The West Hollywood Lunch Guide
The best spots for a successful lunch in West Hollywood.
When it comes to lunchtime options in West Hollywood, the neighborhood is pretty stacked. When it comes to lunchtime options that won’t end with you looking down at an $19 salad you ordered through an app, your options are a little slimmer. And your lunch hour is far too crucial to default to bowls of over-priced lettuce. From spicy udon to house-made deli sandwiches to one of our favorite sushi spots in the city, these spots will guarantee your Weho lunch hour will always be a success.
photo credit: Maxim Shapovalov
Tail O' The Pup
After closing down in 2005, this historic hotdog stand is back and looking better than ever. Now located on Santa Monica Blvd., Tail O The Pup’s space includes a massive, two-story patio, a retro interior (with excellent AC, by the way), and the iconic hot dog-shaped stand out front. Our favorite dogs on the menu include the fully-loaded Chicago Pup and spicy Jalapeno Pup, but don’t skip the Sassy Cheese, a fast food-style burger with a layer of crispy, griddled cheese inside. If you’re short of time, ordering is swift and efficient—you could easily be in and out in 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, we recommend kicking back, ordering a beer or canned wine, and soaking up the nostalgia.
It feels like every week there’s a new hotel pool restaurant opening on the Sunset Strip, and yet, the best one is still Tower Bar. The classic spot is where real Hollywood power players still go to swig martinis, pick at cobb salads, and play mind games with each other until someone caves and agrees to the deal. It’s people-watching at Olympic levels—don’t be alarmed if you see a burner phone thrown into the pool—and one of the most entertaining lunch backdrops in town. Save room for the build-your-own sundae situation at the end.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
Son of A Gun
There are lunch meetings you know are going to be a boring hour of grilled salmon and talking about various KPIs. Then there are the lunch meetings with people you actually like, during which you’ll spend 10 minutes talking about work stuff and two hours on everything else. Son of a Gun is ideal for that second category. This mostly-seafood spot from the Jon & Vinny’s people is the right amount of relaxed, while still being impressive enough to feel like a work thing.
This Beverly Grove spot specializes in pinsa, a delicious Roman-style flatbread that’s unlike anything you can really find in LA. It’s perfect for sharing, but considering you’re meeting the one friend who acts like they aren’t hungry and then vultures everyone else’s food, just get two and avoid the lunchtime drama. Their lush, outdoor seating area is filled with lots of plants and pretty gold accents, making even the most stilted client lunch feel comfortable.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Connie & Ted's
It wasn’t long ago that Connie & Ted’s was among the most crowded restaurants in LA—with a valet line wrapped around Santa Monica Blvd. Fast forward to today, and this East Coast-style seafood spot has settled in and become an even better version of itself: a neighborhood staple with good food, a great space, and a casual atmosphere that makes it a solid option for a fun Friday team lunch. Also, that burger might be the best thing on the menu.
photo credit: STEFAN MERRIWEATHER
Located in the Fairfax boutique hotel of the same name, Short Stories might have the most tranquil patio in Weho right now. The lush courtyard is filled with fluffy white banquettes, wicker chairs, bushes of blooming flowers, and several full-grown trees for good measure. Most importantly, this place is still a bit of a secret, so you can usually walk right in and have the place to yourself. The lunch menu is small, but useful, with a couple of different salads, a house burger, and a section dedicated to various rice and quinoa bowls.
If you’ve been in LA for a while, chances are you’ve tried a Korean taco. And Seoulmates, a great lunch option on W. 3rd Street, makes what might be the best kalbi taco we’ve ever had (Kogi truck, wherever you’re parked right now, we still love you). The fusion aspect doesn’t feel gimmicky because the execution is so good—lots of acid, heat, and freshness to hold up against the marinated meat. Our move is to order three tacos (on Taco Tuesdays you’ll get a discount), grab a seat on the sidewalk patio, and scarf them down while the world whizzes by. The bowls and sandwiches look good, too.
Strings Of Life
This counter-service Australian cafe in West Hollywood is hidden behind Rag & Bone on Melrose. Once you find it, you’ll stumble onto a quiet patio ideal for catching up with a friend, getting some work done, or sitting alone and processing what your boss said to you this morning. The menu covers a lot of ground, but whether you’re in the mood for a Mediterranean chopped salad, sprinkle-topped fairy bread, or avocado toast with fava beans and cornichons, everything tastes good and will make you at least temporarily forget about the “feedback” you received about “being late every morning with an iced coffee in hand.”
Open since 1969, Chao Krung is one of the oldest Thai restaurants in the entire city. But it wasn’t until a recent revamp of both the menu and the Fairfax space itself that this family-run spot went from being a neighborhood standby to a place worth seeking out. While Chao Krung’s menu is stacked with standout dishes, the strength of the place lies in its curries. (We like the kaeng ped yang, red duck curry with pineapple, and the kaeng hung-ley, made with sweet pork belly, in particular). Plus, with its revamped space—there’s a wraparound bar, a few TVs, and big windows looking out at CBS Studios—it’s a good option for a casual lunch date as well.
