Villa Restaurant Woodland Hills
Very comfortable patio seating for about 50 people, and it’s off Ventura to reduce road noise. There are trees over it, so it’s also not too hot. Very pleasant.
Dinner salad was interesting and well prepared with greens, frisee, shaved fennel, marinated red onion slices and baby heirloom tomatoes, dressed with a light vinaigrette. The fennel gave it a welcome bitterness to balance the vinaigrette.
The braised lamb shank was served to my shock and awe. It’s a large shank, extremely tender… so much so that you can eat it with just a fork (although I used the knife to separate it). Over the top and alongside is a rich harissa sauce and it’s served with couscous (which was a little dry, but much improved with the harissa sauce). It also comes with a grilled sausage which had Middle Eastern spices in it; and steamed green beans and carrots. And there’s a little bowl of yogurt sauce with cucumber. This was a lot of food, and I cleaned the plate (save for the lamb bone and some excess fat).
The flavors of the dish, between the harissa sauce, the sausage and the lamb, along with the cool cucumber yogurt sauce, were well thought-out and the proportions were appropriate. Presentation was also well thought-out.
Service was attentive and friendly. Cost was $35 including a diet coke (they also have a wine list but it was a business dinner so I abstained).
This was a delightful dinner, totally unexpected as to quality and atmosphere.
22160 Ventura Boulevard (one block west of Topanga)
The reputation of the place in the past has been largely built around the allure of that back patio, and it is one of the better ones in the Valley, like Ca de Sole, Warren's Blackboard, Stanley's, among others.
However, the food was always an afterthought, although never really bad - just who cares.
Glad to hear things have greatly improved.
Was that $35 part of the dineLA promotion?