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Moving to the Valley, what's good?- Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys

After 3 years on the Westside, I've decided to take the plunge and move over the hill. My new place is just off the 405 on Burbank Blvd. I've heard of a few places that seem interesting, but nothing has really stood out. I'm going to need new go-to's like: Pizza, breakfast, sandwich, take-out (all the asian styles), burgers and something that's reliably good to take visitors. Nightlife recommendations like a good neighborhood bar are also welcome.

I like to stay away from the chains but I'm not too proud to hit up the Zankou that I spotted when I decided on my new place.


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  1. There's been a recent spate of discussions on Van Nuys. Brent's in Northridge really impressed me recently. Great corned beef and pastrami.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Ogawak

      A must try place is Puro Sabor for Peruvian.

      1. re: Galen

        Puro Sabor is definitely on my list of places to try while in the Valley. I don't live here, but my wife goes to a massage place around here. Exciting new territory for rrestaurants.

      2. re: Ogawak

        I will second Brent's. One of the best deli's in LA.

        1. re: wienermobile

          Oh yea, have to try Brent's. Just amazing. Love their Corned Beef!

      3. Barone's pizza on Oxnard & Woodman - The BEST!!!! It's on the chowhound best Pizza list!
        There is also Carney's for chili dogs & such on Ventura
        Art's Deli in Studio City on Ventura is always great too!

        1. for columbian food, absolutely try:
          La Perla Del Pacifico
          12727 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

          they are located in an ethnic shopping mall--don't be deterred.
          absolutely fantastic food

          1 Reply
          1. Robin Hoods for shepards pie and fish and chips. Also a cute little pub. Sorry my link didn't post. On Burbank Blvd in Sherman Oaks.

            1. Amir's Falafel No 2
              11711 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

              4356 Woodman Ave, Sherman Oaks

              1. Natas for great Portuguese pastries and lunches.

                1. I live right in the same 'hood. Here you go:

                  Pizza - Lido Pizza on Victory and Sepulveda. Been around for 50 or so years, because they have frickin' great pizza. Crispy yet chewy crust, zesty very tasty tomato-y sauce, generous real cheese, and generous toppings.

                  Chinese - Really tasty, fairly cheap Americanized food at Bamboo Forest, Burbank and Kester. They use all white meat chicken, really tender. We love the shrimp sizzling rice soup, orange chicken (the BEST you'll ever have) or orange shrimp, chicken in hot schezuan (sp?) garlic sauce, mu shu anything, crispy chicken or shrimp, and shrimp in lobster sauce.

                  Breakfast - Nat's Early Bite, Burbank and Hazeltine. Awesome waffles, pancakes and tons of other stuff as well. Get there early, the lines can get long on weekends but it's for a damn good reason...great food! Cafe style atmosphere.

                  Sandwiches - no real good true sandwich place around. Oh, you can get various falafels, subway garbage, wraps etc. but no real good sandwich shop around here.

                  Sushi - Little Island Sushi at 14622 Ventura Blvd. Newest incarnation of the Brothers Sushi resto in Woodland Hills, the only sushi place where EVERY TIME I've gone (for about the past 15 years), it's been excellent. Well, LI just opened a few months ago and I finally tried it. I have to say it's similarly excellent in quality to Brothers, plus very friendly service. I love their halibut and yellowtail sushi, the Treasure Box roll, and the Green Island roll.

                  Do a search of these boards, and you'll find other restos such that you should NEVER have to step foot inside Zankou or another chain! Good luck!

