HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?
TELL US

Need a few specific recs for San Fernando Valley

r
rednails Mar 27, 2010 09:24 PM

Greetings from the Bay Area. Former resident of LA (late 70's/early 80's), I'm driving down next Thursday to meet up with an old friend who is coming in from NY. She's staying in Van Nuys, and wants to do the Warner Studio tour,. I'm looking for a lunch place either in Sherman Oaks or Studio City. I'm thinking of ging to Arts Deli in Studio City--yes or no?

I also need a rec for dinner. When I lived in SO, we used to go to La Frite--is that still good? Should I consider anything else? I generally don't eat spicy food, I'm not sure if my friend has limitations, so anything Italian, American or gringo-ish Mexican would be fine. BBQ would be great too. Basically, I need lunch and dinner places where 2 old friends can talk and catch up. The dinner place could have music too.

Then I need a good breakfast before I hit the road Sunday morning. My old breakfast haunts were Bagel Nosh and Fromin's--any feedback on those 2 places? I'd prefer to stay on Ventura Blvd as I'll take 101 back north. I am probably going to Brent's Saturday morning to meet someone else. Is there anyplace I should consider?

Lastly, I'll probably be solo for dinner--2 nights. Anything good, easy on the wallet (about $20 pp w/out wine, w/out tax/tip) that I should consider. I'm staying in Sherman Oaks. Boneyard Bistro? Casa Vega?

Many thanks. I miss LA way too much. I've been up here for 25 years and I'm always cold.

-----
Bagel Nosh
17271 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA

Boneyard Bistro
13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

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

  1. j
    Jerome Apr 9, 2010 01:15 AM

    although you're back, just to add tot this thread...
    maximilians has a very good lunch and dinner - hungarian/austro-hungarian. Tafelzpitz, as well as hungarian specialties and excellent palacsinta for dessert. decent wines from the region and a pretty good price. Weddington between tujunga and lankershim. On a nice warm evening, patio seating. lunch as well. brunch includes champagne.

    Carnival wasn't mentioned and it's a favorite of mine. I think it has the best baba ganoush in the city (as moutabel). lebanese food - thurday - great sheikh el-mekhshi.

    Kyushu ramen and the next door place on Sherman way near sepulveda. GOod bar food. Great ramen. Bar has wonderful sake selection and open until at least 1am - pretty good for the valley.

    1. r
      rednails Apr 4, 2010 08:18 PM

      Thanks again for all the recs. I'm home, will post reviews after I decompress from my trip. But briefly, I went to Jinky's, Jumpin Java and John O'Groats for breakfast, Art's Deli and Yankee Doodle (3rd St Promenade) for lunch, and Morels (in the Grove), Cafe Bizou and Brents for dinner. Had a great time.

      Edit--not sure why, but this respone links (automatically) to Cafe Bizou in Pasadena, I went to the one in Sherman Oaks. and the John O'Groats in Encino.....

      weird.

      -----
      John O'Groats
      10516 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      Cafe Bizou
      91 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

      Jinky's Cafe
      1447 2nd St Fl 1, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      Yankee Doodles
      1410 3rd Street, Promenade Santa Monica, CA

      Jumpin Java
      11919 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

      1. caille en sarcophage Mar 31, 2010 10:57 PM

        There are a lot of great recommendations here. I'll add one more - Koraku Ramen at the corner of Ventura and Van Nuys (in the same hellacious parking lot as the El Torito).

        1 Reply
        1. re: caille en sarcophage
          f
          farmertomato Apr 1, 2010 02:01 PM

          That's one I've always wanted to try, but you're right--the parking lot is hellacious. That's what happens when developers pay off the city to get around parking requirements for a strip mall.

        2. Emme Mar 31, 2010 08:05 PM

          Will second the recs for Puro Sabor, Krua Thai, Boneyard Bistro, Animal, Ca del Sole...

          Not too much to add, but i think Caioti on Tujunga is decent for affordable and fun california pizzas and Italian.

          For a quick lunch, esp if solo, and a good place to sit at the bar is Stanley's. Nothing earth-shattering but good and affordable.

