One of our loyal readers recently email us and asked, “My mom is coming into town and I want to take her to Beverly Hills to see the sites and glitzy Rodeo Drive stores. I want to show my mom the town, but I don’t really have the budget to take her to all those ‘fancy’ restaurants. Can we have lunch in Beverly Hills without having to sell my boyfriend on the street?”

Beverly Hills: movie stars, mansions and even oil wells (take a tour of Scott’s alma mater, Beverly Hills High School). But all that glitters does not have to cost gold. The dining duo skulked around Beverly Hills in search of a comfortable lunch venue that won’t set you back so that you can then spend some of that extra saved dough on a special gift for your honey…and for Mom! This is what we found:

9559 Santa Monica Blvd (little Santa Monica between rodeo & Camden)
Beverly Hills, CA
310. 274-9070

One of our favorite respites from the chaotic shopping streets of Beverly Hills is this charming espresso and cappuccino bar that features paninis, pastries, exotic cookies and homemade cakes for all occasions. With four small tables indoors and three more on the street, you feel like you’re in a French café where you can’t help but meet one of the interesting patrons sitting next to you. The walls are covered in murals of a French countryside, while the ceiling is draped with banners from soccer teams around the globe. The crowd is handsome European, and the amiable owners always have the television playing a soccer game from somewhere around the world. The food is just terrific, and quite reasonably priced. We particularly love the tuna salad panini made on fresh baked bread to die for and filled with white albacore tuna mixed with mayo, Roma tomato and arugula leaf ($7.03); it brings a whole new meaning to “tuna sandwich”. Or try the vegetarian #1 (ask for extra basil), a delectable blend of grilled eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow roasted bell peppers, Roma tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon and smothered in mozzarella cheese (also, only $7.03). The coffees are imported from Rome, as is the elaborate “Wizard of Oz” machine that brews them, and we love drinking them so much we get enough java jolting through our veins that we don’t care about navigating the hideous traffic outside.

9527 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310. 276-7823

There are haunts of ours which have been around for years, and Papa Jake’s is one of them. Jake Lodish, the sexy and adorable owner is only in his mid thirties but started this as a child (well, almost), and has been consistently noted as LA’s “number one cheese steak”, which is, naturally, well worth tasting, and it will only set you back $4.99 for 6 inches…but who do you know who would be satisfied with 6 inches? For $8.25 you can get Jake to give up his 12 inches…need we say more? If you’re not a size queen and prefer big balls instead, try Jakes big Meatball Sandwich served up in—what else—a big basket and covered with Marinara sauce and topped with hot and sweet peppers (only $4.79). Our other choice, especially for Scott, is their unparalleled Tuna Salad sandwiches; possibly one of the best we’ve ever tasted, right up there with Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica, and so much closer to West Hollywood central. Their hand cut seasoned Kennebec French Fries and their zesty Chicken Parmagiana sandwich are not to be missed. Jakes bakes his own bread and be sure and say hi to him; although he doesn’t play for our team, he’s an absolute sweetheart.

CAFÉ 440

440 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310. 273-5440

On the famous main artery of Beverly Hills Glam scene, and unexpectedly inside the equally famous Frederic Fekkai hair salon for the rich and beautiful, we find hidden on the outdoor balcony Café 440. With two patios, one completely shaded and the other half covered and half drenched in sun, it is the perfect spot to wile away a lazy Beverly Hills lunch far from the madding crowd. In fact, three stories above the noise of Rodeo drive, if you close your eyes you might imagine yourself on La Croisette in Cannes, France just after a long day at the Marche Du Film. The repast, however, is far, far away from the France’s most expensive locale. Perfectly served up by Cecilia (although, she’s on maternity leave at the moment but promises to come back soon), their burgers are superb and wonderfully seasoned, just like some of the salons patrons. The soup of the day is always interesting and tasty and can be had for only $4.75. And their Lobster Club is so yummy it makes us think that we are at Michael’s Dad’s home in Maine, well…. almost. On a beautiful day, there is nothing better than to kick up your feet and think about how you’re not one of the crazy people spending ridiculous sums of money on the street below. Beware: just like in France, the service is slow, so avoid it if you’re in a hurry, or if you’ve just enjoyed three double espressos at Euro Caffe. Anyway, it is such a pleasant environment, you won’t want to leave, and if you’re in the mood, you can also get a manicure, pedicure or haircut while you’re between bites.

443 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310. 247-9673

The name says it all. Basic Bites is right in the thick of things and offers an array of good, healthy eats for affordable prices. It lacks some of the charm of our other selections, but you can still sit outside on the sidewalk and watch the world go by as you nibble on tasty sandwiches and salads with amusing names. With sandwiches called “Hoppin Ham”, “Power Prosciutto” and “Rockin’ Bresaola” (from $4.60 to $6.05) only to be out outdone by salads called “Conquering Caesar”, “Dancing Greek”, and “Slammin’ Salmon” (from $4.60 to 6.75) there is always something to satisfy your hunger. We particularly liked the, “Kickin’ Chicken” sandwich ($4.60) which was filled with sliced smoked chicken, brie, tomato, aula, olive paste and mayo. The Vegetarian soup at $2.05 for a cup is very tasty as well. And, if you happen to work in Beverly Hills, they’ll deliver too.


430 N. Bedford
BH 90210
310 858 8258

After you dine, or if you’re watching your waistline, stop by Angelina’s for a quick frozen yogurt. Smooth and creamy, it’s the perfect way to top the day and there’s enough to satisfy you for less than $3. And in addition to the health benefits you probably already know about….did you know that frozen yogurt can quell bad breath? The last thing we would want while strolling the streets of Beverly Hills is bad breath!


9635 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310. 274-8765

So you feel like a sugar fix? If you do nothing else but want to impress Mom with the most expensive cupcake on the planet, don’t miss Sprinkles on Little Santa Monica Blvd. just off the main shopping area. The storefront shop displays some of the most fabulous-looking cupcakes you’ll see ever, which somehow justifies you spending $46 a dozen (or $3.50 a piece). But hey, if you skip lunch, don’t buy anything on Rodeo Drive and park for free in one of the several “2 hour free parking” city lots, digging in for one $3.50 cupcake with great packaging and high-end excess will make you a hero with your Mom, your partner or your date later that night.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 2:40 PM | , , , , , , , , , , | 0 comments »

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