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Dec 4, 2011 07:27 AM

good, affordable food in North Hollywood?

My husband and I will be in North Hollywood later this week from Boston to visit my mother-in-law. She is in a nursing home near Laurel Canyon Blvd and Chandler Blvd; I will be staying in a motel near Vineland and Lankershim.

It's likely to be a hard visit. Any recommendations for good chow in these neighborhoods? We like just about everything but need to not spend a fortune, so high end places are out. Breakfast, lunch and dinner recs appreciated, and we're happy to try new foods.


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  1. I'm not really on top of the food scene in North Hollywood but some of the best Thai food outside of Thailand is available in this area. Sri Siam Cafe is my favorite because it serves wonderful food and it is a fairly low key relaxing spot where you can have a chance to discuss the days events with your dining companions.

    There are several other good Thai restaurants in the area and probably other types of cusine so those more in the know will hopefully add to this!

    Sri Siam Cafe
    12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

    6 Replies
      1. re: sel

        Another place that I just remembered that's inexpensive and had very tasty kabobs is Skaf's Grill. This place was frequently recommended by former NoHo/Valley Village dweller, Das Ubergeek, who although now residing in the County of Oranges has sent me on some great chow adventures! Perhaps DU will chime in with some recs for his/her ol' stomping grounds.....

        Skaf's Grill
        6008 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606

        1. re: sel

          Skaf's may seem expensive until you see the portions. They are very generous.

          1. re: sel

            I like Skaf's and I would not say it's expensive.

            1. re: Dogbite Williams

              Expensive is relative. My point was, which I should have clarified is, entries, while not inexpensive are generous enough to be shared and then you can order a side of grape leaves, falafel, etc.

          2. re: sel

            North Hollywood is a great area for Thai food.

            I'll second Sri Siam Cafe on Vanowen. Soups are especially terrific. Try the Tom Kha Kai (coconut chicken soup) and the Crispy Rice Salad with Thai sour sausage.

            Also, not quite as spectacular as Sri Siam, but still very good, and open much later, is Sanam Luang Cafe on Sherman Way. Great noodles, especially the Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ewe.

            Most entrees at these places run about $6 - $8.

          3. There are a lot of good, inexpensive places to choose from. Skaf's is an excellent recommendation. Fish in the Village is a lovely kosher fish market and cafe on Burbank and Whitsett. The Cedar House, Whitsett and Riverside, is another good Lebanese choice. Tacos el Zorro on Sherman Way and Coldwater Cyn has both good tacos and seafood cocktails. Tacos La Fonda is a taco truck that parks in the carwash at Victory and Vanowen after 6:30. If you've never had LA tacos you're in for a treat. A little further away is Puro Sabor, Victory and Van Nuys, the best Peruvian food I have ever tasted. Still further, but still a reasonable drive are two pho places on Sepulveda and Victory. I prefer Pho 999, but Pho So across the street is good as well. Ramen Jinya, Ventura and Eureka, has the best ramen in the Valley. For breakfast I like Nat's Early Bite on Burbank and Hazeltine. Caioti, on Tujunga and Moorpark, is my favorite pizza spot. If you can afford sushi, Chiba, Lankershim and Saticoy, is an excellent choice. Good luck, and I hope your visit turns out well.

            5 Replies
              1. re: ebethsdad

                Where is the La Fonda taco truck ? Victory and Vanowen run parallel. If you mean the coin-op car wash, that's Vanowen and Laurel.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  I think ebethsdad meant Vineland and Vanowen. The address is: Vineland Car Wash, 11005 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                  Here's Bandini's 2006 post about Tacos la Fonda:

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    Oops, I did. Thanks for the correction. Peripatetic's recommendations for the Tujunga neighborhood are probably the best walking in the Valley. Figures with your screen name. Thanks for covering my back. Sorry for the inaccuracy.

                2. re: ebethsdad

                  Nat's Early Bite is very good but I like EAT a bit better for breakfast and I believe it's closer to her motel.

                  11108 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

                3. > I will be staying in a motel near Vineland and Lankershim

                  You will be 1/2 mile from a stretch of Tujunga Ave (between Woodbridge and Moorpark) that has a cluster of good places:

                  - Caioti Pizza Cafe (as recommended by ebethsdad) Caioti was started by Ed LaDou (RIP), who is famous for popularizing California pizza. Caioti is not as good as Mozza (near Hollywood), but it's still very decent.
                  - Aroma, which has good sandwiches and baked goods and decent coffee, and one of the nicest outdoor seating areas in LA (it will probably be warm enough to sit outside in the afternoons this week, provided the Santa Ana winds don't pick up again).
                  - Gelato Bar and Espresso Caffe, which has good espresso drinks and gelati.

                  Note that most of the parking here is on-street only. You could probably walk to Tujunga Ave from where you will be, but note you have to cross under two freeways, so it's probably not the nicest walk.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Raconteur

                      There's also a newish (opened July 2011) sub place on this stretch called Studio Subs that's had some positive comments on this board (, but I'd be surprised if it measured up to Boston's spuckie shops. (I'm originally from Boston; the only thing I've found that's even close is the Godmother at Bay Cities in Santa Monica.)

