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Encino...Help!

So I will be tucked away in Encino for 4 weeks with work. They pay for my meals so I have to live with chains that take AMEX for 90% of my meals ..but I do try to branch out and enjoy local flavor on my 1 day off a week. So I ask for your help in hunting down anything Chowhound worthy. I will have my own car so I will drive a reasonable amount of mileage. (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) I am also lucky enough to be travelling with a fledgling chow hound and have enjoyed recomendations from the boards in the past. So bring it ...please

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  1. Encino has a lot of nice options, I'll start with a short list and I'm sure you'll get lot's of other input. Most of these restaurants will have separate reviews here and many if not all will take AMEX.

    Steak: Larsen's Steak House
    Sushi: 4 on 1 Sushi; Hirosuke; Sushi Ike
    Indian: Taj Mahal
    Israeli: Itzhak Hagadol
    Chinese: Sam Woo; A&W BBQ Seafood
    Lebanese: Alcazar
    Italian: Spumoni

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bob Brooks

      That's a pretty good list to start. I'm not a big fan of Larsen's or Sushi 4 on 1 (I prefer Sushi Ike in Tarzana for high-end sushi and Hirosuke for cheaper, non-traditional rolls). Spumoni is in Sherman Oaks (on Ventura, west of Van Nuys(, Sam Woo is in Van Nuys (at Sepulveda and Victory), and A&W is in Northridge (Reseda and Prarie), so they are bit farther away.

      To add to the list, I would include:

      Vietnamese: The pho place (sorry, I can never remember its name) across from Sam Woo; La Baguette for banh mi sandwiches, particularly the BBQ pork (on Reseda, just north of Sherman Way

      Hot dogs: Fab Hot Dog (Tampa, just south of Vanowen). A variety of different hot dogs (do a search and you can get some details) and don't-miss tater tots.

      South African: Springbok (on Victory west of Woodley)

      Mexican: Vallarta (a supermarket on Victory, west of Woodley that has a carniceria with nice carnitas, a variety of tacos, and guisados); Las Fuentes (on Vanowen, east of Reseda, a casual sit-down place where you order at a counter); Melody's (sister restaurant to Las Fuentes on Reseda, just south of Vanowen)

      Mediterranean/Moroccan: Simon's Cafe (on Sepulveda, south of Ventura)

      Sampa Grill: Brazilian churrascaria (on Ventura, east of Hayvenhurst)

      Tapas/small plates: wine bar on Ventura, between White Oak and Reseda

      1. re: Bob Brooks

        re: A&W on Reseda and Sherman Way - i drive by it everyday and noticed there is one of those "public notification for change in ownership" signs in the window. i don't know if this is going to change the food or not, but i just thought i would throw that out there.

        1. re: Bob Brooks

          the Spumoni in Santa Monica is horrific. avoid avoid avoid.

          1. re: 1newyorkguy

            Yes, but the Spumoni in Sherman Oaks is very different -- a small store front that seems family-owned -- and quite good for a neighborhood Italian place. Since this is a thread about Encino, I doubt people would need to know about the one in Santa Monica.

            1. re: Jwsel

              I agree with Jwsel here... get the calamari affogati (simmered in tomato and white wine sauce—save your bread for the sauce) and pick your gnocchi. I've never been when a dish of spumoni or tiramisù didn't arrive gratis, so leave a little bit of room.

              Is it Angelini Osteria or Drago Centro? No. But it's a nice, friendly, neighbourhood Ital-Am place.

        2. It's 4 on 6, not 4 on 1.

          1. for Chinese, i love Tampa Garden on Tampa and Roscoe Blvd - it's in a strip mall and from the outside looks like a steam table, 2 item combo type place. but it's not at all. they make their own dumplings and cat ear noodles from scratch. every dish i have tried there has been excellent. they do Americanized Chinese and authentic dishes, so you can get a nice mix for a large crowd.

            for Mexican - i second the recos from Las Fuentes and Melody's. they have 3rd restaurant on Ventura and Corbin called Sol y Luna.

            Fab Hot Dogs is a must, as well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jelly71

              Second the rec for Sol y Luna. Close by in Northridge is Brent's Deli. Get the black pastrami reuben and cabbage soup.

