Beverly Hills needs no introduction. You know about Rodeo Drive and its designer shopping you likely can’t participate in, the Beverly Hills Hotel and its wine-guzzling housewives waiting for school to get out, and the never-ending traffic absolutely everywhere else. Oh, and the really, really, really, expensive restaurants.
Some of those expensive restaurants are among the finest in the city, but most just charge $19 for a cup of soup because they can. Luckily, affordable spots do exist in Beverly Hills, and surprisingly, a lot of them are pretty good. So, next time you’re cutting across the city for a 1pm meeting or have time to kill before an audition, skip the $27 bowl of regrettable pasta and head to one of these places instead.
In an area where botox is an attribute, Nate ’N Al remains one of the last remaining real things about Beverly Hills. This old-school delicatessen in the heart of downtown sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s exactly what makes it so great. You’ll find better pastrami elsewhere in LA, so stick to the other classics - stuffed cabbage, matzo ball soup, and perhaps our favorite bagel and lox in town. Service is quick and to-the-point, making a quick lunch drop-in extremely doable.
Northern Cafe is a San Gabriel Valley original, and though it has a few locations across LA now, this order-at-the-counter Beverly Hills spot still has some of the best noodles and dumplings in the area. Finding parking on Beverly/La Cienega is a bit intense, but if you head into the neighborhood north of Beverly Blvd., the parking gods should be on your side. Everything on the menu is under $10, and we recommend the dan dan noodles and the beef roll.
Just north of the Beverly Center, Kochi isn’t technically in Beverly Hills, but it’s close enough. The tiny udon shop has good food across the board, including a mentai cream udon with caviar for $14 which will feel good after you accidentally flip off an 80-year-old woman in traffic on the way back from Century City.
The Farm of Beverly Hills
The ladies-who-lunch scene in Beverly Hills is frankly an attraction on its own. And the best ticket in town is at The Farm. The long-time lunch staple has American comfort food and everything is pretty good. For as many reality show power lunches you see happening here, The Farm remains largely casual and easy to get in-and-out of. Besides, a cup of that housemade turkey chili and a lamb burger for $15 is never something we’ll complain about.
At first glance, Il Tramezzino appears to be yet another bland Italian sidewalk cafe. And that’s exactly what it is. The menu is full of your typical Mediterranean salads and penne pastas, but you’re here for the chicken panini. For $12.95, you get a perfect chicken panini that’s filled with sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, provolone, and a life-altering garlic basil sauce.
Chaumont Café and Bakery
This stark French bakery/cafe has delicious food, affordable prices, and efficient service that’s perfect for when you’re in a rush. Plenty of people come to Chaumont just to stock up on their fresh daily pastries and we don’t blame them. But we like to sit for a few minutes, scarf down the spicy tuna sandwich, and then pick up some pastries to-go.
The Japanese BBQ chain restaurant you blacked out in four years ago at your roommate-you-no-longer-talk-to’s birthday party has made the list. Sure, there are locations all over America these days, but we’ll still stand by Gyu-Kaku as a solid Japanese BBQ place with one of the all-time best Happy Hours in the history of humanity. All cuts of meat are about $7 or less, with some items hovering just above free, and there’s even a 12-item pre-fixe menu that’ll cost you about $20.
Another Beverly Hills relic that’s somehow dodged the wrecking ball, Brighton Coffee Shop is an old-school place to eat some brunch or lunch before heading to Century City for a meeting. The food isn’t going to blow your mind (except that meatloaf), but you aren’t at Brighton for culinary revelations. You’re here to drink some coffee and eavesdrop on locals.
Attached to the huge and always crowded South Beverly Grill, Honor Bar is the more casual option next door. Nothing off the sandwich menu is over $15, which is noteworthy because this is a Hillstone restaurant and nobody knows how to make a more crowd-pleasing sandwich than these guys. If you get anything other than the crispy chicken sandwich or the burger, you’ll likely regret your order.