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Fine Dining in the Valley

Anything new or interesting? Looking for Studio City area or not too far from there.


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  1. Have you been to Raphael http://raphaelstudiocity.com/ ? We have not but I would like to try it sometime.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Went about a year ago. the menu is 3 levels, $10, $15, $25. The challenge: "Our menu consists of small plates meant to be shared family style." So the sharing is best with 2 diners. The nooks & crannies of the layout of the space are good for date nite. Alas, cannot recall the items we sampled, but it was a nice experience.

      1. re: Servorg

        Raphael is great. Good food, and gorgeous ambiance.

        There's also Roy's in Woodland Hills, which is also adjacent to a Flemings. If you don't mind driving a bit further, I'd do Saddle Peak Lodge. Technically in Malibu, but closer to Calabasas. Excellent food, great service and wine list, although the restaurant has a lodge theme, complete with animal heads on the walls. One of our favorites.

        1. re: boogiebaby

          Several people have mentioned Roy's. Is it really good?

          We live nearby but I'd rather have a root canal than deal with Flemings again and they have the same ownership. Is Roy's, perhaps, a little less like a meat packing plant?

          1. re: rainey

            Rainey, like you I have no desire to return to Flemings after eating there twice; however; unlike you, I think if given the choice of a root canal or Flemings, I would definitely choose Flemings--it wasn't THAT bad :)

            I've been to Roy's several times and have never been disappointed.

            1. re: brandygirl

              Thanks for setting me straight. I'm more willing to give Roy's a chance now.

              1. re: rainey

                I've been to a few different Roy's -- mostly in Florida, one in Hawaii, one in California -- and I've found both the food and service to be very good. They have a 3-course fixed price menu (might be $38.95 now) with limited choices of starter, entree, and dessert (don't miss the hot melted chocolate individual cake) that is very satisfying. Very consistent operation.

      2. Café Girasol on Moorpark has been getting good reviews. One of their dishes was on Jonathan Gold's list of 10 best.

        1. I like the Italian food at Il Tiramisu a lot. Its not overly elegant, but good food, service and a full bar.


          1. There is very good sushi all over Studio City.
            A new Mexican place took over the OutTake Bistro called La Ventura. Have not tried yet.
            Raphael is not bad, quite expensive.
            While Girasol has been getting good reviews, the décor has kept me from going, would you believe. Also fairly expensive.
            I like the food at Black Market in the former Wine Bistro building, next to the Firestone store. More tapas-focused, and noisy as ...
            La Loggia is probably as good as you will find for Italian food, which otherwise is lousy, whether in Studio City or Sherman Oaks, unless you want the red sauce stuff.
            Have you been to Vibrato in the Beverly Glen Center near Mulholland? Similar to Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena, and operated by the same people.

            6 Replies
            1. re: carter

              Arroyo Chop House is owned by the Smith Bros., which also owns Parkway Grill and Cheval Bistro in Pasadena. I don't think they have anything to do with Vibrato Grill.

              1. re: brandygirl

                They have operated Vibrato since its opening, with Herb Alpert as owner.
                A nice experience, a superb space, and worthy of anyone who wants to spend similar dollars to Arroyo Chop House or Parkway Grill.
                I have known Bob & Gregg since the opening of the Crocodile Café/now 140 South on South Lake, and worked with them over the years, and, trust me, they operate Vibrato.

                1. re: carter

                  Well, obviously I had no idea...that's good to know, as I like their Pasadena restaurants.

                  1. re: carter

                    Vibrato is very good. If you consider it the Valley, its about as good as it gets. Its a great venue when meeting some people from the City and others from the Valley.

                2. re: carter

                  In Sherman Oaks I'm a big fan of Oliva. Mmmm gnocchi al brasato (brisket meat sauce) and linguine vongole

                  1. re: Tyus4pt8

                    Funny thing - the last time I ate at Oliva, which admittedly was several years ago, I had the linguine vongole, and it was terrible, and then and there I vowed to never return.
                    Previous meals were nothing special, yet a friend wanted to try it for her first, and as it turned out, and only time.

                3. although it's a chain I do like Roy's in Woodland Hills.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wienermobile

                    I had a terrible meal that was also overpriced at Roy's. It is very much a chain. Loud, a hang-out, cutesy plates that had lousy food on them... Definitely not fine dining to me! Sorry Weinermobile!

                  2. How about Vitello's. Ate there recently and was pleasantly surprised. www.vitellosjazz.com. After dinner, go a couple doors down to SUCK IT Sweets and Treats!

