HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Nice mexican dinner in sherman oaks / encino area?

krez Sep 21, 2007 09:03 AM

First, yes I have looked in the past posts and I'm looking for further clarification.

Friend is visiting from NYC. I'm looking for great mexican food because I know they don't have that in NY ;)

I'm looking for some place with a great atmosphere, not too noisy so we can talk, and with great food, including vegetarian.

I moved to SO just this year so have only been to El Torito Grill and Casa Vega. Casa Vega is just too noisy and I wasn't that impressed with the food. El Torito Grill is the fall back place.

I've read mixed reviews about Senor Fred. Will it knock our socks off? I know Tony's is supposed to be great, but sounds too hole-in-the-wall-y.

What do you think? Senor Fred? Any place in Encino or further out that's worth it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. d
    Diana RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 09:51 AM

    Try Senior Fred. I was not thrilled, but I never tried again, and it's worth a go. Lots of people love it!
    But if you want really nice authentic mexican, I would recomend a trip to Sabor A Mexico. Little atmosphere, slow service GREAT food. Culver City

    4 Replies
    1. re: Diana
      krez RE: Diana Sep 21, 2007 09:58 AM

      Oof, Culver City is a little farther than I was thinking.

      BTW, I just asked a co-worker about Senor Fred. She didn't like the food, was overpriced and loud....

      1. re: krez
        tatertotsrock RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 10:26 AM

        EEEEEEw!.....Senior Fred is pretty gross. I still have no idea why people like this place since the drinks and service weren't even good enough to dull my senses enough to tolerate the slimey, velveeta-style food.
        I know you're in Sherman Oaks, but the dirve to La Cabanita in northern Glendale is well worth it.
        The food is fantastic and the Margaritas Rock!!!!
        Great chips/salsa too.

        1. re: tatertotsrock
          Otius Gojius RE: tatertotsrock Sep 21, 2007 10:45 AM

          Senor Fred = LOUD bar teeming with trendy drunks, but...
          for a "nice" Mexican dinner, if you can all the way west past Tampa on Ventura, there is Sol y Luna. They do have a popular happy hour, but the bar is separate from the dining room. Might be busy on weekends, but great food in fine atmosphere.

          19601 Ventura Blvd, north side, one block east of Corbin

      2. re: Diana
        krez RE: Diana Sep 24, 2007 11:16 AM

        Okay, so as fate would have it, we did end up in Culver City on Saturday because of the rain on friday night. So we tried Sabor A Mexico. Unfortunately they were out of the potato and poblano tacos, so I had the zucchini and corn and the stewed chicken tacos (I forgot the spanish names of them).

        Both were good, the chicken was better. It was decent, but I don't know if I'd drive all that way for it again.

      3. d
        Diana RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 01:20 PM

        Some people like la Fogata on Van Nuys in Sherman oaks. I've never been.

        But even senior Fred beats El torito.

        You could try Don Cuco's

        Here is an earlier thread on a similar topic.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Diana
          CarlieInLA RE: Diana Sep 21, 2007 01:26 PM

          I recommend Don Cuco's in Toluca Lake as well, good food, great margaritas, fun atmosphere. Skip Senior Freds

          1. re: Diana
            krez RE: Diana Sep 21, 2007 01:37 PM

            Yea I read that one. But I didn't get a good feel on Senor Fred's. Look like I'll be skipping it!

            1. re: Diana
              Local RE: Diana Sep 21, 2007 01:43 PM

              La Fogata is counter order and pick up, wine and beer out of a cooler, menu on a wall board and photos posted by the counter....very large, and very casual dining area filled with tables, a few booths along the windows and in a small side room,... there's no partcular charm or character beyond being clean and comfortable....don't really think of it as a dinner destination, unless for a quick fix. That said, the food used to be good, consistent, and inexpensive. As a local worker-bee I was there only for lunch or take-out...haven't been in over 3 yrs., so can't speak on current quality, but favorites were their chile relleno, chile relleno burrito, bean tostada and the pickled carrots were excellent, good salsa and pico de gallo.

            2. b
              blacksab67 RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 02:12 PM

              I say... do Tony's. The food is great, even though it is "hole-in-the-wall-y". If you do, BYOB. Then, head somewhere decent for drinks...