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: GK in SO

                    There is an Armenian deli/sandwich place on the NE corner of Burbank & Kester that I have heard is quite good, been there seemingly forever. Also heard some good things regarding El Katracho on the SE corner of same intersection, just east of the Chevron( which has some of the cheapest gas prices in the area).
                    99 Ranch Market center at Victory & Sepulveda, NE Corner, has a pho shop and a Sam Woo BBQ adjacent to it, while there is another pho shop on the NW corner of the same intersection in the mini-mall with El Pollo Loco(to be avoided).
                    Many like Springbok on Victory west of the 405 around Woodley or so, which is south African in focus, sort of.
                    Get used to Vallarta markets, meaning at least the one at Victory & Woodley. Good deli, produce, and a variety and prices that are hard to beat.
                    Also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Gelson's on Van Nuys Blvd. just south of the 101 has superb produce, and the friendliest staff between Valley Village and Encino. Adjacent to Best Buy.
                    The Little Island sushi GK in SO referred to above is on the 2nd floor of La Reina shopping center on Ventura two blocks west of Van Nuys Blvd. Always well thought of operation in Woodland Hills, now in Sherman Oaks. Also, Iwata and House of Taka in that same area for additional sushi options.
                    Thai food - sherman Way, between Fulton & Bellaire, meaning just east of coldwater Canyon, or one on Vanowen in that same area. Forget the rest by comparison.
                    Carnival has quite good middle eastern/Lebanese food on Woodman between Moorpark and Ventura.
                    Stanleys on Ventura two blocks west of Woodman, corner Matilija, has a great patio out behind the restaurant, and on nice sunny days, it cannot be beaten, and the food is quite good, salads number around 10-12 in number and the portions are huge, tastes are very good. Been there 25 years, so something must be right.
                    Bamboo in Sherman Oaks and Kung Pao Bistro in Studio City only are the Chinese places of choice.
                    Boneyard Bistro probably has the best quality food, with Mistral also in the running for that award.
                    Italian is basically a dead issue - tied among 10 different places, with none really any better than any of the rest - truly ho-hum selection.
                    San Remo Italian on Victory is being converted to the Matterhorn, which will provide a combination of German, Swiss and Italian food. Should open not long after you arrive. Owners used to have a place where Barone's is now located.
                    Quite a few Indian places, and they all seem about the same to me, yet others may offer preferences subsequent to this post.

                      1. re: carter

                        These are generally okay recs, except for Bamboo and Kung Pao Bistro. Both are dreadful. For decent Chinese -- not spectacular, but solid -- the best bets are Sam Woo BBQ at Victory/Sepulveda and Bamboo Forest on Burbank and Kester.

                        For Italian, Spumoni on Ventura, just west of Van Nuys is your best bet. They specialize in gnocchi and have a fantastic bolognese sauce.

                        For takeout Mexican, Pico, Pica, Rica at Magnolia, just east of Kester is one of the better options. All the tortillas are handmade and the huaraches and carnitas are quite good. I prefer to go to one of the El Taco Llamas in North Hollywood in a pinch. There also is a market on Kester, just past the busway (on the west side of the street) that has a carniceria in back. They have decent guisados.

                        El Carrusel on Kester at Victory has great pupusas, as well as good pastries.

                        For Thai, North Hollywood is your best option. Thai n I in Encino has very good chicken and ribs.

                        La Frite is a decent option for salads and hamburgers (served open face).

                        1. re: Jwsel

                          Your idea of dreadful makes me wonder about the rest of your recommendations.
                          Spumoni does gnocchi, but that is never a reason for me to eat Italian food.

                        2. re: carter

                          respectfully disagree with your recommendation of kung pao bistro.
                          to my palate, the food there is yuck.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Only the Studio City location, not the Sherman Oaks location - they are different owners, different menus, etal.
                            Studio City is a vegetarian's dream, in that they probably have over 20 entrees with the soy fake meat product that I frequently order.

                            1. re: carter

                              That's news to me. I've been going to the Studio City location almost since they opened many years ago and know Jimmy, the owner, quite well. Which dishes use " fake meat" and does the menu reflect this?

                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                There is one whole page of nothing but "fake meat", aka vegetarian dishes with soy-based items. Be glad to "meat" you there some night and introduce you to the vegetarian menu that many revere, yet many more have not discovered.

                                1. re: carter

                                  My apology, Carter. It seems I misunderstood your post. Yes, they certainly do have a vegetarian menu using 'fake meat' . My interpretation of what you said implied that ' fake' was being passed off as real meat.

                          2. re: carter

                            You're right about Thai food; Sanamluang is, by far, the best. It's open 24 hrs and all the Thai people in the area eat there.
                            Also right about the Kung Pao China Bistro in Studio City being the best Chinese place.
                            I would also recommend Mom's BBQ Kitchen on Hazeltine and Vanowen. A 'hole-in-the-wall creole style place with an "A" on the door and several awards to their credit..
                            For hamburgers that are really cholesterol sandwiches you must try Boulevard Burgers on Ventura in Woodland Hills. And, just up the street, is Zano's for Italian. They have a spicy Cajun pasta that is superb.