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Kitchen Queen

                        Vitello's? The food is good enough for an ordinary evening out and the music upstairs can be fantastic. But it's hard to think of it as fine dining. …tho our thoughts on what "fine" is can be different, of course.

                        DO go for the music. Have the short ribs.

                      2. "Fine Dining in the Valley." Thought it was an Onion headline.

                        14 Replies
                          1. re: jesstifer

                            Amen, brother!

                            My MIL lives in Tarzana, so we go out fairly often (also live in canyons, so it's just as close to SO/SC as LA too)...aside from sushi/japanese, I've yet to find anything in the valley I would take an out of towner.

                            Places like Oliva and Il Tiramisu are really mediocre - I'm sure they have edible dishes, I just haven't found them yet. The high end chains are OK for what they are and probably your best bet (Morton's, Ruth Chris, Roys).

                            1. re: manku

                              Then you haven't been to Bashan.

                              "The newly opened Bashan is a small French treasure."

                              S.I.V. - LA Times.


                              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                And while I definitely agree on the Bashan front (and have touted its merits on this board on numerous occasions), the OP specified Studio City... All the way out in Montrose hardly qualifies.
                                However, as other posters have mentioned, La Ventura, Black Market Liquor Bar, and Girasol are all recently opened and would qualify as fine dining... In the Valley, that is.
                                I know there's a lot of derision for the Valley but taken all in, the area (food-wise) is very similar to Greater Santa Monica. Lots of more-casual places and unusual ethnic finds with just a few higher-end places.

                                1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                  black market liquor bar fine dining?
                                  have you been there?

                                  look, i like the food, but if that place is fine dining, i'm the periclete of caborca.
                                  might as well recommend laurel tavern.

                                  1. re: linus

                                    I was just looking at the website images of Raphael and, as far as ambiance is concerned, it looks to me as if Raphael is solidly ensconced in the "fine dining" category. A very handsome interior space.

                                    I would eat in the Valley more frequently if the 405 construction project wasn't playing havoc with traffic.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      i've not been to raphael.
                                      i think laurel tavern and black market both do a good job in that modern small plates/pub food rubric.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        "A very handsome interior space".

                                        Indeed, I have been a number of times, the setup of the tables are far apart that you have privacy, a very pleasant dining and food does not disappoint. Corkage is reasonable and I always bring my wine. dineLA is coming, should give it a try.

                                        1. re: jotfoodie

                                          Table set up is one reason my wife and I take my family out for Christmas Eve Dinner at Napa Valley Grille in Westwood. They actually have room between the tables, and they even provide a table large enough for our party (11 people this past December) that no one is crammed in on top of their neighbor (a concern in our family as most of the men are tall - and wide unfortunately - with my niece's husband who comes in at 6'9" leading the "big" parade).

                                      2. re: linus

                                        Clearly lacking in the classical education department, I'm gonna have to google that reference. Perclete of Caborca?

                                  2. re: manku

                                    My husband's MIL alos lives in Tarzana! It's IMPOSSIBLE to find anywhere to eat. We end up at Kate Mantillinis usually... sometimes Le Pain Quotodien.... No fine dining in the area.

                                    You CAN get better food in Studio City (esp. for sushi) and in Toluca Lake.

                                  3. re: jesstifer

                                    Although it's not new, I consider Brandywine in Woodland Hills to be fine dining. Also, I'm not sure if it's still in business as it's been years since I've been, but Le'Sanglier in Tarzana would also qualify. I would also include Roy's, as was mentioned already, and the steakhouse chains--Ruth's Chris, Mortons, Flemings, maybe Larsen's in Encino (I haven't been there). It is true that the Valley does not have the equivalent of Melisse, but we do have a few fine dining options.

                                    1. re: brandygirl

                                      Checked their website. Brandywine is still up and running. Looks like the menu i basically the same. I liked it there as well.

                                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                      And it is much more convenient to those folks living in Pasadena or Glendale than it is to anyone wanting a place in Studio City/Sherman Oaks.
                                      It is more convenient for us locals to head to the 323 or 310 area code for a way better selection of dining options, than to think of Montrose.
                                      No offense to either Bashan or Montrose, but it is not on top of the mind awareness.

                                      1. re: carter

                                        Hey, I live in Studio City, and drive to Montrose for weekend breakfast/lunch occasionally. (The Black Cow, usu. on Farmer's Market Sundays. Not fine dining, but good Chow-worthy stuff.)

                                        I also go there for La Cabanita too, but haven't been in a while.

                                        With clear weekend freeways, it's about 20 minutes.

                                        It may not be on the top of *your* mind's awareness :-) but most times, it's a heckuva lot easier to get there than to most of the Westside.

