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A red checkered table with Italian dishes like lasagna and chicken parm.
Pinocchio
Farley Elliott

The San Fernando Valley's 19 Essential Restaurants, Winter 2020

Mining the Valley for gems hidden in plain sight

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Pinocchio
| Farley Elliott

The all-encompassing swath of flat land in northern Los Angeles known as the San Fernando Valley (or just the Valley) offers a wealth of exceptional cuisines, from Thai to Japanese to old-school American and red sauce Italian. The vastness of the Valley can be intimidating to tackle, so here now are the San Fernando Valley’s 19 essential restaurants.

Removed: Munch Box, Cavaretta’s, Black Market Liquor Bar, Skaf’s Grill, Anarbaugh

Added: Pinocchio, Boneyard Bistro, Larry’s Chili Dog, Casa Vega, Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Furnsaj Bakery

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11146 Balboa Blvd
Granada Hills, CA 91344
(818) 368-4000
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Granada Hills mainstay Furnsaj Bakery doesn’t look like much from the outside of its strip mall digs, but head inside for some of the best Lebanese food in all of Los Angeles. The shawarma is a must hit, and the flatbreads are the stuff of legend.

2. Szechuan Place

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9250 Reseda Blvd
Northridge, CA 91324
(818) 280-5355
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Regional Chinese cooking can be found in pockets across the San Fernando Valley, particularly at Northridge’s Szechuan Place, where American Chinese classics are served alongside more traditional Sichuan fare. The mapo tofu is a hit with regulars.

3. Lum-Ka-Naad

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8910 Reseda Blvd
Northridge, CA 91324
(818) 882-3028
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Valley denizens don’t have to make the drive to Thai Town to find extraordinary Thai fare thanks to Lum Ka Naad. The northern and southern Thai specialties served here don’t mess around when it comes to spice, so order with caution.

4. Brent's Deli

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19565 Parthenia St
Northridge, CA 91324
(818) 886-5679
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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.

Brent’s Deli The Hot Dish
Brent’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

5. Cilantro Mexican Grill

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7214 Whitsett Ave
North Hollywood, CA 91605
(818) 765-7998
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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.

6. Vinh Loi Tofu

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18625 Sherman Way #101
Reseda, CA 91335
(818) 996-9779
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Reseda’s Vinh Loi Tofu is a hit with herbivores and omnivores alike with its extensive menu of Vietnamese classics prepared without animal protein. Any dish containing the restaurant’s signature made-from-scratch tofu is sure to please.

Vinh Loi Tofu
Vinh Loi Tofu
Vinh Loi Tofu [Official Photo]

7. Krimsey's Cajun Kitchen

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12900 Victory Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91606
(818) 308-6166
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Krimsey’s has the wonderful distinction of being the only Cajun vegan restaurant around, focusing on po’ boys and king cakes and spicy jambalaya from a strip mall space. Stop in for a hearty meatless meal in the heart of the SFV.

A fried green tomato po boy.
Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen
Krimsey’s

8. Cemitas Don Adrian

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14902 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
(818) 786-0328

It takes a massive jaw and a serious appetite to conquer a cemita poblana, a beast of a sandwich constructed from a plush sesame roll jam packed with ripe avocados, panela cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, salsa, onions, and meat. Here at Cemitas Don Adrian, the Pueblan specialty comes together like a dream.

Cemitas Don Adrian
Cemitas Don Adrian
Lucas Peterson

9. Bill's Burgers

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14742 Oxnard St
Van Nuys, CA 91411
(818) 785-4086

There are burgers and burger-makers, and then there’s Bill Elwell. The namesake man behind this Van Nuys beef and bun legend still mans the griddle as often as possible, turning out some of the sturdiest and least expensive meals in the Valley.

A handheld burger with lots of cheese from Bill’s Burgers in the San Fernando Valley.
Bill’s Burgers
Farley Elliott

10. Larry's Chili Dog

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3122 W Burbank Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 842-0244
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Los Angeles is a breakfast burrito town, and there is no shortage of options across the San Fernando Valley. Among the biggest contenders for the throne is Larry’s Chili Dog, an old-school hot dog spot for eggs and meat wrapped in tortillas, as well as classic dogs with a variety of toppings.

Larry’s Chili Dog breakfast burrito held in a hand with a yellow background.
Larry’s Chili Dog
Farley Elliott

11. Nat's Early Bite

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14115 Burbank Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91401
(818) 781-3040
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Cruise down Burbank Boulevard on Sunday morning to find an aggressively packed parking lot of diners waiting for their turn to tuck in to heaping plates of chilaquiles and pancakes from Sherman Oaks staple Nat’s Early Bite. Come for reasonably priced breakfast favorites, and don’t forget to order an indulgently delicious house-made muffin.