                            Kung Pao Bistro
                            11402 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                            Boulevard Burgers
                            21718 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

                          3. re: GK in SO

                            I agree on Lido's. I love the "spicy" version of their pizza and their wonderful home-made pastas!! Yum!

                          4. OK, having done the same a year or two ago, my thoughts... I live a little north of you, so my choices will be a little north.

                            Vinh Loi Tofu on Sherman Way west of Reseda. The guy is a genius with tofu at this vegan palace. Wonderful vietnamese soups, and meals. Highly recommend it.

                            Will try and jump back on with more...


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: saulomite

                              second the vinh loi tofu recommendation.
                              i like it so much that i drive there from playa del rey

                              1. re: saulomite

                                And a few feet from there is Sandwich Express. I love their banh mi, especially the #6 grilled pork.

                                1. re: saulomite

                                  Love Vinh Loi Tofu. LOVE.

                                  Also for a great jewish bakery, bea's bakery in Tarzana. Not cheap but very well executed eastern european baked goods.


                                  Good luck!

                                  Vinh Loi Tofu
                                  18625 Sherman Way Ste 101, Reseda, CA 91335

                                2. Casa Vega on Ventura for Mexican food, bad lighting, and celebrities. Senor Fred for Mexican food and bad lighting. Rive Gauche on Ventura between Van Nuys and Woodman for amazing food, amazing wine, and great lighting (including a fireplace). Nat's early bite for breakfast. There is a great Argentinian restaurant/grocery on Sepulveda and Roscoe for incredibly fresh empanadas (it has a blue and white awning). Blow off Cafe Bizou. It's gone way down. Welcome to the neighborhood.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Jodie

                                    Casa Vega is the El Coyote of the Valley, yet with celebrities and bad lighting. Senor Fred's food is quite a bit better, and the lighting is quite dark as well, yet there is room to maneuver around, unlike the vega.
                                    Carrillo's Deli on Sherman Way, SW corner Corbin, just west of Smart & Final, has very good Mexican food served in a fast food looking dining room, beer and wine, they make their own tortillas and guac, and is more than worth the out of the way trip. Have catered many a party from there over the years.
                                    If John O'Groats might have been your thing on the west side, well, they now have one in Encino. Didn't do it for me, yet ymmv.

                                    1. re: carter

                                      just a note, Carter: that Smart and Final has closed.

                                      1. re: jencounter

                                        thanks for the update. Any signage regarding what might be replacing it?

                                        1. re: carter

                                          No, not yet - only signs directing customers to the new Smart and Final Extra.

                                          1. re: carter

                                            the S&F is now at Sherman Way and Mason, where Albertson's used to be. next to Star's Burgers.

                                      2. re: Jodie

                                        As kids we called Casa Vega Hernando's Hideaway because of that bad lighting. :-) That place is like the tardis it looks smaller on the outside than the inside.

                                        1. re: Jodie

                                          I have to agree about Cafe Bizou. Worst sweetbreads I've ever had.

                                          Cafe Bizou
                                          91 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

                                        2. PS: the Oyster House. I think it's on Moorpark. Sandra Tsing Loh just wrote a great article on it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Jodie

                                            Oysterhouse on a saturday afternoon, music, cold beer, burger or fish and chips..........always a good time.

                                          2. I go to Van Nuys for work occasionally. There's a Nayarit style mariscos place on the NE corner of Vanowen and Kester. I tried it once so far. Had a decent camarones cucaracha, although it wasn't in the same league as Mariscos Chente. The ceviche mixto was ok - not brilliant, but it's good enough for me to check out again.

                                            Sorry, don't recall the name, but check that intersection.

                                            I second or third Puro Sabor. I also like Brats Brothers in Sherman Oaks, if you're a sausage kind of person.

                                            Puro Sabor
                                            6366 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

                                            Brats Brothers
                                            13456 1/2 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Professor Salt

                                              PS - If this is the one diagonally across from DMV, then it is Mariscos Las Islitas.

                                              1. re: carter

                                                That's it, carter. There's a Salvadoran place on the SE corner of that intersection that caught my eye. Haven't tried it though. Have you?

                                                1. re: Professor Salt

                                                  No, I actually have not tried either of them.
                                                  I find Salvadoran food just too heavy for my taste. Papusas and empanadas generally sit like lead for way tooooo long.

