Help! Need SFV Ethnic restaurants
Koko's on Vanowen and Woodman is an excellent place to go for armenian food. I can't tell you how much I love the jajik and tabbouleh there. During a mean craving, I have been known to drive out from Long Beach just to get an order or two. Closed on Mondays, though, in case you are trekking from afar.
OK. Try these.
1. El Jerezano is on Hazeltine around Burbank Blvd. It's a small Mexican place that has wonderful menudo and chile rellenos. It's very not fancy. I like it a great deal and they have menudo Fri-Mon.
2. In Sherman Oaks, there's an Indian restaurant I go to and cannot remember the name of, but it's on Ventura, in the shopping mall with the 7-11 just west of Stern which is 3 blocks west of Woodman in Sherman Oaks. Lunch Specials quite good, good tandoor in the back (they'll let you see it if you ask) and a good variety of passable northern indian dishes. No Dasaprakash or exotica here but decent Rogan Josh.
3. One of the best and least expensive middle eastern places around is a place called Carnaval (Carnival?) on Woodman between Ventura and Moorpark. It's on the east side of Woodman in the same mall as the Dales Jr. Market. Great dishes. Some of the smokiest tasty baba ghanoush/m'tabel you'll find. The owners are Lebanese. You can get Tan. They have baklava and two or three other desserts which are fine. There's M'loukhia, Kibbe Arayes, and standard dishes. No Sheikh el-Mekhshi, like at Marouch in Hollywood, but good dishes well prepared. Just went there for lunch.
4. For inexpensive Japanese, there's a Mishima in Studio City. If price is no object, try Asanebo which has incredibly sophisticated Japanese dishes and a great selection of sakes.
5. Ethnic - well exotic for me is Robin Hood's on Burbank just east of Woodman. They have incredibly fluffy fish and chips and excellent hand-drawn guinness. And a great variety of UK and Irish drinks on tap.
6. If you want to go a bit West, there's Afghan Cuisine on Ventura and Newcastle in Tarzana. They will make Sambosas if you order in advance. nice little interior patio where you can smoke if you like or just enjoy. As well, the quail and stews were tasty.
7. I think there's still a branch of Shamshiri or Shahrzad in Encino. I liked them a while back. Can't vouch, but try the Estamboli Polo, or the Polo with barberries, and the Chicken Fesenjan (pomegranate walnut sauce).
8. If you're craving Chinese and find yourself for some reason in the North Valley, there's a ton of places on Reseda just north of Nordhoff. Safe bet, Mandarin Deli for dumplings and sesame noodles. But the seafood places all look decent. There's a good buddhist vegetarian place on Chatsworth, Vegetable Delight, mock pork etc. Interesting food and fun for out-of-towners.
9. I think BOmbay Duck moved to Studio City. Check it out.
10. For Hungarian, try Laszlo's Hortobagy in Studio City. It's a bit hearty but they have a nice selection of Hungarian wines. For non-drinkers you can ask for "malna" with soda, it's raspberry (syrup) with soda and nice if you've got a sweet tooth. Rec's - split the disznotoros, the mixed wooden plate with a big variety of meats. Good dessert, gestenye puree a chestnut puree over vanilla whipped cream. The palacsinta (crepes) are homemade fresh good and come with a variety of fillings, walnut, poppyseed, apricot jam etc.
10. If you want something a bit pricey, in Sherman Oaks there's a Marrakesh on Ventura, providing the usual Maghrebi/North African meals. Be sure and get b'stilla, the "Pie" with chicken or squab in a puff pastry seasoned medievally with cinnamon and sugar as well as savory flavorings. And I'm sure you can get couscous.
11. Can't vouch for it as I've yet to try it but friends rave about Pasion on Ventura for Argentine food and for tango dancing and music. Check it out and get back to us.
12. Don't know your ethnicity and what's exotic but there is Art's Deli in Studio City on Ventura. Fish is good, the corned beef is, I think, the best in town but the pastrami is disappointing compared to Langer's on MacArthur Park.
13. For Cal-Mex, there's a place on Ventura near Laurel Canyon called Mexicali. I find it horribly mediocre but they have seafood tacos and good margaritas so if you're in the mood for that, it's as good a place as any.
14. You might want to check out some of the Russian places. Russian Village on Moorpark near Fulton in Sherman Oaks is ok and can be lively in the evening. Or, if you want to drink and spend, try Arbat Golden Palace in BUrbank. Call and get details. They are restaurant/nightclub. Usually they have a big Russian floorshow, the vodka flows like water, you get big plates of zakuski and Russian food of good quality. Like it or not, it will be different.
Wow. A very serious list. So much eating to do...
Jerome's mention of tango reminded me of an sfv ethnic experience of my own a few yrs back. For my gramp's bday we went to a Bolivian restaurant on Lankershim in Noho called Norah's Place. Not only was there live tango music and dancing -- ably performed by sexy-but-aging So. Americans -- but I had my first taste of blood sausage, as well as my first bite of sweetbreads. A big and varied plate of grilled meats that I started eating as a dare and...almost finished. (Now of course that I'm a seasoned chowhound I have calfbrains every morning with my eggs...) Anyway, my grandfather loved the place and I think it would be an excellent choice for an sfv family adventure. Chow.
Here are a couple other recommendations:
Thai: I like Sompun, on Ventura Place (that diagonal street at the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon). It's a cozy family owned restaurant that has killer garlic pepper shrimp and tom-yum goong.
Vietnamese: Pho 999 is off of Sepulveda (across the street from the Ranch 99). This place is easily on par with the vietnamese restaurants in Little Saigon, and for $5, you can a huge steaming bowl of pho.
When I lived in the valley (which was a few years back)we used to go to Talesai in Studio City for upscale-ish Thai (We loved the appetizer "hidden treasures" and the banana with sticky rice flambed w/coconut ice cream dessert). Thai BBQ on Ventura in Studio City is a cheaper alternative to Thai and they are pretty good. Yet our favorite thai in the valley is a cheap, fast-food place on Sherman Way near the 170 - Sanamluang Cafe. They are cheap and great. (The Bangluck Market next door is great for buying Asian cooking supplies - cheap) A Vietnamese friend recommended the Pho cafe in that same plaza but we haven't had the chance to try it yet. Teru Sushi in Studio City on Ventura is good if you like Japanese/sushi. The original "Tokyo Delves" in North Hollywood is a very fun sushi place (great for b-days). Great to bring out of towners ~ just to shock them. (My friends from out of town love the place.) It's alot more intimate than the the new one in Marina del Rey, which i am not crazy about. Some chowhounds have been skeptical about the place cuz of all the noise, loud music etc. but it truly is good fun, and the sushi is actually pretty good. I have never see such happy sushi chef's ever! They require reservations. The Great Greek on Ventura in Sherman Oaks was good back in the day. We used to also go to an Indian Restaurant in the little strip of stores next to the Burbank Mall. Can't remember the name but they were quite good. Yet another Indian Place is Anarbargh (I think that is spelled right) That is on Ventura in Woodland Hills. Very good. And lastly, if you are up for the hike, I absolutely love the Kuala Lumpur in Pasadena. If you have never tried Malaysian food - you should. I occassionally have to make the trip to Pasadena from the westside to go there. Well hope that helps.