Northwest LA: Eastern / Middle Eastern Food
OK. So I moved here about 7 or 8 months ago. I live close to the intersection of Kanan and 101 in Agoura Hills and I'm down in the Pacific Palisades all the time. I have found passable (barely) Chinese at Green Onion in Agoura Hills and passable cooked Japanese (I don't like sushi) at Bui-Sushi in Malibu. I'm willing to drive half an hour from home, or else out of the way a bit from the Palisades back to home for food.
Chinese (I think we've covered this, there is none)
(Geography: Westwood, Century City, Pacific Palisades, Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard all work, as might other cities I'm just not familiar with.)
Following up on the comment that there is good Chinese in your area with an asterisk, the asterisk being if you order on the proper side of the menu at restaurant having dual "general public" and "authentic" sides, such as Han's Dumpling (thread linked below), Green Onion, Szechuan Place, Hot Wok, Red Wok and a couple of others. Other caveat is that none of these serve Cantonese style food.
For Japanese, Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills (on Ventura, near Corbin) is a very good sushi bar. They do a lot of non-traditional rolls, but also get high-quality fish.
Pookie's Thai in Westlake is one of the better Thai restaurants in the area. My friends and father swear by it, though I think it is a step below the better places in North Hollywood and Thai Town.
For Middle Eastern, you have to go into Tarzana/Encino. Hummus Bar and Itzak Hagadol have been mentioned. In the same complex with Itzak Hagadol is Alcazar for Lebanese. Sadaf, which is related to Darya in OC and Santa Monico, has very good Persian in Encino.
I'll give you one more tip - Lum Ka Naad Thai restaurant in Northridge. This is not your typical valley joint with pad thai and bbq chicken. It is an emporium of regional thai dishes, and you will not find anything like it outside of Thai town (try the anchovy salad). The only reason it's not better known is because of the location. A definite outlier. To boot the dining room is nice, not a hole-in-the-wall, good for a proper sit down. Don't be ashamed to ask for it mild. I had it medium spicy last time and spent the entire meal nursing my mouth. This is the only place in Northridge, if not the valley, that is truly chow-wortrhy.
Lum Ka Naad
8910 Reseda Blvd, Northridge.
I had lunch at Sadaf in Encino recently (Persian), and it was excellent. A lot of Persian restaurants are a little too "homestyle", meaning poorly prepared food compensated with mountains of rice. Sadaf bills itself as "modern" Persian, and the dishes, though traditional, are light and flavorful. They also include a hunk of the crunchy rice undercrust (called the tah dig) which not everybody does.
16240 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436
Also, here's a nice article about halal restaurants in L.A. A couple of them are in the valley, not too far from the Ventura Fwy.
I know take-out isn't the best way first to experience a restaurant, but that is what we did last night and we were impressed. Dolmehs were good, but not special. The Sadaf Salad same -- good but not special. The stews, however, were quite nice. We had the gormeh sabzi with veal and the fesenjan with lamb. We also had the combination naderi (filet mignon) and koobideh (ground beef) kabob (called the naderi soltani) Both were good, the ground meat was actually better. The rice was very nice and we asked for them to throw on some tahdig which they did at no charge.
Nothing earth-shattering, but the prices are reasonable, it is pretty close by, food is good and different... and *fresh*; definitely will return.
I'm just up the street from you (off Kanan). Welcome!
Going through your list:
Chinese - how wrong you are!! I've posted on a few places, including:
-Szechuan Place in the Vons pkg lot on Kanan (ask for "Chinese menu", not the Americanized one.
-Hot Wok just east of Wood Ranch (same deal - ask for Chinese menu).
-Han's dumplings, Avenida de Los Arboles, just west of the 23 Fwy. about 20 min. from you. This is like an inner-city joint with a hot buffet, but ask for the off-menu stuff (hand-written in Chinese and taped to a wall - he'll translate).
Japanese (cooked) - That's going to be tough. I have no idea, but Sushi and Wasabi (a few doors from Agoura's 'Famous' Deli) has passable chicken teriyaki, tempura, etc.
Vietnamese - Doubt it.
Cambodian - Long Beach
Korean - Haven't found it
Thai - Nothing better than generic L.A. Thai places. I guess I like the Exotic Thai (there are several) that's next to the movie theater, but I'd go east to places like Swan Thai in the Valley for the real deal. I usually get my fix off the 101 in Thai Town and don't even bother out here.
