It seems like just a few months back that Evan Funke opened Bucato, his fantastic Italian restaurant in the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City. Amazingly, Bucato celebrates its one-year anniversary this week (the official birthday is July 31). 

We have a reason to celebrate as well, because next week Bucato will start lunch service. The lunch menu will be offered Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with brunch still being offered on Sundays. 

A year anniversary and a brand new lunch option — we thought it might be a perfect time to check in with Funke on where he likes to eat when he's not working (which is about to be never, apparently). See below for his picks, plus recommendations for dishes to try.]

Breakfast at Square One; Credit: Tien Nguyen

Breakfast at Square One; Credit: Tien Nguyen

9. Square One on Fountain in Hollywood
“For the next-to-perfect French toast.”

8. Lucy's Drive Thru on Pico and La Brea
“For a post-Hollywood farmers market breakfast burrito.”

7. Spago in Beverly Hills
“Just because.” (And maybe also because Funke used to work at Spago.)

6. Hamburger Habit in West L.A. 
“For the no frills burger? and José, who works the counter most days. He's one of a kind.”

5. ?Bay Cities in Santa Monica
“For all the obvious reasons. Enough said.” (We assume he means because of their fantastic Italian subs.)[

Al pastor taco at Tacos Leo; Credit: Tien Nguyen

Al pastor taco at Tacos Leo; Credit: Tien Nguyen

4. Tacos Leo on the corner of Venice and La Brea
“For late night al pastor, cabeza and lengua tacos. This spot is instrumental in team-building exercises for my staff that involve after service drinking.”

3. Sakura House in South Centinela 
“For straight-up good fish. Be sure to get the miso cod. There are always some rowdy locals dining and the cheeky sushi guys are great. I recommend sitting at the counter and let them hammer you with sushi.”

2. Le Saigon in West L.A. 
“For Vietnamese food. This is a family-run joint. The mom and dad do the cooking and the sons work the floor. Go for the shrimp and pork imperial rolls.”

1. Yun Chuan Garden in the SGV
“For great Sichuan. Go straight to the counter for must-haves, like the spicy lamb chops ma la.”

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