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At Gyromania, owner Kyriakos Champi stacks the menu with Greek and Cypriot favorites.
At Gyromania, owner Kyriakos Champi stacks the menu with Greek and Cypriot favorites.
Gyromania

12 Must-Try Restaurants in the Burgeoning Santa Clarita Valley

Hand-made pasta, dessert omelets, and honey-dripping loukoumades

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At Gyromania, owner Kyriakos Champi stacks the menu with Greek and Cypriot favorites.
| Gyromania

The Santa Clarita Valley is having its culinary moment. At one time a quiet suburb on the northeast edge of LA, this blossoming city now boasts some of the county’s most charming, inventive, and historical restaurants. Buoyed by the constant flow of new residents, businesses boasting fresh spins on international cuisines regularly pop-up in the valley’s many neighborhoods, each of which has the support of a legendarily tight-knit community of food aficionados. Such eclecticism is a delight for visitors and locals alike. Here are 12 of the SCV’s must-try restaurants, listed from north to south.

Added: Piccola Osteria, La Villa Maria Market & Tortilleria, Juan & Nita’s Bagnet-Silog, Sen Noodle House, O Sushi

Removed: Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewery Co., Brewery Draconum, Le Chêne French Cuisine, Sabor Cocina Mexicana, Piccola Trattoria

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Piccola Osteria

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When Angie Caruso’s family opened their upscale Sicilian-style eatery off Bouquet Junction in May 2021, fans loyal to their humbler Canyon Country outpost Piccola Trattoria were understandably skeptical. But one meal at the Osteria is enough to quell any such concerns. Found here is the best “pizze” in the valley, an eggplant and salted ricotta-topped masterpiece named Norma, along with white balsamic mint-glazed lamb chops and several undeniable Trattoria classics for those nostalgic for Caruso’s home-grown pasta recipes.  

Gyromania

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How does a fast-casual strip-mall shop get named the fourth-best restaurant in the U.S.? The answer is clear to anyone who visits this welcoming gyro house in Canyon Country’s Soledad Plaza. In addition to the signature meat wraps, owner Kyriakos Champi’s has stacked the menu with Greek and Cypriot favorites unavailable anywhere else in town, including a lovely tart avgolemono and honey-dripping loukoumades donuts. 

Pink Salt Grill Restaurant and Catering

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Sandwiched between a laser tag emporium and a yoga studio, Pink Salt might seem inconspicuous to the naked eye. But it’s a haven for Filipino food lovers with a spacious outdoor patio for warm summer days. You can’t lose here, though the oxtail-filled kare-kare stew and the chocolate meat dinuguan are particularly special.

Juan & Nita's Bagnet Silog

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Any new restaurant that dares open in Santa Clarita’s Canyon Center faces a challenge: how does one compete with Tiny’s, the iconic sub shop on the strip mall’s corner? Only Melvin Blanco, the owner of Juan & Nita’s Bagnet-Silog (named for Blanco’s parents), has devised a solution: offer remarkable food at no price. Law enforcement, clergy, and first responders eat free (by day, Blanco is an oncology nurse), but it’s well worth joining the growing stable of regulars willing to pay menu price for executive chef Jake de Guzman’s inventive takes on traditional Filipino classics, like candied pork belly bagnet candies doused with sesame. 

Sen Noodle House

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“Whatever you do, do it well,” Walt Disney once said. That appears to be the guiding philosophy behind Sen Noodle House, where virtually every dish centers around the holy noodle. Udon, vermicelli, ramen, buckwheat — if it slurps well, Sen serves it in soup, curried, or pan-fried. That gimmick would grow tiresome quickly if not for the exquisite attention paid to balance and flavor here. It’s no surprise that Sen has exploded in popularity since its spring 2021 opening. 

Mom Can Cook Thai Kitchen

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The name says it all. Chef Satini Wanida Boonlue isn’t the original “mom,” but her adventurous takes on Thai standards are no less exceptional. Boonlue’s salmon fried rice is a high point, as is the shrimp-in-a-blanket appetizer. It’s a wise customer that ends each meal with her decadent mango and sticky rice.

