Waffle Encino

Where Steak Meets Seafood

Veteran restauranteur strikes out on his own in Encino

It took opening 15 restaurants for other companies over the course of a grueling career that started at age 18, but Nigel Davenport finally struck out on his own—opening a contemporary grill with father Carl called Davenport’s.

Nigel clearly learned his lessons well. The family-run restaurant (Nigel’s sister is also involved—handling marketing and the website) is all class, starting with warm service. A refined space includes black cushioned booths with white cloths, twin marble bars in a split-level space, and ceiling panels of pressed tin and sleek wood slats. Soft jazz permeates from speakers, and padding in the ceiling and walls was installed in an effort to make the space less noisy.

Nigel spent the bulk of his career in Ventura County and the west Valley. Most recently he worked as a corporate executive chef and general manager for the Larsen’s Steakhouse chain. He and his dad talked about opening their own restaurant for a decade, finally deciding on Encino. “I settled in Encino because I felt it had a good balance of the Westside and the San Fernando Valley,” Nigel says. “Encino represents a cross section between all Metro Los Angeles.”

Davenport’s replaced short-lived Du-Par’s at the base of an Encino office tower. This location previously housed John O’Groats and offers plenty of free parking in the rear.

The lunch menu revolves around sushi, sandwiches and salads, though options are hardly predictable. For instance, a savory onion waffle comes topped with silky smoked salmon, dill, capers, red onion, lemon zest, cream cheese and caviar. Luxurious lobster bites also stand out thanks to Parmesan-crusted tail meat that pairs well with garlic butter and Havarti.

Dinner delivers a larger selection from the raw bar, including nouveau retro oysters Rockefeller topped with anise-infused spinach and béarnaise sauce. Grilled bone-in rib eye joins garlic Parmesan roasted potatoes, complementing anytime cuts like Prime filet mignon with mashed potatoes, or Southwestern skirt steak served with Spanish rice and a cheese enchilada drizzled with avocado sauce. No matter the meat (or fish), all sauces and rubs are made in-house.

Eating at Davenport’s may not resemble a meal at their family home, but you will feel welcome.

16120 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-855-1203