I used to live withing walking distance of so many great restaurants in Los Feliz. The main draw to Burbank seems to be that Weinerschnitzel serves beer.
It was suggested that I embrace Burbank. I am willing to go into Toluca Lake, Studio City and Glendale when necessary, but I really need a few reliable "non-"franchise" places locally. Here are a few of the Burbank restaurants I've tried...you can give me other recommendations, or chime in:
Bahia Corporales: Really like it
Bob's Big Boy: Pretty good, great onion rings, but limited menu
Buchanan's: I grew up on this type of food and theirs is really bad.
Chili Johns: Such great ambiance, but boring chili.
China Inn Bistro: Good appetizers, Pretty good main dishes
Coral Cafe: Good for soup, sandwiches and fried snacks when nothing else is open at 3am
Dino's: OK, not that impressed...got it "to go"
Frank's steakhouse: Good milkshakes, otherwise blah
Frontier Wok: Not bad
Genio's: good fish, unpredictable service, expensive for what it is. Everyone in there is 80 years old.
Guantanamera: Good, but I'm spoiled by Versailles
Hugo's: Excellent breakfast. Great veggie stuff. Just too far from our home near the 5 fwy.
India's Tandoori: Good, but super-small portions
Magnolia Grill: NO
Mardi Gras: So disappointing. I really wanted to like them and returned over and over, to no avail.
Michael's Bar and Grill: Unremarkable
Miss Peaches/Angelina's Soul Food: Great, but unpredictably closed.
Pichana: Great black beans and meats.
Pinnochio's: Heavy old-American/Italian. Once saw weevils in the store section that put me off.
Poquito Mas: I LOVE IT!
Porto's: YAY! Great Cuban sandwiches!
Ribs USA: good beef ribs. Unremarkable sides.
Salerno's: Great sandwiches, but heard they went downhill after recently changing owners.
The Smokehouse: I was surprised at how bad it was. At dinner, the server burned me, and the brunch was bad.
Thai Kitchen: Great Tom Kah Gai. My usual Thai place.
Tony's Bellavista: Good appetizers, Pretty good pizzas...kind of heavy gnocchi.
Zankou Chicken: I LOVE IT!
I also like the Chinese and Japanese places in the shopping mall on Hollywood and Verdugo.
I am curious about Tate of Chicago, NYPD Pizza, Royal Grill Kabob House...anything else you can suggest...
Now, now, I said embrace the Valley -- I'm not all that sure about embracing Burbank, except that it's near other, better chowlocales (and I'll cover the other ones in another reply, this is getting long).
IN BURBANK ITSELF:
Kuru Kuru Sushi (at Hollywood and Verdugo) is actually pretty good, my only complaint is that in summer they have the AC cranked and it blows right on the tables.
I can't agree with you on Frontier Wok (so sweet, so mediocre), and I think Guantanamera blows Versailles out of the water, but here are some more:
Taste of Chicago isn't bad. I don't know that I'd want to actually eat there, because it's four tables inside and it feels like a factory, but the food is pretty tasty.
Chadaka Thai, on San Fernando Road just south of the mall, has really tasty Thai food.
Ameci (yes, it's a local chain) on Glenoaks and Palm is actually my go-to for Italian food. Better than Pinocchio's, though Monte Carlo is my place to buy Italian ingredients. Also good is Tony's Italian Deli on Magnolia just a few blocks west of Victory -- the sausage sandwich is good.
Barragan's on Victory and Chandler has decent sit-down Mexican combo plates, and El Tapatio on San Fernando and Alameda is a good, tasty taqueria.
Lau's on Victory east of Buena Vista has decent Peruvian, but avoid Choza Mama on Olive and Alameda.
The teriyaki hut on Alameda and Main is pretty good.
Joy Feast on Alameda just east of the Walt Disney Studios is probably the best Burbank option for Chinese (it certainly isn't Wok of Fame or Gourmet 88).
The Korean place (Seoul BBQ?) on San Fernando downtown doesn't suck.
Costa Azul on Empire and Buena Vista has good mariscos.
Nothing really outstanding, but a lot of passable stuff. I don't understand why Burbank doesn't have any truly great restaurants (of any stripe, from ethnic cheap eats to high-end).
