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Sep 19, 2013 06:41 AM

NYer Visiting Burbank

I have to spend a week in Burbank for work and will looking to explore, food-wise, having never spent much time in Southern CA. I'll probably be dining alone mostly, and will need places nearby sometimes but other times will have time to roam. I would probably rather not go fancy, but would love to find interesting local places or ethnic that I can't get in the NYC area.

So, perhaps a trip or two to the San Gabriel Valley for Chinese? We can get good Sichuan, Northwestern / Xian, Lanzhou, Fujian, etc. and ok Cantonese in NYC. What should I try? Asian beyond Chinese? I don't get great Thai or Vietnamese out east. Others?

Mexican suggestions?

For nights I work late and can't travel far, anything in Burbank?

I'm up for any ideas. Thanks.

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  1. You should visit Porto's Bakery in Burbank since you are right there. Potato balls are always tasty, but other things like the guava/cheese strudel are certainly chow worthy.

    27 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      The Cuban sandwiches at Porto's are the draw, not just the appetizers and deserts.

      1. re: bringiton

        the cuban sandwiches at porto's are not good. stick with the potato balls and desserts.

        1. re: linus

          in your opinion ;)

          i can eat that medianoche all day, every day. and at less than 5 bucks, a steal.

          agree to disagree, as always :)

          1. re: ns1

            silly, i thought it was obvious i was giving the opinion of the deceased saxophone player, albert ayler.

            i don't care for the sandwiches at porto's at all. the cuban sandwich at mambo's is better than the cuban sandwich at porto's, and mambo's is much less stress, the people there are impeccably nice.
            the sandwiches at sweet salt and olive and thyme are much better.

            1. re: linus

              true, but also 100% more expensive.

              1. re: ns1

                yes, they are more expensive.
                however, unlike porto's, they are worth the expense.

                but honey, let's not quarrel in front of the children.

      2. re: Servorg

        you may make your own informed opinion about what's good at porto's but it's about the only place in burbank that remotely resembles a reason to travel to burbank to eat. and you can do lunch there. but you'll have to drive a bit for everything else IMO.

        1. re: barryc

          lots of top chef alumni around here, if you are so inclined.

          cj jacobson (girasol, studio city)
          antonia (black market, studio city)
          fabio (osteria firenze, north hollywood)
          alex (sweetsalt, toluca lake)

          but true, nothing in burbank proper

          1. re: ns1

            burbank proper is a very tough nut.

            the upscale sandwiches and salads at sweetsalt and olive and thyme are pretty good.
            the breakfast burrito at the corner cottage is good; the hot sauce they serve inside or with it is excellent.
            the beer at tony's darts away is excellent. the sausages are pretty good.
            the hot dogs at larry's are excellent.
            i haven't decided about the empanadas at world's finest empanadas yet.
            the kebabs at cafe bravo on the burbank/glendale border are great.
            umami burger is umami burger.
            the fish and chips at big willie's is o.k., but not worth travelling any distance for.
            the french joint on pass, in the same complex as the von's, is good.

            1. re: linus

              I much prefer the breakfast burrito at Larry's Chili Dog on Burbank blvd. I would say it is the best breakfast burrito I've had lately.

              1. re: alliebear

                larrys does have a good breakfast burrito. excellent hot dogs, too.

              2. re: linus

                "the breakfast burrito at the corner cottage is good; the hot sauce they serve inside or with it is excellent."

                One of my least favorite breakfast burrito's in the city. Poor ratio of eggs/meat/cheese/potatoes. The 2 hour wait does not make it better.

                I'm astounded that you can mention the line at Porto's, but neglect to mention the line @ Corner Cottage.

                1. re: ns1

                  I like Corner Cottage though I have not had it in a few years now.

                  1. re: ns1

                    very good point, ns1. there is often a big line at the corner cottage for breakfast burritos, and i did not mention it.
                    mea culpa.

                    of course, if there's a line, i don't go.
                    i tend to go during the week, early, or just after school starts. i walked in there the other day at 8 a.m. and it was empty.
                    weekends, the place is jammed. i stay away.
                    also, they stop serving the breakfast burritos at 11 a.m.

                    there's not a breakfast burrito on god's green earth i would wait two hours for.

                    i guess i should do more investigating about when there's not a line at porto's.

                    1. re: linus

                      "also, they stop serving the breakfast burritos at 11 a.m.

                      there's not a breakfast burrito on god's green earth i would wait two hours for.

                      i guess i should do more investigating about when there's not a line at porto's."

                      On the weekends, you go to CC and buy a burrito. Then you leave and go to costco for a little bit. Then you return back and wait another 10-15 minutes for your breakfast burrito.

                      @ Porto's, it's pretty much a crapshoot around lunchtime unless you go at 11:30a; I've tried going at various times between 12-2p and it's all the same, a random crapshoot.

                    2. re: ns1

                      NS, you disappoint me. The Corner Cottage burrito is sublime.

                      1. re: bringiton

                        maybe a 6.5/10, then dock -7 points for the wait.

