15 Under $15: Affordable Dining On The Sunset Strip


It may not be free, but there is such a thing as an affordable meal on The Sunset Strip. We’ve scoured the boulevard to find 15 budget-friendly dishes under $15, proving that good taste doesn’t have to break the bank.


Best of Mediterranean
The satisfying half chicken plate at Best of Mediterranean is served with hummus, rice, tabouli and garlic sauce for $7.99. And save 10% on all dine-in, to-go and catering orders with code “SSBA09.” www.bestofmediterranean.com

BLT Steak
Savor a budget-friendly ‘5 at 5′ menu from 5 – 7 p.m. daily. Menu features five food items, a specialty cocktail, draught beer and red/white wine for $5. Selections include steak sliders with caramelized onion jam, miniature crab cakes with Meyer lemon aioli and Kobe hot dogs. www.bltsteak.com

Café Med
Fresh pastas provide the signature touch at Café Med. Relax with patio dining and homemade taglionlini in a fresh pesto sauce for $14.75. www.cafemedsunsetplaza.com

Joe’s Pizza
NY-style pizza classics are the piece de resistance at this family eatery. Pizzas come in one size here: large. So grab a date, or a couple friends, and dig into a fresh cheese pie. Although $18, split two or three ways, it is a steal of a deal. Going solo? Their chicken or eggplant parm hero at $8 will satisfy. www.joespizza.com

Breakfast and lunch are covered at this local favorite. Enjoy house specialties Sante Fe scramble for breakfast, with turkey-chicken or vegetarian chorizo, diced green onions, tomatoes, cilantro and corn tortilla strips scrambled with eggs and topped with melted cheese, or the chicken artichoke sandwich for lunch, with chicken breast, artichoke sun dried tomato spread and boursin cheese. Both $10.95. www.jinkys.com

Isla Cantina
Isla Cantina’s abundant tequila selection is matched only by its menu offerings. The enchiladas are a delicious choice with Monterrey jack cheese, free range chicken or Santa Maria tri tip rolled in corn tortillas and topped with cotija cheese, sour cream and your choice of a red pasilla chile sauce or green tomatillo sauce. Served with rice and beans ($12/$14). www.islalounge.com

Mel’s Drive-In
Comfort classics reign at Mel’s Drive-In, which is serving an unlimited spaghetti dinner from 4 – 11 p.m. ($8.95) and a “Stimulus Meal Deal” throughout the day. When you order from a variety of breakfast options that are served with pancakes, you can get unlimited pancakes from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. Or, if you order a sandwich or entrée for lunch or dinner that includes soup, you will receive unlimited soup refills from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. www.melsdrive-in.com

Delicious dishes are plentiful at Mirabelle, a classic on The Strip since 1971. Stop by for lunch and enjoy roasted whitefish with glazed baby vegetables, wild herb salad and port wine reduction ($15). Dinner options include crispy gnocchi with sweet English peas, asparagus tips, oven dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms and pea tendrils ($14). www.mirabelleonsunset.com

Pi On Sunset
The chicken schwarma wrap served with cucumber salad is a favorite among Yelpers, and for $6.99 it won’t hurt your wallet, either. www.pionsunset.com

Poquito Mas
Serving fresh and fast Baja style food, the studio plate is filling and affordable. Charbroiled chicken served with rice, beans, salad, fresh flour tortillas and unlimited trips to the salsa bar for $7.52. www.poquitomas.com

Rainbow Bar & Grill
Part legendary restaurant, part living museum, the Rainbow Bar & Grill provides a one-of-a-kind experience. Home-style classics fill the menu whether you are looking for a cheeseburger with fries or salad ($6.75), or the always popular pizza (small starts at $8.95, medium at $14, and large at $15). A full bar completes your dining experience. www.rainbowbarandgrill.com

Standard 24/7
Offering fresh, contemporary twists on ‘standard’ diner fare anytime of day, try the Baja-inspired Corona beer battered fish tacos ($14) or the flavorful Thai beef salad ($12). www.standardhotels.com/hollywood

