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Mar 24, 2009 11:08 PM

Dinner near Universal Studios


My wife & I will be seeing a show at Universal 4/3/09 @ 8:30pm. Any recommendations near by would be helpful. We will be driving from the Westside. We like most types of food. Under $50pp


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  1. It's not high cuisine but I love Micelli's - it is just down the street from Universal and has a fun atmosphere and yummy traditional Italian food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: OCElizabeth

      thank you, we went there about 5 yrs ago & do remember that the food was good

      1. re: OCElizabeth

        It's definitely convenient, but I'm afraid it's gone downhill foodwise (I was there late last year).

        1. re: maxzook

          Oh that's a bummer, I haven't been there in a about 2.5 years, so I apologize if my recommendation was inaccurate

          1. re: OCElizabeth

            After I wrote that I realized I was talking about the Miceli's on Las Palmas in Hollywood. So there may still be hope for Universal City ... ;)

      2. I really like Laurel Tavern, although it can get crowded, but maybe okay for a Wednesday night. More of a "gastropub" atmosphere (you order at the bar), so not sure what you are looking for. There are tons of sushi restaurants on Ventura - I recently tried Kawami and it was very good. If you search the board Ca' Del Sol comes up a lot. For pizza and someplace casual, I like Caioti Pizza Cafe.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Obessed

          Has the service at Laurel Tavern improved? Went there a six or eight months back and wanted to strangle someone. I get the order at the bar deal and the bartender was great. The food runners on the other hand were not the sharpest knifes in the drawer. I really hope the service improves as the food is great, how can you not like fries cooked in pork fat?

          1. re: StephenB323

            I think I was there back in December and I didn't really notice the bad I guess that's a good sign :-)

            1. re: StephenB323

              On my last visit to Laurel Tavern, it was the bartender who seemed flustered and confused in taking food orders. Either way, it's not good when you're on a timetable to make it to a performance.

              1. re: StephenB323

                I went last night, around 8:00, and it wasn't too bad. One of the food runners asked how many were in our party and got us a table fairly quickly even though the place was HOPPING.

                We slipped him a tip for thanks, and placed our order, which came out pretty quickly -- especially considering, again, how busy the place was.

                We had the Laurel Burger and the Hickory Burger; having tried their Pork Fat Fries previously and despising them, we opted for sides of the House Fries instead.

                The burgers were cooked perfectly, and were tasty ... though I preferred my Laurel Burger to the Hickory, as I'm not so much into BBQ Burgers. The fries were decent, though not remarkable. As an avid Fry/Frite lover, these are not worth making a special trip for, that's for certain.

                All-in-all, despite how crazy the place was, service was pretty good.

                1. re: StephenB323

                  I was there last month, and the service was just as bad as the first week the place opened. It took us 35 minutes to our burger and the place wasn't even packed. The service is definitely something the management needs to address.


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                1. Living just up the hill from the area I have to say it is a bit of a challenge to find decent restaurants near Universal.

                  On Cahuenga there is California Canteen which has northern European fare with an emphasis on French. Very hit or miss, have had on great steak frites and one horrible one. 30-45 per person depending on wine.

                  Further down the street is Micelli's. I know everyone's opinion is different on this place but I can't stand it. I have really wanted to like it as it is so close but I find a singing staff a bit over the top and the food marginal at best. At Universal there is a Bucca di Bepo which you would be better off with. Sorry for the rant but being Italian I guess I just expect too much.

                  Further down Cahuenga is about the best Sushi place I have ever been too, and that includes many I have tried in Tokyo. It is Sushi Nozawa and has a celebrity following but has never gotten crazy like Katsuya so don’t hold it against the place. Last time there I had black cod which was truly amazing and seen very rarely in other sushi joints. Two caviots though, ambiance is nill and the price is going to be a bit high. Expect 75 per person but really you will be impressed by the fish.

                  Further down Ventura is Lala’s Grill, sister restaurant to Lala’s on Melrose. Menu is Argentinean and they have decent Mollejas, just need to ask them to really char them. Salads are great and a bit on the light side. Expect around 35-45 per person depending on wine.

                  Ca Del Sole is nice and probably a better atmosphere in comparison to others in the area. Have only taken clients to lunch here so I can’t say what the dinner service is like but from what I remember the food was very decent.

                  Smoke House has been around for ever and is right across from the Warner lot. Steak is very good, although not great but then again a great steak is sometimes hard to find. Atmosphere is old Hollywood brown derbyish type joint. Should be around $50 per person.

                  Best of luck..Stephen

                  1. A few blocks north of Uni on Lankershim is an amazing Indian restaurant called 818 Masala. Or if you want something fancier you could stop by Max on your way (it's the same chef as Oinkster) for market driven cuisine..

                    Max Restaurant
                    13355 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                    818 Masala
                    4141 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602