With its menu of healthyish café fare, its pale wood tables, its mellow but earnest vibe, Fresh Bites could easily be a California cliché. Fortunately, it isn't. The sandwiches are light and crisp, but they're flavorful and boast small, original touches that set them a notch above most lunch options. Fresh Bites is, however, a perfect place for carb-avoiders to get their kicks. Yes, even with a sandwich.

Luca Fresh Bites: Beef Sandwich

Opened in one of those sleek, new strip malls catering to upper-middle class office workers, Fresh Bites is cut from the same mold as Tender Greens and True Food Kitchen (which makes a nice shaved turkey sandwich). The high ceilings and big glass windows fronting Sunset Boulevard give the long room an engaging, airy feel.

As for the sandwiches, this is a place where the health-conscious among us can still enjoy a good sandwich. (If that sounded insulting, it's mostly residual jealousy at how good some people look in jeggings.) That's because Fresh Bites will make any of their sandwiches, served on French rolls, with “scooped” bread. They'll hollow out the bread's fluffy white innards — the best part, as any 5-year-old can attest — to shave off a few calories.

Fresh Bites makes a half-dozen sandwich melts (turkey, ham, beef, etc.) and another half-dozen specialty sandwiches, among them a tender roast beef with parmesan shavings and a great tuna salad. If that latter concept sounds impossible, if too many sad, rote, soggy tuna salad sandwiches have left you demoralized and dripping with mayo, this is the antidote. Enlivened with meaty artichoke chunks and a hint of mustard, Fresh Bites keeps it light while adding a bit of flair. It's a perfect lunch that should leave you staed but not weighed down.

Luca Fresh Bites: Interior


Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at eshatkin@laweekly.com.

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