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Please Help This New Valley Boy

I recently moved to Studio City. I love my house, love the neighborhood and love so many great restaurants on Ventura Blvd. (Asenebo, Lala, Nozawa, Mantee, Kiwami, Sattdown, Ramen Jinya, Amir's, Bollywood Cafe, Black Market Liquor and Ombra, just to name a few east of Laurel Canyon). But I haven't as yet ventured too far off Ventura. I'm looking for some great recommendations in the new 'hood, particularly Studio City, Burbank, North Hollywood, Toluca Lake area, though I will gladly travel anywhere for a great meal. While I'm an Asian food fanatic (especially Japanese), I love all ethnic food (fancy or extremely casual makes no difference) and really enjoy a great French bistro. Please don't hold back! Russian, German, Irish Pub, or Persian, even a burger or bowl of chili, I love it all! Bonus points for wine-friendly places that let me BYO or have reasonable corkage.

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  1. You are in luck as far as North Hollywood and Thai food is concerned. Approaching the best of Thai town in Hollywood. Take a look here (and please report back if you try some of these): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759443

    7 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks, Servorg. Great advice, as always. But I didn't see a reply from you in the post. What's your favorite Thai spot in the Valley?

      1. re: burglover

        I thought the food we ate at Amazing Thai was, well, amazing...

        http://www.amazingthaicuisine.com/

        1. re: Servorg

          Had dinner at Amazing Thai this weekend. Excellent, even though I had to dumb it down on the spices because the gf was with me. We subbed tofu or gluten for meat and the dishes didn't miss a beat. Sri Siam up next!

          1. re: burglover

            I'm really glad to hear about Amazing Thai. I can walk there from my house (so I figured, how could it be good?) Gonna give it a try soon.

        2. re: burglover

          These are both discussed on the earlier thread, but Sri Siam (look for the northern Thai specialties like the fish with chiles and herb, crispy rice salad, and nam prik oom) and Krua Thai (known for its pad thai krua thai, but also with excellent curries and seafood dishes) are both excellent. Here's a link just about Sri Siam: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/806176

          For Mexican, Tacos La Fonda is a great option. If you want tacos in daylight hours, my go to place is El Taco Llama, either the stand outside the car wash at Magnolia, just east of Cahuenga, or the one on Sherman Way between Lankershim and Tujunga. (The one on Sherman Way has an indoor seating area and some additional salsa options, but both have their amazing salsa roja.

          )

          I'm thrilled you've already found Sattdown. I only recently tried it for the first time and it was excellent. The best jerk chicken I've had in LA, and the curry goat had a lot of complexity. The little cupcake shop in the same center has very good cupcakes and, on weekends, they make gumbo. I'm not a huge gumbo fan, but they gave me a taste and it really was good.

          1. re: Jwsel

            And let's not forget about Otis Jackson's Soul Dog's: http://www.eatsouldog.com/

            1. re: Jwsel

              Love Sattdown. I am happy to spread the word as they're such nice people and there's never enough traffic in the restaurant. I always worry about losing a place like that but they seem to do a solid take-out business. Thanks for the gumbo rec, I AM a huge fan!

        3. You can find most of these elsewhere, but here are a few: Peruvian, Puro Sabor on Van Nuys just south of Victory; Pizza, Caioti on Tujunga; Ramen, Vietnamese, Pho 999 and Pho So 1, Sepulveda and Victory; Lebanese, Skaf's Grill o Larel Cyn and Oxnard and The Cedar House on Whitsett and Riverside; Fish, Fish in the Village on Burbank and Whitsett; Pub Grub, Robin Hood on Burbank and Woodman; Breakfast, Nat's Early Bite on Hazeltine and Burbank; Tacos, Tacos La Fonda parks at the carwash on Vanowen and Vineland after 6:30; Mexican seafood, Mariscos Colima on Vanowen just east of Tujunga. There are a lot more. Welcome to the neighborhood!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ebethsdad

            Ebethsdad, thanks! That's a great list to start...Pho So is my favorite pho spot in LA. I think I'll head to Mariscos Colima for lunch.

            1. re: burglover

              Russian and Uzbek at Tashkent Produce in Valley Village (takeout only), Honduran at El Katracho in Sherman Oaks, Colombian at Meson Criollo Grill in Van Nuys. Chili from Chili John's in Burbank.

