Lisa’s Bon Appetit
3511 Pacific Coast Hwy Ste G
Torrance, CA 90505
Lisa’s Bon Appetit was founded in 1979 and has been serving lunch and catering for local businesses since that time. Lisa’s is located on PCH in a strip mall just south of the Torrance Airport and just a bit west of Madison Street – a few doors down from China Buffet. Parking is plentiful out front as the parking lot is shared with the large strip mall.
CARL: Lisa’s Bon Appetit is easy to miss as you speed along Pacific Coast Hwy. This restaurant is tucked 50 feet from the street in a bland strip mall with only the China Buffet giving it any sort of lunchtime support. I’ve worked at Madison and Skypark Drive – only a short walk away – for 10 years and this is the first time I ventured there for lunch. I’m sure it is my general lack of culinary adventure (which happens to be one of the reasons we started Lunch Pig) and not anything Lisa’s is doing wrong. Going in “cold” can be a challenge and Lisa’s is no exception. We went in the wrong door and ended up in the seating area – which was very fancy and a tad feminine with flowing fabric and a chandelier. I’ve never been in Stevie Nicks bedroom but this is what I imagine it looking like. We eventually figured out to head to the next room and order from the lunch counter.
It may seem obvious but there is no menu board and when we arrived there were no menus so we honestly had no idea what they offered – except for the cookies in the display case. We hopped in line and went for it and, as luck would have it, someone in front of us left a menu behind and we used that menu to make our choices. I opted for the Classic Chinese Chicken Salad ($6.75) and a large Diet Coke ($2.19). The Classic Chinese Chicken Salad is often mentioned in online reviews as their most famous dish and for good reason. It was delicious! The salad comes in a very large bowl, is pre-mixed, contains lots of chicken, romaine and iceberg lettuce, wontons and a tasty Chinese dressing. I must have looked like I hadn’t eaten in a month because I devoured that large bowl in no time flat. Unfortunately the sodas don’t have free refills and are somewhat expensive for a lunch counter. Overall a very enjoyable experience and I will go back – often. I can see Lisa’s becoming my local favorite for salads and sandwiches. I suggest Lisa’s get a menu board and move to free refills on the soda. A very solid 4.5 Pigs for Lisa’s!
OLIVER: I was not sure what to expect, so I was like a blank slate going in again. It is an unassuming place from the outside, but once you walk in it has the feel of a french cafe and a Turkish market from I dream of Jeannie. Very comfortable and inviting. As Carl said the lack of menu board was a little bit of a problem, but it also adds to the Cafe couture as you read off what is fresh from a board on an easel. I decided to try something a little different for me and got a Tuna Melt ($6.00), and got it as Santa Fe instead of classic. With it came a small serving of very good curly pasta. The Tuna sandwich is served on lightly toasted white bread with pepper-jack cheese. Your food is brought to you when ready like in many fast casual places today and it was delivered very quickly. A tuna sandwich may sound like a simple sort of sandwich to try out a new place, but as easy as it may sound, there are many ways to ruin a tuna sandwich/melt. Happily, Lisa’s get’s it right. It was not overly goopy and there was a good texture to the tuna. I enjoyed it, and will be coming back to try some of their other sandwiches and salads.