Food & Drink

LA's 13 Best Under-$10 Lunches

Published On 01/07/2014 Published On 01/07/2014
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1. Ricky's Fish Tacos 1400 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Downtown)

The menu is simple -- as a taco stand's should be. Try their fish or shrimp tacos which are always, for lack of a better and more accurate word, perfect.

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2. ink.sack 8360 Melrose, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Mid Wilshire)

Ink's a hole-in-the-wall gourmet sandwich stand lined w/ graffitied blackboards and not much else, opening from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, who managed to pull off a somehow under-the-radar build-out despite obsessive scrutiny from media, food blogs, and Val Kilmer's stomach.

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3. 800 Degrees Pizza 1146 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

The restaurant group that brought us Umami Burger is behind this fast-casual pizza chain with locations all around the world. 800 Degrees is kind of like the Chipotle for pizza -- you choose the ingredients for your pizza at an assembly-line counter, then the pie is cooked under two minutes in an insanely hot (800 degrees!) oven. The pies are satisfying, the service fast, and the ingredients top-notch. Speciality pies and gluten-free crust is also available, so really, the choice is yours.

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4. Fat Sal's 950 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

When all of the sandwiches at an establishment begin with the word “Fat,” you know you're in for some truly flavorful, gut-busting creations. Take the classic “Fat Sal,” for example, which is loaded with roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and brown gravy -- all served on an extra-wide garlic hero roll. One in a mini-chain of counter-serve spots, this Fat Sal's outpost is a favorite cheap-eats joint among UCLA students, who fill up the tiny, hip space quickly, itching to get their hands on the stacked lineup of hot dogs, heroes, and burgers, like the Fat Bruin: a cheeseburger-, chili-, and bacon-stuffed sandwich that reps the school's mascot.

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5. Top Round Roast Beef 1000 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019 (Mid Wilshire)

A surprisingly gourmet sandwich shop that's serving up fancified roast beef eats.

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6. Sapp Coffee Shop 5183 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Hollywood)

If you're a fan of boat noodles and happen to be in Hollywood, you'll wanna check out this Thai-style coffee shop. Don't know what boat noodles are? No, problem. Still pop in for some Thai tea or coffee and some food that's anything but the norm.

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7. Mexicali Taco & Co. 702 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Downtown)

This super simple Chinatown spot is owned by the Baja-bred Esdras Orchoa, who's changing the Mexican food game in LA with his masa harina tortillas. Not too big or too small, the corn flour tortillas are thick enough to hold the weight of beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp fillings, plus a topping of the creamy house garlic sauce. Mexicali's menu is simple and straightforward: aside from tacos, there are quesadillas, tostadas, and nachos. To really get a taste of the kitchen's Baja expertise, go for the Zuperman, a tortilla sandwich filled with a hefty portion of three meats and cheese.

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8. Wah's Golden Hen 709 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Hollywood)

Wah's hands down is some of the best Chinese food in all of LA. Whether you get the Wonton Soup or opt for something of the noodle variety you seemingly can't go wrong.

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9. Hannosuke 3760 S Centinella, Los Angeles, CA 90066 (Santa Monica)

Remember the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones navigates those seemingly impossible-to-navigate booby traps all in an effort to get that little bald buddha dude statue? Well, Hannosuke is kinda like that, except the seemingly impossible-to-navigate place is the Mitsuwa Japanese Marketplace and the bald buddha dude statue is battered-and-fried-goodness from Japan.

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10. Guisados 1261 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

With a straightforward approach to tacos, the second branch of the wildly popular East LA taqueria adds a patiod to the mix, but sticks to the original, winning menu of homemade tortillas and a selection of various meats, fish, and vegetarian options. The liquor menu is equally pared down to keeps things simple.

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11. Kobawoo House 698 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (Koreatown)

Open since 1985, this Koreatown strip small spot has a reputation for being one of the oldest and most reputable restaurants in the neighborhood. Its speciality is bossam, a giant platter of boiled and sliced pork belly, served with a few kinds of kimchee, raw oysters, fermented shrimp, and giant pieces of lettuce, which are used to wrap everything up in a tight bundle for eating. You should definitely go to Kobawoo for its bossam, but while you're there, be sure to order the seafood pancakes, cold acorn noodles, and pan-fried squid too.

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12. Dream Korean BBQ 100 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004 (Koreatown)

Dream KBBQ has the best of both worlds, Korean BBQ and all-you-can-eat buffet options to go along with your food choice. But make sure you're sufficiently hungry so you get your moneys worth and when you leave you'll have to loosen up that belt a few notches.

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13. Chego! 727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Downtown)

Roy Choi’s Chego! is named after a variation on the Korean term meaning “excellent, great, delicious.” Once located in the Palms, Chego! now lives in Chinatown behind Ocean Seafood. Choi’s rice bowl concept lives up to the meaning behind the name, serving up Korean street food with Mexican influence and fine dining technique, tricking out even the basest of foundations (like… rice, for example), and turning them into cravable, affordable, approachable dishes for the LA masses. The Chubby Pork Belly (pork belly rice bowl with a fried egg, and other stuff, but pork belly and a fried egg should be enough to convince you) is one of Choi’s favorites… I’m not saying you have to get it, I’m just saying you should. That, and a side of Ooey Gooey Fries.

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