Up until recently, San Fernando Valley—northwest of Los Angeles with Ventura Boulevard as the main thoroughfare—was great for ethnic eats, like sushi and shawarma. But that was about it—certainly nothing worth the drive to draw the non-local foodie. Yet, in the last nine months, a whole new epicurean landscape has sprouted.
Check out these new nine hotspots in the Valley worth the trek:
1. La Ventura
Mexicana-meets-mod cuisine. Casual and convivial, with food so solid, you’ll be back in no time.
- When to go: Business Lunch, Meet the Parents, Group Dinners
- Chef: Jeffrey Saad, finalist on The Next Food Network Star Season Five and host of Cooking Channel’s United Tastes of America
- Must Eats: Mole Duck Confit (not a regular menu item but can be requested with advance notice), Lobster-Chorizo Fondido, Housemade Churros.
- Must Drinks: Cocktail menu designed by Rhino, try the Creamy Margarita (made with egg and mezcal)
11929 Ventura Blvd, Studio City; Open daily lunch/dinner
It’s the first trendy restaurant Sherman Oaks has seen, with California-inspired eats, craft cocktails and an artisan wine/beer menu.
- When to go: First Date, After Work Meetup, Monday for $1 Oysters
- Chef: Mike Williams (formerly of Tasting Kitchen and The Parish)
- Must Eats: Lamb Shank, Oyster+Scotch Luge, Duck Fat Potatoes
- Must Drink: Scott Free Scott Free (Scotch, Maraschino, Bitters, Lemon & Orange Twists) & Queen Bee: Gin, Lemon, Honey, Champagne
14633 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks; Open nightly; Happy Hour Tues-Fri
3. Tunnel Bar
Speakeasy feel, with a hidden entrance (enter in the alley, look for the eerie blue light on the second floor) and a dark, sexy interior.
- When to go: First date, Pre-club stop, Girls/Guys Night Out
- Head Bartender: Daniel Zacharczuk
- Must Drink: Craft versions of 70s classics like Alabama Slammers and Hurricanes
14633 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks; Open Thurs-Sun, 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
4. Tipsy Cow
A gastropub with a playful edge, featuring elevated classic bar food favorites.
- When to go: Post Hike, Guys Night Out, Casual Lunch/Dinner
- Must Eats: Blue Cheese Tots; Bourbon Brined Fried Pickles; Tipsy Burger
- Must Drinks: Don Draper (bourbon, chipotle syrup, coffee ice cube, bitters); Mother Fluffer (marshmallow milkshake)
15005 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks; Open daily lunch/dinner; Happy Hour
Now relocated from previous location to two blocks down to a light-drenched, ranch-style house. Now with a chic patio and an upgraded encounter, it is the same beloved, mostly raw, plant-based restaurant.
- When to Go: Weekend Brunch, Post Workout, Detoxing
- Chef: Ron Russell, co-owner/chef
- What to Eat: Sun Nachos, Farmers Market Pizza (tempeh bacon, figs, arugula), Pad Thai
- What to Drink: Abbey Float (Belgian Ale, cherry cola, vanilla cashew ice cream), Mint Shamrock Shake (spinach, bananas, cacao, cashew, agave), Artisan wines/beers.
10820 Ventura Blvd, Studio City; Open M-F 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Weekends 10 a.m
Goodbye to Good Earth, say hello to Granville’s third L.A. outpost Cuisine is quintessentially Californian: organic produce, hormone-free meats, global flair, vegan options, artisan tipples.
- When to Go: Business Lunch, Casual Date, Happy Hour, Family Outing
- What to Eat: Bacon Blue burger, Housemade potato chips (like Kettle Chips on crack), Mac & Cheese, Kitchen Sink Omelet
- What to Drink: Spa water (it’s free, but you have to ask for it), Picante Pineapple Margarita, Craft beers.
12345 Ventura Blvd, Studio City; Open Daily, Weekend Brunch begins at 9 a.m; Open till 2 a.m. Fri/Sat.
Opened September 9, ethereal plant-based dishes are artfully presented in garden planters-turned-plates. Where ‘eat your veggies’ is actually so fun, you may ask for seconds.
- When to Go: Epicurean Adventure, Vegan/Vegetarian Meal, Date Night
- Chef: Phillip Frankland Lee, owner/chef of Scratch Bar, Beverly Hills
- What to Eat: Fried olives, 10-15 item tasting menu,
- What to Drink: “Compost” cocktails – juice from leftover veggies spiked with soju, sherry or sake.
11266 Ventura Blvd, Studio City; Tues-Sat 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
8. Murph’s Service Station
Opened September 15, it’s an ode to 1950s Americana, with a heavy dollop of southern comfort eats.
- What to Eat: Pig’s Ear Fries, Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich, Fried Green Tomatoes
- Chef: Mike Williams (also of Tipples & Brine)
- Head Bartender: Christopher Lay
- What to Drink: Bus to Beelzebub (mezcal, sweet vermouth, ancho reyes, bitters, habcherinio)
14649 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks
As the second outpost in almost 20 years since the iconic, Third Street gourmet grocer/bakery/deli opened, it’s the biggest foodie news of the Valley this year slated to open mid-September.
- When to go: Weekend Brunch, Post Workout, Coffee Date, Afternoon Pick-me-Up
- Chef: Joan McNamara
- What to eat: Omelets, Chinese Chicken Salad, Mac & Cheese, Magic Bars
- What to drink: Espresso drinks, Lemonade
12059 Ventura Blvd, Studio City; Open daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m. M-Sat; Sun 8 a.m-7 p.m.