Visit These 12 dineLA Restaurants in the San Fernando Valley
dineLA returns January 13–27, featuring more than 300 options for lunch and dinner including many restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. Since budgets and calendars are often limited, we’ve narrowed down your […]
CategoryEat & Drink
Written byJoshua Lurie
dineLA returns January 13–27, featuring more than 300 options for lunch and dinner including many restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. Since budgets and calendars are often limited, we’ve narrowed down your options to the 12 most compelling meals. Navigate from west to east to find what makes these choices so intriguing and what to order. Click on each restaurant name to see full dineLA Restaurant Week menus and to book reservations.
Saddle Peak Lodge ($49 dinner)
Ann Graham Ehringer’s culinary retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains features nearly as many animals mounted on walls as you’ll find on plates. Kick things off with “Vietnamese” pork belly plated with pickles, nuoc cham, jalapeño and herbs. Saddle Peak Lodge is known as one of LA’s last bastions for game. For dineLA, Burgundy-braised bison short ribs joins mashed potatoes, pearl onions, glazed carrots and baby mushrooms. Banana bread pudding is a big finish thanks to elements like huckleberry, croissant and vanilla ice cream. The restaurant also includes one coffee or espresso drink, to sharpen your senses for driving the windy Santa Monica Mountains roads at night.
Villa Restaurant ($20 lunch, $39 dinner)
A building that began life in the ’60s as Eckberg’s Steak House now features a modern Thomas Schoos design. dineLA lunch runs until 4 p.m. and includes crispy Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze, hazelnuts, Parmesan cheese and chile flakes; and braised short ribs with roasted potatoes, kale and cipollini onions. Dinner poses an even better value. Start with Fuji apple salad with frisee, arugula, candied walnuts, blue cheese, cranberries and balsamic vinaigrette. The 8-ounce Petite New York steak is the star entree, served with roasted fingerling potatoes, kale, wild mushrooms and chimichurri sauce. Dessert brings pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream, persimmons macerated in Disarrono, caramel and toasted almonds.
Vino Wine & Tapas Room ($39 dinner)
Spanish food has gained traction in the Valley. Vino is providing a forum to try many of the country’s flavors, serving a four-course menu for dineLA. I’d suggest starting with crema de champiñones (cream of mushroom soup). Calamares fritos features fried squid with two dipping sauces: Romesco and aioli. Get meaty with costillas asadas, beef short ribs braised overnight with spices and herbs, served with green beans, tomato confit and mashed potatoes. Finish with Spanish-style flan—a caramelized classic.
Café Bizou ($15 lunch, $29 dinner)
Cafe Bizou’s original bistro is still going strong in Sherman Oaks. Lunch is the better time to visit for dineLA, with many of the same options as dinner, just minus dessert. Begin with lobster bisque before transitioning to moules linguine pasta with black mussels, white wine, celery and shallots.
Mistral ($25 lunch, $49 dinner)
Henri Abergel has been fanning southern French winds in Sherman Oaks since 1988. For dineLA, dinner is nearly twice as expensive as lunch but features higher-end ingredients and more interesting dishes. House-cured salmon, dill-mustard sauce, cucumber rounds and toast points is the first draw. Next find tournedos of Millbrook Farm venison loin, Port Cabernet reduction, balsamic red onions, potatoes au gratin and garlic spinach. Dessert brings brown sugar cheesecake with “Jammies” blackberry and field-grown rhubarb chutney.
Panzanella ($39 dinner)
Giacomino Drago of the famed Drago clan grew up in Sicily and now runs nine restaurants that span from Beverly Hills to Pasadena. Panzanella, named for an Italian bread salad, is his Sherman Oaks gem. For dineL.A., we suggest mixed mushroom soup to start, a main course of house-made pumpkin tortellini blanketed in sage cream sauce, and panna cotta with strawberry sauce for dessert.
The Bellwether ($29 dinner)
Ted Hopson and Ann-Marie Verdi consistently over-deliver for dineLA, and this event is no exception. The share-friendly menu is 10 dishes deep. Dine with two other people, pass on the cheese plate, and you’ll enjoy the entire menu. Tempura cauliflower with Thai chile, mint, Thai basil, lime and nam pla has become a modern classic. From there, I’d suggest two proteins. Olive oil-poached black cod comes with lemon puree, roasted sweet potato, garlic confit and puffed pasta. Grilled skirt steak co-stars blistered shishito peppers, shiitake mushrooms, brown butter, soy and roasted ginger.
Hyperion Public ($15 lunch, $29 dinner)
This “community pub” started in Silver Lake and expanded to Studio City to start 2016. Both dineLA menus are intriguing. For lunch, they’re serving highlights like panko-crusted chicken fries with BBQ dipping sauce, and a deluxe breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs, cheddar, Jack cheese, arugula, tomato, applewood bacon and Sriracha aioli. Dinner menu is totally different and far more ambitious. Four-cheese mac combines cheddar, Muenster, mozzarella, pecorino and panko crust. Shrimp ‘n’ grits adds Andouille sausage, crispy onions and bourbon shrimp reduction. For dessert, salted caramel pie hosts vanilla bean whipped cream.
Laurel Point ($15 lunch, $29 dinner)
The latest concept from Grill Concepts, Inc. resides on the second floor of Studio City’s Laurel Promenade. During dineLA, lunch is the best time to visit. The meal extends until 4 p.m. and includes options like New England-style “chowda” with bacon, potatoes, chives and saltines, and blackened trout with Brussels sprouts, anchovy, pine nuts and Parmesan.
Malbec ($20 lunch, $39 dinner)
Malbec is one of the most successful Argentinean concepts in LA.Pablo Alcorta, Javier Pardini and Luciano Alcorta started in Pasadena in 2007, expanded to Toluca Lake in 2009 and added a Santa Monica outpost in 2012. Dinner provides more points of culinary interest. During dineLA, visit Malbec for dinner. Cebiche de salmon al maracuya pairs Scottish salmon with sweet peppers, red onions, orange wedges, avocado, crispy dough, passion fruit and lime dressing. Cordero braseado plates Australian lamb foreshank with sautéed green chard and creamy polenta mascarpone. Finish with panna cotta de chocolate with crème Anglaise and berry coulis.
The Eclectic Fine Food & Spirits ($29 dinner)
This artsy NoHo Arts District classic always promises “find foods & spirits,” and dineLA is no exception. Risotto with pesto and prawn is an ambitious starter crafted with fresh vegetable stock, green beans and shaved Parmesan. Herbes de Provence-grilled flat iron steak comes with pommes frites and Bearnaise sauce. Conclude your dinner with classic grasshopper pie with house-made chocolate cookie crust, crème de menthe and cacao bean liqueur.
The Federal Bar ($20 lunch, $29 dinner)
Dinner is the better bargain at Knitting Factory’s NoHo Arts District restaurant during dineLA and offers more compelling dishes. Oxymoronic sweet potato and quinoa “meatballs” come with kale pesto and toasted pine nuts. Pan-seared halibut accompanies quinoa, Brussels sprouts and chermoula. For dessert, consider seasonal pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon whipped cream and caramel sauce.