Valley Restaurant Guide (Part 1)
Yes, I’m a Valley Girl! By Valley, of course, I mean the San Fernando Valley, which I feel like I have to defend on a daily basis. Not being native to LA, I am unsure where all the Valley hate comes from. I can only assume that people do not enjoy all of the available parking and affordable rent. So, this is a simple guide to my favorite Valley restaurants. This is for both the lovely people that already live in the Valley or those among us that live “over the hill” yet want to pay less than $15 on valet parking. I think the Valley has something for everyone as far as food is concerned and here are my current top suggestions:
Petit Trois: I was such a fan of the Petit Trois in Hollywood long before I thought it would be possible for one to open right in my neighborhood of Sherman Oaks! I always thought it was the perfect restaurant. Get a glass of wine (or three), get the famous omelette or the Big Mec burger, and call it a day. No fuss – just amazing food in a French bistro type setting. The Sherman Oaks version of Petit Trois is a lot larger than its cousin “over the hill”, but I still prefer to just sit at the bar for that same experience. This place is open all day so you can get a phenomenal breakfast, late lunch, and/or early dinner; whenever you want to eat, they’ve got you covered. But back to the omelette…..It’s heaven and lives up to the hype. Just have one person at the table order it so you can have some, but then you can try other things as well - such as the highly addictive Steak Frites. There is so much to choose from at Petit Trois that you should order as many different items as possible.
Blue Dog Beer Tavern: Oh, Blue Dog. It’s such a comfy little place. It’s located in Sherman Oaks and is our go-to place for burgers in the Valley. They have friendly service, a unique variety of beer, and outdoor seating. They also have TVs that are always showing whatever important game is on. Their outdoor patio is dog-friendly, so it’s a great place to watch adorable puppies come and go throughout the day. While I always opt for the Classic Cheeseburger, I’m told that the Summit Burger is where it’s at. Paired with an Old Speckled Hen (English Pale Ale) – it’s the perfect meal!
The Bellwether: Located in Studio City, the Bellwether is a great restaurant for dinner, though I actually prefer going for brunch on the weekends. They have a Full English Breakfast (which I am always a sucker for) and a mimosa situation that I just adore! Also, on the other side of the spectrum, I quite enjoy their Grain Bowl for brunch! They have so many excellent options for dinner, but please try to incorporate their French Fries into your order – you won’t regret it.
Sweet Butter Kitchen: Another Sherman Oaks gem, Sweet Butter is a fantastic breakfast spot. Also – bonus – they recently started dinner service, as well, AND have wine & beer. So, basically it’s good news all around. It’s the perfect post-hike place to enjoy a hearty (or healthy) breakfast. You order at the counter and then select a table inside or outside. It’s always bustling on the weekends and the food comes out quickly and it is always good. Not to sound super basic, but I love their Avocado Toast. Also – their Chilaquiles are divine. But sometimes I just like to get their Two Egg Breakfast w/ Bacon and Wheat Toast and call it a day.
Sushi Note: Sushi Note totally had me at hello! As soon as you sit down at your table you are given a glass of sparkling wine! I was originally interested in this restaurant because A) it’s in my neighborhood and B) it was known for having a great wine list. Not all sushi places focus on wine, but I appreciated that the wine is almost as important as the sushi here. The wine list has so many unique and interesting offerings that I want to keep going back just to try more options. Then there is the food! I love the menu – especially the sampler options. They have something for every price point and the food is amazing. I’m a fan of the Quarter Note, which includes an assortment of sushi along with edamame and miso soup.
Alcazar: Full disclosure: I have never eaten at Alcazar. By that I mean, I have never gone inside and sat at a table and ate. I always order it and eat it from the comfort of my own couch. I love this place. After a long day at work when you just want good food – order Alcazar. If you do not live in the Valley, come visit me and we’ll order it together. OR just eat at one of the tables they have there. Alcazar is located in a little strip mall with limited parking, which is why take-out/delivery seems to be the best option. My signature move is to order the Chicken Shawarma and the Beef Shawarma – then you split up the meat for you and whoever you may be dining with and you both get a taste of each. Their plates come with Rice, Pita Bread, and two sides. It’s a lot of food – but so good! Their hummus is delicious!!
Mirabelle Wine Bar: Mirabelle! I truly love this place! I hate telling people about Mirabelle because it keeps getting more popular every time I go, but now I feel like the secret is out so it doesn’t really make a difference. Mirabelle is a perfectly intimate wine bar in Valley Village. I fell in love the first time I went because of their unique wine list and the cozy vibe. They have a small food menu, which pairs well with the wine list. I love the Burrata, but also love that I can come visit and just have a glass of wine and an order of their Roasted Marcona Almonds – perfection! Mirabelle also has good music with a wide selection of cassette tapes to choose from. Yes – you read that right – cassette tapes! This place is fantastic and not pretentious in the way that some LA wine bars can be. I think I may just go visit tonight!
Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list of restaurants in the Valley, but you cannot go wrong with any of these selections. This list covers my favorites and will steer you in the right direction if you want good food in California’s beautiful San Fernando Valley. These restaurants may even convince you that the Valley is not so bad after all….