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Great dinner resto in NoHo/Surrounding area?

I have to plan a dinner for 5 around the NoHo/surround valley area. We're all in our early 30s, like great food and a fun/hip atmosphere (but not clubby or overly hipster). Medium price range ($20ish dollar entrees) preferred. I am completely unfamiliar with the area so I'm clueless. Help!

Thanks,
Clare K.
http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...

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  1. I live in the junction of NoHo, Toluca Lake and Studio City, so I'm happy to make a few recs. I could be forgetting something, but I can't think of any place I'd recommend that's in actual North Hollywood, but there are some places close by that might work for you. There's Hugo's Restaurant (www.hugosrestaurant.com) which serves delicious, eclectic food with a healthy, organic bend. There's one in West Hollywood, too. There's Sushi Katsu-ya (www.sushikatsu-ya.com) which has delicious specials like their famous crispy rice with spicy tuna as well as my favorite, their albacore sushi. There's also one of these in Encino and one over the hill somewhere, too. We also like Minibar (www.minbarlounge.com) which has a small plates menu and fun drinks and desserts. It's the most trendy feeling and probably most expensive of the ones I've listed, but it's not too trendy for me and I don't take trendy very well. Plus, the waitstaff has always been really friendly and unpretentious. Those are the three that come to mind off the top of my head. Hope this helps!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarahvagaca

      Hugo's is ok for breakfast and lunch, but dies for dinner.
      If you go to minibar, make sure Jessica waits on you. She was formerly at the Boneyard bistro, and she is a superb waitress, and will take care of your needs.
      Ca del sole is good enough for Italian, although as Debbie W says, its hipness factor is mighty low, yet many in their 30s are seen there, especially studio peeps. Fun in a sedate kind of way. Patio preferred, weather permitting.
      Prosecco in Toluca Lake can be good, yet also not overly fun environs.
      Caioti cafe on Tujunga, just south of Moorpark, is an awful decor, yet serves very good pizza.

    2. What about Maximilian's or Eclectic Cafe?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Emme

        I'm pretty sure Maximilian's is closed. Have never been to Eclectic Cafe but have heard good things. We were thinking about trying it for early dinner tonight but ended up closer to home at Hugo's (which has good food but really no decor, definitely not a fun or hip atmosphere per the OP's request although we have seen more than one famous actor or actress there).

      2. Ca Del Sole is an old Italian favorite in that area. Just had recently, and the carbonara was great, as was oxtail ravioli.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alexfood

          We went to Ca' del Sole last night. The food is always pretty good, and we've been going there for many years albeit never more than two or three times a year. Again, I'm not sure that the decor or crowd would meet the OP's requirement of fun and/or hip/trendy. The patio can be fun though we ate inside last night. We split the tuna and salmon tartares, then we split the raw artichoke salad, then we split the whole chicken in the cast iron skillet which is always delicious, we had some plain asparagus, and we split the custard dessert which is my favorite dessert there - a big bowl of vanilla custard topped with caramel and chocolate sauces. We each had a martini, and my husband had a double espresso. The bill pre-tip was an unbelievable $71 - what a great value. The chicken entree is $16.50 and it easily feeds two. Presently they are offering several asparagus dishes as specials from appetizers to soup to main courses, white and green asparagus.

        2. May I suggest Bistro Provence in Burbank? (About 3 miles east of NOHO, on Pass Avenue near the 134)
          www.bistroprovence.net
          It had been recommended by a good friend, my guy and I tried it,were delighted, and have been back several times since.Wonderful French food, great fish dishes,( love their salmon)and right in your price range, too. Smallish though lovely place, can easily seat a party of 5. Enjoy!

          1. I'd second Eclectic Cafe. Both the Goat Cheese and Stuffed Mushrom (stuffed with Spinach, Walnuts, and Gruyere) appetizers are very nice, the soups and salads that I've had have been quite good as have been the entrees (I'm a fan of their grilled portabello entrée) and pasta dishes. Nice atmosphere, and good people watching.

            1. May I suggest the Bird Cage resataurant on Ventura in Studio City. http://www.birdcageclub.com/

              1. Thanks for all the recs! I sent these to my fellow diners, and they threw in their suggestions, and we settled on Ole Tapas Bar in Studio City. If anyone has anything to say about that place, please - do share!

                Thanks,
                Clare K.
                http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...

                3 Replies
                1. re: Clare K

                  Here's a review from L.A. CityBeat. I have to agree that service can be a little spotty from when I've been there, but the food is good. If the weather's nice, the patio is a great spot to eat, as well.

                  http://www.lacitybeat.com/article.php...

                  1. re: Clare K

                    There is a new tapas/wine bar in Toluca Lake that has recently opened - Eight 18 on Riverside. It's a little hard to find but the dishes are great - I was really impressed with their spicy crab cakes. They also have a cheese chef to suggest pairings with your meal and wine. It's a hip, comfortable interior, rather reminds me of NYC instead of the valley, but without any pretension.
                    I can't say I support the Ole Tapas Bar fully, the food is hit and miss.

                    1. re: ihearteats

                      I agree with Ole, it is a hit or miss. I was not over impressed with anything and overall we went twice and gave it a fair chance and now will not go back. Cool atmosphere but the food and service just aren't up to par.