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Jun 28, 2009 05:02 PM

Sherman Oaks: is there any place worth crossing the hills for?

I was born and raised in West L.A. I have spent a lot of time exploring far south and far east in LA but I have avoided the valley like rotten fruit. It seems semi ridiculous that I have been so close though and yet I am still so ignorant. So I am putting out a call for restaurants, dives, and stands for which it is worth traversing up the 405. I of course and not talking about chain restaurants of any kind. Show me the errors of my ways.

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  1. You are correct. I have lived in Encino for 30 years. There is lots of o.k. food but not worth a drive. Not one great destination place in my opinion.

    1. i'll make the drive for two israeli restaurants in the valley:
      itzah hagadol in encino
      hummus bar and grill in tarzana.

      there are no similar restaurants on the westside.

      1. If you want ethnic, head for the Valley. If you are talking about high-end palaces with bills to match, stay home.

        On the higher end I enjoy Max's and the zillions of sushi-ya in Studio City.

        As for ethnic dives, if you'll tell us what you like we can guide you better. In general, Middle Eastern other than Persian, Thai, Central American and Vietnamese are better in the Valley than the Westside.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          i'd avoid max.

          here is the very short review of my last experience there:

        2. For a unique pastry experience, try Natas on Ventura Blvd. While they do have some pretty standard standards, we go for their Portuguese-style pastries, both sweet as well as savory. I am sure others exist, but Natas is the only place I know of around the general LA area that offers this collection of goodies.

          Natas Pastries
          13317 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: bulavinaka

            Definitely unique and authentic pastries. Just be prepared to scrape the lard (I think) from the roof of your mouth.

          2. Simon's Cafe at the bottom of the Sepulveda pass has great Parisian syle couscous.

            For Israeli food I like Sassi Mediterranean Restaurant at Ventura and Haskell in Encino and the Golan on Victory between Fulton and Coldwater.

            The Mexican food in the valley is also excellent. As are the Thai places in North Hollywood. And there are tons of very good Pho restaurants. Most of these places are more reasonably priced than places on the westside.

            Simon's Café
            4515 Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

            Golan Kosher Restaurant
            13075 Victory Blvd North, Hollywood, CA

            Sassi Restaurant
            15622 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436

            6 Replies
            1. re: caille en sarcophage

              what mexican food in the valley is excellent?

              1. re: perk

                Poco's Mexican Restaurant in Canoga Park.

                1. re: perk

                  I like Salsa & Beer on White Oak and Vanowen. Las Fuentes is good also and seems to be a Chowhound stand-by.

                  1. re: perk

                    Love the beef (machaca) tacos at La Fogata on Van Nuys/Magnolia. $2 each. I just wish they gave some chips away for free. parking is a bit of a mess.

                    1. re: dip22

                      Parking at La Fogata is a breeze compared to most places on the Westside. Though the undersized lot is usually full, there's always been street parking within 1/2 a block in my many, many visits. The bean & cheese burrito, served wet (you have to ask), is simply fantastic. They actually have exceptionally good refried beans, as crazy as that may sound. And the fresh-made chips and salsa are great, and cost all of fifty cents for a two-person-sized order.

                      La Fogata Mexican Restaurant
                      5142 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                  2. re: caille en sarcophage

                    Agreed about Simon's. The lamb tagine or couscous royale (including homemade merguez sausage) are my favorites. It's one the places I've found worth driving over the Sepulveda Pass for.