I've spent most of my life in the San Fernando Valley so I know the dining scene pretty well. 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 list. If you're an adventurous eater and fine with leaving your comfort zone, you'll probably appreciate this list.
Hope you enjoy my list of the best places to eat in the Valley!
Mercado Buenos Aires - Steak and eggs, empanadas, Argentine-style pizza, any recommended beef dishes
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.
Szechuan Place - Regional Chinese food catering to Chinese students at CSUN.
Sam Woo - Cantonese-style barbecue This chain serves dependable Chinese to a Chinese audience. You'll find items you find at Chinese-American restaurants. I get the barbecue plate or the crispy deep-fried squid.
Mandarin Deli -Juicy steamed dumplings, scallion pancakes, beef noodles soup (handmade) Dishes that you might find in the San Gabriel Valley without the drive. They also have a location in the SGV.
Versailles -Not the best, but dependable Cuban in the Valley My family usually sticks to the shredded pork plate, oxtail, tongue, and arroz con pollo.
Horseless Carriage - Prime rib dinners including pie, lobster omelet, clam chowder I've had many satisfying meals here. They're known for their prime rib deal for under $20 which includes pie. Probably the best value in Los Angeles. The best clam chowder I've tasted in Los Angeles.
Bamboo Bistro - Boodle Fight dinners or better known as kamayan-style.
Lilian's Bread & Sweets - Ukoy, hard-to-find regional Filipino dishes, empanadas This is probably my favorite Filipino restaurant in the Valley tucked inside a car wash.
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.
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).
Indian by Nature - Highly recommended by an employee at India's Sweets & Spices The lunch special is a good value.
Hummus Bar & Grill - Hummus, fresh flat bread, falafel, shakshuka, "opening the table" Go with a large group and ask them to "open the table"
ITALIAN Monte Carlo Italian Deli - Groceries (sardines), lasagna, meatballs, pasta with meat sauce, inexpensive house wine w/ dinnner like in Italy Best grocery shopping for Italian goods then head to the restaurant for lasagna, meatballs or pasta with meat sauce.
Grandi Italiani - Spaghetti bolognese, NY-style cheesecake Famous pasta spot with a line in LA opened in the Valley
Lido's / Chi Chi's Pizza - Housemade pasta I enjoy their spaghetti and meatballs. Come for lunch and enjoy all you can eat pasta.
Domingo's - Housemade pasta I hear the new owners now make their own pasta.
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. I haven't had a dish I didn't like.
Mariscos Camarena Estilo Nayarit Food Truck - Shrimp empanadas, aguachile, campechana, tostadas My favorite is their shrimp empanadas and the best I've tasted so far in LA.
Sadaf - Ground chicken kabob Their specialty is the ground chicken kabob. A Persian said that this was the best Persian resto in the Valley.
Chai Thung - everything is good! This is where Thai families eat Thai food in the Valley. My favorite Thai restaurant in Los Angeles.
Sri Siam - crispy rice with Thai sausage Chefs in the know from all over city make the trek to the Valley to eat Thai food.
Wat Thai - Weekend food festival. Try everything. This is Thai food for Thai people. This is where all Thai families come to eat Thai food on the weekends.
Bua Siam - Inexpensive lunch menu (bang for your buck) The lunch menu is unbelievably inexpensive. Other than the lunch menu, I love their fried catfish with apple or papaya salad and sticky rice and dynamite wings. I'm a regular.