The swath of flat land in northern Los Angeles known as the San Fernando Valley (or just the Valley) is where the hustle of the entertainment industry meets the laid-back vibes of suburban life. With an entire boulevard dedicated to sushi, an abundance of hidden gems, and plenty of watering holes filled with regulars, the Valley’s diverse and growing culinary scene celebrates a variety of tastes. The vastness of the Valley can be intimidating to tackle — and has far too much to offer for one single map — so here are just some of the San Fernando Valley’s many great places to eat.Read More
23 Essential Restaurants in the Sprawling San Fernando Valley
Mining the Valley for gems hidden in plain sight
The Brothers Sushi
Bypass the bevy of sushi restaurants on Ventura Boulevard and drive further west to this Woodland Hills gem for an omakase from chef/owner Mark Okuda. The $200 menu is worth the splurge and includes seasonal Japanese fish, dry-aged fish, and locally-grown produce. For those ordering a la carte, the JYO chirashi bowl with dry-aged toro is a stand-out and pairs nicely with any of the restaurant’s high-end sakes and Champagnes.
Some of greater LA’s best Spanish food hides in plain sight out in Woodland Hills, where owner Sandra Cordero turns out all-day dishes like pan con tomate, tortilla Española, and shareable paellas from Wednesday to Saturday.
Cupid's Hot Dogs
It’s all about rad retro vibes at Cupid’s in Winnetka, where roller skaters send hot dog orders out from the small kitchen to waiting fans. Note: the Northridge location of Cupid’s closed recently.
Apey Kade Restaurant
The wide breadth of Sri Lankan food is on full display at Apey Kade in Tarzana. From raw kale salads to hearty soups and stews, this place can do it all.
An LA deli institution, Brent’s has been a staple in the Northridge neighborhood for nearly 40 years. The outlandishly good black pastrami Reuben is reason enough to make the drive.
Baja Subs Market & Deli
Part corner store, part hidden restaurant, this Sri Lankan specialist turns out some of the Valley’s most flavorful food like string hopper and lamprais.
Tel Aviv Glatt Kosher Grill
Sabich, schnitzel, challah, shawarma — it’s all possible at Tel Aviv Grill, the Kosher Valley micro-chain that makes some of LA’s best Israeli food.
Given that Los Angeles is home to the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, it’s no surprise that the city is rich with incredible Persian restaurants. With another location in Thousand Oaks, Sadaf in Encino is arguably the best Iranian spot the Valley has to offer. The kashke bademjan, or eggplant delight as it’s called on the menu, and ghormeh sabzi are top-tier.
Borekas Sephardic Pastries
Stop by this Sherman Oaks takeout window run by husband and wife duo chef Uzi Wizman and Gal Ben-Goya to experience bourekas: flaky Israeli-style pastries stuffed with savory or sweet fillings. Regulars know to call ahead to pre-order and avoid waiting in line. Don’t miss grabbing secret menu items like the pinukim, a sandwich-like creation made of cheese and za’atar bourekas stuffed with truffle egg salad, tomatoes, and pickles.
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There are burgers and burger-makers, and then there’s Bill Elwell. The namesake man behind this Van Nuys beef and bun legend no longer mans the griddle, but the kitchen is still turning out some of the sturdiest and least expensive meals in the Valley.
Anajak Thai Cuisine
This longtime, family-owned Thai restaurant in Sherman Oaks has been the cool-kid hangout of the past three pandemic years thanks to lots of fun collaborations, weekly taco parties in the back alley, and plenty of natural wine. The restaurant even snagged a James Beard Award earlier this year.
Chef Danny Ly’s contemporary Vietnamese restaurant in Panorama City is home to one of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in the Valley. The bánh mì đặc biệt is made wonderfully rich with a generous swipe of pate and an abundant layer of mayonnaise on top. Other options include eight types of phở, rice dishes, and vermicelli salad.
With three locations in Sherman Oaks, Burbank, and Calabasas, Hank’s Bagels are taking over the Valley. Order any of the classic flavors or specialty offerings, like rosemary sea salt and everything jalapeno cheddar, and be on the lookout for any test batch flavors or daily specials. Enjoy bagels simply with cream cheese or made into a custom sandwich.
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There are no shortage of great sushi restaurants in the neighborhood, and Sushi Note ranks somewhere near the top. Snag a seat at the seven-seat bar dedicated to serving omakase from celebrated chef Kiminobu Saito.
With over 65 years of continuous operation, this family-owned Mexican restaurant is now run by third-generation restaurateur Christy Vega, who has added an extensive patio to the iconic dining room with red leather booths and dim lighting. Pair one of the restaurant’s many margarita options with favorites like albondigas, oven-style burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, or tableside guacamole. Fun fact: Casa Vega was immortalized in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
Sri Siam Cafe
Located in a North Hollywood mini-mall, this family-owned restaurant has been serving authentic Thai cuisine for 30 years. The menu features khao soi, nam tok, and $14.95 lunch specials including panang curry and pad see ew. The crispy rice salad is an absolute must-order on every visit.
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Joe Peeps' NY Pizza
It’s hard to find a classic New York-style slice on the West Coast, but this Valley Village hole-in-the-wall decked out in graffiti comes pretty close. New York-style thin-crust cravings can be cured with a slice of the Blue Collar, while those who prefer a thicker and fluffier crust can sample the 5,969 Calorie that comes packed with all the toppings.
Cilantro Mexican Grill
North Hollywood’s Cilantro Mexican Grill makes what may be the best meat burrito in the entire city. Tucked into a quiet corner of a busy gas station, this place draws dozens upon dozens of lunchtime diners eager to enjoy the craftsmanship of chef Adolfo Perez, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate with a corporate chef background who is now making his dream come true.
Jeff Strauss of Highland Park sandwich shop Jeff’s Table revamped the Bar at Oyster House into a food and drink destination for locals and industry folks alike. Strauss’s playful menu blends Japanese flavors and Los Angeles staples with his Jewish heritage. Signature dishes on the ever-changing menu include the matzo ball ramen, Reuben quesadillas, and pickle bento. Find classic cocktails with a twist, like the Suit and Tie made with gin, Brennivin aquavit, and dry vermouth garnished with a pickled onion, on the drinks menu.
Heavily charred, seriously cheesy, and impossibly crispy — that’s the way the pies are done at Gorilla, the Valley Village pizzeria that’s trying to give the Valley a taste of Pittsburgh, one pizza at a time.
Cool-kid sandwich spot Uncle Paulie’s has found its Valley audience in Studio City, where fans arrive early and often for bacon egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, daytime East Coast-style subs, and more casual favorites.
Chef Aviad Yalin’s spit-roasted wagyu shawarma pop-up now has a permanent home in Studio City. The wagyu shawarma sandwich is the main attraction, served in a warm pita with tomatoes, onions, and parsley, and drizzled with tahini and amba sauce. Avi Cue’s small but impressive menu also offers loaded shawarma fries and ground wagyu-filled arayes.
Reservations are encouraged at this supper club where food, music, and libations come together for a fully immersive evening. Chef Oscar Torres blends Latin influences and flavors with LA’s local produce and ingredients, serving braised lamb pasta, a tomahawk with bone marrow salsa, and dry-aged kanpachi. Complement the meal with a Smokin’ Old Fashioned or a glass of wine from the exceptionally curated wine list. Nightly live music is mixed by 17-time Grammy winner Manny Marroquin.