My Top dineLA Restaurant Week Lunch Picks for Summer, 2013: July 15 – 26

RivaBella’s Nidi di Rondine

This summer’s dineLA Restaurant Week commences today and lasts 10 days – over two weekday stretches and one weekend. And since we’ve had a few of these by now, it’s probably time we got smart on maneuvering through the multitude of menus. The trick with dineLA prix fixe is that it may get people through the door, but it may or may not be quite the deal you had in mind. The danger is that you might just be stuck with fewer, albeit recommended, choices for about the same price you’d normally pay.

May I propose lunch? They tend to be better deals than dinner – often true between both offerings of the same restaurant – because there’s more incentive to increase lunch traffic with dinner reservations filling up more readily. So whether you’ve got a 9-5 in the area or are in a certain neighborhood for an audition or client appointment, there’s probably a great dineLA power lunch strategy wherever you end up.

Sotto’s Grilled Pork Meatballs

West LA
Sotto – $20
A 3-course lunch at this Southern Italian stalwart, run by Steve Samson and Zach Pollack, for $20 is quite the steal. Their stellar amaro-focused cocktail menu will make it hard to leave it just at that, though.

Tavern – $25
The prettiest dining room you’ll dineLA in, with nothing better than selections from delicious, market-focused food & wine menus by Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne.

Kiriko Sushi – $25
It’s just hard to pass up a 3-course, $25 sushi lunch at a place listed as one of Jonathan Gold’s favorite sushi restaurants.

Bibigo’s Spicy Rice Cakes (aka Dukbokki)

Beverly Hills
Bibigo – $15
A great place for lunch with veggie friends. This is gentrified but pretty good Korean food gone international. In your case, it’s west of Koreatown, featuring healthy Bibimbap bowls served with their special sauce, which adds sesame to the usual chili paste.

Bouchon – $25
Thomas Keller’s casual but chic (in that Beverly Hills Canon Gardens way) French Bistro fare: 3 courses for $25. Can’t really beat it for the classics.

Century City
Craft – $25
Call it the 2-course, Tom Colicchio Century City Power Lunch. Besides the time element, you would probably spend that much at The Century City Westfield food court, anyway.

Bouchon’s Salade de Melon

Mid-City West
Short Order – $15
A 3-course, $15 lunch at Short Order is just smart. Corn on the cob before a sumptuous sandwich by Christian Page and finished off with Nancy’s Chocolate Chip Cookie from Short Cake sounds like paradise.

Larder at Burton Way – $15
If you haven’t visited this new location by Suzanne Goin & Caroline Styne, dineLA would be a perfect reason to do so. An app, sandwich (or salad trio) and bread pudding make for a beautifully simple lunch, but the ingredients and flavor combinations will wow you.

West Hollywood
RivaBella – $25
With not even a dinner option offered, RivaBella’s 3-course menu by Gino Angelini is worth a trip to The Strip. Worth the trip alone: Seeing lunchtime’s measure of clubbiness in comparison to dinnertime.

Mo-Chica’s Arroz con Mariscos

Loteria Grill – $20 (3rd Street FM/Westlake Village – $15, Santa Monica/Studio City – $20)
Tacos by Jimmy Shaw using top-notch ingredients and bright flavor combinations make for really accessible yet delicious Mexican.

Cafe Pinot – $20
There’s no better metropolitan setting than from Cafe Pinot’s skyline and garden views to enjoy 3 courses of fresh, Californian-French fare.

Mo-Chica – $20
Lobster tartare? Yellowtail tiradito? Arroz con Mariscos? It’s easy to say yes to 3 courses of Ricardo Zarate.

Rivera – $25
It’s a high probability there’s no other occasion you’ll ever spend only $25 at Rivera – so if you were ever curious for a taste of John Sedlar’s upscale, modern Latin cuisine because you had never been, here’s your chance.


And because it’d be unfair to exclude the fine restaurants that serve only dinner:

Honorable Dinner Mentions
Best Vegan Dinner: Crossroads – $25 dinner – You’ll probably never eat Tal Ronnen’s stellar vegan food this cheaply, again. And, 5 courses! (I spent $70 on myself here, the other day, wondering where it all went. The answer: Cocktails.)
Best Museum Meal: Ray’s and Stark Bar – $35 dinner – Kris Morningstar has a way with bold flavors and local ingredients, with some of the latter being grown in a lush garden behind Stark Bar. I am also in love with LACMA.
Best Southeast Asian: The Spice Table – $35 dinner – With 4 courses being offered, Bryant Ng’s got a lot to give. I may save the Kon Loh Mee for myself, though.
Best Thai: Night + Market – $35 dinner – If you’re smart, you’ll dine with at least one other person and get everything on Kris Yenbamroong’s menu, which he seems to have changed up. But as I always say: Keep your eye on the bird’s eye chili. It hurts so good.

And while you’re snapping pictures and uploading instagrams of your food, don’t forget to hashtag them “#dineLA” to be entered to win (each week of dineLA) a stay at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live, travel on American Airlines and a restaurant gift card.

If you’re apt to use your American Express, be sure to register it here and use that card when you pay your bill. Spend $21 or more during restaurant week and get a $5 credit. Book 2 or more nights at participating hotels and receive a $50 American Express® gift card.

Make your reservations, now, and get snap-happy. I’ll see you around L.A.

Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 26, 2013

dineLA Restaurant Week Listing

9575 W. Pico
Los Angeles, CA 90035

11648 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Kiriko Sushi
11301 Olympic Blvd #102
Los Angeles, CA 90064

225 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

235 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

10100 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Larder at Burton Way
8500 Burton Way
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Short Order
6333 W. Third Street, Stall #110
Los Angeles, CA 90036

9201 West Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Loteria Grill
6627 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Loteria Grill SM
1251 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Loteria Grill Studio City
12050 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604

Loteria Grill Westlake Village
180 Promenade Way
Westlake Village, CA 91362

Cafe Pinot
700 W. Fifth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071

514 W. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

8284 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Ray’s and Stark Bar
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Spice Table
114 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Night + Market
9041 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069