Mexican, Peruvian, and Thai in/near North Hollywood
I've have head that there are great Mexican, Peruvian, and Thai places in North Hollywood, but I don't know where to start. I want a good Mexican place (perhaps great mole?) that is not Don Cuco's and more of a real restaurant than El Taco Llama--not that the car wash doesn't make for great ambiance. I like Chadaka Thai in Burbank, but I'm sure there are places that are more authentic. Essentially, I'm looking for the good neighborhood joints. What are your favorite places? What do you love there? Where are they located?
The Thai temple on Coldwater has a festival type of thing on weekends from around noon until 5pm. It is great! My wife and I house-sat in NoHo for a few months and bicycled there all the time.
Krua Thai has the best pad thai we have ever had, anywhere, and that includes various places throughout Thailand. Get the 'special pad thai'. Very very important to get the special pad thai at Krua Thai. Also very good is their tom kha gai and I think they have ong choy (but I could be wrong about this) which is competitive with Ruen Pair.
Ban Khanom Thai, to the east of Krua Thai on Sherman Way, has nice sweets (if they have the little coconut cream hemispheres and/or the mango w/sticky rice, those rule). They're not as good as the fresh ones at the Thai festival, but Ban Khanom Thai is open on weeknights :-)
FWIW, the stretch of Sherman Way between Laurel and Coldwater Canyons is basically Thai Town North. Poke your head into any random restaurant along that stretch and you will have trouble going too far wrong (a typical benchmark dish is the boat noodles).
You've probably heard that from me. I moved from North Hollywood about six weeks ago, so my data is reasonably current.
Thai: Cruise Sherman Way from the 170 to Woodman. There's Swan Thai, Bua Siam, Cha Chaa (which isn't as good as the others), Sanamluang, Krua, Sunshine and Khun Dang. A half mile south, at Vanowen and Coldwater Canyon, is Sri Siam. They're all fantastic. The pad thai at Krua, the vermicelli with pork and basil (or mint) at Bua Siam, the curries at Sunshine, these will get you started. None of these places are at all as "cool" as Chadaka with the tiny waiters who wear their collars up.
If you haven't been to the Wat Thai, hie thee hence. It's a fantastic experience.
As ttriche mentioned, Bhan Kanom Thai is very tasty, but the availability of items can be a problem. The "coconut hemispheres" in question are called kanom krok and are absolutely addictive -- you can get them fresh-made at the Wat Thai on weekends as well. Black rice with coconut is great, as is the pumpkin with coconut custard baked in the "hole".
Peruvian: There are several places, but the reigning queen of them is Las Quenas, on Sherman Way and Bellaire. I have driven from Anaheim to North Hollywood just to have their ceviche (with lots and lots of octopus -- mmmmm!). I love their leche asada as well. Marilu, on Vanowen and Hazeltine, is another good option, and El Hatuchay's food is tasty and cheaper, but not very well-presented (the stews look, not to put too fine a point on it, like vomit -- but they're tasty). For Peruvian roast chicken, the place to be is Super Pollo in Van Nuys, on Van Nuys Blvd. and Hamlin next to the satellite office of La Opinión.
If you want mole you'll need to head a bit west to Van Nuys. There's a place called La Oaxaquena (I think, it changes names a lot) on Vanowen just west of Van Nuys Blvd. where you can get your mole hole topped up.
Mariscos Colima on Vanowen near Tujunga is a very good marisqueria, and it's affiliated with Rigo's Tacos which is adjacent. Also nearby is Pa' Comer which is a bit rougher-edged but has good food... and of course, Carnitas Michoacan, which is slightly less of a pit than El Taco Llama but is still a pit, on the corner of Coldwater and Victory, has insanely good food. If you're more into sitdown, try Bahia Caporales on Magnolia in Burbank, La Fogata on Van Nuys Blvd. or, for a slight twist, La Maria Colombian Cuisine on Victory and Clybourn. Even Ernie's Taco House across from St. Charles Borromeo church (on Lankershim and Moorpark) is better than Don Cuco's.