          Again, for another quicker healthier lunch, there's always California Chicken Cafe for some good rotisserie chicken and/or Chinese Chicken Salad.

          If you happen to end up in Burbank, there's always Porto's.

          And for nice pastries and lunch fare, Nata's Pastries in Sherman Oaks.

          -----
          Krua Thai Restaurant
          13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

          Boneyard Bistro
          13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

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

          5 Replies
          1. re: Emme
            f
            farmertomato Mar 31, 2010 09:27 PM

            Minor correction--there were no recs for Boneyard Bistro, only one warning against. Your other additions were great.

            1. re: farmertomato
              c
              carter Mar 31, 2010 09:55 PM

              Boneyard Bistro is very worthy of a recommendation, yet is currently under construction in doubling its size, and unless poster can wait until the construction is completed, its merit will not be able to be tested.
              Its food is superb, yet its menu is not for everyone, and its website is currently likewise under remodel.
              but after mid-April, the Boneyard is most definitely recommendable, and will have a full liquor license in addition to double the space, as well as many more beers on tap. The owner prides himself on his wines, beers and food. Those options will just double once the place reopens.

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

              1. re: carter
                f
                farmertomato Apr 1, 2010 02:00 PM

                Hadn't heard about the remodel, as I've steered clear because of dismal service and attitude. Perhaps increased space will improve things--I hope so. I'll give them another try when they reopen, since it's so close to home. I tried to like it before, but just couldn't.

                1. re: farmertomato
                  c
                  carter Apr 1, 2010 02:47 PM

                  Sometimes the problem with poor service stems from the fact that few make reservations, and when 10 tables show up without reservations, even though they might have the tables available, they do not have the staff there to handle that much activity. Always making reservations improves your dining experience all the way around, and the staff will then also get to know you, maybe even as a regular!!!
                  Their burgers are truly special, so when they do reopen, and you like a special burger, check the place out. And of course, fried chicken on Monday nights.

                  1. re: carter
                    f
                    farmertomato Apr 7, 2010 06:05 PM

                    Our problem in the past came from their not honoring reservations--giving out tables to those without reservations and having none left for those with. And this on a rainy night with nowhere to wait but outside. They won't get to know us when they do that!

          2. m
            miss chai latte Mar 30, 2010 10:45 PM

            Breakfast--Aroma Cafe, Jumpin' Java, and Hugo's in Studio City; Jinky's in Sherman Oaks, Nat's Early Bite in Van Nuys.

            Lunch--Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City.

            Dinner-Simon's Cafe (Mediterranean) in Sherman Oaks, Puro Sabor (Peruvian) in Van Nuys, Daichan's (Homestyle Japanese) in Studio City.

            You must remember Henry's Tacos?

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

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

            Nat's Early Bite
            14115 Burbank Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

            Daichan
            11288 Ventura Blvd Ste F, Studio City, CA 91604

            1. r
              rednails Mar 30, 2010 03:40 PM

              As it turns out, my friend now wants to go to the Farmers Market (3rd/Fairfax) after the studio so now I'm looking for a dinner spot near there. I'm thinking Cantors Deli. I know there are a few places in the Grove, including The Farm which may be an option as well.

              I will probably go to Cafe Bizou w/a cousin Friday night. I'm saving John O'Groats for Sunday--really looking forward to that as I ate at the Rancho Park location 2 years ago. Brents will get into the schedule somewhere.

              Thanks again for all the feedback.

              -----
              John O'Groats
              10516 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

              Cafe Bizou
              91 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

              6 Replies
              1. re: rednails
                wienermobile Mar 30, 2010 03:59 PM

                Did you know that Animal is right by Canters on Fairfax?

                -----
                Animal
                435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                1. re: wienermobile
                  r
                  rednails Mar 30, 2010 10:22 PM

                  I had not heard of this place. Will suggest it to my friend. Thanks.

                2. re: rednails
                  y
                  YvonneDawg Mar 30, 2010 07:00 PM

                  The best sweet potato fries I have enjoyed in Los Angeles are just across the street from Canter's Deli on Fairfax: Golden State Cafe. Super yummy and the burgers are, IMHO, almost as good as Father's Office.