              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                Brent's Deli is one of the best in all of LA.

                -----
                Brent's Deli
                19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

            2. One common thread to all these posts so far, is that virtually none are in Encino, so make sure you plan on driving elsewhere, as it is largely a gourmet wasteland.
              Cannot imagine your AMEX card will be useful in at least half of these places either, as they are smaller operators that will do the MC/Visa program.
              The Gelson's salad bar on Ventura & Hayvenhurst is very good at $6.95 a pound, as is the deli takeout section, btw., when you feel like staying local, regardless of credit card concerns.

              4 Replies
              1. re: carter

                "I will have my own car so I will drive a reasonable amount of mileage."

                And when did they move Itzhak Hagadol out of Encino? (or Alcazar for that matter)

                  1. re: carter

                    But ALL within easy driving distance for someone who already said they would travel "...a reasonable amount of mileage..." for good food.

                    1. re: carter

                      Actually, within Encino's georgraphic limits are Itzhak Hagadol, Alcazar, Sushi 4 on 6, Hirosuke, Larsen's, Sampa, Taj Mahal, and Vino. Given that Encino is a pretty small area -- Haskell to Lindley (about three miles) -- and the only stretch with restaurants is Ventura Blvd., that isn't too bad.

                      Oh, I forgot to include Thai 'n' I, which is a little storefront just west of White Oak that specializes in Thai BBQ ribs and chicken.

                      Some people also might consider Delmonico's, Katsuya, Cafe Carolina, Jingo (Japanese bbq), and Versailles as chowworthy places in Encino.

                1. IN ENCINO
                  and
                  THEY TAKE AMEX

                  itzik hagadol--
                  terrific israeli food
                  very reasonable prices
                  (they even have lunch specials)

                  17201 Ventura Bl
                  Encino Ca 91326
                  818-784-4080

                  to my palate, this restaurant is good enough for me to regularly make the drive from playa del rey. lucky you, you will already be in encino!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Hokkaido Seafood Buffet in Encino has an AYCE lunch for $9.99 that is really great and the restaurant is real nice looking. I just called, they take AMEX. .

                  2. For BBQ, Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks is great. Also, Brent's Deli and Fabs are must tries

                    -----
                    Boneyard Bistro
                    13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                    Brent's Deli
                    2799 Townsgate Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91361

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: valleygirl617

                      Hey thanks so much Guys/Girls ...I will do my best pour over your recs and report back when I'm done. Thanks Again :) Definently came through for me.

                      1. re: chris2269

                        One more recommendation for sushi and kushiyaki skewers in Tarzana (close to Encino) is Kushiyu (in the mini mall with the Relax the Back store (if it's still there?). Not only very good sushi (they do an outstanding spicy tuna and avocado on toasted rice cake) but also their skewers are outstanding as well.

                        Kushiyu
                        18713 Ventura Blvd
                        Tarzana, CA 91356
                        (818) 609-9050

                        -----
                        Kushiyu
                        18713 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356

                      2. re: valleygirl617

                        Just to be clear, the hot dog place is called Fab Hot Dogs (no "s") in Reseda. There is a bad Italian restaurant called Fab's in Sherman Oaks and an only slightly better Italian place called Fabrocini's in Tarzana.

                        -----
                        Fab Hot Dogs (location as of May 2010)
                        19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

                      3. I like Gio Cucina Napoletano. It's hidden upstairs in a minimall on the south side of Ventura. I've never had a bad meal there. It's quite small, and they always have specials. The food quality has always been outstanding. I've always paid with credit cards, but I don't use AMEX. You may wish to check with them if that's imperative.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lil mikey

                          I will second Gio Cucina. I too have always had good meals that are not cookie cutter Italian and they always have a good choice of interesting soups.

                        2. Shamsheri a Persian restaurant on Roscoe and Tampa is very good and a great
                          value at lunch too. The whitefish kabob plate is outstanding. Also there is a Korean
                          a soon tofu place on Lindley and Saticoy in Reseda called BCE tofu that has very good
                          patchan plates and soon tofu piping hot tofu in a stone crock.

