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Jun 13, 2007 08:50 PM

Burbank/Glendale Good Eats?

New to Burbank. Just moved here from Venice. Is there anything clean, sophisticated, hip, relatively inexpensive and casual like AXE, ROCKENWAGNER, HAL'S, WABI SABI, HIKO SUSHI, CITY BAKERY, and/or CLEMENTINE? I hope so! Urban Eats and Krust underwhelmed me. Hoping there's more!

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  1. In a word, no. We don't have shmancy places like that in Burbank so much. You should revel in the cheap ethnic eats in the East Valley, which are rare to non-existent on the so-expensive Westside. Look at your other post for a few starter suggestions, plus don't forget to check out Porto's on Magnolia and Hollywood Way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      got it. Not a problem. One of the reasons we left the west side. No good small hole in the wall places. Or as you said cheap ethnic eats. I've tried Mambo's and was unimpressed. Will definitely check out Porto's next!

    2. I don't think Burbank and 'Hip" go together. There is, however, a great Brazilian place near the Town Center:

      10 Replies
      1. re: mojoeater

        A new sandwich place just opened up off of Alameda near the hospital in Burbank. We haven't been to it yet but have been to their "sister" restaurant in Pasadena called Lovebirds. The new cafe is called Backstreet Cafe. It is nice to have a good sandwich place in Burbank finally... the sandwiches at Lovebirds are great, great variety and the goodies aren't too bad either (sandwiches are not as foofy as Clementine but I think just as good but the goodies aren't quite as good as Clementine's but still not bad).

        1. re: burbankfoodie

          I tried Backstreet Cafe the other day. Very tasty and they have an "avocado lover's" section. That'd be me!

          1. re: burbankfoodie

            Where exactly is this place on Alameda?

            1. re: ozzygee

              Backstage Cafe
              2520 Olive Ave
              Burbank, CA
              Phone: (626) 563-4567
              Fax: (626) 563-3438
              Mon-Fri: 7:00-5:00

              1. re: katkoupai

                thanks! I take it it's in the lobby of the new First Entertainment Credit Union mini-mall ?

                1. re: ozzygee

                  I haven't been to Backstage Cafe, but I read about it on the Lovebirds website earlier this month. When you mentioned it, I just went back on looked up on the info on the website below. :)


              2. re: ozzygee

                It's actually Olive and Buena Vista in the same building as the credit union.

              3. re: burbankfoodie

                Backstage Cafe has some terrific cupcakes lately. And their Carrot Cake is better than Porto's.

              4. re: mojoeater

                excellent -- will give it a shot! Plus, I LOVE meat. From the midwest and all...

                1. re: mojoeater

                  Hip in a different way from what the OP was saying, but I really enjoy Tony's Darts Away on Magnolia. Great beer bar, and the food I've tried there is all pretty good, though definitely not high-end.

                  Burbank isn't too far from Hollywood, so you could check out places like Ammo and Lou, which are at least closer than Venice.

                  Darts Away
                  1710 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

                2. As mojoeater said, "Burbank" and "hip" don't go together, unless the next words are "replacement surgery."

                  Are you willing to consider less posh eateries? There's no shortage of good food in the Glendale/Burbank/Pasadena area.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: KenWritez

                    You have to (and I mean HAVE TO) try Raffis Kabob... The place is gorgeous, and the food is wonderful and what's even more shocking very affordable.
                    Also, if you are in a mood for a sandwich try BIG BITE

                    Stay away from Morton's in Burbank the service is Atrocious

                    1. re: barcelona

                      fantastic - just what I was looking for. Thank you!

                      1. re: barcelona

                        I just went to raffi's the other night!! IT was husband and I could have shared the plate was huge!!!

                      2. re: KenWritez

                        yes, yes, yes. one of the reasons we left the west side was to get away from the overpriced precious eatery scene. That being said, the food was darn good. But yes, give me your favs in the glendale/Burbank/Pasadena area - the less posh the better! Love the "replacement surgery" line. Nice.

                        1. re: stellagirl7

                          Coolness! I have little fine dining experience in Glendale/Burbank, so my choices tend more toward the casual. I recently moved out of Glendale (I got married) but these places have all been in business for years and I expect them to continue.

                          Italian: Glendale:
                          Two Guys From Italy ( ) Okay, the decor is Newlywed Apartment, but the food is excellent. The cream of carrot soup is one of the best soups I've ever tasted. Their cioppino was full of shrimp, mussel, and the broth was full-flavored. Their pasta is fresh and well-textured. Service was always friendly and attentive, prices are $ - $$.