                  1. re: rednails
                    y
                    YvonneDawg Mar 30, 2010 07:04 PM

                    Golden State Cafe on Fairfax has amazing Sweet Potato fries, and the 2nd best burgers I have tried (yes, after Father's Office). Located right across from Canter's.

                    -----
                    The Golden State
                    426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                    1. re: rednails
                      perk Mar 30, 2010 07:22 PM

                      Another fun choice in the Farmers Market is Monsieur Marcel. They have decent food, the tables are all outdoors in the market, great people watching and you can have a conversation. Also a decent wine list. Standard casual French fare....and a fun atmosphere.
                      A very eclectic crowd....usually with a bit of international flair.

                      1. re: perk
                        r
                        rednails Mar 30, 2010 10:26 PM

                        I'm familiar w/Mr. Marcel and most of the other places. I used to work down the street at the old May Co., which is now LACMA West. Did Dupars ever reopen in the market or is it gone for good? I swear, the Dupars in Studio City had the oldest waitresses around. Eddie Sauls did too. Ah, memories......

                    2. f
                      farmertomato Mar 30, 2010 02:08 PM

                      Personally speaking, I'd work very hard to avoid Casa Vega and Boneyard Bistro. Almost every option offered by the others here would be far better.

                      1. a
                        ajgilb Mar 29, 2010 06:24 PM

                        Just in the Valley, in the Cahuenga Pass, Henry's Hat, brunch with bottomless Mimosa and Sangria

                        1. w
                          writerinla Mar 28, 2010 09:15 AM

                          I'd like to take a contrary view on Fromin's. I eat there all the time and find the breakfast food pretty decent. Not spectacular, just decent. That's what you expect for breakfast. People on these boards often recommend Brent's or Jinky's, and those are pretty good, but if you go to those places be prepared to wait, because these places are insanely busy. And forget about service. Fromin's at least is not insanely busy and the service is good and friendly.

                          On Casa Vega - while I'll agree the food is just your standard gringo Mexican food, it's just fine, and you really go there for the experience of it. It's a scene that is pretty unique in LA and a lot of fun. I often see celebrities there. It's worth a trip if you're going to be in LA for a short time.

                          -----
                          Fromin's Restaurant
                          17615 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316

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

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: writerinla
                            c
                            carter Mar 28, 2010 10:24 AM

                            Sorry, here is yet another opinion on some of the suggestions:
                            Casa Vega is just as bad today, maybe more so, as there are so many better options for Mexican food today than there were then:
                            Senor Fred, Loteria Grill, Poquito Mas - all in either Studio City or Sherman Oaks, all on Ventura Blvd., with the latter more of a fast casual place than fine dining, yet as a solo it works perfectly.
                            Brent's and Art's for deli are still the choice.
                            The local breakfast spots would include Hugo's on Riverside Drive, just east of Coldwater Canyon, Vivian's in Studio City on Ventura near Vineland, and John O'Groans(o'Groat's actually, but....) in Encino on Ventura east of Hayvenhurst.
                            STanleys in Sherman Oaks for salads and decent dinner fare, plausible prices, and a superb patio out back, weather permitting.
                            Cafe Bizou is a no-no if you want to talk - food ok, but the noise in the place is deafening. And you might be the youngest person in the place.
                            Le Petite Restaurant, south side Ventura next door to the Great Greek at Dixie Canyon, is good and reliable for Bistro fare, with full bar and pleasant ambiance.
                            Raphael in Studio City is a newer place on Ventura east of Colfax, with its ownership formerly of Bel Air Bar & Grill. Nice place, good food, yet fairly limited menu. Definitely able to talk here.
                            Italian - Ca de Sole at Cahuenga/Lamkership intersection adjacent to Universal Studios. Some sections are quieter than others, so ask for that when you reserve.
                            La Frite is still reliable and enjoyable, and yes, the kids now run the place.