                                                  1. re: carter

                                                    Yeah, they can be kinda heavy, especially when they're clumsily made.

                                                    If anyone else does like pupusas, I stumbled on some good ones at a Salvadoran place in a seedy strip mall on the NE corner of Roscoe Blvd & Noble Ave, across the street from Vista Middle School. Again, forget the name of the place, but I liked 'em there. Nicely thin masa, properly charred. Limited choice of fillings, but I liked their version of the revuelta

                                            2. If you want to venture to Noho, EAT on Magnolia has really great breakfasts (order the Neds Shreds as a side!)

                                              1. Shoot down Sepulveda just past Ventura and there's Blue Dog Beer Tavern on that little side street behind the Whole Foods market. Great burgers and fries, and an interesting selection of beers.

                                                1. I'm in your 'hood. A few more for you:
                                                  Tony's Mexican Grill - Magnolia and Coldwater. Good grilled Seafood and the usual fare. Delivery as well.
                                                  Santino's Pizza - Woodman near Ventura. NY Style (get the square), small and family run.
                                                  QT's Chicago Dogs - Woodman and Moorpark, same center as Carnival. Dogs and Gyro's
                                                  Bars are spotty but find your crowd. Robin's Hood as previously mentioned, Ireland's 32 (woodman and burbank) for music and pub grub, Chimney Sweep (same center as QT and Carnival) for a true dive bar and the Fox Fire Room at Magnolia and Whitsett.
                                                  Marv's Deli - Magnolia and Whitsett, makes a far better corned beef or pastrami sandwich than Jerry's, Solley's etc and less of a schlep to Brent's.
                                                  Pita Kitchen - Van Nuys just South of Ventura, parking sucks but food is good.
                                                  And Firehouse Cafe, Victory and Reseda, for killer Gyro's
                                                  Happy eating and drinking

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: foodnmusic

                                                    Good list.
                                                    Have not been to Marv's in forever, yet always went when I worked in the office building next to jerry's in Studio City or to Rena's Kosher Deli on Burbank west of Whitsett when it was open, decades ago.

                                                    1. re: carter

                                                      Nothing has changed. It's still the same husband (look at this corned beef!) and wife running the place!

                                                  2. If you get on the west side of the Valley, the "Tampa/Winnetka Corridor" has some real gems.

                                                    Tampa Chinese Delight, SW corner of Tampa and Roscoe in Reseda for the best Xiao Long Bao in the valley and a fantastic family run atmosphere.

                                                    Brent's Deli on Parthenia and Corbin. May be the LA area's best deli.

                                                    Daglas on Winnetka and Vanowen for great greasy french fries. Couple them with the Cupid dogs next store for an iconic west Valley guilty pleasure.

                                                    Curry Bowl at Ventura and Corbin for Sri Lankan.

                                                    As mentioned on this thread, Carillo's Mexican Deli (Sherman Way W of Corbin) and QT Chicago Style Hot Dogs (The shopping plaza at Tampa and Victory has a branch) are winners.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Wheggi

                                                      2nd Tampa Garden Chinese Delight. If you're into red velvet cake, check out "Gourmet On the Go" (pizza/spaghetti joint) a few blocks north of the 101 on Sepulveda.

                                                      1. re: Wheggi

                                                        And dip Daglas's fries into the Cupid's chili - brings back great memories from High School!! ;-) Thanks!

                                                      2. 1. San Marcos Mexican Grill: Below the corner of Hazeltine and Oxnard. There is a taco stand on the weekends until midnight. Amazing tacos. I'm spoiled, now I can't go anywhere else in the vicinity for tacos. Delicious tortas, burritos, carne asada, salsas everything. $5 lunch special. I always get some form of beef, the chicken was nothing special. I want to try everything on the menu but the other stuff is so good that I never do! I go at least once a week. Good service.

