Best Valley takeout off the 101
I work in West LA and live in Ventura. The food in my lovely home city leaves something to be desired. Being relatively new to the area, I don't know the Valley very well. Can anyone recommend chowish places along the 101 between the 405 and Thousand Oaks, places where I can quickly jump off the freeway and grab something tasty (and interesting) for the family? I'm particularly interested in finding good Asian food, but I'm open to anything. Thanks in advance.
Where exactly in West LA do you work, as there are probably a number of places to stop right near there before you hop on the freeway for the drive? What's your starting intersection?
You could do take-out from a number of restaurants on the Sawtelle corridor... I'd call Curry House, Hurry Curry, Asahi Ramen, blue marlin, Yakitoriya, and see who'd be willing to do take-out with the most convenience.
Great Whole Foods at Canoga and Ventura, also one at Sepulveda and Ventura (at the ventura exit off the 405 north), but the one in Woodland Hills is sooo far superior... You've probably got the one in Porter Ranch/Thousand Oaks too that even outdoes WH IMO.
California Pita and Grill at Topanga, in the same complex as Jerry's Deli in WH, has some really good chicken kebabs, salads, and plates.
Heart of India, just off the 405 north at the Ventura Blvd exit where Tufoon used to be
Coral Tree Cafe - Encino
Daphne's Greek Cafe - Encino
Lima (for Peruvian) - Tarzana
Il Paradiso for Italian - Encino
More than Waffles (for breakfast for dinner) - Encino/Tarzana
Salar - Sherman Oaks
Islands - Encino
Sassi - Encino
Simon's Cafe (on Sepulveda) - Sherman Oaks
Kung Pao China Bistro (decent Amer Chinese just east of Sepulveda on Ventura) - Sherman Oaks
Rio - Encino
Gorikee - Woodland Hills
Rosti - Encino
Salads Galore (right next to Chili My Soul, another great rec!) - Encino
Rosti has decent flattened chicken breasts (though admittedly the last time our friends brought it to the Bowl, twas a bit dry) and salads, as well as garlic spinach. Skip the side potatoes and pizzas as well as the gnocchi. Do like the sauteed mushrooms, caprese salad, vegetable or chicken and sundried tomato paninis. For brunch, make your own frittatas, or poached eggs hollandaise (the bf likes this), though I've only had brunch here a few times for convenience.
To be fair, at Salads Galore, I tend to order from the Fitness menu and enjoy the egg white omelette fare. I do also like the Chopped Salad, the Fajitas, Air Fries, and the Crab Bisque. However, I just did a game night and "catered" from there... the hits were the Eggplant Salad, Cucumber Salad, Chipotle Tofu Turkey Meatballs, Chicken Cacciatore, Felafel, Tabbouleh, Greek and Cobb Salads, Marinated Mushrooms, Caponata, Italian Herb
My favorite is Carnival, a fabulous middle eastern place two blocks from the 101 freeway on Woodman. Everything is great there including Lamb Shank on Tuesday's, kabobs, hummus. I've literally eaten my way through the menu over the years and it's all good.
4356 Woodman Ave
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Second idea, closer to your final destination is Latino Market. Right off the 101, exit Rancho, tkae a left on Thousand Oaks blvd. They have a great little counter inside with fresh made tacos (carne, pollo, cabeza, lengua, pastor, carnitas) and specials which change daily. I have been going there a lot recently and it's always cheap, fresh and filling.
711 E Thousand Oaks Blvd # 2,
Thousand Oaks - (805) 379-4116
Right off the 101-literally a stones throw-is Chueys. Exit is Kanan. On the West side behind islands. This is Tex-Mex. Great grilled chicken tri-tip, fish tacos etc. If you are in Ventura they have a few outlets. Wish they had something closer. Very kid friendly. Inexpensive good eats. Where else can you get a fajitas plate w/ rice beans, tortillas, great salsa bar, endless chips for 7 bucks? Kick ass margs too. The original in Simi is a dive biker bar but the Agoura Hills is bright retro brand new. There is one in Ventura somewhere that is pretty nice too IIRC.
The best Chinese in the Valley (although not comparable to the San Gabriel Valley) is A&W Barbeque (believe it or not its a Hong Kong style seafood house not a drive-in) at 9306 Reseda Blvd. It's closer to the 405 than the 101 so it may be too far out of your way. Also just off of Reseda on Sherman Way is a decent banh mi restaurant whose name escapes my befuddled brain. If you are stopping at Sam Woo's you should consider Pho So or Pho 999 on the same corner for excellent Vietnamese dishes.
In Tarzana and Encino off the 101, there are two Gelson's. Good sandwiches, bakery, salad bar, deli and prepared foods.
There are good Sushi Bars along the way, Iki, 4 on 6 are in Tarzana and Encino, rtespexctively.
There's a Ce Fiore Froyo place in encino town center in encino, just off the 101.
Alcazar has great middle eastern food and is in encino.
Chili my Soul is just the best chili, and is in Encino.
The Firehouse has great Greek and Gyros
Hummous bar does several types of hummous, tuna salad (go figure) a few veggie dishes and has great pita. In Tarzana.
Bea's Bakery in Tarzana has the best rugalach ever. I can't eat them, cause of the nuts, but I've seen grown men swoon.
If you can find a branch of Big Mamma and Pappa's pizza, go and get their Khachapouri. Oh my god! Huge, yummy, and filling. Get two or three and be stuffed. one large one is enough for three!
I second a lot of these recommendations, especially Alcazar, Chili My Soul, and Bea's (I prefer the black and white cookies more than the rugalach, but my family swears by the rugalach).
There is a branch of Big Mama and Papa's Pizza on Ventura near Balboa. I've never tried it, so cannot second that rec.
A few other options. D'Amore's and Mulberry St. Pizza for decent pizza. I especially like their white pizzas.
In Encino between Encino and White Oak is Thai 'n' I. The barbecue chicken and rips are great. I highly recommend the combos in which you can get Pad Thai and Mee Krob on the side with ribs or chicken for about $10. The pad thai is a bit sweet and the mee krob is decadently so (it's almost candy). It is a takeout place.
If you like Koo Koo Roo (I like the original chicken, macaroni & cheese, and creamed spinach), there is a location on Canoga just a few blocks north of the freeway.