                2. re: barryc

                  if i lived far outside the burbank area, i wouldn't travel to porto's.
                  before there was a porto's in burbank, i only rarely travelled to the one in glendale. more likely, i would want to go when in the area, and be scared of the line.
                  has anyone mentioned the line at porto's?

                    1. re: ns1

                      line=waiting forever=still waiting=yep, still waiting=no payoff

                      whatever they put between the bread on porto's sandwiches has only a passing resemblance to "fresh"

                      1. re: linus

                        Give me a break. If you don't like Porto's, fine; but it simply isn't what you claim. Yes, there CAN be a line depending on what time you go, and maybe you'll have to wait a few minutes. It is far from interminable, and if you're getting stuff to go like many other folks, you can - get this - call ahead!

                        1. re: Jack Flash

                          they won't take phone orders unless you're ordering 5+ sandwiches or something.

                          1. re: Jack Flash

                            i have called ahead with large orders and it's much the way to go.

                            as far as not what i claim, i totally take responsibility for hallucinating the crowds of people i see in there and the long waits that ensue.

                        1. re: linus

                          The line at Porto's is shockingly insanely long, however, it moves very quickly. The place is a well oiled efficient machine and you will be ordering within 5 minutes and eating soon after.

                    2. Not hugely familiar w/ Burbank but, for the days where you have more free time, Sri Siam (very little ambiance, but fantastic Thai) in North Hollywood and Cacao Mexicatessen (Mexican) in Eagle Rock aren't super-far, definitely not fancy, and are incredibly tasty (just make sure to check traffic reports b/f leaving!).

                      Even if you can get great Chinese food in NYC, going to the SGV just to get a sense of the vastness of the Chinese community there might be fun.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ilysla

                        personally, i could spend a week just doing chinese in the SGV, but i'm biased.

                        for example:
                        - pork chop rice and cold chicken sesame noodles, among other things, at old country cafe which IIRC is also open 'til midnight.
                        - you didn't mention shanghai-ese fare, which includes things like soup dumplings/buns called xiao long bao (XLB's for short). din tai fung is the popular choice but there are some decent ones to be had with a lot less fuss & wait time. you can search on that to get more refined recommendations;
                        - if you're big on noodles, you've got places like omar, kam hong, JTYH (as known as heavy noodling II). there are a few others i've neglected to mention, i'm sure.
                        - if you haven't had a beef roll, 101 noodle express, mama's kitchen and flavor garden all have fans, they're within walking distance of each other;

                        thai might be a good choice in terms of proximity to burbank;

                        and given that glendale to the east of burbank has the largest concentation of armenians outside armenia, you've probably got a lot of good options to try armenian food. i wish i could say the same about filipino food given the huge concentration of filip's in eagle rock just east of glendale though i've heard that barrio fiesta isn't bad.

                        1. re: barryc

                          And if the OP is going to be in Glendale investigating Armenian food then they might as well swing by Proof Bakery too.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Not sure what the persian/armenian food scene is in NYC, but Raffi's in nearby Glendale is tasty and inexpensive (at least, it was when I last went there many moons ago).

                            And agree that Proof is worth a trip.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              if all else fails, try a double double animal style at in-n-out in glendale. i don't think that there's one in burbank. and they're open until 1am. it's a S. CA thing; some people swear by the in-n-out double double the way some folks swear by white castle sliders, (which i kinda miss, actually) etc.

                              1. re: barryc

                                Barry, there's an In 'N Out off the 5 Freeway at near Ikea off Burbank Blvd. I was there tonight!

                                761 N 1st St
                                Burbank, CA 91502

                                1. re: granadafan

                                  thank you. yes, i should have remembered that; i've eaten there. i was thinking burbank along the 134 instead of up the 5.

                        2. In Burbank I would suggest the following.

                          1. Porto's. Already mentioned here but well worht the trip.

                          2. Taste Chicago. Outside Chicago, it's my favorite Italian Beef sandwich - they also do a great deep dish.

                          3. Granville. A great little eatery in downtown Burbank with a great bar and friendly staff. Love the Pork Chop dinner. Also great burgers.

                          4. Chadanka Thai is also in downtown Burbank and quite good.

                          5. Caio Christina. Great little Italian restaurant next to Warner Brothers. Highly recommended.

                          6. Olive and Tyme. Excellent sandwich shop and more. Very trendy but excellent.

                          1. Not much in Burbank except some decent franchises, but Glendale, next door, has Porto's for Cuban, Bashan, Raffi's for middle eastern, and Sushi Nishya, a decent if overrated sushi joint.

                            In the San Gabriel valley, notable CH Vietnamese restaurants are Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, Golden Deli, and Newport Seafood for lobster/crab. I like Noodle Boy for wonton noodles and V K Food products for sublime tofu pudding. In Thaitown, there is Jitlada, but good luck finding Thai people there, Sanamluang Cafe for Thai noodles, and I like Palms Thai.

                            1. The trip to the Thai portion of Hollwood is a short freeway jaunt from burbank. Try Pa Ord or Ruen Pair among others.