                                                        2. Beba's Saltenas: Same intersection, northeast corner. Bolivian food. The SALTEƱAS ARE AMAZING. They are like empanadas, but very juicy on the inside. They have the south american style egg and raisins in there with the beef. The pastry itself was hard like a desert pastry, not like any of the other empanadas I've ever tried. I have no idea how they got all that juiciness in there. Delicious. The cinnamon-peach drink (reminded me of spiced apple cider) and the purple corn drink (maybe it was just the color, but reminded me of jamaica) were delicious. Not sure yet what to think about black potatoes and other entrees. The standard "carne-asada"-like plate was tasty, kinda what you'd expect, but juicy not grilled. Only problem, very little parking, pull into the driveway on the right if you dare (there are about 5 spots in there). But, there is tons of parking on the side street (across the street), adjacent to a bunch of car repair places. Very good service. Lovely outdoor patio. This is a tough location...especially with parking, but the actual restaurant is a little haven in an ugly industrial corner of Van Nuys. Help me keep it open =)

                                                        1. During the warm nights in the Valley, of which their are more than enough, our favorite romantic go to spot with a quiet, dark and beautiful patio is Rive Gauche on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks. I like their French Onion soup and their seafood brochette and my wife always gets the pate de maison and usually the chicken and angel hair pasta.

                                                          Rive Gauche Cafe
                                                          14106 Ventura Blvd Ste 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            Really like some aspects of Rive Gauche as well, yet the inconsistencies in the kitchen steer me away. Property owners and restaurant operators are seldom a quality match, and this is case in point.
                                                            If they got a well-trained chef, this place could be a knockout. As it is now, all it does is live in the shadow of Cafe Bizou, and of course a bunch of trees!!!

                                                            1. re: carter

                                                              We don't go for the brilliant food. If it's brilliant food that is on our agenda we go to Animal of late. But for a romantic evening out after nearly 25 years of marriage Rive Gauche offers something else that is in short supply in LA. A comfortable, quiet (I love being able to have an intimate conversation with my wife at a "normal" db level) and romantic setting where we feel transported away from the every day cares and problems for a couple of hours. And all that for about $100 out the door, including two before dinner cocktails. Whatever they're doing, I hope they keep right on doing it for the foreseeable future.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                I will agree with your assessment on the ambiance, yet feel the food is like Cafe Bizou, neither of which have me returning. If only the food were better...

                                                          2. For a reliably good dinner, head to MIstral on ventura in Sherman Oaks. Great food and service in a lovely room.

                                                            1. Try Jinky's on Ventura at Hazeltine for breakfast, great crunchy french toast. Irelands 32 on Burbank at Woodman is a good place for some music and a drink but the food at the Robin Hood a block a way is better.

                                                              Skip Casa Vega. Overpriced, mediocre food and drink and even worse service.

                                                              A little further away, the Hummus Bar in Tarzana is great!

                                                              Jinky's Cafe
                                                              14120 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                                              Irelands 32
                                                              13721 Burbank Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

                                                              Casa Vega Restaurant
                                                              13301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                                              1. Being a valley girl myself, the first glib thing I wanted to say was "nothing." But then I remembered a great meal I had last week at a place called the Boneyard in Sherman Oaks. Whoa...great BBQ kinda upscale. Good wine list.

                                                                1. in encino,
                                                                  for israeli food:
                                                                  itzik hagadol,
                                                                  worth my drive from playa del rey

                                                                  1. Fish in the Village is a kosher fish market/restaurant in a strip mall on the southeast corner of Burbank and Whitsett. Excellent quality, decent prices, nice people.

                                                                    I didn't see Skaf's listed anywhere on this thread. Its a bit east of you, Laurel Cyn and Oxnard, but worth the trip

                                                                    Don Felix is a new Mexican sandwich place on southwest corner of Kester and Victory. Really good "Mexican burgers."

                                                                    Farm Boy on Riverside and Hazeltine for takeout sushi.

                                                                    The Kebab Factory is an Armenian grocer on southeast corner of Oxnard and Woodman. They just started offering takeout plates grilled on real mesquite. Also have Armenian pizza.

                                                                    Lastly the Farmers' Mkt at Fashion Square on Tuesdays has some excellent choices including a really good BBQ booth.

                                                                    Welcome to the neighborhood.

                                                                    Don Felix Restaurant
                                                                    305 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ebethsdad

                                                                      Is Don Felix the cemitas poblanas place in the strip mall? If so, it has been there for years. The cemitas are pretty good.

                                                                      On the northeast corner is El Carrusel, a decent bakery with great pupusas.

                                                                      I recently tried San Marcos Mexican Grill on Hazeltine, just south of Oxnard (formerly in the location of El Jerezano). The tacos were very good (and the chorizo taco was not overly greasy) and on weekends they have menudo and birria (both beef and goat). I really liked the flavor and tenderness of the goat birria, which was served with fantastic homemade tortillas. (The tacos don't seem to be served on the same tortillas, which is a shame.) On Fridays through Sundays, they have a taco cart outside that will be serving until midnight. When you eat in the restaurant, they serve a bowl of frijoles for dipping.

