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May 10, 2007 02:51 PM

REVIEW: Cici's Cafe in Tarzana (Pictures)


If there was one type of eatery I wish was more plentiful in the valley, it would be restaurants that specialize in breakfast. IHOP has been done to death, and while their smiley faced pancakes are cute, their food doesn’t surpass standard breakfast fare.

Looking for something different I stumbled into Cici’s Café, a somewhat new restaurant in Tarzana (right near an IHOP). Their breakfast menu certainly was extensive, offering a wide variety of pancakes and waffles with interesting sounding names, and at times bizarre ingredients. Take for example the “Pig in the Mud,” a pancake with chocolate and ham. They also offered a nice selection of omelets, as well as the usual breakfast items like oatmeal and fruit. Most breakfast items were in the range of $8-$10.

It took me a long time to decide on what to order but finally I settled on the “Ceec Omelet” as suggested by the waitress; an egg white omelet with turkey sausage, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, portobello mushrooms and boursin cheese. My girlfriend opted for the “To Infinity and Beyond” waffles; waffles, banana’s flambé, and vanilla bean ice cream. The beyond part probably has something to do with a sugar high.

The omelet was dense but fluffy, exactly what I wanted. The cheese which I was unfamiliar with wasn’t melted like I thought it would be, but plopped on top as well as partially spread on the inside of the omelet. I wasn’t a big fan of its cream cheese consistency, or its zesty herb taste, but luckily there wasn’t a huge amount of it to deal with. Sans cheese I found the omelet only alright. I was hoping it would have been crammed full of the mentioned ingredients, but primarily it was just chunks of turkey and some tomatoes (not sun dried) and mushrooms. It tasted fine, I just wanted more. The side scalloped potatoes that it came with were exactly that, scalloped potatoes. Nothing special to flavor it, they were just ordinary. Come to think of it that cheese probably would have been good with them.

Now my girlfriend’s meal was another story. Hers both looked and tasted great. A large and warm waffle with just the right amount of banana and ice cream, I should have gone for the waffles. They gave her syrup, but as she indicated there was no need. She also noted that because the waffle was warm she had to eat it fast; otherwise she’d be swimming in melted ice cream.

The bill came to about $21 sans drinks, which seemed alright considering portion sizes. But would I go back? To try the pancakes and waffles yes, but I’ll steer clear of the omelets. It’s definitely a place worth considering when in the area.


Cici’s Cafe
18912 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 881-6704

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  1. Thaks..I've heard about CiCi's, and seen the crowds..but never had a full review!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Diana

      Crowd weren't an issue when I went, being a Thursday morning and all. But I will say that when I came out around 9:45 more people did start to show, and parking started to really become a problem.

    2. Cici's may have my favorite Chinese Chicken Salad ever. You actually run out of lettuce before the chicken! Very fresh and they use quality, grilled chicken breasts. The only downside is service can be erratic.

      1. Let me just say for the record....THE WORST SERVICE EVER. Rude, slow, forgetful, and not at all helpful. I've been there four times, and each time my guests and I were left waiting, ignored, and treated rudely.

        3 Replies
        1. re: beccaharrell

          Service wasn't an issue when I went because they hadn't been open very long. But I can imagine it becoming a problem when it fills.

          1. re: ReelMike84

            What ARE their HOURS? I've tried to go on a few different days at different times and they're closed. I can now guess that they're not open for dinner, but what days are they closed?

          2. re: beccaharrell

            I have to agree, the service was poor. Took a while to be seated (the restaurant was actually on the empty side). Waited FOREVER for order to be taken. Had to get my own high chair. Waitress seemed more interested in fliriting with some dude and then talking w/another waitress. Felt like I was imposing whenever I asked for anything. No refills on coffee. My husband and I think the food is very good but we're not sure if it's worth dealing w/the service. It's just too bad, there aren't many good b-fast places in the Valley like this. Just TOO MUCH ATTITUDE. get over yourselves!

          3. I decided to try CiCi's after seeing what the lines and the crowds were all about and I am glad that I did. I had their pumpkin pancakes--and they were fluffy, cakey, and very HUGE. They were topped with a pumpkin marmalade and a very dense whipped cream. They were the best pancakes that I have ever tasted in years! I also ordered the mint tea, which they get from Mighty Leaf...I might have to order some of that for me at home, because it was a very full minty (but not strong and astringent mint) flavor. In addition to breakfast fare (pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, fruit, eggs, and omelets) their menu offered a variety of salads, sandwiches, and hamburgers. I will definitely go back and try some of the hamburgers and have more pancakes!