12. Pinocchio Restaurant

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3103 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 845-3516
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Pinocchio and Monte Carlo Deli are the sort of places that Italian food dreams are made of. From inexpensive noodles offered a variety of ways (red sauce, meat sauce, alfredo, and beyond) to heaps of garlic bread, meatballs, and deli staples and take home snacks, this is Burbank’s home for eating well.

A red checkered table with Italian dishes like lasagna and chicken parm.
Pinocchio
Farley Elliott

13. Scratch|Bar & Kitchen

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16101 Ventura Blvd #255
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 646-6085
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Scratch Bar is one of the most compelling places to dine in the Valley because of Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Lee’s irreverent and divisive approach to dining. At the heart of this moderately priced tasting menu restaurant are the Lees’ willingness to experiment with ingredients to delight diners, making Scratch Bar one of the most adventurous and forward-thinking restaurants in the area.

Scratch|Bar & Kitchen
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen [Official Photo]

14. Mizlala

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East, 4515 Sepulveda Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 783-6698

One wouldn’t expect such outstanding, refined Mediterranean fare to be coming out of the humble confines of Mizlala. Longtime SBE chef Danny Elmaleh took over his father’s former restaurant space, Simon’s Café, to serve an exciting menu of small plates and tagines that are worth driving for.

 

Mizlala
Fried cauliflower from Mizlala
Joshua Lurie

15. Petit Trois

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13705 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 989-2600
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Petit Trois’ second location in the Valley is larger in every sense than the original one in Hollywood, from the space to the menu. However, expect the same outstanding French bistro fare, like the perfected omelet and the Big Mec.

Petit Trois
Petit Trois
Matthew Kang

16. Boneyard Bistro

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13539 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 906-7427
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In a city that has come into its own, barbecue-wise at least, in the past few years, it’s refreshing to see Boneyard Bistro continue to turn out quality meats and sides from its spacious Sherman Oaks building. Stop in for ribs, brisket, or one of the other popular items from burgers and sliders to deviled eggs. Don’t forget to snag a beer, too.

A plate of brisket and ribs with sauce on the side.
Boneyard Bistro
Faley Elliott

17. Sushi Note

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13447 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 802-3443
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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.

18. Casa Vega

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13301 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 788-4868
Visit Website

Casa Vega has more than stood the test of time. The casual Mexican-American restaurant known for its big, deep red booths and colorful atmosphere has become a mainstay for the entire San Fernando Valley, and frequently acts as a back drop for movies and TV shows filmed around town. Tortilla chips and margaritas are always fun with big groups, but sometimes sitting at the bar and chatting with the ageless staff is just as much of a treat.

Bar at Casa Vega, lit up with string lights.
Casa Vega
Wonho Frank Lee

19. Asanebo

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11941 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 760-3348
Visit Website

Asanebo has been on the receiving end of plenty of critical acclaim for its pristine cuts of fish, inventive sushi done to perfection, and exceptional chawanmushi and king crab to boot.

Asanebo
Asanebo
@GastronomyBlog

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1. Furnsaj Bakery

11146 Balboa Blvd, Granada Hills, CA 91344

Granada Hills mainstay Furnsaj Bakery doesn’t look like much from the outside of its strip mall digs, but head inside for some of the best Lebanese food in all of Los Angeles. The shawarma is a must hit, and the flatbreads are the stuff of legend.

11146 Balboa Blvd
Granada Hills, CA 91344

2. Szechuan Place

9250 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324

Regional Chinese cooking can be found in pockets across the San Fernando Valley, particularly at Northridge’s Szechuan Place, where American Chinese classics are served alongside more traditional Sichuan fare. The mapo tofu is a hit with regulars.

9250 Reseda Blvd
Northridge, CA 91324

3. Lum-Ka-Naad

8910 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324

Valley denizens don’t have to make the drive to Thai Town to find extraordinary Thai fare thanks to Lum Ka Naad. The northern and southern Thai specialties served here don’t mess around when it comes to spice, so order with caution.

8910 Reseda Blvd
Northridge, CA 91324

4. Brent's Deli

19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324
Brent’s Deli The Hot Dish
Brent’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

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.

19565 Parthenia St
Northridge, CA 91324

5. Cilantro Mexican Grill

7214 Whitsett Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91605

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.

7214 Whitsett Ave
North Hollywood, CA 91605

6. Vinh Loi Tofu

18625 Sherman Way #101, Reseda, CA 91335
Vinh Loi Tofu
Vinh Loi Tofu
Vinh Loi Tofu [Official Photo]

Reseda’s Vinh Loi Tofu is a hit with herbivores and omnivores alike with its extensive menu of Vietnamese classics prepared without animal protein. Any dish containing the restaurant’s signature made-from-scratch tofu is sure to please.

18625 Sherman Way #101
Reseda, CA 91335

7. Krimsey's Cajun Kitchen

12900 Victory Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606
A fried green tomato po boy.
Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen
Krimsey’s

Krimsey’s has the wonderful distinction of being the only Cajun vegan restaurant around, focusing on po’ boys and king cakes and spicy jambalaya from a strip mall space. Stop in for a hearty meatless meal in the heart of the SFV.