O Sushi

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An overabundance of sushi restaurants in SCV makes finding “your spot” a challenge, but to sleep on this tiny hidden annex on the inward-facing side of Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Company would be foolish. It took three transformations, eight years of business, and ultimately a pandemic for O to find its particular specialty: dazzling chirashi bowls topped with hand-selected sashimi, as handsomely staged (and sized, at a not-inappropriate $32) as any to-go dish in town. The servers will still help deliver orders curbside if health concerns are an issue, but drop inside for a laugh: O’s chefs are famous for remembering returning customers’ names.

The Original Saugus Cafe

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Two things make this humble little diner an essential visit for any Angeleno. For one, it’s the oldest restaurant in LA, having served the likes of John Wayne and Theodore Roosevelt since opening in 1886. The other is community: beloved by locals and tourists who make regular pilgrimages to its Railroad Avenue outpost for breakfast, Saugus Cafe feels like a hug from an old friend. 

La Villa Maria Market & Tortilleria

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One would expect a specifically Nayaritian kitchen to excel in seafood. So it comes as a surprise that the star dish at this highly respected hole-in-the-wall is not its ceviche (though it is tasty), but instead its gorgeous, gratifying menudo. Brimming with tripe and ever-so-slightly peppery, La Villa Maria’s menudo is matched only by the tortillas made by hand each day in the open-air kitchen at the front of the building. Consider carpooling for dinner, however, as the side parking lot is often full due to the nearby lavanderia.

Egg Plantation

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With 101 specialty omelettes on the menu, there’s a dish for every taste at this booming vintage eatery on the outskirts of Old Town Newhall. Though they offer cafe standards as well, owners Shannon and Simon Mee embrace a more left-field, genre-busting approach to breakfast. Customer favorites include item #93, a cherry pie dessert omelette; Angelita’s special, a peanut butter-stuffed french toast fried in egg; and for the day-drinkers, the spiciest bloody Mary in town.

The Old Town Junction

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Voted Santa Clarita’s best chef six times, Daniel Otto left a permanent imprint on the city when he founded this ambitious corner bistro in 2018. It quickly became Newhall’s premier upscale restaurant, a title which has yet to be seriously challenged. Although Otto’s menus are seasonal, his gifts with meat and fowl — especially on the Junction’s peerless slow-roasted prime rib — are evident year-round.

Newhall Refinery

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At the forefront of Santa Clarita’s increasingly crowded gastropub scene is this stylish wood-paneled hub at the heart of Main Street. In fact, its opening in 2013 under Egg Plantation masterminds Shannon and Simon Mee kickstarted something of a culinary revolution in Old Town Newhall. Now boasting new owners and a redesigned interior, it’s become the valley’s strongest date-night spot.

Piccola Osteria

When Angie Caruso’s family opened their upscale Sicilian-style eatery off Bouquet Junction in May 2021, fans loyal to their humbler Canyon Country outpost Piccola Trattoria were understandably skeptical. But one meal at the Osteria is enough to quell any such concerns. Found here is the best “pizze” in the valley, an eggplant and salted ricotta-topped masterpiece named Norma, along with white balsamic mint-glazed lamb chops and several undeniable Trattoria classics for those nostalgic for Caruso’s home-grown pasta recipes.  

Gyromania

How does a fast-casual strip-mall shop get named the fourth-best restaurant in the U.S.? The answer is clear to anyone who visits this welcoming gyro house in Canyon Country’s Soledad Plaza. In addition to the signature meat wraps, owner Kyriakos Champi’s has stacked the menu with Greek and Cypriot favorites unavailable anywhere else in town, including a lovely tart avgolemono and honey-dripping loukoumades donuts. 

Pink Salt Grill Restaurant and Catering

Sandwiched between a laser tag emporium and a yoga studio, Pink Salt might seem inconspicuous to the naked eye. But it’s a haven for Filipino food lovers with a spacious outdoor patio for warm summer days. You can’t lose here, though the oxtail-filled kare-kare stew and the chocolate meat dinuguan are particularly special.

