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Commissary, Koreatown
Commissary, Koreatown
Elizabeth Daniels

16 Stellar Los Angeles Spots for Lunch, Fall 2016

Dinner isn't the only interesting meal in Los Angeles

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Commissary, Koreatown
| Elizabeth Daniels

In Los Angeles, lunch is a verb. People lunch with their friends, lunch with their business partners, and take midday meetings over arctic char salads near the beach. That's why there are endless options for dining well in the middle of the day, from high-end business spots to low key options with speedy service and a reduced price point. LA's got it all.

So what do you really want out of a midweek daytime meal? Probably something relatively quick, with no impossibly long wait times or high barrier to entry. Something fun, maybe a little classy, with great food and a drink (or two) if you want it. A restaurant that serves the kind of food — thoughtful salads, housemade breads, quality seasonal fare — you'd not only want to eat yourself after a long work week, but food you'd be happy to recommend to an out of towner who needs a nice sit-down spot in the middle of the day.

Here now, some of the best places for lunch in Los Angeles, from heady bread and roasted meat destinations in Venice to sunny Koreatown rooftop hideaways that are perfect for lingering. Presented, of course, in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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B.S. Taqueria

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This fantastic taco spot in Downtown is colorful and fun, making it an ideal place to meet with coworkers or even a casual get-together. Chef Ray Garcia's tacos are arguably the best in town at the moment, especially at a place where you can sit down and order a beer or cocktail. The clams & lardo are what everyone is talking about, but the sauteed chiles toreados, carnitas tacos, and even desserts are stellar.

Wonho Frank Lee

Fermentation darling Baroo does a very un-brisk lunch business, but that's okay. You'll forgive the slowish (at times) service once you grab a bowl of beautifully realized grains and a strong tepache.

Bill Addison

Bäco Mercat

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Josef Centeno is a food whisperer, turning vegetables and odd flatbreads into something spectacular, right before your eyes. His first solo magic trick was Baco Mercat, and it remains among his most impressive, particularly for a Downtown crowd that knows what it wants — and fussy ain't it.

COMMISSARY

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Roy Choi's upstairs dining hall at the Line Hotel might be the best looking lunch spot in L.A., if only for its terrific green house. The food has a soft spot for vegetables, so opt for the roasted vegetables, cobb salad, or braised and charred leeks. For something meatier, the wagyu burger or shrimp po' boy are there for you.

Relative Atwater Village newcomer Dune hits high marks as a casual option with outdoor seating that doesn't skimp on the details. Stop in for the city's best falafel, with a side of just about everything else from the truncated menu.

Fishing with Dynamite

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Fishing With Dynamite remains a seafood staple along the coast, a Manhattan Beach mecca for casual coastal dining. Perfect for lingering with a crisp glass of wine during a late afternoon lunch (the place opens in the late morning and continues on through the evening), this place offers a rich distillation of California dining culture, all in a shoebox-sized space.

Elizabeth Daniels

Committed diners can rest assured that possibly the best lunch on the Westside awaits at Gjusta, with pitch-perfect smoked fish, pies, sandwiches, and pastries for dessert. If you haven't been to Gjusta, make it a point to get there early, and dine under the sun in the back. Just bring sunscreen or a hat.

Jon & Vinny's

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Shook and Dotolo already have dinner hits on their hands with the likes of Animal and Trois Mec, but their newer baby Jon & Vinny’s may be its best lunchtime bet yet. Full of Italian-American classics wrapped in lots of blonde wood, the nearly round-the-clock restaurant is one of the city’s hottest places for a midday meal.

Langer's Deli

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There may be no better lunch in Los Angeles than a pastrami sandwich from Langer’s — particularly because the restaurant doesn’t do dinner. Stuffing yourself inside one of the Westlake restaurant’s booths for a casual lunch with friends (especially the out-of-town kind who haven’t experienced the icon yet) is a rite of passage for Angelenos citywide.

Wonho Frank Lee

Milo and Olive

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This Westside classic has some of the most reliable fare in Santa Monica, with farm-fresh ingredients and sharp cooking coming from the open kitchen. The pizzas are shareable, the pastas are rich, and the salads are impressive despite their humble stature on the menu. Don't leave without picking up a few loaves of bread or a cookie from the front.

Night + Market Song

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Silver Lake can’t stop enjoying Kris Yenbamroong’s Thai street cooking, packing the colorful Song nightly. For lunch, the pared down menu is less impacted but still a hit, from the fried chicken sandwich to the mixed lunch plates — all of which can be served with the young chef’s esoteric list of (mostly French) wines.

Petit Trois

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Ludo Lefebvre keeps trying to perfect the walk-in bistro concept, and their 24-some seater on Melrose might be lifted right out of Paris. Order the omelette if you haven't tried it, but move onto things like the beef tartare, confit-fried chicken leg, moules frites, and even the Au Cheval-inspired burger. Just remember that it's counter-seating only.

Wonho Frank Lee

Pizzeria Mozza

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Packed nearly every day, this casual spot on the corner of Highland and Melrose is a boisterous place to meet up with office workers or a quick meeting. Though it tends to get loud and tables can be hard to nab, the pizzas, salads, apps, and desserts are all destination-worthy.