                      Of historical interest: the south end of this stretch is anchored by Vitello's, the infamous location of the 2001 murder of Bonny Lee Bakley (Mrs. Robert Blake). It gets the occasional positive comment on this board, but it's detractors, too. Note that Tujunga Ave may be one of the safest streets in all of the SFV (San Fernando Valley), so don't be put off by the notoriety!

                      Finally, on the north end, there's Henry's Tacos, which offers decent "gringo" (Americanized) tacos, and is a slice of 1960's SoCal roadside culture (and has great T-shirts!).

                  1. It's been many years since I was up there, but here's what I know is still around:

                    1. Skaf's on Laurel Canyon and Oxnard. Huge portions of great Lebsnese food. While the kabobs are good the specials are the way to go. They come with a big portion of sharp cabbage salad, rice, and hummus. It's enough to feed two, honestly.

                    2. Pho 999 is on Coldwater Canyon and Sherman Way.

                    3. Las Quenas (Peruvian) on Bellaire and Sherman Way. Excellent ceviche, reasonable two-course midday menu for $9-$10 or so.

                    4. Thai: Sri Siam, Krua, Sanamluang.

                    5. Chinese: BBQ Unlimited #2 on Sherman Way.

                    6. La Perla del Pacifico, inside the La Fiesta Super Mall on Bellaire and Sherman Way. Colombian food, but from the Pacific side. Amazing fish stews, arroz con pollo, empanadas. Closes 8pm and on Tuesdays.

                    7. Same place but next booth over: the most amazing papaya salad or bamboo shoot salad you'll ever eat. Get sausages etc. on sticks to accompany. Occasionally they phone it in and it's mediocre. If this happens to you, I'm sorry.

                    8. If Eilat Bakery is still in Valley Village on Burbank and Whitsett, they have very good shakshuka and one of the best baguettes I've ever had. Closed Friday night and Saturday.

                    9. Tamales—especially tamales dulces—from Jilmar, which sets up outside the North Hollywood Red Line station in the mornings. A great breakfast.

                    10. Mariscos El Tetos, a streetgourmetla find on Lankershim just down from its end at San Fernando. Some of the best fish tacos you'll have outside Baja. They park from 11 am to 7-8 pm, sometimes earlier or later depending on staffing. Also try cahuamanta (manta ray soup) and caracoles (sea periwinkles) if they have them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. This is my neighborhood, and I'm happy to help.

                      At the corner of Vineland/Lankershim, there are two good lunch/dinner options:

                      Hy Mart Deli: Amazing Mediterranean sandwiches. You can get it on a lavash wrap or a french roll that's been toasted on the panini press. Any of their sandwiches with falafel is going to be a winner, especially the Shahkloot Special and the Veggie Baby.

                      Habit Burger: If you want a fast-food burger done right in L.A., skip In-n-Out and get to Habit Burger. Order a burger. Get it with bacon. Enough said.

                      There are a lot of other good food options within short driving distance. Skaf's is alright, but it's surpassed by the new-ish Hyat's Kitchen for good middle eastern/ Lebanese food in the area.

                      If you're driving around, it's worth the 5-7 minute drive to go to Porto's Bakery in Burbank for an amazing, and amazingly affordable, array of sweets and savories. Try the potato balls and meat pies from the hot case.

                      The Thai options in the north part of North Hollywood are great, esp. Sri Siam.

                      Good luck and happy eating.

                      Porto's Bakery
                      3614 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

                      Sri Siam Cafe
                      12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                      Hy Mart
                      4762 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602

                      Hyat's Kitchen
                      11009 Burbank Blvd #117, Los Angeles, CA 91601

                      Habit Burger
                      4770 Lankershim Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91602

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: BearCity

                        Thank you! I really appreciate all the options everyone is giving us.

                        1. re: BearCity

                          I'd forgotten about Hayat's Kitchen (it's not that new, though—hasn't it been open for 2-3 years?)... I like it, and I'd send people there, but I don't like it as much as Skaf's. Still, two good options—how can you go wrong?

                          Porto's is very good, though choose carefully—some of the breads are dry.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            Yeah, you can choose something lackluster at Porto's, but there are so many great options-
                            Potato ball, meat pie, croquettes, cheese rolls, guava cheese pastries, coconut macaroons, mango cheesecake, cupcakes, croissants, the list goes on - and many of these are under a buck. Stay away from the potato salad, to be sure.

                            Hayat's is just about 2 yrs old now, so not all that new. Certainly newer than Skaf's, which is by no means without its charm.

                            What specifically should one order at Skaf's? I've had their kebab plate and shawarma, which I found good but not great. I recall their hummus being really good. Even before Hayat's existed, though, I found I'd rather drive to Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks. Am I missing out on something, or is it just a matter of preference?

                            1. re: BearCity

                              I always order the specials on the whiteboard, not the kabobs etc. from the regular menu. Love the lemon chicken, the stuffed eggplant, the baked kibbeh, the baked kefta, the green beans (or okra) stewed with beef...

                              1. re: BearCity

                                I think Skaf's has excellent felafel, and I'm very fond of their regular kefta kabobs. Not wild about their fatoush, I think Cedar House does it better, but I find the regular cabbage salad that comes with a meal to be addictive.

                                I'll have to try Hayat's.

                                1. re: ebethsdad

                                  I must second Portos. It has great food, baked goods and a real experience not to be missed. Everyone I have taken there loved it and has gone back many times.