Thousand Oaks/westlake village
jwexler -this is my orbit so here's where we're going these days. (and you're safe avoiding most local Thai/Chinese spots!). And these are dinner places, not the hole-in-wall places I usually go to!
Leila's: Probably the best all-around place in terms of food quality, creativity, wines and service BUT I wish they'd vary the menu a bit. Having been there a bunch of times, things I was blown away by the first time (braised/crispy short ribs) are now sort of predictable, esp. since there are several "flavor duplicates" btwn the app menu and the mains - but that's really quibbling (chopped salad is simple but addictive, they often have a fish special, chocolate bread pudding, etc.). It's a gem of a restaurant and we've never had less than a very good meal there.
Grissini: After having gone repeatedly to many of the local Italian restaurants in town (Rustico, Tuscany, Zin, Bellini, Vitello's, etc.) we keep coming back to Grissini, tucked away in a completely lame office park south of the 101. Never had a bad entree - steak on arugula, fried chicken cutlet, whatever the fresh pastas are. Don't be fooled by the gimmicky choose-you-own pasta menu - they know what they're doing in the kitchen. There is really no shortage of the bag-salad, shrink-wrapped mozzarella Italian places around that (to me) are just phoning it in. That said, Rustico is not bad.
Los Agaves: I just haven't found a Mexican restaurant I want to go back to besides this very modest (but not fast-food) place on TO Blvd. It's pretty standard stuff (reminds me of Lares in Santa Monica) but heads and shoulders above everything else.
Don't really go for steakhouses, but was really underwhelmed by Grill on the Alley (overpriced for completely mediocre food); Mastro's is nearby anyway. Someone mentioned Lure above (local fishhouse chain) and it's funny, maybe they're working out the kinks but they screwed up both our drink and main order, but the fish itself was really tasty (and eventually, so were the drinks!).
Lots and lots of places we've been to a few times but that just aren't that great (or are downright awful).
Want to try:
Village Fish House (Lost Hills exit off 101)
Niroj Levant (just opened - I think?? - next to Pizza Nosh at Reyes Adobe)
Sushi Kanada - the sushi Nazi will instruct you on such things as not dipping the rice in soy,etc.
Paul Martins - Westlake village
Grill in the Alley
Zin's Bistro over looking the Lake
Mediterraneo near the Westlake Inn
Sushi Planet is awesome
Champagne - a French bakery for sandwich's, soups etc.
If you don't like those, go to Jersey Mikes for a sub