              As far as driving, if you're looking for some of the best Chinese anywhere in the U.S., from different regions and cities, you have to head SE to the San Gabriel Valley. A search here at Chowhound using "SGV" will overwhelm you!

              1. re: JThur01

                Good alternatives for Chinese that are in the SFV are:

                Sam Woo on Sepulveda by Victory in Van Nuys - very Cantonese.
                Mandarin Deli on Reseda in Northridge - the basic Ameri-Chinese is good but ask for the more authentic dishes, e.g., cat ear noodles.

          2. Bren't Deli and their Black Pastrami Rueben sandwich are just a short 20 minutes away from you in Northridge. One of the best in LA.

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

            6 Replies
            1. re: wienermobile

              I love Brent's but it will take a Sunday morning with virtually no traffic to make it in that amount of time...but then again good food is worth the time and effort!

              1. re: Servorg

                How did you know I go to Brent's on Sunday mornings?

                1. re: wienermobile

                  Because as I'm walking out the door heading for my car and loosening my pants you are just coming in... ;-D>

                  1. re: Servorg

                    There are so many choices living in your area. May I suggest Marv's Deli. No it is not Brent's but they have some great food. Very old school place.
                    http://www.marvsdeli.com/
                    (website is having trouble right this minute. Keep hitting reload on your browser.
                    )http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595172
                    12512 Magnolia Boulevard
                    (818) 763-0616

                    Also nice place for smoked meats is Sausage King. It is not a restaurant but a great place for smoked sausages and some European grocery items.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/75831

                    12926 Saticoy St # 12-go to the very back of the location
                    (818) 982-2325

                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                      Yes to both of these. I guess Sausage King is what they finally decided upon for a name. Definitely worth visiting, best kielbasa I have ever had and don't miss picking up a pound or so of their slab bacon. On the way back to Studio City stop at the Baklava Factory on Sherman Way just west of Coldwater for baklava. Another great place is Don Adrian's for cemitas poblanas on Kester and Victory which is catty corner to Lola's chicken considered among the best rotisserie chicken in LA. Its a good area for eating.

                      1. re: ebethsdad

                        FYI--Sausage King will give you samples to taste.

                        Adding Joe Peeps for takeout pizza.
                        http://www.joepeeps.com/ I have not been in a while but it used to be ridiculously good and very busy.

                        I must second the Baklava Factory and apologize for forgetting it. Excellent stuff and so many varieties.
                        http://www.baklavafactory.com/ website under construction

                        17540 Ventura Boulevard
                        Encino
                        (818) 981-3800

                        12909 Sherman Way
                        North Hollywood
                        (818) 764-1011

            2. If you ever find yourself in need of a booze-absorbing greasy pizza, get thee to Little Tony's in NoHo on Lankershim. Don't get anything else but the cheese pizza. This is a nostalgic favorite of mine in your area. So take my recommendation with a grain of grease. Welcome to the area.

              1. These are on Ventura Blvd but are good as well:

                Mantee for Armenian/Mediterranean in Studio City.
                Hummus Bar and Grill for Israeli/Mediterranean in Tarzana.

                8 Replies
                1. re: bulavinaka

                  I ate at Mantee last week after a few month hiatus. Nice to see they finally started serving beer and wine! Very solid meal and though maybe because I'm off meat for Lent, my brother's chicken kebabs looked outstanding.

                  1. re: burglover

                    I see you asked about butchers several years ago. After Easter I recommend Jim's Fallbrook Market in the West Valley for excellent meat and seafood. I have heard the bbq they serve in the parking lot on weekends is superb.

                    1. re: ebethsdad

                      Ha! Still looking for that great butcher that carries hanger steaks and I can order fresh sweetbreads or kidneys... Harder to find every day :(

                      1. re: burglover

                        Jim's will order them for you. They are very reasonable. Several years ago Trader Joe's carried hanger steaks...and tuna ventresca. They lost both about the same time. A shame.

                        1. re: ebethsdad

                          Jim's sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. A bit of a schlep but at least I can double up and make a trip to Woodland Hills Wine Co. while I'm out there!

                          1. re: burglover

                            Actually Jim's has a great selection of wine as well. It really is a fine place. If you want to order something just call them first, (818) 347-5525.