Tacos Tu Madre
Tacos Tu Madre has a few locations across the city, but the one in Weho is our favorite for two reasons: The retrofitted bungalow space has a wrap-around patio ideal for casual lunch meetings, and, well, there’s alcohol. That means you can suck down margaritas, eat things like chicken rice bowls and crispy fish tacos, and not worry that you were supposed to be back to work 20 minutes ago.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Haute Mess has a bad name. But if you can get past the upsettingly vague pun (Is it a kaftan boutique? An upscale bikram studio?), you’ll realize that Haute Mess is a great market and an ideal spot to pick up a grab-and-go lunch. Its location on Beverly Blvd. isn’t large, but there’s a lot going on. There’s a full bakery and sandwich counter, an espresso bar, a separate gelato shop, and a tiny market filled with a variety of charcuterie, cheese, and Italian wine. If you can’t figure out what you’re in the mood for or just want to pick up something before a quick lunch picnic at Pan Pacific Park across the street, Haute Mess is an option to know about.
photo credit: Holly Liss
We’re not trying to hide it—we put Sushi Fumi on a lot of our guides. But it’s not our fault that it’s perfect for many situations or that its raw fish continues to be among the best in West Hollywood. And when it comes to your lunchtime sushi run, Fumi is king. They have an array of different sushi lunch combo that are all under $20, but we just recommend heading to the bar and calling your own shots off the daily menu.
The midday crowd at this sceney Italian spot on Melrose is evenly split between agents hashing out deals and people with lots of money but no job to speak of, so there’s plenty of built-in entertainment. Obviously, there are plenty of salads, but if you feel like being the only person here actually eating carbs, throw down on the lobster spaghetti. The person who asked you to meet them here is paying anyway.
Crossroads is an upscale restaurant on Melrose that looks and feels like a fancy steakhouse— even though it’s completely vegetarian. Their lunch service runs weekdays from 11am-3pm and is a perfect spot to book for your boss who, depending on the day, will scream if they smell red meat. The wide-ranging menu is filled with everything from zucchini blossoms to pizza to Italian subs, and the new patio on Sweetzer gives you the option to dine al fresco as well.
photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee
Daughter’s is a tiny Jewish deli run by the granddaughter of LA pastrami royalty, the owner of Langer’s. This order-at-the-counter shop on Sunset only has a few tables and some stools, so this isn’t your work team hangout spot. Come here when your life is hanging by a thread and you need to lightly weep into some matzo ball soup. The pastrami hasn’t reached Langer’s levels yet, but it’s still solid, and they certainly know how to build a good sandwich.
Joan's on Third
We can hear you rolling your eyes through the computer screen, but you can’t mention lunch in the West Hollywood area without mentioning Joan’s. This place was a social media scene before we even knew what social media was, but despite the people gathering content for their feeds, we’ll keep coming back again and again. Place your order at any of the counters inside (the Chinese Chicken Salad is the obvious move, but you can’t go wrong with any of the sandwiches either), hover for a seat on the sidewalk, play celebrity bingo, and save room for cake. This place is a classic for a reason.
This small, low-key cafe not only serves some of our favorite udon outside of Little Tokyo, but it’s one of the few restaurants on La Cienega where showing up in gym shorts is completely acceptable. Kochi’s menu is pretty big with everything from spicy tuna bowls to chicken katsu to premium bento boxes, but we recommend sticking mostly to the signature udon section. That’s where you’ll find earthy Japanese-style curry udon, uni cream with sea urchin and salmon egg, and our favorite, the mentai cream udon. This red caviar-topped bowl of noodles is a salty, buttery masterpiece and the perfect thing to eat alone while decompressing during a bad week.
photo credit: Benji Dell
Croft Alley could have easily ended up being the worst: it’s a cutesy space adjacent to the influencer free-for-all known as Melrose Place and the menu includes things like brown rice coconut risotto and house-made yogurt with chlorophyll. But somehow, this place is great. That yogurt is delicious, the vermicelli salad is filling, and the cauliflower grilled cheese never lets us down.
photo credit: Fresh Corn Grill
Fresh Corn Grill
If you want a salad, but your work bff needs pasta, and the whole thing needs to happen quickly, Fresh Corn Grill is where you need to be. Yes, the name is generic, and yes it looks like any order-at-the-counter spot along Santa Monica Boulevard, but Fresh Corn is better than the rest. For the ultimate speed lunch, take advantage of their very efficient takeout situation.
LA has its fair share of well-known delis, and Potato Chips is definitely not one of them. But it’s about time this tiny shop off Beverly got its due, because the sandwiches are excellent. Favorites of ours include the roast turkey with havarti and herb aioli and the crunchy chicken Milanese, but we’ve never eaten a sandwich here that we haven’t liked. Service is fast, most sandwiches are under $13, and the place is nice and quiet if you need 40 minutes away from your co-workers.