LA’s most famous neighborhood is also easily its most hated. Clogged with terrified tourists from Santa Monica and sad Tickle-Me Elmos smoking blunts inside their Honda Accords, there’s certainly not much left of the old Hollywood glitz and glamour. And from a distance, the neighborhood is a certifiable food desert. But with major employers back in the area and Columbia Square welcoming all of Viacom to its brand new live/work campus on Sunset this year, an already hefty neighborhood lunch crowd just got bigger. And we are here to help. Here is our UPDATED guide to maximizing your lunch break in a part of town not particularly known for its accommodating ways.
The Weho brunch staple recently picked up shop and moved to Hollywood. Considering they had their primarily residential neighborhood on lock-down over there, it was a pretty strange move. Or at least we thought. The new Hollywood Salt's Cure is the same Weho spot we know and love, just more of it. More space, more food, and a full lunch situation for your midday Hollywood needs.
Despite a name that would make most people turn around and run, this strip-mall Thai spot in the heart of Hollywood has quietly become one of the best in the area. If you're looking for some heat to dull of the pain of a long work work, Luv2Eat is your Hollywood answer. We're coming for the crab curry, the spare ribs, and a pad ka prao that is not to be missed. Make moves.
POWER LUNCH ALERT. The sprawling restaurant inside the brand new Columbia Square complex has opened, and delivered a much-needed upscale lunch option for a crowd that is looking for one. The menu is pretty wide-spread with a raw bar, a solid sandwich menu, and a hangar streak that's not to be missed. The prices are steeper than other more casual places in the area, but you're here to impress. And also that 3-course lunch option for $25 is nothing to scoff at.
Because you can't ever have enough build-your-own-salad spots, right? Right. The East Coast chain has invaded LA in a big way this year and decent some local competition, sweetgreen has already found its way into lunch-goers hearts. And that's because it's quick, affordable, and always delicious. And it's Columbia Square location is prime.
Down on the southern tip of Hollywood, Kali Restaurant on Melrose provides another upscale lunch option to an area that can always use one. Nobody likes lunch with the boss, but if you're roped in you might as well go to Kali. The stark, modern space will keep things moving, and the menu is phenomenal. The beet tartar and wheat berry "risotto" are musts, and don't sleep on desert either. Your Paramount industry lunch just got way less painful.
Any place most famous for having an item called “crack bacon” on their menu should earn your immediate attention. And the good news at Grub is bacon isn’t lunch discriminatory either. Meaning you and your co-workers can enjoy those big strips (and plenty of other well-built salads and sandwiches) far into your lunch hour.
Located on the Western fringe of East Hollywood’s Thai food sanctuary, Hoy-Ka is primely located down the street from some of Hollywood’s biggest employers and offers some of the area’s best Thai food. The sports bar vibe inside will pressure you into ordering a beer and that’s important on a slow Tuesday at the office.
The Eagle Rock transplant opened its trendy Hollywood digs a few years ago and gave you and your co-workers a hearty dose of “f*ck it” to your midweek lunch break. It’s Wednesday, you’re exhausted, and really pissed at your boss. Sometimes the only remedy is a sloppy reuben sandwich and a fantastic root beer float.
If Hollywood is a food desert, than Hollywood Blvd is Death Valley. Luckily, GreenLeaf’s recent opening across the street from The Pantages provides weary pedestrians a much needed oasis of real, nourishing food. It’s nothing groundbreaking but the menu is ideal for a quick lunch hour drop-by, the space is gorgeous, and you already went to Tender Greens twice this week.
In a quiet courtyard away from the manic energy of Sunset and Vine, The Hungry Cat is a grown-up seafood paradise amidst an ocean of adolescents, where you can get grade A quality seafood in the heart of Hollywood for some extremely respectable prices. We’re partial to their eye-pleasing Cobb salad but an afternoon outing at the raw bar never hurt anyone. Don’t judge yourself for ordering a Michelada either.
There’s no better way to improve your day than a quick lunch at this bonafide Hollywood staple. All the burgers are still as good as you remember and their beer selection is concise but relatively perfect. And there’s just something about sitting on that patio feeling eternally grateful you aren’t across the parking lot playing STD beer bong at Big Wang’s.
You probably haven’t heard of Tere’s and that’s because the people eating there don’t want you to know about it. Why? Because this dirt cheap, strip-mall eatery is serving up some of the best Mexican food around. Their carne asada is special and their chicken mole is a must-order.
Despite its rather demanding name, Eat This is a comforting oasis for all the actors wandering around during rehearsal break on Santa Monica Boulevard’s theater row. All of their sandwiches and salads are way better than they should be and the space is a much needed respite from the otherwise dingy surroundings.
This clean and simple restaurant in the heart of Sunset and Vine is an ideal lunch spot to make a good first impression on a client or to break the cycle of never-ending Chipotle around the corner. The affordable, new American menu is good across the board and their burger might be one of the most underrated in town.
This decade old Peruvian spot recently went under the knife and came out looking better than most things do in this town. With a new menu of both small and big plates, Los Balcones is the Peruvian food mecca Hollywood didn’t know it needed. And now with Chavela, which specializies in vegan food and sangria (yes, that’s a thing), open right next door, you can make some post-work Latin shenanigans happen as well.
If you’ve ever forced your friends to come to an improv show you paid to be in, chances are you’re currently reading this article from inside Birds. Located on that colorful strip of storefronts in Franklin Village, Birds is ground zero for actors and their friends recharging between UCB shows. The place becomes downright raucous at night, but at lunchtime the chicken-focused restaurant offers a healthy-ish option between improv sets.