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.
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
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.....
6008 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606
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.
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.
> 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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_LaDou 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.
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 (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/801166), 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!).
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.
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.
3614 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Sri Siam Cafe
12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605
4762 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602
11009 Burbank Blvd #117, Los Angeles, CA 91601
4770 Lankershim Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91602
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.
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?
Over time, I have come to like the following nearby places:
5215 Laurel Canyon Blvd
Valley Village, CA 91607
no frills sushi place, but good sushi. other food is ok, but I prefer the sushi and the owner/chef is sweet, can make good recommendations.
The Rustic Spoon (asian fusion)
4384 Lankershim Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91602
Summer Canteen (asian fusion)
4444 Lankershim Blvd
Toluca Lake, CA 91602
these two places above are both asian fusion and pretty fresh, yummy, and affordable. Rustic Spoon feels a little more cozy, small while Summer Canteen is open, bright, airy.
Just north of this area is the Noho Arts District which can make for a nice little walk. There are some chain restaurants, a few theatres, and some bars there.
Also, really enjoy the food at Skaff's Grill (Mediterranean) on Laurel Cyn blvd, but the interior of the place is very lackluster.
A little further away, but worth a try.
I love the coffee at King's Road Cafe and they have a good breakfast, although not sure they qualify as cheap. Same with Le Pain Quotidien - good coffee, nice atmosphere, fun. Both of them are on Ventura Blvd westward toward Sherman Oaks.