For a lot of people with 9-5 jobs, lunch needs to meet certain criteria:
- It needs to be cheap
- It needs to be fast
- It needs to be good
A lot of restaurants only tick one or two of those boxes. Maybe they’re cheap and fast, but they aren’t exactly memorable. Or they’re delicious, but service can take forever. Then there are the restaurants that achieve the perfect trifecta. If you’re looking for a quick, fast and delicious lunch in Hollywood, these places should be at the top of your list:
J28 Sandwich Bar
We’ve raved about this place before, and we’ll keep doing so because it’s just that good. The Peruvian sandwich joint is a tremendous value for the quality. The majority of sandwiches are in the high single digits and low double digits when it comes to pricing, and they’re packed with proteins. Pork belly, lomo saltado, chicken breast stew … you name it, and it’s likely available for your tasting pleasure. They even come with sides at that price! You’re practically set for lunch and dinner.
What we enjoy the most about this place is the variety, though. While sandwiches are the namesake item on the menu, there are plenty of other options for hungry diners like quinoa bowls and salads – much lighter than the other stuff on the menu. No matter what you order, one thing’s for sure: expect great quality.
Cao Bakery & Café
Cuban food is a rare sight in Broward despite its proximity to the melting pot that is Miami. Enter Cao Bakery & Café, which will fill your belly with all sorts of Cuban pastries and bites. For lunch, you can pick up some smaller fare like avocado toast and fried yuca or double down on substantial selections like fritas (aka Cuban burgers), pan con bistec (steak sandwich) or a Sloppy Jose (think Sloppy Joe).
If grab and go is preferred, there are also plenty of empanadas, croquetas and other classics to help keep you satisfied on the road. Plus, Cao also serves Cuban coffee to get you over that mid-day slump. You no longer need to go down to the 305 for your Cuban food fix.
Japanese food fans, rejoice! GoBistro serves up a hearty helping of favorites to get you through the workday. Emphasis on hearty: The menu is big, which means parties of all sizes should have no problem finding something to nosh on for lunch. You can easily make a meal out of the cold and hot appetizers here; standouts like the avocado fries, chicken wings, salmon carpaccio and tuna tataki are all substantial enough that you don’t need to spend money on mains. That said, you’d be missing out on some flavor
bombs if you do decide to skip the rest of the offerings.
The ramen – one of the crowd favorites at this Hollywood hotspot – comes with tasty pork, shrimp or tofu and can easily be shared, too. Even more selections are available in the Maki section. You’ll literally roll out of the place, as everything sounds delicious. Expect classic rolls like shrimp tempura and California, but also more creative types like the Captain Crunch (fish galore) and the Mufasa (shrimp tempura, eel, kani tempura and the kitchen sink). There is no wrong choice here.
The Greek Joint Kitchen & Bar
If your New Year’s resolution is to save money, then The Greek Joint has your back. Lunch specials abound at this festive eatery. For $15 or (way) less, you can enjoy a variety of lunch specials like pitas, kebabs and more. A la carte options are also available, but you’ll find yourself spending a bit more if you do it that way.
Our favorites here include the Filet mignon kebab – a steal at $14 – as well as the grilled pork chop with rice. At $12, the latter is also a great deal. On the lighter side of things, The Greek Joint offers a Greek Caprese sandwich, a chicken salad and a lamb gyro pita. They’re also on Delivery Dudes if you’re feeling lazy. Even with the delivery fee, the amount of food you’re getting for your buck is impressive.
Aside from a lack of Cuban food, Hollywood lacked Vietnamese cuisine. Kakenan helps fill that void with several banh mi and vermicelli bowl options for the lunch crowd. Sandwiches are dirt cheap: All of them come in at under $7, and the huge bowls aren’t much more expensive; expect to pay between $11-$14 for an entrée that can double as dinner.
You’ll obviously need something to wash all that food down, and Kakenan’s boba smoothies with fresh juice and freshly brewed teas are not to be missed. There’s a range of flavors to try like avocado, coconut, passionfruit and mango, and odds are that once you try one, you’ll want to try them all.
Geoffrey Anderson Jr.