The Best Restaurants for Lunch in Los Angeles

© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Culture Trip
9 July 2020

Find a sprawling terrace, pick a good people-watching spot, and settle in for a long, lazy lunch in the LA sunshine.

Cafe, Restaurant, American
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Pancake Breakfast
Pancake Breakfast | Courtesy of Mary and Robb's Westwood Cafe
This café and pie shop inspires a bevy of lunch hour patrons to indulge; as they say, ‘life is short, enjoy the simplethings.’ While simplethings specializes in assorted mini pies, the menu also includes a variety of fresh salads, sandwiches, and soups. The menu expands on the weekends to include brunch classics such as chocolate chip pancakes and a veggie frittata. The Westwood location has limited inside seating, but their covered patio offers charming views of Westwood Village.

Cafe, Coffee Shop, American, $$$
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A well-known neighborhood destination for the coffee connoisseur, LAMILL COFFEE is known for its hand-drip and siphon-brewed coffee made from beans roasted on site, and as a coveted locale for a leisurely breakfast or lunch. The Louis XIV-style decor, complete with turquoise leather chairs, ornate chandeliers and large panels of scenes from antiquity adorning the walls, is the perfect setting in which to enjoy the delicious house-made brioche doughnut holes or a frisée aux lardons salad.

Restaurant, American
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East India Grill
East India Grill | Courtesy of East India Grill
This healthy bakery café will put a tasteful twist to guests’ day. Vegetarian options such as the quinoa burger are delicious treats. After eating the primary course guests can top off their meals with a crunchy cookie, a savory loaf, or a sweet croissant. Twist Eatery is a casual spot which is best for breakfast or lunch.

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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For gluten-free eaters with a bit of money to spend, True Foods Kitchen is a great lunch or dinner spot. Catering more toward the health conscious, most menu items are simple and colored with seasonal fruits and vegetables. The Vegetable Crudites (a large bowl of raw veggies with two dipping sauces) is a popular starter, as is the Herb Hummus, which can be ordered with warm gluten-free pita bread. Main lunch and dinner options include the Street Tacos, the Quinoa Burger served on a gluten-free bun, Turkey Lasagna and the ginger-infused Panang Curry over brown rice. Menu items particularly exciting for Celiacs are the gluten-free pizzas, all cooked and prepared separately from flour-based crusts. The staff handles the dietary concerns of their diners with extreme concern, notifying the kitchen of any allergies. The open layout of the restaurant puts customers even more at ease, with the kitchen completely visible from the dining tables, making it an ideal spot for those with serious intolerances.

Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
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Tomodachi Sushi is a casual sushi bar that always impresses with its fresh, high-quality fish. The menu features nearly every roll imaginable, including baked, fresh, and tempura rolls. While Tomodachi’s prices are reasonable to begin with, it also has lunch specials. The restaurant offers sushi bar seating, providing the opportunity to converse with the friendly sushi chefs, as well as tables throughout. In addition to an extensive sushi menu, Tomodachi also offers Korean food.

Bakery, American, Dessert, $$$
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This simple yet fantastic bakery sells hundreds of baguettes a day. Using only three ingredients, the entire process, from wild yeast to the final product in your hands, takes about 24 hours. So think about that when you’re standing in line for 15 minutes. You can also eat lunch here with a South American inspired ‘Almoço’, Balkan Borek or a Greek-inspired ‘Aegean’ quiche. Also, if that baguette tastes familiar, that’s because a ton of great Arts District restaurants use Bread Lounge’s signature breads.

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Serving local residents mouth-watering Persian cuisine since 1982, Shamshiri Grill is a flavourful eatery located in the heart of the Westwood. With a large menu that will appeal to both meat-lovers and vegans, this eatery is a casual lunch venue during the day, yet transforms to a romantic hot spot during the evening hours. Notable dishes to mention are zereshk polo or sour barberries and saffron in basmati or brown rice served with a choice of chicken or lamb shank; vegan baghali polo, which is lima beans and dill, baked with basmati rice and accompanied by a vegetable kabob; and the shirin polo or basmati rice with a delightful combination of saffron, orange peels, pistachios and almond.

Cafe, Restaurant, American, $$$
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56-284631-mary-and-robbs
Courtesy of Mary and Robbs' Westwood Cafe
Starting out as a small soda shop counter in the 1950s, Mary and Robbs’ Westwood Cafe has grown into a full-service restaurant featuring tasty American cuisine. At its current location since 1977, this comfortable and family-friendly neighbourhood coffee shop serves breakfast all day plus lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Procuring the highest quality ingredients, diners take delight in meals such as the chilli omelet supreme with all-meat chilli; the spinach melt with mushrooms, fire roasted red peppers, basil, tomatoes and provolone; and the Cajun filet mignon. This café also offers a selection of wine and beer and tantalising desserts, including a three-layer chocolate cake, sure to please anyone’s sweet tooth.

Cafe, Bakery, American, $$$
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What would L.A. be without a magical land filled with endless brunch options? However, Urth is the definitive go-to organic coffee shop that also does amazing brunch (and lunch and dinner). Everything here is so good, diners can’t go wrong as they sit on the sun-soaked patios in the heart of Beverly Hills.

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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Located just a block from the beach, Tocaya Organica offers a fast and casual dining experience suitable for beachgoers looking for organic Mexican cuisine with a modern flare. The bright trim atmosphere is perfect for an easy lunch or a quiet dinner date. Seating is readily available, whether you’re choosing to dine indoors or the cozy outdoor patio. Though this healthy hideaway is not entirely vegan, it is one hundred percent organic. The buy-one-get-one-free tacos and $5 (€4.06) imported beer or glass of wine during happy hour (offered from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday) is the perfect combination for the health conscious traveler on a budget.

Meal service:

Dinner, Takeaway, Late Night, Lunch

Atmosphere:

Quiet, Fast Casual, Stylish

Bistro, Filipino, $$$
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Located in the heart of Panorama City, this hidden gem serves a true Filipino-style breakfast and lunch buffet. The best part of Bamboo Bistro, however, is the kamayan dinner, a meal eaten with your hands at a long table covered with banana leaves. Friendly staff members chat with you as they set the table with traditional kamayan dishes such as garlic rice, seafood, lechon kawali(crispy fried pork belly), salted egg and tomato salad, BBQ pork, and plenty of napkins. During the meal, karaoke with the employees or a comedy show serve as the night’s entertainment.

Restaurant, American, $$$
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The Strand House's interior and beach view
The Strand House's interior and beach view | Photo credit: Laura Grier
Step into The Strand House and experience the incredible food and sensational views. Executive chef Greg Hozinsky presents a colorful menu of traditional dishes that favors seasonally inspired and locally grown ingredients. The multi-level restaurant gives guests the options to come for lunch or brunch in their sun-drenched dining room, enjoy hand crafted cocktails and dinner with an breathtaking sunset view, or come to dance the night away at StrandBar. Must-try menu items include hamachi crudo and hand-torn pasta rags as appetizers, the wild boar sausage pizza, branzino, and TSH-glazed donuts.
These recommendations were updated on July 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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