              The food at Tony's definitely beats Casa Vega, Alferedo's, and Don Cuco's, IMHO.

              1 Reply
              1. re: blacksab67
                TBird RE: blacksab67 Sep 21, 2007 02:25 PM

                sherman oaks ='s casa vega unless you want el torito...

              2. Gingerleen RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 03:25 PM

                I haven't been there in a while but Mexicali in Studio City on Ventura Blvd. (near Laurel Canyon) was always very tasty.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Gingerleen
                  GK in SO RE: Gingerleen Sep 21, 2007 03:43 PM

                  You're kidding, right? I agree with most other CHer's who've posted on this place....worst Mexican in the Valley, or anywhere for that matter.

                  I suggest the OP stick with Tony's, La Fogata or even Tacos Mexico in Studio City (little to no ambience, but very tasty food).

                  1. re: GK in SO
                    krez RE: GK in SO Sep 21, 2007 04:55 PM

                    It seems like that's the trend for mexican food in the valley: ambience OR tasty food. :/

                    1. re: GK in SO
                      Gingerleen RE: GK in SO Sep 22, 2007 08:58 AM

                      No. I'm not kidding. As I mentioned, it's been a number of years since I have visited there. I don't know what it tastes like now. The last time I was there, the food was good.

                    2. re: Gingerleen
                      archer RE: Gingerleen Sep 21, 2007 03:44 PM

                      Despite all the naysayers on this board, I have to come to the defense of Senor Fred. I've always had delicious meals there & think it's an excellent choice, given the scarcity of good Mexican restaurants in the Valley (if you are looking for a nice, somewhat upscale, sit-down dinner w/ drinks--otherwise, there are indeed better casual, barebones BYOB type places). The margaritas here are particularly yummy. In terms of food, I would recommend the cochinita pibil, the tamales & I remember also enjoying the grilled salmon. It's not super quiet, but I've never found it overly noisy (much quieter than Casa Vega for example).

                      1. re: archer
                        carter RE: archer Sep 21, 2007 05:04 PM

                        Senor Fred is indeed better than anything in either Sherman Oaks or Studio City combining good food, good ambiance, and a good variety of menu items - many not found on most other menus. The salmon and lamb shanks dishes are exemplary, yet not found on menus at any of the competition. Crab enchiladas, chile rellenos, chips and salsa, and margaritas are all very good.
                        If you want it a bit quieter, get one of the two booths in the bar area that are alongside the entrance to the kitchen. Much more privacy and reduced noise.

                    3. trojans RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 03:42 PM

                      El Torito Grill at the Sherman Oaks Galleria is surprisingly good. Casa Vega is yuck. La Fogota is good but not fancy. Don Cuco's is nice.

                      1. h
                        Heidi RE: krez Sep 21, 2007 04:03 PM

                        My two cents: Head over to Sol y Luna at Ventura near Corbin. I used to eat at La Fogata a lot (while in college) and was unimpressed with the food the last few times - its also not an entertain friends type place by any means. I've been to Senor Fred's twice; was unimpressed the first time but happy the second time. Perhaps the bar factor depends on where you are sitting and the crowd, my last time was a Saturday night and I had no issue with noise or drunks and I am noise sensitive. I've been to Mexicali a couple of times and found the food and service very lacking.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Heidi
                          trojans RE: Heidi Sep 21, 2007 04:08 PM

                          Sol Y Luna is good and it's a nice space too.

                          1. re: trojans
                            blacksab67 RE: trojans Sep 21, 2007 06:42 PM

                            I think we can all agree that Ernie's is "right out". (As the Pythons used to say.)

                          2. re: Heidi
                            prainer RE: Heidi Sep 22, 2007 08:44 AM

                            I agree with Heidi - Sol Y Luna is the best Mexican in the Valley that I have tried - it can be noisy but the food and drinks are good as is the service - be sure to make a reservation. They are booked from early evening on. Guacamole made to order tableside is a nice feature.

                          3. b
                            brandygirl RE: krez Sep 22, 2007 07:43 PM

                            Must add another vote for Sol y Luna. Great choice.

                            Show Hidden Posts