Juan & Nita's Bagnet Silog

Any new restaurant that dares open in Santa Clarita’s Canyon Center faces a challenge: how does one compete with Tiny’s, the iconic sub shop on the strip mall’s corner? Only Melvin Blanco, the owner of Juan & Nita’s Bagnet-Silog (named for Blanco’s parents), has devised a solution: offer remarkable food at no price. Law enforcement, clergy, and first responders eat free (by day, Blanco is an oncology nurse), but it’s well worth joining the growing stable of regulars willing to pay menu price for executive chef Jake de Guzman’s inventive takes on traditional Filipino classics, like candied pork belly bagnet candies doused with sesame. 

Sen Noodle House

“Whatever you do, do it well,” Walt Disney once said. That appears to be the guiding philosophy behind Sen Noodle House, where virtually every dish centers around the holy noodle. Udon, vermicelli, ramen, buckwheat — if it slurps well, Sen serves it in soup, curried, or pan-fried. That gimmick would grow tiresome quickly if not for the exquisite attention paid to balance and flavor here. It’s no surprise that Sen has exploded in popularity since its spring 2021 opening. 

Mom Can Cook Thai Kitchen

The name says it all. Chef Satini Wanida Boonlue isn’t the original “mom,” but her adventurous takes on Thai standards are no less exceptional. Boonlue’s salmon fried rice is a high point, as is the shrimp-in-a-blanket appetizer. It’s a wise customer that ends each meal with her decadent mango and sticky rice.

O Sushi

An overabundance of sushi restaurants in SCV makes finding “your spot” a challenge, but to sleep on this tiny hidden annex on the inward-facing side of Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Company would be foolish. It took three transformations, eight years of business, and ultimately a pandemic for O to find its particular specialty: dazzling chirashi bowls topped with hand-selected sashimi, as handsomely staged (and sized, at a not-inappropriate $32) as any to-go dish in town. The servers will still help deliver orders curbside if health concerns are an issue, but drop inside for a laugh: O’s chefs are famous for remembering returning customers’ names.

The Original Saugus Cafe

Two things make this humble little diner an essential visit for any Angeleno. For one, it’s the oldest restaurant in LA, having served the likes of John Wayne and Theodore Roosevelt since opening in 1886. The other is community: beloved by locals and tourists who make regular pilgrimages to its Railroad Avenue outpost for breakfast, Saugus Cafe feels like a hug from an old friend. 

La Villa Maria Market & Tortilleria

One would expect a specifically Nayaritian kitchen to excel in seafood. So it comes as a surprise that the star dish at this highly respected hole-in-the-wall is not its ceviche (though it is tasty), but instead its gorgeous, gratifying menudo. Brimming with tripe and ever-so-slightly peppery, La Villa Maria’s menudo is matched only by the tortillas made by hand each day in the open-air kitchen at the front of the building. Consider carpooling for dinner, however, as the side parking lot is often full due to the nearby lavanderia.

Egg Plantation

With 101 specialty omelettes on the menu, there’s a dish for every taste at this booming vintage eatery on the outskirts of Old Town Newhall. Though they offer cafe standards as well, owners Shannon and Simon Mee embrace a more left-field, genre-busting approach to breakfast. Customer favorites include item #93, a cherry pie dessert omelette; Angelita’s special, a peanut butter-stuffed french toast fried in egg; and for the day-drinkers, the spiciest bloody Mary in town.

The Old Town Junction

Voted Santa Clarita’s best chef six times, Daniel Otto left a permanent imprint on the city when he founded this ambitious corner bistro in 2018. It quickly became Newhall’s premier upscale restaurant, a title which has yet to be seriously challenged. Although Otto’s menus are seasonal, his gifts with meat and fowl — especially on the Junction’s peerless slow-roasted prime rib — are evident year-round.

Newhall Refinery

At the forefront of Santa Clarita’s increasingly crowded gastropub scene is this stylish wood-paneled hub at the heart of Main Street. In fact, its opening in 2013 under Egg Plantation masterminds Shannon and Simon Mee kickstarted something of a culinary revolution in Old Town Newhall. Now boasting new owners and a redesigned interior, it’s become the valley’s strongest date-night spot.

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