Restaurants Friendly To The Frugal

tdf-tender-greens.jpgWe all need to eat out occasionally – celebrations, business appointments, and meeting friends. There are new quality fast food places opening in Los Angeles that share a common theme. Counter service, good food, and the feeling that you are in a relaxing space make these places way above average.

Those of you in Culver City are familiar with Tender Greens. Could anything be better than their salads. Fresh tuna nicoise, chicken cobb, grilled veggie are just a few that are priced at $10.50 plus tax. Or get a hot entree with mashed potatoes and a side salad also priced at $10.50 plus tax. The place is beautiful with both indoor and outdoor areas. You’ll never mind standing in line again. If you wish to indulge, they serve wine, coffee and sweets besides these great tasting and nutritional entrees. And more good news, they are opening a West Hollywood branch at 8957 Santa Monica Blvd.

Pitfire Pizza, great pizza, great pasta, great salads, and all for about $10 per person. How about pasta bolognese in a divine sauce for $9.95. And we are talking a dish similar to one at an upscale Italian restaurant for twenty some dollars plus tip. The place is spacious, big booths you can sink into. And they have cupcakes for dessert.

Another great resource is Damon & Pythias in Westwood Village. They have a variety of salads and entrees with prices ranging in the $10 to $12 area with half portions available on many items. These guys sure can cook. Ribs, turkey, steak, and salmon with specials and choices on sides. Or go vegetarian with just a side sampler. They don’t skimp on the portions, so ladies you might want to share a big salad and leave room for dessert.

One of my favorites is Chutneys on Pico and Barrington. A chicken tikka to die for. It’s cooked in the tandoori oven, served with naan, rice, and carrot & corn salad. And, oh yes, costs about $7 plus tax. They have excellent chicken, lamb, and vegetarian food. It’s great to pick up something on the way home.

Lemonade is counter service with a choice of market fresh salads (2 selections for $7.50), sandwiches, soups, and pot roasts ($9 for a generous portion with rice pilaf or salad). You can get tastes of any pot roast before you buy. The Frugal Dude went for lamb tagine which was fantastic with great spices and sauce to pour over the rice pilaf. The Frugal Diva stayed with the vegetable salads-delicious farro and spaghetti squash plus yummy beets. They are located at 1661 Abbott Kinney, Los Angeles, CA 90291, (310) 452-6200 and have other locations on Beverly Blvd.,  downtown, and at MOCA. And of course the lemonade is divine.

If you have to take someone out for business consider ethnic restaurants with their fabulous lunch specials. Great multi-course meals that will make everyone feel indulged and receptive to your ideas. If you need to entertain several potential clients, call ahead and they will usually accommodate you with a separate room or out of the way table. Set up a menu with a selection of entrees and no prices, you look good and no one is the wiser to your frugality.

Sometimes when we’re running around town, we need to stop and refuel, gather our thoughts, make phone calls, and take a deep breath before moving on to our next appointment. Starbucks has gone a long way to meet our needs, better sandwiches, yogurt with fruit, and cheese trays.


  1. Princess PoodlePoo | 3rd Nov 08

    Princess PoodlePoo likes to make her own sandwich and brew her own tea at home, and then bring it over to starbucks and hang out. This is a great way to save anywhere from $2 to $8 instantly!

  2. Samantha | 11th Jan 10

    I agree with all recommended places, Tender Greens, Pitfire and Lemonade are all amazing.

  3. Aubrey Dicken | 15th Jan 10

    Thanks for this nice read. I surely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked and will be visiting.

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