Foodie needs help for SF Valley this Saturday...
So this is one of the few times during the year we travel to the valley to eat...La Loggia is closed for a large party (that's our usual choice), Mistral has some early time choices only that we can't make (seems they have 2 seatings since they're so small), Gorikee's atmosphere is not great, Roys - too late (even though I think they're mediocre at best), Panzanella was super noisy last year, Pinot Bistro is o.k. (but when you have a such a vast amt of choices on the westside- why go there?), Bistro Garden (15 years ago - it was totally overpriced ), tried Max when they first opened and wasn't enchanted at all, Bizou is out, is there anything left that that I missed? Doesn't need to be on Ventura??? Prefer Italian but will try anything Good!
There really is no good Italian in the valley, so begin with that premise - many are satisfactory including La Loggia, Pergola, Panzanella, etc., but no better.
Max is probably the best restaurant from a creative and inventive taste perspective, assuming you want to be in the upper quality category for this meal, per the examples you offered. www.maxrestaurant.com for more menu detail to see if it might fit your taste interests. Had a wonderful filet there just last night, while companion had the salmon special and we shared a very tasty crab cake to start, and ended up with fabulous doughnuts with lemon and rasberry dipping sauces - truly decadent!
Mistral is always good, Le Petit Restaurant is fine for typical French staples and Rive Gauche is always overlooked as is Wine Bistro for more French alternatives that might serve your needs, even though I am not in love with the food at the Gauche! Wish the food were as good as the facility.
The bistro menu at the Boneyard Bistro is quite good, the bone-in ribeyes are as good as anyone's in LA. Great list of red wines btw! www.boneyardbistro.com for more info.
Hello... You mention that Gorikee's atmosphere "is not great". Have you been there in the last 3 months or so? They've actually stepped up to the plate and improved the interior (and the patio) considerably. Within, they've made three or four semi-private booth-nooks and the lighting (at night) seems cozier and less harsh. It's still not Jar by a long chalk, but if it was a 4 in atmosphere before, I'd give it a 6.75 now. They also made the patio less plastic in appearance. In all, after the sun goes down and the candles are lit, the joint looks much warmer. And the food, value, and service still rock...
Some good options have been thrown out. I would have to say Katsuya for sushi and there is one in Studio City and Encino. We tried Tommy Ray's a few week's ago and really liked it. As well, Romanov Restaurant is now open (same people behind Republic)..claims to be a Russian Steakhouse. I always think Firefly is good in a pinch too.
For Italian, I like Il Tiramisu in Sherman Oaks on Ventura. Northern Italian, and Peter and Ivo treat every customer like a VIP. The food is fabulous and the atmosphere is very nice.
Asanebo in Studio City is some of the best sushi and Japanese food in the Valley, if not LA.
Across from Bizou is Cafe Cordiale. Great food. Live music some nights
Gangadin is great Indian in Studio City.
I hear Mistral is nice-I've never been there.
Some chowhounds like Risotto on Ventura in the Coldwater Curve center.
Boneyard Bistro has a great BBQ menu and a good Bistro menu.
Alexis Greek Cafe has a mix of traditional and non-traditional Greek food. It is in Porter Ranch.
MArmalade Cafe is nice..I prefer it for Dinner or Breakfast.
Hugo'son Riverside is good:
If you like italian, I definately second Il Tiramisu. Very good food and a really nice atmosphere and the service is great.
We actually also really like Pinot Bistro, had a duck confit casserole on Sunday that was great! And their scallop, califlower appetizer is very good as well.