12900 Victory Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91606

8. Cemitas Don Adrian

14902 Victory Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91411
Cemitas Don Adrian
Cemitas Don Adrian
Lucas Peterson

It takes a massive jaw and a serious appetite to conquer a cemita poblana, a beast of a sandwich constructed from a plush sesame roll jam packed with ripe avocados, panela cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, salsa, onions, and meat. Here at Cemitas Don Adrian, the Pueblan specialty comes together like a dream.

14902 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411

9. Bill's Burgers

14742 Oxnard St, Van Nuys, CA 91411
A handheld burger with lots of cheese from Bill’s Burgers in the San Fernando Valley.
Bill’s Burgers
Farley Elliott

There are burgers and burger-makers, and then there’s Bill Elwell. The namesake man behind this Van Nuys beef and bun legend still mans the griddle as often as possible, turning out some of the sturdiest and least expensive meals in the Valley.

14742 Oxnard St
Van Nuys, CA 91411

10. Larry's Chili Dog

3122 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Larry’s Chili Dog breakfast burrito held in a hand with a yellow background.
Larry’s Chili Dog
Farley Elliott

Los Angeles is a breakfast burrito town, and there is no shortage of options across the San Fernando Valley. Among the biggest contenders for the throne is Larry’s Chili Dog, an old-school hot dog spot for eggs and meat wrapped in tortillas, as well as classic dogs with a variety of toppings.

3122 W Burbank Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505

11. Nat's Early Bite

14115 Burbank Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

Cruise down Burbank Boulevard on Sunday morning to find an aggressively packed parking lot of diners waiting for their turn to tuck in to heaping plates of chilaquiles and pancakes from Sherman Oaks staple Nat’s Early Bite. Come for reasonably priced breakfast favorites, and don’t forget to order an indulgently delicious house-made muffin.

14115 Burbank Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

12. Pinocchio Restaurant

3103 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
A red checkered table with Italian dishes like lasagna and chicken parm.
Pinocchio
Farley Elliott

Pinocchio and Monte Carlo Deli are the sort of places that Italian food dreams are made of. From inexpensive noodles offered a variety of ways (red sauce, meat sauce, alfredo, and beyond) to heaps of garlic bread, meatballs, and deli staples and take home snacks, this is Burbank’s home for eating well.

3103 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505

13. Scratch|Bar & Kitchen

16101 Ventura Blvd #255, Encino, CA 91436
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen [Official Photo]

Scratch Bar is one of the most compelling places to dine in the Valley because of Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Lee’s irreverent and divisive approach to dining. At the heart of this moderately priced tasting menu restaurant are the Lees’ willingness to experiment with ingredients to delight diners, making Scratch Bar one of the most adventurous and forward-thinking restaurants in the area.

16101 Ventura Blvd #255
Encino, CA 91436

14. Mizlala

East, 4515 Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Mizlala
Fried cauliflower from Mizlala
Joshua Lurie

One wouldn’t expect such outstanding, refined Mediterranean fare to be coming out of the humble confines of Mizlala. Longtime SBE chef Danny Elmaleh took over his father’s former restaurant space, Simon’s Café, to serve an exciting menu of small plates and tagines that are worth driving for.

 

East, 4515 Sepulveda Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

15. Petit Trois

13705 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Petit Trois
Petit Trois
Matthew Kang

Petit Trois’ second location in the Valley is larger in every sense than the original one in Hollywood, from the space to the menu. However, expect the same outstanding French bistro fare, like the perfected omelet and the Big Mec.

13705 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Related Maps

16. Boneyard Bistro

13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
A plate of brisket and ribs with sauce on the side.
Boneyard Bistro
Faley Elliott

In a city that has come into its own, barbecue-wise at least, in the past few years, it’s refreshing to see Boneyard Bistro continue to turn out quality meats and sides from its spacious Sherman Oaks building. Stop in for ribs, brisket, or one of the other popular items from burgers and sliders to deviled eggs. Don’t forget to snag a beer, too.

13539 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

17. Sushi Note

13447 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

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.

13447 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

18. Casa Vega

13301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Bar at Casa Vega, lit up with string lights.
Casa Vega
Wonho Frank Lee

Casa Vega has more than stood the test of time. The casual Mexican-American restaurant known for its big, deep red booths and colorful atmosphere has become a mainstay for the entire San Fernando Valley, and frequently acts as a back drop for movies and TV shows filmed around town. Tortilla chips and margaritas are always fun with big groups, but sometimes sitting at the bar and chatting with the ageless staff is just as much of a treat.

13301 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

19. Asanebo

11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Asanebo
Asanebo
@GastronomyBlog

Asanebo has been on the receiving end of plenty of critical acclaim for its pristine cuts of fish, inventive sushi done to perfection, and exceptional chawanmushi and king crab to boot.

11941 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604

Related Maps