                                                                      San Marcos Mexican Grill
                                                                      5937 Hazeltine Ave, Los Angeles, CA 91401

                                                                      1. re: Jwsel

                                                                        Isn't El Carrusel on the NE corner? Or am I thinking of another bakery? And I think the cemitas poblanas place kitty corner is Don Adrian. Or is there also a sandwich shop called Don Felix too? Now I'm confused.


                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          You're right. It is on the NE corner. I'll fix my earlier post.

                                                                        2. re: Jwsel

                                                                          Swore I drove by recently and remember Jerezano's sign. Is it no longer? Not that I spend much time in that immediate intersection, but...
                                                                          Talk to us.

                                                                          1. re: carter

                                                                            It still has the neon "Tacos" sign, but it's definitely a new name and a new menu. The layout is the same, except they have nicer chairs to sit at and they have TVs showing games. The old menu is on the wall, so that is a little confusing since the items and prices don't always match. They also added a salsa bar, with several options.

                                                                      2. I've just made the same move, from the Westside (10 years) to basically the corner of Burbank and van nuys. Was hoping to bump up this thread and get some more recent advice. All kinds of food recs appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                        1. re: foodfind

                                                                          Well, not a restaurant recommendation, but if you buy alcohol, you should know about Mission & Spirits on Burbank just east of the corner of Woodman. Really good prices and selection on all spirits, especially vodka, cognac/brandy, tequila, champagne.
                                                                          Wine selection quite good, but not their strongest attribute. What they do carry, however, is well-priced.

                                                                          1. re: foodfind

                                                                            There's a fairly new Thai food place called Inthanon Thai that opened up a few months ago at Burbank/Whitsett next to Bar One that I just got around to trying last weekend. I ordered the coconut soup, Pad See Ew and one of their specialties, Inthanon Fried Rice. The fried rice comes topped with slices of their homemade Northern Thai sausage. Everything tasted great, this will be my new go to Thai spot in the Valley! The standout was definitely the sausage, which was very flavorful (lemongrass, curry paste, kaffir lime, etc.) and had a nice spicy kick to it as well. I used to live in Hollywood and go to Thai town all the time when I had a craving for Tom Kha - Inthanon definitely fits the bill, I'm just bummed I waited so long to try it!

                                                                            1. re: chris1621

                                                                              Thanks Chris! Good info.

                                                                              Also, Pizza Rev just opened on Van Nuys & Burbank..$7.99 pizzas.

                                                                              I do love Four & 20, their pies, soups are good and you can sit and smoke on the patio with your dog. Great for large groups.

                                                                              I just had the Friday clam chowder at Corkys and it was surprisingly good!

                                                                              1. re: chewbacca

                                                                                Coconut cream pies there ?????

                                                                                So Oyster House is pretty good.

                                                                              2. re: chris1621

                                                                                I posted in the original thread, but figure I'll just post new.

                                                                                Sri Siam at Vanowen and Coldwater also has phenomenal Thai. There are great threads on it, but the northern Thai specialties like the crispy rice salad and the fish with Thai herbs are not to be missed. Also, Krua Thai on Sherman Way in North Hollywood has no shortage of posts. It is still the go-to place for pad thai. The ribs and chicken at Thai 'n' I in Encino are still fantastic.

                                                                                For BBQ, Smoke City BBQ on Van Nuys, just south of Chandler, has great brisket. I'm meh on most of their other stuff. For fried chicken, southern desserts, and, depending on if you like it slightly sweet, mac 'n' cheese, Mom's BBQ at Hazeltine and Vanowen is excellent.

                                                                                There are a lot of good taquerias in the area. There are several El Taco Llamas, including one on Van Nuys Blvd.; Alberto's on Vanowen, just west of Van Nuys, has great rolled tacos and burritos (and is under new management, so they actually smile at you when you order); and Rigo's at Oxnard and Woodman has my favorite spicy salsa roja and pastor on a spit on weekends. The carniceria at the Vallarta markets -- there are several near you -- are great for takeout and I prefer their rotisserie chicken to the local markets and Costco. The tres leches cake at Vallarta is fantastic.

