rice don’t seem like an especially satisfying lunch, head next door to Humble Potato. Despite the name, you’re here for the burgers. They’re Japanese-influenced - which means you might find yuzu-jalapeno slaw on your burger and thinly sliced dried seaweed on your garlic parmesan fries. It’s a slightly fancier option than the In-N-Out drive-through you were daydreaming about.
While Maple Block is one of our go-to spots for date night in Culver, during the day it turns into an order at the counter spot that doesn’t feel weird to go to with your co-workers. There’s everything from chopped salads to giant platters of meat, and maybe this is your day to turn those co-workers into friends with a round of beers. Or maybe not. But you could still have a beer.
We’re going to keep pretending that açai bowls are healthy, and the ones at Sao Açai are some of the best in town. They’re neither watery nor thick, and they go very generous on the toppings.
Other than a couple of ramen places, Culver City is a Japanese-eating deadzone, but if you’re in need of some sushi or tempura, K-Zo is a solid option. The sushi is actually quite good, but for something more filling, go for one of the combos - some sort of teriyaki, grilled salmon, or tempura with rice, miso soup, and a small salad.