                            -----
                            La Frite
                            15013 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                            Senor Fred
                            13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                            Cafe Bizou
                            14016 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                            1. re: carter
                              r
                              rednails Mar 28, 2010 06:12 PM

                              Thanks for all the recs. I had a funny feeling I was stirring up some controversy asking about some places but heck, I had to try. Nostalgia and all that.

                              This has been very helpful indeed. I haven't spent much time in the Valley on my trips back. This will be interesting.

                              Thanks again.

                          2. j
                            Jwsel Mar 28, 2010 02:01 AM

                            I laughed at your post because it basically described the childhood haunts that I would go to with my family. If I had missed the 90s and 2000s, and were returning to the Valley, I would probably ask about Fromin's, Art's, and Casa Vega too.

                            Fromin's, unfortunately, has long slid downhill. Art's or Brent's, though Brent's is probably too far, are the best delis in the Valley.

                            You will find differing opinions on La Frite. I grew up going there -- going back to when it was still Yellowfingers -- and the food is basically what it always was. I find it good, reliable bistro food, and usually have the chopped steaks, salads, pate, or crab bisque. Oh, and it's still run by the same family, so you might have fun seeing how the children of the old owners grew up.

                            In the same general area is Spumoni, a small, neighborhood Italian place. I really like their pastas, particularly the bolognese, their sauteed calamari, and their different gnocchi dishes. It's a great place to chat, not noisy at all, and the owners are extremely friendly.

                            Marche is a new restaurant in Sherman Oaks that has gotten good reviews. I have not been, but my friends liked it a lot. It is in the center of Sherman Oaks. It might push your price pint.

                            Cafe Bizou is another "nice" reliable restaurant in Sherman Oaks. The food won't wow you, but it is a nice space, great for conversation, and very reasonable for what they offer. It and La Frite are my go-to restaurants for dinner with my mom or family brunch.

                            Any interest in Lebanese? Alcazar in Encino is fantastic and would be another great place to talk (assuming you are there before the music begins). I generally stick to the mezza (cold and hot small plates) and make a meal from them.

                            Casa Vega, like Fromin's, is unchanged since the 1970s. For drinks, that's fine. For food, it means you'll still get the terrible Mexican that you had in 1975. And it will still be nearly pitch-black inside. In Studio City (in the center on the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura), Loteria Grill just opened. I have not been, but the Loteria in Hollywood and at Farmer's Market are good. I wouldn't call it gringo-ish Mexican, because it has authentic dishes, but you can definitely avoid spicy. I would second the recommendation for Puro Sabor. If you like ceviche, you will love theirs, and the other Peruvian dishes are interesting. (As a last resort, there is an El Torito Grill in the Galleria. The ambiance and food is a bit of a step-up from regular El Toritos, but not fantastic.)

                            Bagel Nosh also is long gone. More than Waffles, the waffle/pancake restaurant on the lower level of what was the Town 'n' Country shopping center (the one with the movie theater in Encino), is still there and a good breakfast place. Jinky's in Sherman Oaks is good and a branch of John O'Groat's just opened in Encino.

                            For your solo dinner, you might consider going to North Hollywood to one of the great Thai restaurants there. My personal favorite is Krua Thai. There also are a bunch of great taquerias in North Hollywood and Van Nuys, so if you really want to go easy on your wallet, they are definite options. Las Fuentes or Melody's in Tarzana/Reseda are very casual sit-down Mexican places that I wouldn't recommend for getting together with people after a long time, but are decent solo dining spots.

                            You didn't mention Japanese, but Ventura Boulevard still has fantastic sushi places.

                            -----
                            Krua Thai Restaurant
                            13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

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

                            La Frite
                            15013 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                            La Frite
                            22616 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

                            Alcazar
                            17239 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316

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

                            Cafe Bizou
                            14016 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                            Melody's Mexican Kitchen
                            6747 Reseda Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

                            Spumoni Restaurant
                            14533 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                            Las Fuentes Mexican Restaurant
                            18415 Vanowen St, Reseda, CA 91335

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Jwsel
                              Das Ubergeek Mar 30, 2010 01:19 PM

                              Bagel Nosh moved to 17th and Wilshire in Santa Monica.

