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Jun 12, 2007 08:36 PM

Upscale in the Valley (Help Please)

I am looking for a place for dinner in Sherman Oaks, Encino, Tarzana etc. We are meeting some friends "halfway" between Agoura Hills and Pasadena. The Board has helped me with the Sushi places but I'd appreciate some recommendations for other types of cuisine. (I didn't find much in my research). Type is not as important as quality. Also, we need some place that's not too noisy to converse. Thanks fellow 'hounds.

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  1. Max in Sherman Oaks is the best upscale restaurant in the Valley. On weekends, it can get noisy. However, on weeknights, it is fine.

    1. La Frite for French food. There is a branch in Sherman Oaks.

      Gochi in Encino for Japanese/Korean BBQ. It's pretty quiet, and is great if you love beef. Order the premium beef.

      Ruth's Chris in Woodland Hills for steak.

      2 Replies
      1. re: WHills

        Except for Ruth Chris, neither La Frite nor Gochi, though very good, would fit my definition of upscale. I would add Roy's in Woodland Hills, on Topanga. I haven't been to that branch, but if it is anything like the Roy's downtown, it will have excellent food and fit the "upscale" definition.

        1. re: Jwsel

          Roy's on Topanga is indeed very good, but also quite noisy.

      2. SEcond Max.

        Also Il Tiramisu and Bistri Garden.

        Does Saddle Peak constitute the middle? :) If so, my first choice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Emme

          Never having been to Saddle Peak, it was my first choice too. My wife, however, did want to "schlep all the way to Calabasas" so I guess it isn't halfway. LOL.

        2. Second Il Tiramisu.

          Also Try Risotto in Studio City

          Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

          Senior Fred is a favorite of some, I'm not wild about it.

          Boneyard Bistro in Sherman oaks for upscale BBQ

          Alcazaar for good Mezze (encino)

          Tempo Rest and bar for upscale Kosher

          Gangadin in Studio city for great Indian Food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Diana

            I'd definitely skip Cafe Bizou; my last couple of meals there were not memorable except for their price tags and unsated appetite.

          2. If you can get a copy of this week's Studio City Sun newspaper (or Sherman Oaks Sun or Encino Sun for that matter) there is a fine round-up of restaurants in the Valley. You can download it online at

            It mentions some places, like Vibratto, that no one here has yet mentioned. (Okay it's not technically in the Valley, but close.)

            5 Replies
            1. re: suzeetuna

              not allof those places are GOOD, though. They just paid for advertising space, and thus were covered in the articles.

              Some are nice, though.

              1. re: Diana

                Thanks for all the suggestions. I will report back on our choice and experience.

                1. re: lebdog

                  For upscale, definitely agree w/ Max in Sherman Oaks. Also highly recommend Ca' del Sol in N. Hollywood (4100 Cahuenga)---very good Italian food, attractive patio, quiet, generally appealing ambiance.

                  1. re: lebdog

                    Well, after all these great recommendations, the decision-makers in our group opted for Sushi after all. We went to Sushi House of Taka on Van Nuys which has been reviewed on this Board. We had a group of 6 and made a reservation which, upon our arrival, the restaurant claimed to have no knowledge of. Thus, we had to stand around for about 15 minutes, not b/c the place was anywhere near full (it wasn't) but because of the seating configurations (ie. a party of 2 had been seated at a table the restaurant wanted to put together with a 4-top to accommodate us. So instead, of seating us at one of the two round tables that would have sufficed, they essentially asked the party of 2 to hurry up. Thus, they annoyed us and them. Not a good start. As for the food, it was fine, but I certainly don't understand the above average reviews this place has gotten on the board. Our orders spanned the gamut. We had toro (delicious but you pay for it), tempura (adequate), monkfish liver (only I ate this - my first time - and I found it boring), Spanish mackeral (tasteless), softshell crab (very good), stuffed squid (delicious), fried calamari (below average), yellow-tail belly (fine), caterpillar (eel and avocado) roll (tasty), relative roll (excellent), rainbow roll (ordinatry). Our waitress was pretty good and friendly enough, but no one in the place was helpful with recommendations ("everything good" was the standard refrain). I'm looking forward to trying one of the above recommendations on our next venture to the Valley.

                    1. re: lebdog

                      Sushi House of Taka is a solid, neighborhood sushi place, but I would never describe it as "upscale;" it's more the type of place you drop in on for reliably decent fish in a very casual setting. For an "upscale" sushi place I would go to Tama (or Asenabo for sashimi) in Studio City or maybe 4 on 6 in Encino.