Anything good to eat in Thousand Oaks?
Hi Chowhounders, I'm coming down from San Francisco to Thousand Oaks to visit the kid at college this weekend. From past trips and from what he says there isn't much good to eat in the area. On our last trip down we went to Sabor, which was good, but not great. We really like any type of food, just good. Even love the new upscale food trucks that seem to be everywhere these days. Any recommendations? Anything yummy and fun, or even just yummy in the TO area?
Thanks so much!
Sabor Restaurant & Bar
847 S Union Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017
There are several decent places for Mexican, including Manny's, Los Dos Amigos, and the little take-out counter in the Latino Meat Market.
Blue Stove is tapas/small plates and everyone raves about it though we haven't tried.
College kids should like Stonefire Grill, the tri-tip salad is pretty good.
Toppers for pizza.
Los Dos Amigos
1421 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
I don't usually go for Tapas, but jackattack's suggestion of Blue Stove was good. Should note it's in Nordstrom at the Oaks Mall. I'm not familiar with the Mexican places he suggested (we usually go to Yolanda's in Simi), but he's bang on with Topper's pizza. Well known as the best in Ventura County. Stonefire is a pretty good local chain for family-style tri tip, salads, chicken, etc. CLU students seem to hang out a lot at BJ's, but not my fave. Add to the list:
Deli: Brent's Deli (Westlake Village)
Chinese: Lakeview Garden (Westlake Village)
Lakeview Garden Restaurant
4697 Lakeview Canyon Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91361
9021PH0 just opened their doors and I would give them a chance to settle in before dining there.
We had lunch there today and it was extremely chaotic. They have hired some of the waitstaff from the previous restaurant that was there (a Wolfgang Puck extension) and the servers are not trained for this Vietnamese restaurant. I felt as though I should have ordered a pizza instead of a banh mi! Our server told us that she had not tried much of the menu and did not know much about Vietnamese food. We saw other servers taking food to customers and then returning it back to the kitchen counter; it was much like a guessing game..."Uh, which is the pho? Uh, which are the spring rolls?"
Additionally, because the kitchen is open, there was a lot of arguing and loud discussion between the servers and the cooks; the orders were not orderly! My DH finished his Vietnamese noodle lunch many minutes before my banh mi was delivered to me. His noodles looked good, but they had a very pungent and dominant egg odor. My banh mi was supposed to be cold ham and pate, but they said they ran out. I then ordered a charcoal pork and my sandwich came with grilled beef instead which was quite gristly.. Also, I did not care for the raw white onions (not marinated) on my sandwich which were too strong; the bread was okay.
Kimmy, the owner/chef, was working hard directing her kitchen assistants, but she knew that things were not moving smoothly. She never looked up toward her customers, but she certainly had a pulse on things. She approached us as we were leaving and apologized for all the confusion. It is because of this -- her displayed desire to want things "right" -- that I will give them a second chance to make a first impression.
The space is pretty, inviting and casual. Also, there is a variety of seating options: you can sit at a table, you can enjoy the open kitchen and sit at the bar, you can sit at a community table or you can enjoy the patio.
Lunch for two was in the $20 range, before gratuity and tax. Most of the pho dishes are $10 - $13; some of the other entrees run about $17. The banh mi (a lunch only item) was $6.95. When I compare this to other Vietnamese restaurants in the city, this one is much more expensive. The area can support this kind of restaurant because there is nothing else like it, but I don't know if the customers will return if the chaos continues.
If you live in this area, wait a few months and then give it a try. If you want really good Vietnamese lunch food -- specifically, a banh mi, Sandwich Express at 18575 Sherman Way (just west of Reseda) is close enough and much better! But I will give 9021PH0 another chance...and I will definitely order the pho next time.
Thanks for the update Liu. I actually had a chance to eat there last night. I sat at the bar facing the kitchen. And you're right-on about all the aspects of the front of the house. I think it's going to be a challenge for them to succeed out here.
I ordered the Pho Bo with beef tendon and a beer. The pho was not bad and I was happily surprised that they don't use any MSG in their broth. The noodles seemed a bit overcooked and the meats were also a little overcooked for my taste. But the broth was good. Can't really compare the food here with any of the Vietnamese places in the valley or LA, but it's a nice option in WLV.
Sitting at the bar I noticed all of the kitchen cooks were Chinese and I had a chance to talk to them, including Kimmy. It seemed like most of them were learning on the job. Kimmy was doing her best to assist in the kitchen and front of the house. Some of the cooked items seemed interesting and may be what helps the restaurant survive. Definitely has prices that match the WLV area and that is another reason it's tough for me to be a regular, knowing that the other places in the valley are so much cheaper.
I hope they get the issues ironed out, Kimmy is a very passionate and friendly owner.
It is always nice to have my assessment validated by you, puppychao!
What surprises me most, perhaps, is that this is not their first restaurant. But, like you, I am aware of Kimmy's passion. After she apologized to me, I think she was waiting for a supreme compliment. I was cordial because I really appreciated her talking to her customers, but I could not give her too many kind words at that time. I wanted our lunch to be great, but it was not.
Perhaps an odd place for a quality restaurant and WINE bar, but it is v. good food in a nice oak setting with marble etc. Open kitchen. The plates are tapes style or really more rationes style (little bit bigger) and are meant to share. Food is Californian with some Chinese, Latin, etc influences. Green olives in olive oil are served upon being seated. This place was recently on Channel 7 (I think) for a rave review. Nice wines. No pricy but not a Mexican taco stand either. Ps while this is an honest review, the chef is my son. Ask for Peter.
Blue Stove at Nordstrom Thousand Oaks
346 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
If you have time for a little drive, I would suggest drive to the beach and have lunch at Neptune's net. Typical fried seafood, but its a good spot to have a beer and food at the beach.