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There's A Simple New Delivery Service For Restaurants You Wish Delivered

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Pine & Crane's Minced Pork on Rice that we ordered from Caviar (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
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Sure, we have plenty of food delivery services in L.A.—from Eat 24 to GrubHub and LA Bite. However, there's a new service in town, Caviar, that caters to the crowd that might want a special meal from a hipper restaurant that doesn't normally deliver—and they don't require an order minimum.

Caviar's service launched in Los Angeles today and they're servicing out in Central L.A., Downtown, the Eastside and the Westside. The gist of what they do is that they partner with restaurants that they've hand-picked, in which most have a four-star rating or higher on Yelp. Caviar picks up the food from the restaurants and delivers them, and they get your order to you in the one-hour window period you select. The delivery fee is normally $9.99, but during Caviar's L.A. launch, that fee is waived.

LAist decided to test out their service today for lunch. After entering our zip code on the website (we were working from Chinatown), we got a list of restaurants that service that area. There were high-quality photos for each of the dishes from each restaurant with prices listed under them. The options we had were Border Grill, Bread Lounge, Hero Shop, Papa Cristos, Pine & Crane, Top Round Roast Beef. (Some other restaurants were on the list, but on the website, there were notes about how they would only be open later for dinner.) We selected Pine & Crane, and paid with a credit card on the website (the only method of payment accepted). Gratuity and taxes were included in the order. We were sent a few emails letting us know that our order was received and when the food was on its way. (They track their delivery folks through GPS so they know their progress and can keep you in the loop.)

After placing our order at 1:15 p.m., and selecting the 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. time frame, we received our order exactly at 2 p.m. The ordering process was simple, the navigation through the website was easy, and there was no hassle of figuring out the tip or fumbling for cash. It's nice to know you're dealing with Caviar's delivery team so you know you can contact them if there are any problems and that they're keeping track of their people. The list of restaurants aren't exhaustive or extensive, but that actually made it easier to pick and choose.

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We checked out some of the other areas on the Caviar website to get a feel for what restaurants they were offering. For lunch, the Westside had Phorage for Vietnamese, Hamasaku for sushi, Paiche for Peruvian cuisine, fundamental LA and Simplethings for sandwiches, among a few others. In Central L.A., they had a lot more eateries, where you could even get some pressed juice from Clover, or try out The Church Key, Jar and Sotto. Caviar says that they'll be adding one to two restaurants each week.

And we took a look at some of the other delivery services to compare. LA Bite does offer a mix of cheaper spots like Subway all the way to nicer restaurants like Colori Kitchen and Lawry's Carvery. We noticed there was an overlap between Caviar and LA Bite like Border Grill and Simplethings, but for the most part Caviar has the hipper restaurants other services lack. (Caviar also includes Canter's Deli on their list, and that's a restaurant that LA Bite, GrubHub and Eat 24 all have.) LA Bite also uses their own drivers instead of relying on the restaurant's. They require at least a $20 minimum (with a few spots from $40 to $150 even), $5.99 delivery fee for dinner and a $6.99 delivery fee for lunch. They also include a $3.99 convenience fee. So, even though the $9.99 delivery fee (plus gratuity) for Caviar may seem much, it's not that expensive in the grand scheme of things when you don't want to order a ton of food and are just craving just one or two dishes.

While GrubHub and Eat 24 both have a long list of restaurants of different cuisines to choose from, we can't say we're always familiar with the names of the eateries they are partnered with, and the ratings aren't always high up there. With GrubHub and Eat 24 though, their delivery minimum requirements and delivery fees vary from restaurant to restaurant. GrubHub and Eat 24 both don't tack on extra charges besides that. The food also gets delivered directly from the restaurant, not the service themselves. However, they do give 24/7 food options if you're having hunger pangs late at night. And there are also ways to communicate with the services if you run in to problems with your delivery.

But the allure of Caviar is the fact that you can eat the top-tier food you're craving when you're tired of your run-of-the-mill Chinese or Indian delivery. And we get to look at clear photos of dishes on their website instead of reading down a long menu full of just text. We'd try it again.

Caviar is serving Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Central LA, Koreatown, Downtown / Eastside, Glendale, Silver Lake, and Echo Park neighborhoods. For more info, visit their website here.