                                                                                For Vietnamese, I'm a fan of Pho 999 on Sepulveda at Victory (on the west side). Good, inexpensive pho and vermicelli.

                                                                                For Chinese, the Sam Woo BBQ across the street has a good takeout BBQ area and the dishes are about as good as you can get this side of the San Gabriel Valley. Green Village in Encino, just west of the 405 has some Shanghai specialties -- stick to the specials like the French Beef and the soy noodles, not the Americanized favorites (they don't do those as well). For Americanized Chinese, I recommend Bamboo Forest at the corner of Kester and Van Nuys. Great hot and sour soup, volcano/aromatic chicken, mu shu, and egg foo yung.

                                                                                MB Chinese at Woodman/Ventura (in the center with Jinky's) makes my list, but not really for its Chinese food. It has the best chicken wings in the area -- but skip the buffalo wings. They have something like 20 different flavors. My favorites are the General Tso's and the Salt and Pepper (a fried, crispy spicy wing). I still haven't tried most of the flavors though. MB also is one of the few places that have xiao long bao in the valley (they are decent) and do a nice green onion pancake.

                                                                                Someone mentioned the Armenian market/BBQ place. It's called Sweet One Bakery and Kebab Factory or sometimes The Kebab Factory. It's a hidden gem for buying inexpensive produce and meat at the butcher. They will also cook the meat. I was in there yesterday and, for under $13, bought 3/4 lb of marinated, boneless chicken breasts; 1/2 lb of seasoned ground bison for kebab/patties; two potatoes, two onions, a broccoli crown, 3 lbs of carrots, and a stalk of cilantro. The lamajeune -- like a very thin Armenian pizza -- that they sell at the bakery also is very good.

                                                                                A new breakfast and lunch place is BluJam at Ventura and Noble. It's always busy, but the food is quite good. It can definitely be a go-to brunch spot.

                                                                                Cafe Bizou is rather staid, but it is a reliable go-to place for dinner with visitors.

                                                                                Three Italian recommendations. For a good, casual neighborhood place, both Spumoni on Ventura, just west of Van Nuys, and Gio Cucina, also on Ventura, but west of the 405 in Encino, are good. Gio is a little more gourmet, but also a little more expensive. Both are good. I also recently had a great dinner at Oliva on Van Nuys, just north of Ventura, on Valentine's Day. The food was quite good and a friend of mine goes there regularly and sings its praises.

                                                                                Japanese has no shortage in the area, though the better sushi is west in Encino (Katsu-Ya), Tarzana (Sushi Iki), Woodland Hills (Sushi Ichiban Kan and Sushi Spot), and Canoga Park (Go's Mart), and east in Studio City (Kiwami, Katsu-Ya, and Sugarfish). For ramen, Yamadaya at Ventura and Noble is probably the best locally.

                                                                                I have to make a special mention of a place that has not been mentioned here, but Gyoro Gyoro in Encino (in the Bed Bath & Beyond center) is a great izakaya. There is a huge variety of small plates and they do a lot of different foods well.

                                                                                I definitely second the rec for Puro Sabor. Another Peruvian place that is worth trying is Takatis on Van Nuys (I believe it is just north of city hall). The chicken is just okay, but the specialty is the Sanguchon, a sandwich made with shredded chicken, fried yams, and a fried egg, topped with their special sauce. Jonathan Gold raved about it -- and he was right. The only problem is that, while the sandwich may be the cheapest item on their menu, it sometimes takes 20-30 minutes to make, so your wait can be interminable.

                                                                                Mendocino Farms just opened a branch at Hazeltine and Ventura. Parking sucks around there, so I haven't been in, but I like the other Mendocino Farms.

                                                                                Also, food trucks sometimes park in front of Guitar Center on Ventura, just west of Hazeltine, and on Tuesday nights, there usually are a few that park in the lot in front of Pep Boys/Costco on Sepulveda.

                                                                                For burgers, you might try Outlaw Cafe on Van Nuys north of Oxnard. I was meh on the burger, but it does get great reviews -- and is big. The steak fries are basically fried quartered potatoes. I hear great things about the burgers at the Blue Dog Tavern, which is o Saugus, just east of Sepulveda and south of Ventura. For fast food burgers, you have In 'n Out at Van Nuys and Moorpark and Fatburger at Ventura and Beverly Glen. There are Umami, Counter and Five Guys in Studio City.

