I've spent most of my life in the San Fernando Valley so I know the dining scene pretty well, but there's still so much for me to discover. I tend to eat at the more hole-in-the-wall places in Los Angeles rather than the hottest restaurants on any "best in Los Angeles" food list. If you're an adventurous eater, you'll probably appreciate this list.
Hope you enjoy my list of the best places to eat in the Valley! There isn't a shortage of good local lood in the 818.
Granville Cafe - Dutch pancakes Ever since the closure of Du-Par's there's been a void of really good pancakes. I recently discovered the proscuitto pancakes at Granville after my sister introduced them to me. They are perfectly crisp and fluffy, but not too thick. This is the best dish I've had at Granville so far. Better texture than Cici's pancakes.
CHINESE Bamboo Cuisine - Best shrimp fried rice at this Chinese restaurant catering to the American palate.
Szechuan Place - Regional Chinese food catering to Chinese students at CSUN.
Sam Woo - Cantonese-style barbecue chain with an extensive menu. I like the mixed barbecue plate and their deep fried calamari.
CARIBBEAN Johnny Pacific - Empanadas inspired by chef's time cooking in the Caribbean The best empanadas you will taste in your life from a fine dining chef inspired by the food stands during his time working in the Caribbean.
COFFEE (for true coffee aficionados that drink their coffee black without flavored syrups) 10 Speed Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee - Dependable craft coffee chain with strict training program for baristas
House Roots Coffee - Non-profit coffee shop one of several coffees shops in Los Angeles affiliated with a Christian church
Red Window Coffee - Cute Australian coffee window serving a limited menu of coffee, pastries, and Aussie pies
Superba Snacks + Coffee - Coffee window with friendly service, outstanding pastries, and coffee beans from 49th Parallel Coffee
Tortoni Cafe - Argentine-owned coffee pour coffee made with Verve coffee beans Gateway coffee for Starbucks drinkers and those that don't like the taste of coffee -- they have a plethora of flavored syrups.
FRENCH Petit Trois Le Valley - Croque madame or monsieur Go for the buzzy scene and cocktails rather than out of the ordinary food. This is French bistro fare, so if you've been to France, this place will take you back. Chef Ludo is known for his omelet which you can try to make at home. Not a fan of their pastry or bread.
GREEK Firehouse Restaurant - Chicken gyros This is their most popular dish and my most favorite gyros in Los Angeles.
The Great Greek - Amazing pita bread and saganaki (flaming cheese dish) Festive and loud Greek restaurant. If you want a lively atmosphere at dinner, this is it. Opa!
HAMBURGER Bill's Hamburger - Old time roadside stand using high quality beef from a local purveyor
Salt & Straw - Adventurousflavors for gourmands from this spot from Portland. Look for the local chef series. Not for everyone!
INDIAN India's Sweets & Spices in Canoga Park - Ask for recommendations The prices are low and always crowded with Indians. Always a good sign if you see where Indians eating Indian food. I'll eat anything. I love their dosas. My Indian friend said the cooking here is the best in Los Angeles other than what she can get at home.
Chennai Tiffins - Dosas More "gourmet" dosas than what you'll find at India's Sweets & Spices. They also have a location in Artesia (Little India).
ISRAELI Hummus Bar & Grill - Hummus, fresh flat bread, falafel, shakshuka, you'll want to "open the table" Go with a large group and ask them to "open the table"
Tel Aviv Grill - Chicken schawarma, sabich, falafel, schnitzel My favorite spot for Israeli cuisine. They currently have four locations and is very popular with the Israeli community.
ITALIAN Grandi Italiani - LA Institution that relocated to the Valley serving their popular spaghetti bolognese, NY-style cheesecake
Lido's / Chi Chi's Pizza - Housemade pasta I enjoy their spaghetti and meatballs. Come for lunch and enjoy all you can eat pasta.
Monte Carlo Italian Deli - Grocery (tinned seafood!), lasagna, meatballs, pasta with meat sauce, house wine reminscent of Italy Shop for Italian goods for home then head to the restaurant for lasagna, meatballs or pasta with meat sauce.
Osteria La Bucca - short rib ravioli, bucatini carbonara, crispy brussels sprouts, housemade ricotta
ITALIAN SANDWICHES Cavaretta's Italian Deli - Corned beef (my fave) and meatball sandwiches are popular, lasagna (cold or hot), cannoli
Cricca's Italian Deli - Ask for any sandwich on their crunch bread The owner started at Cavaretta's and parted ways and opened Cricca's.
JEWISH DELI Brent's Deli - Black pastrami reuben Some say this is the best Jewish deli west of the Mississippi. I come here if I am too lazy to head to Langer's.
JAPANESE Go's Mart - Expensive, exotic fish sushi in a no frills dive environment
Sushi Iki - High-end omakase If you're feeling spendy, order the omakase which starts at $100. Expect foie gras and caviar.
Sushi Spot - Traditional, inexpensive no fuss omakase with the best service! This is a destination restaurant where chefs eat. This is my favorite spot for sushi. I am a regular -- more so pre-Covid days. Try the chef's choice menu then the omakase from $40+. It's not for pretty Instagrammable sushi on pretty plates (you'll get sushi on melamine plates), but well made sushi at a great value. Chef has been making sushi since the 80s.
Ramen Nippon - Tokyo-style ramen (lighter broth). This is where local Japanese chefs eat ramen.
AYCE Gogi - Not Koreatown, but when you're lazy to drive. All you can eat Korean barbecue and craft beer, with a pinball arcade in the back. Not many Koreans eat here, but it's a lively environment for a night out with friends.
Mi Ranchito Veracruz - Veracruz-style tamales, Veracruz-style fish and shrimp tacos, churros The banana leaf tamales is what they are known for. This is my go-to dish. Their fish tacos are different than Ensenada style, but they are equally delicious and worth trying.