A plethora of sushi, sashimi and rolls ranging from $3.95 for Tamago sushi to $18 for Toro sushi awaits you at this Sunset Plaza mainstay. Try house specialty The Bogi — fresh ground sirloin steak mixed with scallions, lemongrass, cilantro, almonds and peanuts and served with edamame and carrots ($13.95). www.sushiyaonsunset.com

Lunch at critically-acclaimed Talesai on Sunset features a popular $12 lunch with selections including cashew chicken, curry-spiced shrimp, vegetable curry and five other entrees. All served with a vegetable spring roll and green salad. www.talesai.com  

Tony’s Steakhouse
All dishes at Tony’s are under $25, but for these rules, stick with a satisfying classic: spaghetti with meatballs made with veal, proscuitto, pork and beef ($14).



Photo courtesy Bob Friday

BLT Steak On Sunset Strip Tempts Your Palate And Eyes

I have been looking forward to visiting the new BLT Steak on the Sunset …

I have been looking forward to visiting the new BLT Steak on the Sunset Strip since the day it opened in March. Having been to the original, critically acclaimed location in New York, I was familiar with their incredible a culinary excellence. So having an outpost here in my hometown, in the house of the former Le Dome, was good fortune, good timing, and bound to be good for my belly.

Joined by my buddy Rich, in town from New York and also familiar with the original, we had a fantastic meal at what I consider the hottest and most accomplished new dining room in town.

We started with BLT’s huge crab cake, loaded with generous, fresh chunks of crab and served with a remoulade sauce and spicy slaw. The caesar salad was chilled and crisp, with fresh made dressing that’s slightly creamy and characteristically salty, and a big, soft-yet-crunchy crouton in the middle. We also split a side of sautéed, wild mushrooms and white corn, a daily special that was special indeed.

The space at BLT Steak is open and airy. With an outdoor patio, roomy dining area and an impressive, long bar on the west wall, the space is modern, communal, inviting. Exchanging Le Dome’s elegant intimacy for BLT’s elegant airiness is a fair trade, especially given how well the space fits the mood and that brilliant BLT cooking comes with the deal.

The atmosphere and culinary expertise attracted some star-studded indulgers as well. I spotted actor Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”) out with a few buddies, and as our steaks arrived, Denzel Washington dropped in looking very happy to be on his way to culinary bliss.

Stars in place, we launched into the main course, divvying up two house specialties — the 22-ounce grilled rib eye and braised short ribs. The rib eye was beautifully charred and grilled, served in a super-hot cast iron skillet and accompanied by a half bulb of roasted garlic and a smidgen of bone marrow, served, appropriately, in a bone. Delicious, full of flavor and grilled to absolute perfection.

The short ribs are also a flavor extravaganza — marinated and braised till crispy on the outside and tender within. Meat falls off the bone, and the texture is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The short ribs were served in a deeper cast-iron dish to contain the au jus. For sides, we opted for grilled asparagus, crispy and thin French fries, and out-of-this-world creamy spinach. First-class comfort food all the way. I’m a big fan of the sauces, and in addition to the spicy mayo that came with our fries, we opted for horseradish (perfect for short ribs), and my favorite, three mustards, which was right for dipping both asparagus and the fries.

For desserts — and dessert is as good as you might expect from this expert Gotham-based eatery — we opted for peanut butter chocolate mousse with banana ice cream. I recommend everything on the BLT dessert menu. On my first trip to the New York location with my sisters and cousins, we ordered half the desserts on the list and they brought us those and all the rest. Let me tell you, it all rocks the house.

If you’ve heard about this new bastion of excellence on the Sunset Strip and have been thinking about a splurge, or even if this is your first BLT tip, you should do yourself a favor and celebrate life with a visit to this vibrant venue. BLT Steak has been in West Hollywood less than a year, and it’s already a local favorite.

BLT Steak is located at 8720 Sunset Boulevard. Lunch is served Monday – Saturday, 11:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served Monday – Thursday, 5:30 – 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5:30 – 11:30 p.m., and Sunday, 5 – 10 p.m.. For reservations, please call 310-360-1950.