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Luna Park

Leisure and Lunch on the Valencia Corridor

By now, nearly everyone knows that Valencia Street's chic spot for inexpensive, quality dining is Luna Park, and as a result, the cozy, hip bistro is always packed. However, for anyone with a lunch hour or a leisurely daytime schedule, weekday lunch at Luna Park is the real deal, and you never have to wait in line for a table.

The terrific drink menu and the abnormally summery weather on a recent visit required that we order a couple of Sapphire gin and Fresca cocktails. Garnished with Luna Park's signature miniature clear plastic animals (giraffes, monkeys, donkeys, bulls, etc.), the drinks were indeed refreshing and pleasantly liquorific. A more sophisticated foodie might have ordered a clean white wine to go with the deliciously raw Hawaiian ahi tuna poke appetizer, but hey, it's lunch. Rules go out the window.

And open windows the restaurant does boast on a clear, warmish day, with plenty of people-watching for the gin-derelict onlooker. As we watched hipsters load sofas into Range Rovers and punk filmmakers load quarters into parking meters, we had the great pleasure of noshing on fresh cut french fries and vegan vegetable soup, zesty spinach salad and an altogether homey plate of grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.

One thing about Luna Park: the super-affordable meats, fish and vegetables are always of the fresh, plump and fabulous variety usually found at pricier, high-end joints. Never has the substantial ahi tuna Nicoise salad disappointed; never have we looked down at our plates and muttered some ugly Scarlet O'Haran utterance. Furthermore, we've never had to wait forever for our food to arrive. This is one restaurant that's got it all: warm, happening ambiance, low prices, friendly service and truly delicious, eclectic food. Now that we know about lunch at Luna Park, we're going to skip the burritos and indulge in an easygoing sit-down situation a little more often.

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