Conejo Valley straddles Los Angeles and Ventura counties and is surrounded by Simi Hills and Santa Monica Mountains. The suburban area, which includes such cities as Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Newbury Park, and some portions of Calabasas, features several small gems among larger chain restaurants. A close look will reveal smaller independent restaurants fueled by the proximity to local farms and farmer’s markets, as well as drawing culinary talents who are moving away from the LA hustle. From family-run eateries serving international cuisines to extravagant eats in hotels, these are the restaurants to try around Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and beyond.Read More
Where to Eat Around Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village
The sprawling Conejo Valley is filled with celebrities, suburban landscapes, and lots of hidden gems
Dong Ting Spring
A good Chinese restaurant can be hard to find this far west of San Gabriel Valley, but Dong Ting Spring brings authentic Hunanese food to the area — the second location of Dong Ting Chun in San Gabriel. The large menu may be difficult to navigate at first, but it’s best to stick to the Hunanese section with dishes like braised pork belly with preserved vegetables, the lamb in golden soup, and for those more adventurous, the mashed eggplant with century egg.
With another location in Encino, Sadaf offers some of the best Persian food in all of Los Angeles. The menu is expansive, and highlights include the eggplant delight, various yogurts like the maust mousier, and the three stews. Family style is the way to go at Sadaf, so order a few dishes and share with the table.
Moqueca Brazilian Restaurant
One of the best Brazilian restaurants in Southern California is Moqueca, and thankfully they’ve expanded from their original Oxnard location into Thousand Oaks. While most Brazilian spots in LA tend to be churrascarias, Moqueca specializes in its namesake seafood stew from the Bahia region, cooked in a claypot with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and urucum. A side order of farofa to sprinkle on top is highly recommended, as is a round of caipirinhas.
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This small, New American restaurant is the kind of neighborhood restaurant that is better than it needs to be. Freshly baked sourdough is topped with feta mousse and heirloom tomatoes, pork chop is brined and marinated for 24 hours, and most ingredients are sourced from local farms. In addition to food, Decker Kitchen’s bar is stocked with all manners of infused spirits and syrup using produce that bartender Paul Jones gets from his weekly farmer’s market runs, making this the best place to drink cocktails in the area.
Made In Italy Bistro
There are plenty of solid Italian restaurants in the Conejo Valley, and Made in Italy is among the best. The penne alla bettola is hearty with a bit of a kick, and can be made gluten-free like all other pastas on the menu. The salads are also special and make an excellent starter when shared with the table with plenty of the house focaccia.
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E+ Mon was opened just before the end of 2020 by Hidetoshi Teddy Seike who previously operated Samurai in Mammoth Lakes, and he’s working with Chef Koji Miyamoto who helmed Hinomaru Ramen in Astoria. E+ Mon brings more high quality sushi options to the area and the best way to experience it for the first time is the premium nigiri sampler, which usually includes seared toro topped with caviar along with the day’s freshest cuts like nodoguro and kinmedai. Tempura and appetizers like aged miso eggplant and takoyaki round out the menu.
JOi Café // Coffee by JOi
Serving up plant-based meals in Westlake Village, JOi Café has big breakfasts, salads, and large plates like burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and chili and cornbread. The coffee drinks are also noteworthy, and the lavender latte is among the best in the area.
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Collin Crannell worked at various fine dining restaurants in the LA area from Patina to Water Grill before opening his own neighborhood restaurant in the middle of a shopping center in Westlake Village. One of the earlier proponents of farm-to-table cooking in Conejo Valley, Moody Rooster offers a small, seasonal menu using sustainable ingredients. The menu is ever-changing, but some favorite mainstays include the saganaki, salads, and harissa carrots.
Coin & Candor
Coin and Candor at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village is not the typical hotel restaurant, with an inviting outdoor patio overlooking the cascading man-made waterfall and the level of care put into the food. Chef Jesus Medina infuses the menu with Mexican heritage with dishes like Baja red snapper with adobo and a corn stew inspired by elote. With pastry chef Patrick Fahy’s experience that includes stints at The French Laundry, the bread and desserts here are worth ordering, including the pretzel bread with mustard butter.
eLoong’s handmade dumplings can stand their own in many LA neighborhoods, but they are particularly welcome in Conejo Valley, where options can be sparse. eLoong is the spot to go for those craving xiao long bao or wontons in chili oil. Dumplings aside, there is also a menu of noodles, rice cakes, and buns. The menu is similar to that of a particular international XLB chain, but it certainly will satisfy without the long drive.
Husband and wife Celine Ikeler and Aerk Reeder own Karma Baker, where every baked good is vegan and gluten-free. They’ll ship anywhere, but the Westlake Village location serves up stunning baked items, including a fruit tart ring layered with gluten-free cookies, vegan lemon mascarpone, and fresh fruit.
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This coffee shop serves much-needed single-origin coffee to Oak Park. Cafe Sapientia creates paninis and avocado toasts for the neighborhood lunch, but the main attraction is the snow creme. Cafe Sapientia serves the best (if not the only) shaved snow in Conejo Valley. The soft texture is on par with what is available in LA, and many of the flavor options use housemade ingredients from the mango puree to the whipped cream.
Tifa Chocolate & Gelato
Tifa might have expanded across state lines, but this chocolate and gelato franchise started in Agoura Hills. They may have started off the business by selling a curated selection from other chocolatiers, but soon started making their own truffles and gelato. The creamy whisky gelato is a notable favorite, but for an especially indulgent treat, get their version of affogato, where the gelato is drenched not in espresso, but in hot drinking chocolate.
FurnSaj Restaurant & Bakery
This Lebanese bakery and restaurant hailed from neighboring San Fernando Valley but has another location in Calabasas that serves the same items that gained the original location a loyal following: heaping plates of some of the best beef or chicken shawarma in the LA area; freshly baked boat-shaped bread saroukh filled with cheese, onion, and parsley; and more.
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This intimate strip mall sushi spot may well be the most popular Conejo Valley restaurant, drawing long waits since 1996 and gaining viral status when Kimye was photographed waiting for a table on a bench outside. Sure, some people come here for the fist-sized hand rolls and the stuffed squid, but Shibuya has a strong nigiri game including daily specials that may include the hard-to-prepare hagashi toro.