                          (As a bonus, right around the corner is Dean's Shoppe, a barber's. Yeah, yeah, I know--big wow. Read on: Dean Dill is a professional magician (barbering is a sidejob) and one of the best in the business. He's not at all stereotypical--he looks like a pudgy blonde biker--but he's a magician other magicians study and respect, and he's one of the sweetest, most humble men you'll ever meet. If you go during business hours or on Saturday, and he's open, ask him to please perform "Explosion" for you. Don't worry; you can ask him to repeat it--and you'll want to ask--and he will.


                          Casa Bianca: In Eagle Rock on Colorado, just a few blocks up from Tommy's. CB has some of the best pizza: Fresh, flavorful, chewy crust and a wide variety of available toppings, most homemade. Be warned--the place is perpetually crowded.


                 - Google map + reviews

                          Italian: Pasadena:

                          Mi Piace ( ) -- #A on Google map

                          This is as trendy as I get. It sounds like a bit of what you're looking for, as it's pretty hip. One reviewer complained about being sat near the kitchen. However, since only a half-wall separtates kitchen from diners, you get a fascinating look at their cooking. The food is excellent and the plating is creative. The service is good once you get past the hostesses who remind me too much of department store perfume counter girls. I don't have a favorite here, everything I ate was wonderful.

                          Ribs: Burbank
                          Ribs USA, Burbank. (


                          This is low dining at its best. Peanut shells on the floor, mismatched chairs, and the second best babyrack ribs in the area.

                          Ribs: Glendale
                          Pecos Bill's ( ) -- #A on the Google map.

                          It's a "funky little shack by the side of the road" in every sense. A Glendale tradition for about a bazillion years. Barely room inside for the owner/cook and his assistant, so patrons sit on plastic chairs on the sidewalk, in their cars, or order to-go. He closes early if runs out of meat and I *strongly* recommend you call a day ahead and reserve your ribs. PB always runs out, people order them so much.

                          While the only downside is their sandwiches (I can't recommend them--too sweet and insufficient flavor), they more than make up for it with their ribs. The greatest ribs I've ever eaten--perfectly cooked, not too sweet; pungent, smoky sauce, I suggest an entire rack per person if diners really enjoy ribs. Eat ribs from Pecos Bill's and afterward, God's in His heaven and all is right with the world.

                          Mediterranean: Glendale:

                          Zankou Chicken ( ) -- #A & #D on Google map

                          Sooner or later everyone comes to Zankou, and not for the ambiance but the food. Oh, what food it is! The rotisserie chicken is moist, flavored well, and served in generous portions. Ditto the beef. Order the chicken with garlic sauce instead of the tahini, then order extra garlic sauce. Incredible. The shwerma (beef or chicken) is also very good. Counter help is pretty robotic (they're not interested in being your friends) but competent.

                          Finally, the best for last:

                          Tommy's Original Hamburgers, all over LA. Look for the blue A-frame hut spilling out lines of people and the steady flow of ambulances lugging smiling but cholesterol-bloated diners off to Cedar-Sinai Cardiac.

                          Tommy's chili cheeseburger and chili cheese fries: Heart attack in a bag. But, oh my Lord, what a way to go! There is no way to adequately describe a Tommy's chili cheeseburger. "Coma-inducing" leaves out the incredible beefy taste of the patties and the oral lubricating properties of the chili. "Gloppy" captures the texture but leaves out description of the glorious chocolate brown color of the chili. "Probably fatal" certainly paints an accurate picture of the consequences of eating a Tommy's chili cheese burger, but refuses to describe the smoky, cumin and chili pepper cloud exuding slowly but inexorably from the darn thing. (Once you eat a Tommy's burger, everyone within 50 feet of you will know it.) And none of these terms capture the taste, the majestic, mighty zigguraut of processed American cheesy goodness, fluffy white bun, beefy patties, thick chili, crispy dill pickle slices and crunchy white onions, the delicious tang of yellow mustard and the sweet siren call of tomato ketchup that, together, complete the gastronomic skyscraper of flavor, texture and cardiac clogging joy that is the Tommy's burger.

                          There is no Tommy's where I live, so now I must go and weep.

                          1. re: KenWritez

                   to Zankou in Glendale is also a great place to get baklava at The Baklava Factory. Totally addictive...

                            1. re: KenWritez

                              "There is no way to adequately describe a Tommy's chili cheeseburger."

                              Sure there is! How 'bout "corrugated cardboard seasoned with used motor oil"?

                              Tommy's is the kind of place where, if you grew up eating them, you love them. If you didn't, you can't figure out what the hubbub is about. (Kind of like Pink's, or White Castle). So take Tommy's reccomendations with a grain of salt. It's no Apple Pan.

