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Palmdale/Lancaster/Antelope Valley Eats

Hi there, new poster checking in. A quick search of my general location reveals threads bemoaning the general lack of good food in the AV. I thought I would check in and recommend some of my AV gems and hopefully seek other great places and people. :)

Mexican: For taqueria-style dining, I recommend Sammy's on Sierra Hwy, housed in a former Del Taco (my Mom worked in that particular location in the 70s). The house special is the Carlos burrito, a smothered style burrito. I have not sampled it myself, but use the bean and cheese burrito as my yardstick of Mexican fast food. Go on Wednesdays or Saturdays when the tortillas are fresh. The salsa verde is to die for and is handmade, and the beans are laden with lard like the Good Lord intended. Sammy himself is sometimes in on the weekend but has mostly turned the operation over to his family. The drinks are a little overpriced; however 10 bucks gets my husband and I two B&C burritos and 4 carne asada tacos (and is the only meal I need all day).

I read an earlier LA area thread lamenting the "LA style" carne asada burritos with beans and rice; I'm sorry SD folks but that's how they serve 'em at Sammy's, too. Very delicious, half of one fills me up. My only complaint about Sammy's is no Negro Modela, and the occasional spottiness of the food quality. Again, go later in the week, and grab a Tecate or a Corona instead.

For sit down Mexican, El Toreo is decent but once again I point the AV foodie to Sierra Hwy. to Nico's. Really folks - the hookers won't bite, unless you pay 'em. ;) Good eats and cheap cheap cheap! The Rusten House (K and 20th W) used to be the family standard but seems like it hasn't stood the test of time the past few times I've visited.

For Japanese I recommend Big Tuna in Palmdale, located in the Trader Joe's shopping center on 10th W. The sushi is excellent; I recommend the crunch roll (tempura shrimp in a California roll with eel sauce) and the veggie roll. On the dinner menu, about $15 will snag you a bento box with tempura, sashimi, nigiri, rice, salad and a potsticker, with miso soup before hand and a scoop of ice cream after. The service is always spectacular, with around a dozen waitstaff working a room of no more than 60 (best guess). Things get rowdy on Saturday night around 9-10 PM at the bar, so drink some sake and be ready for antics by your itamae!

I hear great things about Miso's in Lancaster as well, but the Big Tuna ain't broke, so I haven't fixed it. However, the opinions I have heard come from sources I trust. I keep meaning to go there but I would feel so disloyal to the mighty Tuna.

For sandwiches and the like, take a trip to Littlerock and head to the Valley Hungarian Sausage & Meat place on Pearblossom. Great pastrami, and I always pick up some fresh homemade andouille while I am there to make my great big pot of jambalaya. All sorts of meats, sausages, cheeses, spices (great paprika to be had here!) and other miscellany are up for grabs. If you're the two-wheeling type, it's the perfect stop after a long day in the canyons and on the dam. Old standard Charlie Brown's is up the street for date shakes and jerky.

As far as Thai goes though I despair of finding a decent place. Thai Garden (now Salatip Thai on K and 20th W) always had great food but very poor service. Thai Cafe on Palmdale Blvd. (by Sizzler) had pretty much the same story - great food, terrible service. Any recs for Thai would be greatly appreciated.

There was already a thread on Korea Kitchen, I will only add that I've loved the food and the service has always been stellar.

Sadly Italian in the area seems to suffer, with old standbys Gino's/Barone's not good for much else beside pizza - sadly, I have to resort to chains for my Italian cravings (I prefer Johnny Carino's over Olive Garden, however). If anyone knows of better Italian in the AV, I'd love a rec.!

Hope to hear from some desert denizens!

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  1. There's a nice Indian place in Lancaster near the Baja Fresh in the mall with the Barnes & Nobles, etc. Across the street from the Trader Joe's location. I'm blocking on the name.

    I seem to end up there every time I transit the 14 nowadays.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ttriche

      I have not stopped here but have seen this place:

      Malhi Indian Cuisine
      1233 W. Avenue P
      Palmdale, CA 93551
      661-266-9700

      1. re: sel

        The food is so good but they take like forever to get it to you, and they will not rush with your bill..

        1. re: sel

          That address is incorrect. That address is the mall. Malhi's isn't at the mall. There's the one in Lancaster on 20th West and Ave. J and the one in Palmdale is on 10th West South of the mall.

        2. re: ttriche

          Is it Malhi's? The original is in Lancaster next to the excellent Chinese place, Great Wall. I've only been once and I'm generally unfamiliar with Indian food, so I have no basis for comparison. My husband used to be really picky and has only recently started eating Japanese etc. (used to be, his idea of "ethnic cuisine" was Italian), so I have to try one thing at a time. Their tandoori was yummy though.

          1. re: Queen Bruin

            Yeah that's the place. Their saag was really good and (unless I'm confusing it with the place in Joshua Tree) their spicy chicken masala was very tasty as well. It may not be spicy unless you request that they make it spicy, but I always do that anyways.