                                                                                For pizza, I tend to go with Mulberry on Ventura, west of Sepulveda. I've never tried Lido's at Sepulveda and Victory, though I have heard good things about it -- it's takeout only, no delivery. Joe's in the Fashion Square mall is also pretty good, but expensive.

                                                                                1. re: Jwsel

                                                                                  This is a great list! One omission is Ramen Omae on Van Nuys. In my opinion they are even better than Yamadaya which is a very good place. At any rate thank you Jwsel. Lots of good info here.

                                                                                2. re: chris1621

                                                                                  There's a fairly new Thai food place called Inthanon Thai
                                                                                  Is this americanized thai (like rustic spoon) or legit thai (like sri siam)?

                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                    I've never been to Rustic Spoon, but Inthanon Thai is definitely legit. Their website is still "coming soon", but here is the menu posted on the eat24hours.com site:


                                                                                3. re: foodfind

                                                                                  Practically walking distance to you is Smoke City BBQ which some love and some feel is inconsistent (I am of the latter persuasion - still it is worth trying). Definitely visit Puro Sabor just up Van Nuys from you. Not sure if it is mentioned above but Lola's on Kester and Victory is a wonderful Peruvian wood-roasted chicken dive. They have great greasy French fries but the rest of their sides aren't worth it. Nice people. Armenian pizza at Royal Pizza on Woodman and Oxnard is good, as well as the Armenian BBQ at the adjoining market/butcher shop. Market sushi at Farm Boy on Hazeltine and Riverside is a surprisingly good and affordable. Farm Boy is adding all sorts of things like juices, salads, and Korean specialties, in addition their frozen yogurt and excellent produce. Last, but not least check out the Studio City Farmers' Market on Sunday mornings. Enjoy the neighborhood.

                                                                                  1. re: ebethsdad

                                                                                    Second the Armenian pizza at Royal Pizza.

                                                                                    It isn't even on the overhead board, but it is on the pamphlet. Soujuk and basturma - oh, yummy. I always add red onions (why not - only 50 cents more on the individual size).

                                                                                  2. re: foodfind

                                                                                    The Cemitas joint in Van Nuys is solid. Try the "jerky" sandwich, even though beef Milanesa, fried breaded beef sandwich is prolly the most common sandwich in Cemitas restaurants. Tasty.

                                                                                    My favorite Cemitas is still south of dtla, from a truck, called El Monchis or something like that. Much larger, a little tastier, bigger avocado and cheese thick slices too.

                                                                                    However, I'll be going back more than once to the Van Nuys place. Just started working in an office there, next to Beeps, which is good, but if don't think I'll frequent.

                                                                                    Ord Noodles was excellent. Pho So 1 on Sepulveda was good.

                                                                                    1. re: tenxtone76

                                                                                      I just drove by this truck on Cesar Chavez East of State St. I'll keep an eye out for it in the future and give it a try.

                                                                                      1. re: tenxtone76

                                                                                        With your mention of El Monchis and my having then noticed it yesterday driving by, I gave it a try today and had a great 1st time Cemitas experience. I definitely enjoyed the carnitas more than the milanesa. If I had a nit to pick, it would be that there wasn't enough chipotle. The bites without chipotle were lacking in seasoning.

                                                                                    2. For a good sandwich, try a Bobbie from Capriotti's in Encino

                                                                                      1. At some point, you will want pizza, and will not want to drive over the hill to VITO's. I like Santino's and Salvemini's In both cases I always order "thin" as in thinner than you normally make it.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: orythedog

                                                                                          So order thin at Santinos or Salverjnis ?????

                                                                                          Any addresses on these since the names are so pedestrian ?????


                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                            Santino's is on Woodman Avenue just north of Ventura Blvd. on the west side of the street.

                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                              Sorry, my bad, I was day dreaming about PIE.

                                                                                              Salvemini's Italian Kitchen
                                                                                              15030 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
                                                                                              (818) 788-1990

                                                                                              4319 Woodman Ave
                                                                                              Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
                                                                                              (818) 784-3226

                                                                                          2. thanks all for the latest recommendations. i'm getting hungry just thinking of all my new options. keep them coming!

                                                                                            thanks again

                                                                                            1. The BBQ dip at Smoke City Market, Van Nuys Blvd, north of Magnolia.