                              It isn't clean or sophisticated, but you may want to try Dino's pizza. The crust is okay, and the sauce is unremarkable, but the toppings are out of this world. The first time I went I got plain old pepperoni, and couldn't figure out what the big deal was. The next time, I got a "Burbank" -- goat cheese, spinach, and ham. Wow, yummy!

                              1. re: Bjartmarr

                                Just bear in mind that while Dino's is quite tasty, it takes a LONG TIME for that pie to get to your table, they're not at all fussed about it, and if you start getting cranky they're not shy about dismissing you with prejudice.

                                1. re: Bjartmarr

                                  ""There is no way to adequately describe a Tommy's chili cheeseburger.""

                                  "Sure there is! How 'bout "corrugated cardboard seasoned with used motor oil"?"

                                  Oh, there you go, being technical. Here, let me roll up my metaphorical sleeves and go all prosodical on you.

                                  Das Ubergeek is right. A Tommy's burger...


                                  ...will never grace the front cover of Gourmet magazine. It will never be fashionable, it's far too frumpy. What it will do, if you approach it in the right spirit, "is heal what ails you." The right spirit is realizing what a Tommy's burger is, and what it is not.

                                  At best, it is nurturement for the soul; a warm bath of fat, protein, and flavor cradling your bruised psyche in an orange-tinted, greasy wax paper burger bag that is a chili-stained rebuke to fusspot Food Nazis with their celery sticks and rabbit food.

                                  A Tommy's burger is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy-- albeit short-lived. I disagree that you have to grow up with the food to like it; I know plenty of transplants who crave Tommy's as much as any native Angeleno.

                                  (Speaking of transplants, that's exactly what you'll need if you overindulge in these things. Pace yourself, like any good athlete. Remember--more than one a day is probably bad for you.


                                  A Tommy's burger is not environmentally or nutritionally friendly. It's a "heart attack in a bag." There's no cartoon character mascot, no corporate "hip' theme unless you think concrete tables and benches are hip.

                                  Tommy's is the best of the worst, so when you want something yummy and you're willing to take your cholsterol count in your hands, head for the blue A-frame and open up your tired, your poor, your aching soul and spirit to the healing glory of a double chili cheeseburger and chili fries from Tommy's. Then put your cardiologist on speed dial.

                              2. re: stellagirl7


                                Scarantinos=southern style - down to the red checkered table cloth. On Colorado Blvd-I usually order the veal marsala

                                Tony's Bella Vista-3 or 4 blocks east of Porthos. on Magnolia, I usually order the seafood marinara over pasta.

                                Across from Tony's is Pinoccio Italian deli and restaurant. The restaurant is basically takeout with indoor seating. No waiters. The deli has fresh italian sausages and fresh marinara sauce everyday. I throw together an italian meal with their pasta, marinara sauce, sausages, and parmasean cheese in 30 minues.

                                Far Niente on Brand in Glendale, more upscale


                                Bistro Provence on Pass.

                                Chinese-I would go to Chinatown. Hop Li on Alpine.
                                Mexican-I go to North Hollywood.

                                Thai-I go to Indra a small place on Maple and Verdugo in Glendale. Not much decor but busy as hell on the weekdays for lunch. I get the massaman beef curry and chicken curry.

                                Sushi- Nishi-ya Victory and Western in Glendale. This is place serves sushi and traditional hand rolls only. No Americanize hand rolls like california rolls. Easily the best of the many sushi bars in Burbank and Glendale. I had omakase there last Saturday.

                                This is not to say that the rest of the restaurants are bad or not worth trying. but these are the places I recomend. As a new comer, keep an eye out for the YWCA fund raiser. I am not sure if its still going but is was a walking tour of restaurants in the Burbank restaurant row area with samples from every restaurant.

                            2. If you're looking for amazing lunch salads, soups and sandwiches, you absolutely MUST go to Lily's on Magnolia in Burbank. They make everything fresh. My favorite is the wild rice salad. Lily is always there taking orders and serving customers with a smile. The place is small, so seating is limited, but it's worth it. I also agree with the post about Backdoor Cafe - or is it Backstage? Anyway, it's really good and the service is great. I had the wasabi tuna sandwich and was really happy with it.

                              For some of the best Thai food in the area, try Chadaka on San Fernando in downtown Burbank. Leonore's on Burbank Blvd. is a great place for vegan Mexican food and air fries are great at Nature's Pantry.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Amella

                                this is so helpful! Thank you! Can't wait to try them all! They sound right up my alley.

                              2. My favorite Thai place is on San Fernando near Sonora (I think it's actually Glendale but it's the border of Glendale and Burbank). It's Angel Food Thai and very cheap for lunch. My last lunch bill for two was $12. The food is fresh, nice presentation, and full of flavor.