Westwood is home to a world-class university, over-priced celebrity condos, and bone-crushing traffic. And while most people associate Westwood with the UCLA-adjacent village, Westwood is actually fairly large, stretching all the way from Bel-Air to Century City. And while it will never exactly be known for its food, there are still plenty of great spots if you find yourself in the area - from divey, drunk food spots in the village to arguably the best Persian food in the city south of Wilshire.
Despite everything you may have heard, the ice cream cookie sandwich was not created by a girl named MacKenzie in 2012 on Instagram. We don’t know the exact origin story, but Diddy Riese’s 30+ years of business proves it was long before girls started taking selfies with them and dumping them in the trash. Diddy Riese is a Westwood classic and the first stop for anyone in the area. The lines are treacherous, but stick with it. Because the reward is an ice cream/cookie mix and match showdown of your dreams. (Don’t miss the brownies either).
Westwood is home to Persian food royalty, and Attari Sandwich Shop is king. Unlike some of the more sit-downy places along Westwood Blvd., Attari’s order-at-the-counter operation keeps things quick, casual, and very affordable. This is a soup and sandwich place, with the tongue sandwich (yeah, get over it) and osh soup being the absolute must-trys. But frankly, everything at this Iranian cafe is great. Prepare for there to be a line, and prepare to enjoy every minute of people watching on that central patio.
You’d think a modern restaurant/wine bar would be a dime a dozen in Westwood, but you would be wrong. And for that reason alone, Fundamental LA is one of our favorites. If you’re looking for a little midday buzz, this place certainly has you covered. But it’s the food that keeps us really coming back. Everything from the chicken torta to the orzo are excellent, and with the daily “power lunch” special, you basically get all of that and a cookie for $13. We’ll take that everyday please.
Open since 1965, Stan’s is another Westwood classic and one of the last remaining old-school joints in the area. Stan’s has 75 kinds of donuts, but the first move is always their Peanut Butter Pockets. That said, good luck bringing your stoned self late-night and making any sort of concrete decisions.
Located on a southern stretch of Westwood Blvd. that can best be described as on-your-way-home-from-Westwood, Tacos Tu Madre is a colorful, affordable taco window serving fusion tacos. And that means everything from carnitas to lamb birria to Korean BBQ tacos can be found here and it’s all excellent. They also quietly serve an all-day breakfast burrito that isn’t the best we’ve ever had, but it’s a part of the discussion.
Not enough people talk about the fact that STK literally just picked up shop from their prime La Cienega location and recently moved to Westwood. It’s a major coup for the area and a Westwood neighborhood not particularly known for quality fine dining. Located inside the W Hotel, STK brings a reliable, high-end steakhouse to an area that can certainly support one. If you’re looking to go big or show the parents how far you’ve come when they’re in town visiting, STK is where you go.
Taste of Tehran might be relative newcomer to an area that wasn’t exactly begging for another kabob spot, but this order-at-the-counter cafe has quickly risen up the ranks thanks to its affordable, delicious, and on-the-go Iranian cuisine. You can’t really go wrong with any of their kabobs or small plates, but just make sure you don’t leave without at least one side of the eggplant dip. Your office will thank you.
800 Degrees is on the verge of being a full-blown national chain these days, but the build-your-own-pizza concept’s original Westwood location is a must for anybody who takes their lunch seriously. It’s also smartly open till 2am every day for students and their sober/non-sober extracurriculars. Excellent, cheap, and customizable pizza in just a few minutes? Sign us up.
Bella Pita is a Westwood staple and home to something they call the wowshi (basically a Mediterranean calzone). Open until 2am every day of the week, Bella Pita is where you go when you aren’t feeling late-night pizza at Lamonica’s and In-N-Out is an all out zoo. Our move is always the chicken wowshi with falafel, and all the hummus we can pump from the condiment bar.
Ramayani might have the curb appeal of USC off-campus housing, but make no mistake - this place is special. Going on 35 years of business, Ramayani is an Indonesian staple and one you can utilize at lunch time with co-workers or at dinner for an adventurous date night. The curries are excellent here, but for first-timers (and seasoned regulars), we recommend the Nasi Uduk - a nine-item combo dish that lets you try many of the best items.
Directly next door to Ramayani, you’ll find the best shawarma in Westwood at this hole-in-the-wall Lebanese spot. The order-at-the-counter cafe is cash only, but there’s an ATM right there. The service is quick, and the owners couldn’t be any nicer if they tried. And though you can’t beat the shawarma, we definitely recommend getting involved in their Lebanese pizza situation too. UCLA student alert: They deliver.
You’re d*mn right, In-N-Out is on this list. In-N-Out has a location right in the heart of Westwood Village. If you can walk here you should, because that drive-through on a Saturday night rivals Obama traffic. But once you make it inside, just sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in that double-double nirvana.
A movie theater? Believe it. Westwood’s movie theater/premiere culture runs deep, but it’s the most recent addition to the neighborhood that makes the cut. iPic Movie is the deluxe movie-going experience of your film geek dreams. The food here is the best of any movie theater in Los Angeles (by a mile), and it’s all delivered right to you and your plush in-theater reclining chair. Dream big.
The Glendon is one of those enduring Westwood spots you sometimes forget about and then go back and realize how fun it is. The food is solid, but the real situation at this casual spot begins and ends with Happy Hour. Every day from 4pm-7pm and 10pm-Midnight expect hefty discounts on both food and booze alike. Special shout out to Tuesday’s “Tinder Night,” where if you bring in a first date off any dating app, your first glass of house wine is 69¢. What a time to be alive.
The tiny little Korean BBQ stand might not look like much from the outside, but this walk-up window operation makes some of the best on-the-go food in Westwood. They have everything from Bi Bim Bap to Beef Yaki Udon, but our midday move is the combo meat plate. Two meats of your choice all over rice and salad, kimchi, and a drink for $12. You simply won’t find that amount of (good) food at that price anywhere else in the area. Caution: Cash only.
Located on the same side street as Chipotle and Shop House, Cava Grill throws its hat into the fast-casual “It’s the Chipotle of __” scene, this time being Mediterranean food. And it’s excellent. Cava is still pretty new to the area and lunchtime crowds are extreme, so beware. But once you’re inside you understand what the fuss is about. Seemingly unlimited mix-and-match options for your gigantic (and affordable) Mediterranean feast. Your lunch hour starts here.
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