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Aug 9, 2013 02:11 PM

With al-cazar in Encino closed, what other options are there for meze?

Looks like the al-cazar folks have sold the restaurant and moved full-time into catering. The new owners will reopen the restaurant in a few months.

*sigh* That was my wife's favorite restaurant. Every time I went into LA on business, I'd get a large to go order of meze (and a box of baklava from the Baklava Factory) to bring back. I'll be back in LA in a couple of weeks and would like to see if there's an alternative.

So, any other notable Lebanese restaurants in the WSFV or Westside or, heck, let's open it up to Glendale as well (I'll be driving from WSFV to East LA before going to LAX anyway)? I've tried Sunnin, Hummus Bar, and the also departed Sham, and liked all three, but not quite enough to haul a takeout order onto a plane.

Any recs for great hummus, baba ghanoush, muhumarrah, grape leaves, etc.? Also, any places that you'd recommend ahead of BF for baklava (I always went there b/c it was convenient)?

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  1. If you still want to hit BF, you realize it was relocated further west, on the south side of the street just east of White Oak.
    Carnival in Sherman Oaks on Woodman just north of Ventura Blvd., Cedar House on Riverside Drive @ Whitsett, on the border of Valley Village, Studio City & Sherman Oaks.
    If in East Hollywood, El Marouch on SM Blvd @ Edgemont is better than all of the above, yet not as convenient.
    If in Glendale, Carousel is highly recommended by many, although I have not tried it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: carter

      Cedar House yes. Went to Marouch yesterday. Place was dead and the food wasn't inspiring for the price. The best thing I had was the rice pilaf...

      Carousel is excellent for the selection of cold and hot mezzes

      1. re: TripleAxel

        Did you go for dinner or lunch?
        Lunch is always uninspiring.
        In fact, I am surprised why they open for lunch, assuming they still do.
        But in the past, dinners have been fairly busy, always good food.

        1. re: carter

          Dinner... 7:00pm, and there was only 1 other table dining.

      2. re: carter

        BTW, anyone have any thoughts on Sunnin Lebanese Cafe in Westwood? I thought it wasn't bad the 1 time I went...

        1. re: TripleAxel

          I think you described it. IMHO, it's not bad. Seems better than when they were across the street. But the food hasn't inspired me for more visits.

      3. For mezzot, the best I've found in the valley is Hayat's Kitchen in North Hollywood.

        11009 Burbank Blvd
        North Hollywood, CA 91601
        Phone number (818) 761-4656

        In Northridge (my homebase), Falafelicious has great falafel. I lived in Israel for quite a number of years, and their falafel easily stacks up with the best Israeli falafel. Not surprisingly, the owners are Israeli. Pita Pockets, also in Northridge, is popular, and has pretty good schwarma and other specialties. It is run by Israeli Arabs (I heard them speaking Hebrew and Arabic).

        For hands down the best baklava you will find anywhere, go to Vrej Pastry in Granada Hills. The best I've had from Jerusalem to Los Angeles.

        1. Al Amir Lebanese Cuisine in Valley Village (Laurel Canyon/Magnolia). They have my favorite baba ghanouj! They're closed on Mondays though. I like this place a lot better than the Cedar House which was also mentioned.

          4 Replies
          1. re: chris1621

            Al Amir serves excellent food. We especially liked the hummus.

            1. re: eams

              Any relation to the famed Al Amir on Wilshire in the Miracle Mile area that closed years ago ?

              1. re: kevin

                I wondered too. That was a lovely restaurant. But there is no mention in their promotional materials. Also, I think the chef may be too young to have been there.
                This al Amir is a small, spotless place in a street corner mini-mall. The owners are friendly, and the Lebanese food is really good home cooking-- as good as I have had for years.
                BTW the hummus at Cafe Dahab on Sawtelle is really good too. I'm not sure which I prefer.

                1. re: eams

                  Another +1 here for Al-Amir. Fantastic little joint with friendly service and tasty food. I know it wasn't the original question, but it's got the best damn lentil soup I've had.

          2. There's also Mantee in Studio City.

            1. At the risk of embarrassing myself to those more expert than I, what do folks think of Cafe du Liban? Was there the other day and got the appetizer sampler which was pretty great. Not too far from the BF.