                          1. So I was able to hit Itzik Hagadol Grill for lunch today.

                            What a way to start off. I had the Combination skewer that had Lamb, Ribeye, Chicken thigh, Hanging tender, and ground lamb and veal. Exellent every piece of meat was so full of flavor and tender. The flat bread was great as well and came with Potatoes, pickled cabbage and some tomato puree that I loved.

                            Great recommendation will probably go back before I leave to try the Chicken heart or veal sweetbreads as well.

                            Looks like Kushiyu for Sushi tomorrow night. :)

                            -----
                            Kushiyu
                            18713 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chris2269

                              I suggest Sushi Iki in Tarzana over Kushiyu for sushi.

                              I've been to Kushiyu several times, sushi has been disappointing on every visit.

                              -----
                              Sushi Iki
                              18663 Ventura Blvd Ste 106, Tarzana, CA 91356

                            2. Not sure if they take Amex but here are some recs that are very expense account friendly.

                              Puro Sabor for Peruvian in Van Nuys
                              Super Pollo - Peruvian Rotisserie chicken also in Van Nuys
                              More than Waffles in Encino - good breakfast spot.
                              Pho So 1 - Van Nuys
                              Nippon Ramen - Reseda - Cash Only!
                              Shi Dok Rak - Reseda - Korean BBQ.

                              -----
                              Super Pollo
                              14519 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91405

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

                              More Than Waffles
                              17200 Ventura Blvd Ste 109, Encino, CA 91316

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Sgee

                                More Than Waffles is a great rec. I will hit it up, its between the store we are remodeling and the hotel.

                                I did Fab Dog today. Great place, packed, got the Bald Eagle dog and Tater Tots.

                                Dinner at Kashiyu. Sushi was fresh but I thought the rice was a little too sticky. I did enjoy the skewers especially the chicken skin, Squid, and Octopus Stuffed mushrooms.

                                All in all its been a good food trip to this point.

                                I've never been to this part of LA. Man there are so many restaurants its nuts. Your guys recs are a great help in narrowing it down.

                                On a side note any place good for raw oysters. I saw there was a Kings Seafood in Calabasas. King is my staple for my weekly/ bi weekly fix of raw oysters by the dozen but if there was some place a little closer you could point me to that would be great.

                                Thanks again

                                -----
                                More Than Waffles
                                17200 Ventura Blvd Ste 109, Encino, CA 91316

                                1. re: chris2269

                                  You might consider Delmonico's, which is on Ventura, one block east of Hayvenhurst. I know they have oysters on the half-shell as an appetizer on their dinner menu (not on the lunch one). There also is an Arnie Morton's in Woodland Hills, on Canoga, that has oysters on the half-shell at dinner and on the bar menu.

                                  In Studio City, on Whitsett, there also is the Oyster House, but it is pretty much a dive bar that serves oysters. They have $1 oyster shooters.

                                  I also should have mentioned More than Waffles. It's been there so long that I tend to forget about it. In addition, there is a brand new Russian restaurant/market in the same center. I've just seen the signs for it, so don't know if it is any good.

                                  1. re: chris2269

                                    King's is probably the best bet for oysters close by. I find their quality to be very consistent and if I am not mistaken, they share the same supplier with their more upscale sister restaurant in Downtown LA - Water Grill.

                                    If you're in the Calabasas area again looking for alternatives to Kings, check out Shibuya across the street on Park Granada, decent sushi. Much better than Kushiyu....

                                    -----
                                    Water Grill
                                    544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                    Shibuya
                                    4774 Park Granada Ste 8B, Calabasas, CA 91302

                                    1. re: Sgee

                                      in Encino there's John O'Groats too. great bar in the back and fantastic breakfasts! nice outside seating too. there's always the chain Tony Roma's and Jerry's Deli.

                                      1. re: wildcateats

                                        Tony Roma's or Jerry's Deli should be options only if the entire rest of the San Fernando Valley has been firebombed, and no other restaurants or grocery stores are accessible.

                                        1. re: Jwsel

                                          I agree. good fallbacks if you're stuck only in encino. I prefer delmonico's.

                                          1. re: Jwsel

                                            Jerry's deli is terrible. It's well worth a drive a little farther to Brent's Deli in Northridge.

                                            -----
                                            Brent's Deli
                                            19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                              what about cece's cafe? always great for breakfast and great for all day too!