                              -----
                              Wilshire Restaurant
                              2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                              Bagel Nosh Deli
                              1629 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                r
                                rednails Mar 30, 2010 03:36 PM

                                As I recall, they were always in Santa Monica. Encino was their second location. But thanks anyway.

                              2. re: Jwsel
                                l
                                lalf Apr 6, 2010 01:48 PM

                                We ate breakfast at Jinky’s (Sherman Oaks) this past weekend. It was appalling, hugely disappointing. My Rosemary Omelet was thin and rubbery, with very little filling: a few bits of dried up chicken breast and a ‘butter pat’ of boursin plopped on top. I never even found any artichoke inside. This for $12.50! Pathetic. The Lox Benedict was little better: muffin looked like it had been steamrolled, and the entree itself was delivered tepid. The 'blueberry' pancakes were really undercooked. I’ve breakfasted at better diners. And I’m unhappy because we ate there on recommendations I read here. Guess I’d better be more judicious in future (maybe we should have opted for John O'Groats).

                                -----
                                John O'Groats
                                10516 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

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

                                1. re: lalf
                                  Emme Apr 6, 2010 08:47 PM

                                  just my ten cents, but i feel like Jinky's has gone downhill in the recent years...

                                2. re: Jwsel
                                  g
                                  Ginger9 Apr 7, 2010 04:08 PM

                                  Agree with Jwsel - some of LA's best sushi restaurants on Ventura Blvd. Asanebo, Nozawa, Katsuya and Kiwami are all excellent.

                                  -----
                                  Asanebo
                                  11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                  Katsuya Hollywood
                                  6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                  Kiwami
                                  11920 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                  1. re: Ginger9
                                    f
                                    farmertomato Apr 7, 2010 06:06 PM

                                    Those are all great, except for Nozawa, which should come with a big warning about the quality of the fish.

                                3. wienermobile Mar 28, 2010 12:21 AM

                                  Art's deli is good but expensive. Fromin's is not so good. The best deli is Brent's in Northridge, if deli is what you want it is well worth the extra few minute drive to Brent's. Their black pastrami ruben sandwich is one of the best in all of LA.

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

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: wienermobile
                                    d
                                    dabruins07 Mar 30, 2010 11:34 PM

                                    I agree with Brent's and black pastrami reuben, it is amazing.

                                  2. Kitchen Queen Mar 27, 2010 11:20 PM

                                    Here's a few yummy places within the area of where you'll be. Hope these warm your soul a little.
                                    Puro Sabor - Peruvian on Van Nuys Blvd. http://www.yelp.com/biz/puro-sabor-van-nuys - Not Spicy!; Simon's Cafe on Sepulveda/Ventura - www.simonscafe.com ; Aroma Cafe - Ventura/Lindley - aromabakery.com; Pita Kitchen - Ventura/Van Nuys www.thepitakitchen.com/ and maybe Jinky's for breakfast: jinkys.com And, as far as deli...nothing comes close to Brent's, no one. Drive carefully. IF you take the 5, stop at Harris Ranch for a chocolate macaroon - great "pick me-up" for the road. :) KQ

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

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

                                    Pita Kitchen
                                    14500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Kitchen Queen
                                      caille en sarcophage Mar 31, 2010 10:55 PM

                                      I agree with Puro Sabor and Simon's. The service at Puro Sabor can be slow when they're busy so keep that in mind. I love Simon's!

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

                                    2. a
                                      attran99 Mar 27, 2010 10:50 PM

                                      Do you mean the Artisan Cheese Gallery? If so, I totally love that place. The sandwiches are divine! Big Sugar Bakeshop is down the street if you're looking for a sweet treat.

                                      -----
                                      Big Sugar Bake Shop
                                      12182 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91604

                                      Artisan Cheese Gallery
                                      12023 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: attran99
                                        d
                                        Dogbite Williams Mar 29, 2010 03:50 PM

                                        I agree. I definitely view Artisan Cheese Gallery as a really good gourmet sandwich shop.

                                        -----
                                        Artisan Cheese Gallery
                                        12023 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA

                                      Show Hidden Posts