                        2. re: burglover

                          You might check with Sweet 1 Bakert and Kabob House on Oxnard at Woodman for offal. This is a tiny Armenian bakery/grocery/butcher/restaurant, with a selection of Harris Ranch meat. Their menu includes beef and lamb hearts, liver, kidney and sweetbreads. I didn't see fresh hearts, kidney and sweetbreads, but they might keep them in the back. One thing I've noticed is that the offal has very strong flavor. The liver I cooked the other day was some of the most "liver-y" tasting liver I've ever had (if that makes sense).

                          The prices are absurdly cheap. I got a ribeye steak, large slice of liver, and two small, marinated chicken breasts for about $8. (I've also had food delivered and the cooked cornish game hen, quail and trout have all been excellent. I love the marinade they use for the poultry.)
                          http://www.bestkabobfactory.com/

                          1. re: Jwsel

                            They are good people too. Went there once and one of the butchers saw my dog in the car and brought an Armenian pizza out for him. Now its hard to get the dog to eat dogfood. I believe the grocery part is called the Kabob Factory, the bakery is Sweet 1 and the pizza is Royal Pizza. They do have great prices.

                  2. I'll second Sri Siam.

                    Also, as a recent transplant to the area, one of my absolute favorites is Carnival on Woodman. I've tried most of the Lebanese restaurants in the vicinity and this is the one that blows me away. It's great for takeout or dining in.

                    I'm a fan of Green Apple for Chinese, but I've only had their delivery and don't know what the interior is like.

                    I'm sure you've tried Porto's by now, but just in case you haven't, they make a solid Cuban sandwich.

                    Finally, the finer dining gem in the area for my tastes is Rafael's on Ventura. I've only been there once but am dying to go back. It was one of the best meals I've had in the city.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Helper Monkey

                      Yes, I liked Raphael. We had 6 little plates and 3 were great, 2 good and only one was so-so. I'll definitely be back. Surprisingly, the one dish that missed was the one highly recommended by our server, the khao soi street noodles. Does anyone know what the scene is like at Raphael on weekend nights? It looks like they turn the place into a club...

                      1. re: burglover

                        It does have that transformer-club feel. My hope is it turns into some late night posh (without Valley cheesiness) small plate and cocktail scene. I'm not crazy about Firefly down the street, so it'd be nice to have something like that in the area. Out of curiosity, was there a crowd when you were there? It was empty when I was, but it was like 6pm. I'm hoping the place isn't deserted and six months from closing down.

                        1. re: Helper Monkey

                          When I went to Raphael it was a Sunday night around 8pm. The restaurant was about 1/3 filled with a couple of stragglers at the bar. Impossible to judge anything based on that!

                      2. re: Helper Monkey

                        "It was one of the best meals I've had in the city." I second & third your comment.

                        My wife said last year when we were there, "The best meal she had in the year 2011." And
                        I totally agreed. The flavors were just amazing.

                        We are ovedue for another visit.

                      3. Maxmilian's in North Hollywood (across the street from the library & North Hollywood Park) for Austro-Hungarian cuisine.

                        http://www.maxiatnoho.com/menu

                        1. Few suggestion:

                          1) Go's Mart in Canoga Park for sushi - be forewarned the place is a dump and expensive but good food

                          2) Super Tacos La Estilo Jalisco Rana in NoHo (close to Bob Hope Airport) right around Victory and Lankershim. Truck is parked on Troost - my recent taco truck discovery, they are only open Wed - Sun evening I think

                          3) Itzik Hagadol in Encino - US outpost of Israeli based grilled meat restaurant. Great salad spread!

                          4) Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima - Don't go there for atmosphere but very good goat soup!

                          5) Shih Dok Rak in Northridge - Korean BBQ. Also try the spicy octopus rice in hot stone. Kinda like a bibimbap. Dress appropriately for smoke....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sgee

                            Sgee, that list is right up my alley! And thanks for the rec on Go's Mart. I'd been trying to remember the name/location for a while...

                          2. Japanese: I enjoy Daichan - Japanese pub like place in a small strip mall South side of the Blvd. Studio City @ Vineland

                            Be mindful of the street signs if no pkg in the lot is available, tickets are really expensive!

                            Really good food! Casual.

                            Try stuffed lotus root, stuffed pumpkin, sashimi/sushi bowls.
                            For a real taste of tradition: Natto with ? I like it w/avocado

                            http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta...

                            :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Kitchen Queen

                              Yes, Daichan is very strong, even better now that they serve beer! But it's popularity seems to be growing. Last two times I went I had to wait for a table...