LA’s most famous neighborhood is also its most irritating. Clogged with lost tourists from Santa Monica and Tickle Me Elmos vaping inside their Honda Accords, Hollywood is certainly no longer a town of glitz and glamour.
But thanks to Viacom in Columbia Square and Netflix opening entire campuses every other week, there are more people than ever who need to eat lunch here. From power lunch spots to family-run Thai restaurants, here are the best places in Hollywood for a midday meal.
With a tiny non-descript storefront on Melrose, Oui is a place you could pass a hundred times and not really notice it. And once you do spot it, you probably wouldn’t guess that inside are some of the best sandwiches in Hollywood. With everything from a classic tuna sub to double smashburgers to spiced chicken laffa wraps, the menu certainly covers a lot of ground, but we haven’t tried a single sandwich that we wouldn’t order again. Plus, with such a wide variety, it’s an ideal spot for a to-go team lunch when everyone wants something different.
BBQ + Rice, a tiny spot on Santa Monica Blvd., is an ideal place for a quick lunch that doesn’t involve a drive-thru or candy from 7-Eleven. They serve delicious Korean rice bowls, including things like spicy pork, galbi jjim, and a slightly sweet beef bulgogi. Every bowl comes with some version of their house-made pickles, but we recommend grabbing an extra container to supplement your rice and meat. They’ve also got a parking lot, so you can spent less time searching for a spot, and more time eating.
Tartine’s Hollywood location has provided the surrounding neighborhood the all-day cafe space that it desperately needed. The menu is filled with excellent brunch dishes like the smoked salmon tartine and a fried chicken sandwich with lacto-fermented papaya salad on top, not to mention excellent pastries - the savory and herbaceous bacon and chive scone is our favorite. Though the space can definitely get crowded during peak lunch hours, there always seems to be a spare table open for you and your laptop.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
L’Antica is only a few blocks from the manic energy of Hollywood and Highland, but their sprawling back patio - with exposed brick walls and a legitimate mini-forest - feels like a completely different universe. The name of the game here is pizza - perfectly charred, bubbly crust and fresh, simple toppings like basil, pecorino, and prosciutto. It’s the same pizza they’ve been making for over 150 years (the original is in Naples, Italy), and it’ll take exactly one bite for you to realize why they’re still going strong today. Don’t stray too far from the pizzas, but if you want to throw a few appetizers on the table, we recommend the properly deep-fried calamari or the squash blossoms.
Solo lunches tend to go one of two ways: either build an unsatisfying salad at Whole Foods, or make a shameful CVS candy run. One of these days, take yourself out to Petit Trois instead. The tiny bistro in a strip mall at Highland and Melrose has some of our favorite French food in the city, and sitting at the bar won’t make you feel weird about eating alone. We like the endive salad, double-decker burger, and the most perfectly-made omelette in existence.
Otus, a Thai spot that’s one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets, has a really fantastic all-day breakfast menu. You can’t miss the kai-kata - a little pan of sour ground pork, sweet sausage, and eggs, with grilled bread, and OJ or Vietnamese coffee. It’s the perfect midday pick-me-up, especially when your agent won’t stop calling you about needing the last two pages of your pilot. Speaking of getting work done, they’ve got a bright, quiet space, with some communal tables and a tiny patio. It’s an ideal oasis from the chaos that’s constantly outside at Fountain and La Brea.
Mizlala - Sycamore
Mizlala’s Sycamore Ave. space is the third location in this casual Mediterranean spot’s growing grilled meat empire. As far as the menu goes, it’s similar to their West Adams location, which is to say, it’s filled with delicious, simple plates like chicken shawarma or schnitzel, falafel, and lamb kefta that all cost around $15. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, but if you’re particularly low on time, there’s a self-ordering kiosk so you can be in and out in under five minutes.
It’s not every day you’re going to eat bucatini carbonara before 1pm, but when you want that for yourself, make sure you have it at Osteria La Buca. This bright Italian restaurant across the street from Paramount pulls in a corporate lunch crowd, but you’ll never feel out of place here in jeans and a T-shirt. Drop by for a solo lunch at the bar or roll in with a bunch of coworkers on a Friday.
If you’re outrageously hungry, pressed for time, and refuse to hit up Taco Bell, go to Oaks Gourmet. The gourmet wine and cheese shop up in Franklin Village has a full menu of great on-the-go sandwiches along with one of our favorite burgers in town. Plus, if you don’t feel like eating in your car for the fifth straight day, they have a nice patio out front as well.
When it comes to eating Thai food in Hollywood, it’s impossible to have a bad meal. But for lunch, you can almost always find us at Pailin. It’s less crowded than some of its more famous neighbors, and that’s exactly why we love it. Their sweet, buttery khao soi is among our favorite versions in town.
Your call time this morning at Sunset Gower Studios was 5am, but now it’s noon and you can’t see straight. Go even yourself out at Tamarind Deli. The little sandwich shop off Sunset isn’t serving the best subs in LA, but sometimes you just need to scarf down some cold cuts that don’t cost more than $10. There’s really no seating here save except for a few tables out front, so plan to walk and eat as you make your way back to the soundstage.
You probably don’t need us to tell you what Sugarfish is at this point. This one is right on Sunset next to NeueHouse, and is no different from all the rest - great quality sushi for a not-outrageous price. It’s even more affordable at lunch, and the takeout situation is as convenient as it gets.
This Thai strip mall spot is an LA classic where lunch hours always run long simply because you can’t stop eating. Luv2Eat’s greatness lies in the “Chef’s Special” section of the menu, a mixed bag of dishes that showcases the two chefs’ family recipes from Phuket. The crab curry, moo-ping, and jade noodles with three different kinds of BBQ meat all need to be ordered. As a bonus, the massive parking lot out front assures easy parking no matter what time you come.
There’s a decent chance you haven’t heard of Tere’s, and that’s because most of the people eating there don’t want you to know about it. Why? Because this strip mall spot serves tremendous Michoacán-inspired dishes like tinga tortas, mole, and machaca burritos in a space on Melrose that never gets crowded. Just don’t tell anyone we sent you.
Despite its rather demanding name, Eat This is a comforting little sidewalk cafe on Santa Monica Boulevard’s theater row. All of their sandwiches and salads are way better than they should be, and the bright space is a much-needed respite from another day of weird auditions that you don’t feel like discussing with anyone.
Hoy-Ka is one of our favorite Thai spots in Hollywood - not only because of their excellent food, but also for having a fun space that’s great for a team lunch. The wood-covered interior feels kind of like a tavern, and with plenty of TVs playing sports, you won’t have any trouble finding a reason to drink. The crispy pork ka prao, with its chili and basil-topped tower of white rice, definitely needs to hit the table.
You can find Stout in the midst of Hollywood’s rowdy clubs and rooftops, but this surprisingly calm burger spot has a big wrap-around outdoor patio ideal for actually hearing your friend talk during lunch. They have a massive tap list that usually includes a bunch of hard-to-find Belgian beers that go great with any of the burgers. Our favorites include the “Morning After” - basically a bacon, egg, and cheese burger - and the arugula- and chutney mayo- topped “Bollywood.”