Indian - the little Apna Spiceland on Thousand Oaks near Hampshire may get you close enough. Better stuff is in the Valley. This is a typical "sweets and spices" set up with the hot buffet counter. Last time I went the 'hot' part was out of order so I ate quickly and willed myself to not get sick (I didn't). Tasty stuff, and they do a brisk business so it doesn't sit around. We've also been to Karma in Thousand Oaks which is standard L.A. Indian, maybe a notch above, but they changed (owners? menu?) recently and a friend said he didn't like it as much. Didn't notice a drop in quality and would go back any time.
Nepalese/Afghani - ok, now you're just being crazy.
Persian - well, we've gotten take out a few times from the place on Kanan behind Starbucks (now called "Maral Cuisine"). I can't exactly recommend it, esp. if you've been to places in Westwood, etc. I had really good chicken fesenjon, taboule, etc. from "Diar Market" in the Palms stripmall on T.O. Blvd. (which also holds Apna spiceland). They have a big takeout selection, deli counter, market (lavash bread, rice, etc.) plus a sit-down cafe next door. Very no-frills.
Moroccan - no
Turkish - no
Egyptian - no
Lebanese - and no
No Mexican?? Try Los Agaves on T.O. Blvd.
There is a pretty sizable middle eastern community that stretches from Westwood and through the west valley. I've seen plenty of Persian, for example, along ventura blvd west of tarzana. I have not eaten at any, however.
There is a Moroccan place in studio city, I believe, that has been there a while, don't know how good the food is, have never been. http://www.marrakeshdining.com/
The palisades has a decent Indian, Taj Palace, and Asian Pearl Dragon, but they are not destination places.
I agree, west la/sawtelle area would be closest for most Asian you list. But perhaps there are hounds out there more familiar with your territory.
re: cant talk...eating
1) because i much prefer eggplant salads to hummus and, imho, itzak hagadol is the king of eggplant salads now that the magic carpet on pico is gone.
2) i prefer my hummus to be less oily than that served at hummus bar and grill.
unquestionably both of them are good restaurants.
it's simply a matter of personal preference.
it's been a while since i've been to itzik hagadol. i'll have to go back and take notice if the eggplant salads there are more varied and tastier than h b and g. (now there's a law firm).
oddly, i don't recall the hummus at h b and g being all that; it's good, i haven't noticed it being too oily, but i'm not sure it's the best in town.
i do find the salads the best thing about both joints. the skewers are only o.k.
I'm not particularly familiar w/ Agoura Hills or the Palisades, but, based on little I read about your area on the board, you'll likely need to drive *at least* 30 min to find good versions of the stuff you're looking for.
If you're willing to drive all the way out to Oxnard (which I realize isn't *that* far from Agoura), you might as well drive an equal distance in the opposite direction to try bulavinaka's rec.
If you're willing to drive to Reseda/Northridge, there's Tampa Garden (very good central Chinese), Mandarin Deli (decent soup noodles, dumplings, and scallion pancakes). In Van Nuys, you'll find Pho So 1. Woodlands Cafe (southern Indian) is in Chatsworth. For mom and pop Moroccan, there's Simon's Cafe in Sherman Oaks. A rather tasty AYCE Indian buffet (weekday lunch) can be found in Encino at Streets of India (ignore the very corporate-looking interior).
There's actually a decent-sized Korean population in Northridge/Granada Hills/Reseda. The only one I've been to in the area (Evergreen) is a homestyle restaurant in a large Korean strip mall at the corner of Sherman Way/White Oak. The restaurant is located in the "inner" portion of the strip mall. I've also seen scattered Korean restaurants on Reseda near Plummer and again at Reseda and Devonshire.
Given that it takes me 15-20 min to just drive to and from UCLA to Brentwood during a normal weekday commute, I'm not sure if a 30 min ETA for Palisades to Westwood/Century City is all that realistic most of the time, but.... Shamshiri, Shaherzad in Westwood, or Javan in West LA. Actually, there is/was a branch of Shamshiri in Northridge, I believe. There's plenty of "cooked" Japanese on Sawtelle Ave (Ramen Jinya, Tsujita, Hurry Curry, Curry House, Fu Rai Bo, among many others), Chinese (ROC), Vietnamese (Nongla). A decent weekend Indian buffet can be found at Jaipur in West LA.
For good Thai, I assume the closest location for the really good stuff will be North Hollywood (which isn't close at all to you).
not sure about the geography,
a decent vegetarian indian buffet can be found in chatsworth
although it's kosher and not open on saturdays, the food is good at Tierra Sur and the room is lovely.
it is located in the baron herzog (sp?) winery