Impossible Good Chinese and Italian in SF Valley?
- Deirdre Jan 8, 2002 10:15 PM
I even miss Cantonese, but we will not eat from the corner strip mall hash houses - please! We don't like sticky orange chicken, either. Spicy is fine. But no Kung Pao with bell peppers or some other inauthentic additives.
As far as Italian, we don't want pizza. We want veal, mussels, other seafood, and lamb like they cook it in Abruzzi. No lasagna, no pasta putanesca. Any pasta should be Italian style, not smothered in sauce.
Please stay away from Ventury Blvd. Can't stand the traffic.
Any suggestions, or is this impossible?
What part of the Valley? Traditional Italian? "Ca Del Sole" on Cahuenga. "Proseco Trattoria" in Toluca Lake. Vitello's has some great dishes (yes, they do)!
There is a old place called Chopsticks in Burbank near Disney that was decent food but the atmosphere left something to be desired. This one is more difficult than the Italian...you may have to venture to the south a bit.
Italian - sorry about the Ventura Blvd., try Posto and La Pergola. Posto is very good. They used to have a bergamasque (bergamasco) chef. HE would make rabbit on request as well as polenta coi osei.
Chinese: great Chinese (yes, it's up there) along Reseda Blvd between Nordhoff and Chatsworth. Go explore. There's a Mandarin Deli, and there are quite a few good Yue-cai places (I hate the term Hong Kong style, it's just well-prepared Cantonese, real Cantonese, not the sad confections sold under that name inthe US for the past 100 or more years). Harbor something or other etc.
Went to Vegetable Delight on Chatsworth. They made a wonderful dish to order with fa-tsai (Cant. Fat-choi, aka Hair vegetable, Buddha's hair etc) an expensive and tasty moss or alga, who knows? Very good vegetarian mock fish, meat, the squid and shrimp are beautiful - they use some kind of vegetable like a seaweed to striate the shrimp.
A word of warning for everyone ANYWHERE one might go: avoid ordering dishes you know to be Cantonese specialties at a Shanghai, Shandong, NOrthern, or Sichuan place. They do so many other things- stick with what is typical for what they're selling. No kung pao at a place that offers whole steamed fish with ginger and scallions, or black bean sauce, or offers geoduck or frog. And no sweet and sour dishes (well, the gulao rou s/s pork type) at places that tout their twice-cooked pork, or hand cut noodles, or lamb hot pot, or mala huoguo, or their cross-the-bridge noodles.
A place either has great dimsum or great potstickers. No place I've ever been does both well. You don't find great fish and chips at a pizza place. Enough said.
Go to Divina Cucina. It's a little far away but it's in a very nice part of the Valley. It's on Verdugo Rd. in Montrose - you go up the 2 freeway all the way to the top and pretend to get on the 210 east, then quick exit onto Verdugo Blvd. Left off the exit, and left at the second light, it's on your left.
It is far and away my office's favourite place for lunch or dinner. And when you've finished dinner, you can stroll through the cutesy Montrose Shopping Park which is a block away.
3730 Verdugo Rd.
818-248-3077 for res.
You don't NEED reservations but for dinner it might be a good idea, particularly on weekends. Also, if you go for lunch, they have lunch specials that come with bruschetta and soup or salad - 95% of their soups are excellent, you can call and find out what the soup of the day is.
Prices are just OK - lunch specials are $6.50 - $8.25 and dinner is in the $10-$15 range for an entree. They have a surprising wine list for such a small restaurant.
Try Sam Woo at the corner of Sepulveda and Victory in Van Nuys next to the 99 Ranch Market. It's probably the most authentic Chinese in the Valley. There is also a great pho place next door.
Try A&W Seafood Restaurant. There are three all spread out on Reseda Blvd - one at Sherman Way (the one I frequent), a second at Parthenia, and a third at San Fernando Mission (I think).
I've been to most of the Chinese restaurants which the respondents named so far, and for my money, the one I like best in the Valley is Yang Chow in Woodland Hills on Tampa across from Nordstrom. A&W Seafood on Reseda just north of Nordhoff is a close second.
As for excellent northern Italian, my recommendation is Tiramisu on Ventura at Woodman. Its not cheap but its excellent.