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Help! Where to go for dinner tonight in Studio City / Van Nuys!

Morning, so tonight I am meeting some friend for dinner in the Valley. To be exact, at the corner of Woodman and Ventura. I lived in the area for years and exhausted what few good dinner options there are. Rather then get dragged to the old stand-bys, I'm hoping to offer an alternative. It's a bunch of 30-ish old guys so something comfortable and mid-range. Mexican (not Casa 'hour+ wait' Vega or Fred's) or Italian are safe bets. I know there's a lot of sushi near there, any that won't break the bank and involve a long wait? Help, or they'll make me eat at Stanleys!

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  1. Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ in van nuys - texas transplants love this place.

    1. Risotto is new and very good, just opposite Jerry's Deli. You still can't go wrong at Teru Sushi and the Wine Bistro is another good place. Lastly if you're in the mood for it, the Oyster House is always fun.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Thorn

        Risotto, I'll check that out. I used to like the Oyster House, but (to me) the food portions got bigger and the quality got smaller. Thanks!

      2. There are worse places than Stanley's, yet I understand your thought - you've eaten there too often already.
        Well, Boneyard Bistro is 2 blocks east of Woodman while Mistral, Le Petit Restaurant, and Mistral are all around Ventura and Dixie Canyon, about 4 blocks east of Woodman.
        Cafe Bizou, Cafe Cordiale(ugh!), and Rive Gauche are all focused around the intersection of Hazeltine, 6 blocks west of Woodman.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carter

          Oh, carter, how could you even mention Cafe Cordiale in the same post as (l'havdil) Mistral, Le Petit Restaurant and Max?

          Good God, that place is beyond bad.

        2. How about Carnival, near Woodman and Moorpark?

          Max, on Dixie Canyon and Ventura.

          Spumoni, on Ventura just west of Van Nuys.

          Mistral, on Ventura just west of Dixie Canyon.

          If you're OK with much, much more casual, Tony's Mexican Grill on Coldwater Canyon and Magnolia might fit the bill.

          San Remo, on Woodman and Victory.

          And what's wrong with Stanley's? I mean, it's not creative, but it's not bad food either. (I'm not suggesting you go there, since you obviously don't like it, I'm just wondering... Stanley's is kind of a non-entity to me, it's neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring.)

          1. i like Robin Hood for fish and chips and drinks - Woodman at Burbank.

            India's oven in the mall at stern at ventura is fine.

            Kuishimbo on the second floor of the mall at the old La reina theater just west of Van Nuys is good.
            So is Clay pit/oven/whatever just west of Van Nuys on Ventura.

            Siam Cabin has retooled and is very pretty now, decent prices and passable Thai food.

            I'd avoid mr Cecil's more than I would Stanley's which has a pretty good cobb salad.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jerome

              Robin Hood is a good suggestion... Kuishimbo's fine but it's not really a "sit and talk" place.

              Mr. Cecil's -- ugh. Same for Kung Pao Bistro, just don't do it.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Kung Pao Studio City is fine yet the one in Sherman Oaks, not related, is awful. In Studio City, stick to seafood, hunan lamb, soups, but avoid apps, and you will be fine.
                Mr. Cecil's - don't know how the doors stay open.
                As to the Cordiale mention, agree with you per my ugh comment, yet am not sure at what level poster is looking to spend - Cordiale has plenty of people inside that like it at some level, yet we are obviously not two of them.

            2. Someone else mentioned Spumoni which is on Ventura just west of Van Nuys. The food is good, it won't break the bank, and it rarely has a long wait. It's a neighborhood Italian and won't have much coolness factor.

              La Frite is also a mid-range option. I like it because it's relatively easy to get a seat, the food is decent, and it's quiet enough that you can have a conversation. It also has a full bar. It's in Sherman Oaks (Ventura just east of Sepulveda).

              Gyu Kaku at Van Nuys and Ventura is expensive for what it is -- decent Japanese barbeque where you grill the food yourself. But it might be a good place for a group of guys. (I prefer Gochi in Encino to Gyu Kaku, but it's too far).

              I'm not a fan of Senor Fred, but it's in your area and there have been a few positive posts about it.

              At Sepulveda, south of Ventura are Tufaan for Indian and Simon's Cafe for Mediterranean/Moroccan. I haven't been to Tufaan recently, but it was good. I've never been to Simon's but there was a recent rave about it and it's been on my list of places to try.

              Stay away from Kung Pao Bistro.

              1. Have you ever been to Mezzo Mondo (Studio City) for Italian? It's been a favorite of ours since the day it opened about 10 years ago. I think it's the best Italian in the area. Elio always treats his customers right. Reservations are recommended for tonight (Friday).


                1. I'm late but I wanted to suggest Boneyard bistro at Sunnyslope and Ventura.

                  1. My thanks to everyone for these great suggestions. Quite a few I intend to check out at a later date. But because we got a late start, I was dragged down the block to Tiramissu at the corner of Woodman and Ventura. What can I say?
                    It really is the perfect example of why the Valley is treated with such apathy by the rest of L.A. County. It wasn't bad so much as banal. Banal food, decor, service, even the prices. Not high enough to get mad about, or low enough to at least call it a bargain. The kind of Italian restuaraunt that I imagine would be called 'high-dining' in a small mid-western city. Not that I'm bitter...
                    p.s. no knocks against Stanleys, just been there way to many times.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: fexley

                      I think it's a bit unfair to cite Il Tiramisu and say that's why the Valley is treated with such apathy. Those types of Italian restaurants are a dime a dozen on the westside. Nobody in the Valley holds Il Tiramisu up as a bastion of quality, just as people on the Westside would object if someone said the fact that Prego in Beverly Hills or any of the numerous Louise's remain on the Westside proves anything about the quality of the food there.

                      1. re: fexley

                        the Porcini risotto/funghi at tiramisu is fantastic, I think. Also, the veal dishes are fine.
                        And I like the panna cotta better than the eponymous tiramisu.

                        The menu is uneven but the cook is quite good.

                        oh and the pappardelle (not on the menu, but ask) are KILLER.