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Please Help: Near Woodland Hills Marriott

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From SF, visiting family/friends over Labor Day and staying at the Woodland Hills Marriott. I could use lots of help.

1) I'd like to take my suburban friends somewhere cool in the Valley for dinner that they don't know about. Last time, Firefly in Studio City fit the bill. Anything similar, closer?

2) For my mom, I'm really just looking for something other than Promenade Mall or Calabasas Commons, where she goes all the time. Her preference is generally straightforward American/Italian cuisine but it's not a hard and fast rule. We have gone to Piacere on Ventura and enjoyed the patio, but the last few times I haven't been thrilled with the food. Other ideas Preferred range probably from Agoura to Encino.

3) A place near the hotel we can get a drink after we finish with friends and family. Friendly bartender a plus.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. You might try Cosmo's Grill in Calabasas. It's not overly expensive but the food is pretty good and I think everyone will be pleased.

    You can walk across the street to King's for drinks.

    Cosmos Grill
    23663 Calabasas Road, Calabasas, CA 91302
    (818) 591-2211

    1. I'm happy to answer most of your qq's. Cool in the valley..along Ventura,
      La Frite - Woodland Hills, French Continental- been around forever but, still very good.
      The Cottage-Woodland Hills- Lebanese Yum.
      Shirin- Woodland Hills-Persian Yum! www.shirinrestaurantinc.com
      On Topanga and Vanowen (5 min E. from hotel):
      Flemings and Roy's Hawaiian Fusion (I'd go for Flemings)-must make reservations NOW!
      Brent's (famous) Deli opening in Westlake Village this weekend. If not go to the one at Corbin/Parthenia Northridge
      For drinks: Spazio's Sherman Oaks(great for drinks and or dessert $$$ for dinner) and great LIVE Jazz/Brazilian/etc. www.spazio.la
      Love this place: Rive Gauche Cafe and Lounge 14106 Ventura Blvd
      Sherman Oaks (818) 990-3573 - tho not near the hotel. Maybe Flemings or Roy's for drinks??

      For your mom: Near the Marriott or is it the mall she want's?? New mall experience: Sherman Oaks Galleria - There's a Cheesecake Factory in there with patio seating.

      Hsve Fun :) KQ

      1. Try Abuelitas in Topanga canyon. It's on the blvd. It's a nice 10 minute drive towards the beach so it's cooler temps and a great place. Wonderful Mexican food, full bar and a beautiful outdoor deck to sit around the oaks and sip a Margareta. Check out the website at www.abuelitastopanga.com.

        1. For the drink near the hotel, go to Kate Mantilini which is on Oxnard, almost next door. Don't eat dinner there, though!
          Gorikee for food in the shopping center on Ventura Blvd. where Jerry's Deli is located, back in the farthest reaches behind the Western Bagel serves very good food, in a very low key environment, with a decent wine list, which you could ramp up with your own acquisition at Woodland Hills Wine Store at 22622 Ventura Blvd. and pay the corkage. It may not be all that cool, but the food is good, and very affordable.
          The cool factor largely dies west of the 405, so if you are willing to drive into Sherman Oaks or Studio City, then that parameter may open a bit wider. I wish Kitchen Queen's recommendation of Rive Gauche delivered better food, because the place could be sooooo much fun in a great setting.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carter

            I would avoid Kate Mantilini like the plague, the food sucks and the drinks are watered down. I had a martini there that tasted like a glass of stale water.

            Some places I would recommend that haven't been mentioned:

            Charlie G's steakhouse in Tarzana - cool place, good food, live piano player. A little expensive but no more so than the other high end steak houses.

            Right next to Charlie G's is Sushi Iki, by far the best sushi in the west valley and maybe the entire valley.

            As Carter mentioned Gorikee is a nice little neighborhood place near the Marriott at Topanga/Ventura. I would not consider it a destination or special occasion place by any means but the food is pretty good.

            Kitty corner at Topanga/Ventura is Monty's Steakhouse, old style red leather booths, good stiff drinks, food is maybe a notch below Charlie G's but a little less expensive.

            King's Fish House in Calabassas, part of the Water Grill family, lively scene, very good seafood.

            A short drive in Malibu canyon is Saddlepeak Lodge, nice rustic atmosphere, menu is heavy on game dishes (elk, buffalo etc.)

            At Beverly Glen & Mulholland is Vibrato, owned by Herb Alpert. Cool atmosphere, good live jazz, good food.

            1. re: markn

              Also for a good Italian place to take your mom: Viva Italia in Tarzana. I must say it's been over a year since I was last there so maybe someone can give a more recent experience, but I had 3 excellent meals there. It's on Ventura Blvd. between Corbin & Tampa I think.

          2. Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Know anything about a place on Calabasas Road called Native Cafe and Gathering Grounds? www.nativecafecalabasas.com Their website says they have gourmet cuisine, a full bar and live music.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sjb

              Went there last week with a large group. The food comments were very good (pasta) to OK. I did not think it was anything special. The service was good and the owner very friendly and willing to please. They do have live music although we did not stay to hear it.

              I think it is worth a try.