            1. re: ttriche

              I will remember to order the masala spicy - I've got my husband talked into a trip to Malhi's this weekend 8).

          2. re: ttriche

            Sorry. The site keeps replying to the wrong person

            1. re: ttriche

              It is Malhi's but I suggest the Lancaster location even though they are owned by the same people. I thought I would hate Indian food but my bf and I LOVE the one in Lancaster. I like to try different dishes but my current favorite dish is the Moglai Chicken. YUMMMY! I also like the chicken Korma and chicken Vindaloo. You have to order the garlic naan to go w/your meal. I am Cajun and can handle the "kick" but you don't have to get it hot for it to taste good. They ask you how spicy you want it. Skip the Great Wall next door and get a much tastier meal at Malhi's. I think the owner's name is Saab (spelling?) and the regular waitress is Wahita (?) who is kinda shy but alway sweet and accommodating. We love this place. They are closed on Monday which is their only downfall. ;)

            2. In Lancaster, you can visit the Lemon Leaf at 653 W. Lancaster Blvd. 661-942-6500. They are a new addition to the neighborhood and serve basically all day. They have a huge dining area that is inviting and airy with tons of salad and sandwich options, not to mention dessert, plus a full service coffee and espresso bar with loose-leaf tea options also.
              It's casual dining, for sure, but inviting and fun.
              They tend to be slammed for lunches between 11am-2pm, so if you're looking for quick-eats, try and avoid those times. :)

              2 Replies
              1. re: peanut112

                Thanks peanut, I will add Lemon Leaf to my list of places to try!

                1. re: peanut112

                  Lemon Leaf is one of the most fantastic places to eat and we're so happy that it's in our neighborhood. Try the quattro formagio pizza, the cranberry cobb salad, the tuna wrap... the list goes on and on. We haven't found anything we didn't like yet. The people are all very friendly and the restaurant is adorable. GO!!

                2. Those mexican restaurants listed are good! And I agree with all your recommendations! If you like those places, you've GOT to try Pepe El Toro on 20th St. West between J and K, across the street from home depot. It's a little family owned hole-in-the-wall, with consistently excellent food. It is our absolute favorite mexican restaurant!

                  1. Lancaster is fortunate to have one of the best Italian Restaurant you will find anywhere. It is Tina's Ristorante Italiano, 43953 15th St W, Lancaster, CA 93534. 661.942.9939. It is Northern Italian. It is a very classy place and great for special occasions. They have the best veal chops you will ever encounter anywhere. Everything is cooked to perfection. The owner/chef is a perfectionist and he cooks everything himself in an open exhibition kitchen. The filet mignon is also to die for. Dinner for a couple without wine runs about $60.

                    Best Mexican Food is Pepe El Toro, 44219 20th St W, Lancaster, CA 93534. 661-726-7859. It is a liitle hole in the wall with just a few table but the food it great! Try the taco trio with carne asada or carnitas. Simple and delicious. Consistantly fresh.

                    The newer sushi places (Big Tuna and Miso) are good but expensive. Try Uozumi's(formerly Takeo's) in Palmdale in an industrial area near the new Multimodal Transportation Center. 38575 6th St E Palmdale, CA (661)274-7777. Great Food, Great Service, Great prices. Cozy little hole in the wall off the beaten track.

                    1. This evening my daughter and I tried out "The Lemon Leaf" restaurant at 653 W Lancaster Blvd in Lancaster, CA, PH#(661) 942-6500. We instantly fell in LOVE with the Italian countryside mural painted on one entire wall. However, you have to order cafeteria style ala 'Carl's Jr.' and are then given a number to set on your table where they bring the food to you. The tables themselves have white linen tablecloths that have what appears to be 'meat wrapping paper' on top of them for easy clean-up (?). They have 80's style pop music playing. We ate our food while listening to Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' of all things. Simple linen tablecloths with perhaps a canhdle atop each table and music befitting the Italian faire would have provided an ambience to the place that was sorely lacking. We ordered the 'Striped Ravioli with Artichoke in Cream Sauce' for $10.95. When served, it consisted of '7' rather smallish ravioli's and two short pieces of artichoke literally swimming in cream sauce. No salad or bread came with the meal. While the ravioli was indeed tasty, it did NOT fill us up. The drinks (soda's, wine; teas, cappachino's etc.) are all incredibly over-priced as well. My daughter order a large Cappachino which they served in a to-go StarBucks style paper cup with lid that was the size of a StarBucks 'Grande' (medium size). For the price, and seeing as how we were 'dining in', you'd think they would have used realo cappachino cups to serve it in. The Staff was very polite and courteous and prompt and the restroom was clean and well-stocked. Overall, we weren't impressed with our visit. I doubt we'll be patronizing their establishment again.