LA’s most famous neighborhood is also easily its most hated. Clogged with tourists from Santa Monica and Tickle-Me Elmos vaping inside their Honda Accords, Hollywood is certainly no longer a town of glitz and glamour.
But thanks to Viacom taking over the new Columbia Square complex and Netflix taking over...the world, there are even more people in this neighborhood who need lunch. Luckily, there are plenty of options. From power lunch spots to family-run Thai restaurants, here are the 20 places in Hollywood where you should be having lunch.
Your solo lunches tend to go one of two ways: you either build your own unsatisfying salad at Whole Foods, or make a shameful CVS candy run. One of these days, take yourself out to Petit Trois instead. The tiny bistro in a strip mall at Highland and Melrose has some of the best French food in the city, and sitting at the bar won’t make you feel weird about eating alone. We like the endive salad, double-decker burger, and the most perfectly-made omelette in existence.
It’s not every day you’re going to eat bucatini carbonara before 1pm, but when you want that for yourself, make sure you have it at Osteria La Buca. This bright Italian restaurant across the street from Paramount pulls in a corporate lunch crowd, but you’ll never feel out of place here in jeans and a t-shirt. Drop by for a solo lunch at the bar or roll in with a bunch of coworkers on a Friday to drink more wine than you should.
You love Sugarfish, but if you see that white to-go box one more time this month, you might lose it. Switch up your sushi routine and head to Nagoya. You’ll appreciate the big modern space on Melrose and Vine when all of your coworkers jump on your lunch plans last-minute, and there are tons of lunch specials to keep them happy. We usually order the chirashi bowl or the sashimi platter (which gets you 13 pieces and a handroll).
La Carmencita exists on an industrial stretch of Highland between Chick Fil-A and a luxury dog spa, and because of that, you might not even know it exists. But this casual cantina has excellent Mexican seafood, strong margaritas, and a colorful space that’ll cheer you up after five morning meetings in a windowless room. Go ahead and order a few ceviches for the table, a cheesy shrimp cazuela you’ll think about in bed later, and a giant gobernador taco (sauteed shrimp and vegetables) for yourself.
We don’t need to remind you that Pizzeria Mozza exists. It’s the best-known pizza place in LA and that’s not changing anytime soon. But one thing you might not be aware of is their lunch special (which is only available at the bar). For $30, you’ll get a pizza of your choosing, a dessert, and a glass of wine. We’re not going to tell you how to live your life, but that’s an ideal way to celebrate freestyling that presentation with flying colors this morning. The deal runs weekdays from 12-5pm.
No one told you about June Gloom before you moved here, and now six consecutive weeks of gray skies have started to crush your soul. Stuff’d can help. This casual spot on Melrose specializes in Eastern European dumplings, which means they’re small and filled with things like pork, sweet potato, or cream of corn. Our favorites are the Hot Chick (chicken and veggies in Thai coconut curry) and the Notorious P.I.G. (pork, cabbage, and purple potato). Also, all of their dumplings are gluten-free, if that’s something that’s important to you.
Baroo is a bright all-day cafe in a nondescript strip mall with a menu dedicated to fermentation. And no, that doesn’t mean you can only get pickle plates and kombucha here. There’s a (faux) oxtail ragu, kimchi fried rice, and a salad with no less than 12 different vegetables in it. The most expensive thing on the menu is $15 and the relaxed order-at-the-counter setup will get you in and out quickly.
When it comes to eating Thai food in Hollywood, it’s hard to have a bad meal. But for lunch, you can almost always find us at Pailin. It’s lesser-known than some of its more famous neighbors, and that’s exactly why we love it. You’re here to order god’s greatest gift to mankind: khao soi, a curry noodle soup.
You just wrapped up a humiliating TJ Maxx audition in Hollywood and you have to be in Burbank for a rehearsal in an hour. You’re starving, pressed for time, and you refuse to do Taco Bell. Go to Oaks Gourmet. The gourmet wine and cheese shop up in Franklin Village has a full menu of great on-the-go sandwiches and one of our favorite burgers in town. If you don’t feel like eating in your car for the fifth straight day, they have a nice patio out front as well.
What was supposed to be a half-day at the office has turned into a hell storm of last-minute deadlines, and you need comfort. Luckily, one of LA’s best pie shops, The Pie Hole, is there for you on Hollywood Blvd. They’re best-known for the Cereal Killer Pie, but if you can’t get behind the whole dessert-as-a-meal thing, they have a solid selection of savory pies as well.
Your call time this morning at Sunset Gower Studios was 5am and you want to die now. Go eat your last meal at Tamarind Deli. The little sandwich shop off Sunset isn’t serving the best subs in LA, but sometimes you just need to scarf down some cold cuts that don’t cost more than $10. There’s really no seating here save for a few tables out front, so plan to walk and eat as you make your way back to the soundstage.
Do you even need us to tell you what Sugarfish is at this point? This one is right on Sunset next to Neuehouse, and is no different from all the rest - great quality sushi for a not-outrageous price. It’s even cheaper at lunch, and the takeaway situation is as convenient as it gets.
On the corner of Melrose and Larchmont, Kali is where you should get lunch with your boss - who just stared into your soul and said, “We need to talk about Karen.” The stark, modern space is unstuffy, and the menu is full of excellent things that taste good in the middle of the day. The beet tartare and black barley “risotto” are great, and you should save room for dessert too. Or at least bring back some for Karen.
Despite a name that would make most people turn around and run, this strip-mall Thai spot in the heart of Hollywood has gained a cult following, and for good reason. If you’re looking for some heat to dull the pain of a long work week, Luv2Eat is your Hollywood answer. You’re here for the crab curry, jade noodles, and pad ka prao.
The sprawling restaurant inside the Columbia Square complex has delivered a power lunch option for a crowd that needed it. The menu is diverse - you can get everything from a poke bowl to steak-frites. Prices are steeper than other, more casual places in the area, but you’re here to impress.
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 little strip mall spot serves some of the best Mexican food in Hollywood. Their carne asada is special and their chicken mole is a must-order.
Located on the western edge of Thai Town, Hoy-Ka is down the street from some of Hollywood’s biggest employers and offers extremely solid Thai food - we especially like the boat noodles. The sports bar-ish atmosphere inside will convince you to order a beer, and that’s important on a slow Tuesday at the office.
Despite its rather demanding name, Eat This is a comforting oasis on Santa Monica Boulevard’s theater row. All of their sandwiches and salads are way better than they should be, and the bright space is a much-needed respite from the otherwise industrial surroundings.
If you’ve ever forced your friends to come to an improv show that you paid to be in, you’re likely reading this guide from the bar at Birds. Located on that crowded 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 restaurant offers somewhat healthy options that are good for refueling between improv sets.
There are few better ways to improve your day than a quick lunch at this Hollywood staple. All the burgers are still as good as you remember, and their beer selection is short but perfect. When you sit on the patio you’ll feel eternally grateful you aren’t across the parking lot playing beer bong at Big Wang’s.