There’s nowhere else in Los Angeles like Century City. This neighborhood has skyscrapers, a giant mall, and the greatest concentration of talent agents in the city. And not a whole lot else. This is especially apparent at 11:59am as you prepare to run outside for a 20-minute lunch that hopefully isn’t the deli at the bottom of your building. We’re not going to sugarcoat it: the eating situation in Century City is grim. But you’re not here because you’re looking for your next great dining experience. You’re here to survive either your emotionally traumatic entry-level job, or your emotionally traumatic less-entry-level job. Here are the Century City places we can actually recommend for everything from a quick takeout lunch to an impressive dinner for your boss (that you’re booking - not attending).
Check out more ways to save your job (and your soul) in the rest of our LA Assistant’s Survival Guide here.
CAA might have boycotted Craft after Tom Colicchio left for WME (true story), but that doesn’t seem to have done much damage to this power lunching spot that sits in the shadow of the CAA building. The food is simple and not at all exciting, but also extremely good. Think serious steaks, perfectly-roasted chicken, and salmon salad, in a setting with tables far enough apart that no one can eavesdrop on each other’s deals as they’re going down.
Clementine is proof that Century City does indeed have a soul. On a corner spot opposite the mall, this bakery and cafe is the best place in the area for a casual lunch. The chicken salad doesn’t skimp on the mayo (embrace it), and if it’s been one of those days, the tuna melt can fix things. Bonus: they do a killer catered spread that’ll impress when you’ve been put in charge of making sure that 75-person meeting doesn’t get hangry.
The food here has slipped in recent years, but Hinoki & the Bird is still one of the more interesting restaurant options in a sea of terribly-made salads. The space is dark and villain’s-lair-like, and the menu is heavy on Japanese fusion (i.e. tater tot okonomiyaki). Most nights, the place ends up filled with lawyers and agents trying to forget their day over cocktails or schmoozing clients with three-figure bottles of wine.
If you spend long enough in Century City, you will end up eating inside the mall. And one of the best places to do it Meizhou Dongpo. These guys have a bunch of restaurants in Beijing, as well as a few in California. You’re definitely paying for the privilege of dining in a mall, but the Peking duck, sliced up by a chef tableside, is the best you can find outside of the SGV, and the dan dan noodles are pretty excellent too.
Also inside the mall is the fourth LA Shake Shack, home to long lines and the burger New Yorkers think is better than a Double Double Animal Style. Whether or not you agree with that assessment, these are certainly the best burgers in Century City. Order ahead, sprint from your desk, and scarf it down while sprinting back before your boss even notices you’re gone.
If you work in Century City, Thursdays are probably the highlight of your eating week. It’s the day the farmers market sets up, and lines form quickly for the Hawaiian chicken stand (get the huli-huli chicken, which is rubbed with some kind of tasty seasoning and grilled in front of you). There are pupusas and tacos around as well, and even a few produce stalls. Because the only time you ever have to go grocery shopping is your half-hour lunch break.
The food in Century City is about to get a lot better. Once the never-ending construction is finished (supposedly later this year), the mall will be getting its very own Din Tai Fung (no more treks to Glendale), Eataly (no more treks to New York City), Wexler’s Deli, and a bunch more options. But until then, you’ll just have to be content staring longingly at the cranes.