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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
THEY TAKE AMEX
terrific israeli food
very reasonable prices
(they even have lunch specials)
17201 Ventura Bl
Encino Ca 91326
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!