République

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All-day monster Republique is as noisy as they come during lunch, with lines snaking out the door for Marge Manzke’s pastries and Walter’s daylong breakfast options. Add in rotating salads, simple sandwiches, and one of the city’s best overall burgers, and lunch inside this tall, glass-framed space is a no-brainer.

Szechuan Impression

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Szechuan Impression may be best enjoyed for lunch, when the lines are smaller and the food just as tasty. Bring friends or co-workers for the feast, as plate after plate “leg-crossingly yum” beef brisket soup and hou dao dumplings hit the table. If you can swing a trip to the SGV midweek, you’ll save yourself hours of waiting on the weekends.

The Sycamore Kitchen

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Sycamore Kitchen is Karen and Quinn Hatfield's summery ode to the bounty of Los Angeles, a reminder that the pleasures of this city can often be found on a shaded patio, just off the street, eating a pastry alongside your farmers market salad. Often imitated to great effect, this La Brea staple remains at the top of their game in a very crowded field.

Sycamore Kitchen

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B.S. Taqueria

Wonho Frank Lee

This fantastic taco spot in Downtown is colorful and fun, making it an ideal place to meet with coworkers or even a casual get-together. Chef Ray Garcia's tacos are arguably the best in town at the moment, especially at a place where you can sit down and order a beer or cocktail. The clams & lardo are what everyone is talking about, but the sauteed chiles toreados, carnitas tacos, and even desserts are stellar.

Wonho Frank Lee

Baroo

Bill Addison

Fermentation darling Baroo does a very un-brisk lunch business, but that's okay. You'll forgive the slowish (at times) service once you grab a bowl of beautifully realized grains and a strong tepache.

Bill Addison

Bäco Mercat

Josef Centeno is a food whisperer, turning vegetables and odd flatbreads into something spectacular, right before your eyes. His first solo magic trick was Baco Mercat, and it remains among his most impressive, particularly for a Downtown crowd that knows what it wants — and fussy ain't it.

COMMISSARY

Roy Choi's upstairs dining hall at the Line Hotel might be the best looking lunch spot in L.A., if only for its terrific green house. The food has a soft spot for vegetables, so opt for the roasted vegetables, cobb salad, or braised and charred leeks. For something meatier, the wagyu burger or shrimp po' boy are there for you.

Dune

Relative Atwater Village newcomer Dune hits high marks as a casual option with outdoor seating that doesn't skimp on the details. Stop in for the city's best falafel, with a side of just about everything else from the truncated menu.

Fishing with Dynamite

Elizabeth Daniels

Fishing With Dynamite remains a seafood staple along the coast, a Manhattan Beach mecca for casual coastal dining. Perfect for lingering with a crisp glass of wine during a late afternoon lunch (the place opens in the late morning and continues on through the evening), this place offers a rich distillation of California dining culture, all in a shoebox-sized space.

Elizabeth Daniels

Gjusta

Committed diners can rest assured that possibly the best lunch on the Westside awaits at Gjusta, with pitch-perfect smoked fish, pies, sandwiches, and pastries for dessert. If you haven't been to Gjusta, make it a point to get there early, and dine under the sun in the back. Just bring sunscreen or a hat.

Jon & Vinny's

Shook and Dotolo already have dinner hits on their hands with the likes of Animal and Trois Mec, but their newer baby Jon & Vinny’s may be its best lunchtime bet yet. Full of Italian-American classics wrapped in lots of blonde wood, the nearly round-the-clock restaurant is one of the city’s hottest places for a midday meal.

Langer's Deli

Wonho Frank Lee

There may be no better lunch in Los Angeles than a pastrami sandwich from Langer’s — particularly because the restaurant doesn’t do dinner. Stuffing yourself inside one of the Westlake restaurant’s booths for a casual lunch with friends (especially the out-of-town kind who haven’t experienced the icon yet) is a rite of passage for Angelenos citywide.

Wonho Frank Lee

Milo and Olive

This Westside classic has some of the most reliable fare in Santa Monica, with farm-fresh ingredients and sharp cooking coming from the open kitchen. The pizzas are shareable, the pastas are rich, and the salads are impressive despite their humble stature on the menu. Don't leave without picking up a few loaves of bread or a cookie from the front.

Night + Market Song

Silver Lake can’t stop enjoying Kris Yenbamroong’s Thai street cooking, packing the colorful Song nightly. For lunch, the pared down menu is less impacted but still a hit, from the fried chicken sandwich to the mixed lunch plates — all of which can be served with the young chef’s esoteric list of (mostly French) wines.

Petit Trois

Wonho Frank Lee

Ludo Lefebvre keeps trying to perfect the walk-in bistro concept, and their 24-some seater on Melrose might be lifted right out of Paris. Order the omelette if you haven't tried it, but move onto things like the beef tartare, confit-fried chicken leg, moules frites, and even the Au Cheval-inspired burger. Just remember that it's counter-seating only.

Wonho Frank Lee

Pizzeria Mozza

Packed nearly every day, this casual spot on the corner of Highland and Melrose is a boisterous place to meet up with office workers or a quick meeting. Though it tends to get loud and tables can be hard to nab, the pizzas, salads, apps, and desserts are all destination-worthy.

République

All-day monster Republique is as noisy as they come during lunch, with lines snaking out the door for Marge Manzke’s pastries and Walter’s daylong breakfast options. Add in rotating salads, simple sandwiches, and one of the city’s best overall burgers, and lunch inside this tall, glass-framed space is a no-brainer.