I have a few out of town friends swinging by this weekend, they really want to see (and taste) LA, but within a budget (I'm guesstimating $25-30/pp tops, no alchy). Geography-wise, anything from Santa Monica to Hollywood to Downtown even into SG Valley/Pasadena will do, though I doubt there are many trendy options in the last one.
Most of the places I frequent are not particularly touristy, so looking for some recs from the hipper & trendier 'hounds here. But here are some places that come to my mind:
Hungry Cat (might be a bit of a pinch moneywise)
Border Grill/Ciudad (I'm sure there are cheaper Latin-American options that's as hip, but eludes my mind at the moment.)
I am also considering some less scene-y places like Ugo & Coral Tree Cafe too, suggestions along these lines are appreciated too.
Thanks in advance for your recs!