                                    2. Mistral in Sherman Oaks on Ventura is fine dining.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: trojans

                                        I've always wanted to go to Mistral. (I live walking distance) I could never get a table when I had the opportunity to go there. What do you like?

                                        1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                          I have never had a bad meal at Mistral, but, yes, some have been better than others, of course, but consistency is one of the hallmarks of the place.
                                          Never cheap, never a good wine list, but a very convivial crowd with noise levels higher than you probably want.
                                          Allocate about $85 per person
                                          Whitefish always good as are the moules/frites.
                                          Steaks good but never up to those at the high quality steakhouses in Warner Center area.
                                          Lamb dishes always reliable.

                                        2. re: trojans

                                          Yes, I forgot about that one; another Valley gem.

                                          1. re: trojans

                                            I like Mistral. I know it gets flak on this board, but to me it is a very pretty -- almost (ALMOST!!!) a San Francisco-looking place. I go EARLY to avoid noise. It is pricey and it's still the valley after all (meaning it's no Providence, eg) but I like it.

                                          2. Not formal "fine dining," but Bow & Truss in North Hollywood has delicious, primarily Spanish food (w/ a few Mexican-influenced dishes). Good cocktails and a lovely outside space as well as appealing interior. Excellent addition to Valley dining.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: archer

                                              What do you feel are the best dishes at B&T?
                                              Been by the place on several occasions, yet never in that area for dinner.
                                              Not a big cocktails person, and thus my question largely pertains to the food.

                                              1. re: carter

                                                Definitely recommend the mariscos paella. Their small dishes are all good; I was particularly impressed with the octopus salad as well as the tacos de cameron (their own interpretation of Mexican fish tacos). Vegetable dishes all excellent. Nice selection of cheeses too. I haven't had any of their meat dishes so can't comment on those.

                                            2. Go's Mart for wonderful sushi. Looks like a dive in a divey mall, but your taste buds will be forever grateful. Not cheap by any means. 22330 Sherman Way, Canoga Park 818 704 1459

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: pizzafreak

                                                do we no longer have any concept of FINE DINING!?

                                                1. re: pizzafreak

                                                  Go's is great sushi, but definitely not fine dining.

                                                2. One of my favorites that I forgot to mention is Le Petit Restaurant next door to the Great Greek.
                                                  Not necessarily new, but still a nice place for a nice dinner, with many options for that picky eater in the crowd.
                                                  Not much of a wine list, and I typically byo, unless just getting a martini and letting that handle the alcohol requirement(s).
                                                  Moules frites, merguez sausage(order undercooked), lamb dishes among my favorites.
                                                  Allocate about $50 pp.

                                                  1. Two possible contenders that have not been mentioned are the Valley Inn, in Sherman Oaks, and Local Peasant in Woodland Hills. I have not been to either, but maybe someone can give some feedback.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: MarkC

                                                      Local Peasant WH is the sister resto to Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks (which replaced the old Cozy's Bar & Grill Blues Club). While the food and drink are all very good, it's essentially a Gstro Pub with the focus on Craft Beers and small plates. Not necessarily fine dining.
                                                      While I've not actually dined at the Valley Inn, I've been a few times for drinks and felt it reminiscent of the old Les Freres Taix near Downtown.

                                                      1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                                        Valley Inn is getting a little "long in the tooth" and the food pairs well with the decor.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Only reason to go to the Valley Inn might be to get their filet mignon, with a baked potato, etc.
                                                          Their booze is fine, their wine list sucks and you can only byo California wine, no French wine permitted.
                                                          If you just keep it simple stupid(KISS), then you will survive.
                                                          Otherwise, moving right along...

                                                          1. re: carter

                                                            How on earth do they justify a policy of no French wine? Does it apply to all non-California wine, or just French?

                                                            1. re: MarkC

                                                              It was an anti-France move by the owner. Remember when French Fries were called Freedom Fries? That's why. The owner is a big Palin (& her ilk) supporter.

                                                              1. re: susiequeue

                                                                They must have changed ownership then at some point, because I remember going to several Democratic Party functions there about 10-15 years ago, with the (then) owner's enthusiastic endorsement. I went back last spring after a long (multi-year) hiatus, and enjoyed it -- great burgers and Manhattans -- but I would definitely not put it in the fine dining category.

                                                    2. Don't think anyone's mentioned Asanebo yet. In Studio City, very expensive (e.g. special occasion, depending on one's budget), but considered one of the best Japanese restaurants in the city. And it has a Michelin star.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: archer

                                                        The bill qualifies this restaurant for fine dining....the ambiance does not, however. Service is superb, but then again many Japanese restaurants seem to excel in this department.