I like Granada, too, for certain dishes. I love their salsa and chips, and the tostada is terrific. The pork is good, yes. Their hard shell beef taco is tasty in a 70's way. The other stuff is back and forth.
I agree with Hugo's for sure, though it is a bit far and the service can be dicey. Skaf's Lebanese at Laurel and Oxnard is very good.
( It sounds like we have very different taste in food, though. Some of the ones you like a lot are my least favorite in the area! In particular Bahia Caporales and Frontier Wok. I won't eat at either place because of super-bad experiences. And although I love the pastry at Porto's I think their sandwiches are awful)
Ca del Sole (where Lankershim and Cahuenga meet near Universal) is very good.
I've heard that about Porto's sandwiches...I wonder if it is because I buy them for breakfast, when the bread is warm and crunchy.
To be honest, I've only eaten at Bahia Corporales once, and don't eat at Frontier Wok that often, but I was grasping at straws for food I like. I didn't want to sound like I am totally impossible to please.
This is just barely scratching the surface, but here's to get you started, within about 20 minutes' drive of Burbank on surface streets...
Nearby, and GOOD:
Skaf's [Leb], Laurel Canyon and Oxnard, North Hollywood.
Bua Siam, Swan, Sunshine, Sanamluang, Krua, Bhan Kanom Thai [Thai] all on Sherman Way between Bellaire and Fulton, North Hollywood.
Wat Thai food stalls, Coldwater Cyn and Cantara, North Hollywood.
Las Quenas [Peru], Bellaire and Sherman Way, North Hollywood.
Sri Siam [Thai], Coldwater Canyon and Vanowen, North Hollywood.
Mariscos Colima, Rigo's Taco, Pa' Comer [Mex], all on Vanowen between Vineland and Tujunga, North Hollywood.
El Criollo [Cub], Victory and Fulton, Valley Glen.
Pollo Dorado [Peru], Sherman Way and Coldwater Cyn, North Hollywood.
Carnitas Michoacan [Mex], Victory and Coldwater Cyn, Valley Glen.
Pho 999 [Viet], Sherman Way and Coldwater Cyn, North Hollywood.
Top Falafel [Arm], Coldwater Cyn and Victory, Valley Glen.
Manila Good-Ha sa Glendale [Fil], Colorado east of Glendale Bl, Glendale.
Shamshiri [Pers], Brand and Stocker, Glendale.
La Cabanita [Mex], Verdugo and Broadview, Glendale.
Divina Cucina [Ital], Verdugo south of Honolulu, Montrose.
El Morfi Grill [Arg], Brand and California, Glendale.
Carousel [Leb/Arm], Brand and California, Glendale.
Mandaloun [Leb/Arm], Maryland and Harvard, Glendale.
Great Grill [Amer], Verdugo and Canada, Glendale.
Bollywood [Ind], Ventura and Arch, Studio City.
Tortas Mexico [Mex], Ventura and Vineland, Studio City.
Daichan [Jap], Ventura and Eureka, Studio City.
Nozawa [sushi], Ventura and Eureka, Studio City.
Ohana BBQ [Kor/Haw], Ventura and Eureka, Studio City.
Tama [sushi], Ventura and Radford, Studio City.
re: Das Ubergeek
Wow! I have restaurants to try for a year! Thanks!
I love the Manila Good Ha in Koreatown. Is it a chain, or owned by the same people?
I've had Criollo, but not for years (an ex's favorite)
Studio City does seem to be the sushi capitol of LA. Pinot Bistro is my favorite Studio City place. That area is usually where I default to.
Good Ha is one of the dirtiest, not delicious filipino rest chains out there. The hot line doesn't look hot(i.e. i never see steam coming off the food), and the food looks old. Everything is too sweet, raisins in every stew (ulam), and the lechon kawali is super dry.
Go to Nanay Gloria's on Sherman way and Coldwater(north hollywood) or Salo Salo Grill on Harvard in Glendale.
Nanay Gloria's isn't exactly a paragon of housekeeping. My standard caveat at Good-Ha is to order things that are made fresh -- and since I really don't care for Filipino food outside of their outstanding breakfasts and a merienda now and then, I don't ever order off the "hot" line.
The Woodman branch has a 94, by the way, and no complaints about holding temperatures from the Public Health.