NFT Los Angeles Sherman Oaks East

Sherman Oaks East

Essentials
If Studio City is the Valley's answer to West Hollywood, then Sherman Oaks is its Beverly Hills. Minimansions are everywhere, while mega-mansions are found south of Ventura Boulevard in areas like the Longridge Estates. The area features a high-end mall, good public and private schools, and easy access to the Westside via Coldwater Canyon or Beverly Glen. Rush hour traffic can be a drag, but both roads provide pleasant drives that make you realize things could be a lot worse.

Sundries/Entertainment
Dining in Sherman Oaks has never been better. Senor Fred has killer margaritas and delicious food to boot. Gyu-Kaku is Japan's sublime take on Korean barbecue, while Boneyard Bistro represents an American take on grilling.See more.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Tony's Mexican Grill
Tony’s is a tiny place nestled in a nondescript mini-mall; the kind of restaurant you drive by 100 times and never notice. But once you step inside, you’ll find delicious, fresh, inexpensive Mexican food being served to loyal local patrons—many of whom have been coming here for years. Order their super-fast delivery and the quality of your food won’t be at all compromised. Just remember: you won’t get the free tiny serving of fruit and cream at the end of your meal when you dine in.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Natas Pastries
I was lucky enough to catch Natas’ Lisbon-born owner, Fatima Marques, on NPR one weekend morning not too long ago. I’d never heard of a Portuguese bakery before—a surprising fact because I live no more than 1 mile away from the store. After hearing Fatima describe the delicacies that lie within, I had no choice but to go check it out. Just their namesake pastry alone is worth driving miles for. The Nata, a flaky puff pastry with a sweet, creamy custard inside, is so good I’m going to have to start walking to the bakery to burn off the ones I stuff my face with on a weekly basis. You can also get savory pastries, cakes and standard bakery fare as well (cookies, muffins, etc). Buy a couple extra Natas for the walk home.



Posted By:  Bon Vivant
Photo:  Bon Vivant

Antonio's Pizzeria
While many people come to fisticuffs over who has the best pizza in Los Angeles, those of us in the know get our pizza fix at Antonio’s Pizzeria. Antonio’s has been located on the same block of Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks for about a zillion years. I first went to Antonio’s as a teenager (am I giving my age away?) and have recently rediscovered it. It’s the type of place that you don’t want to tell anyone about it lest it becomes too popular and you’ll have to wait two hours to get a table. The people who go there like things the way they are. But you want to hear about the pizza: it is good, damn good. The crust is always perfectly cooked, no soggy slice tips here. They always use the right amount of cheese and the toppings are very flavorful (I am happy to report that the dreaded pineapple is NOT one of the topping choices.) Those of you who are familiar with East Coast redda sauce restaurants will enjoy seeing such items as Spaghetti Caruso (chicken livers baby!), veal and peppers, and veal Francaise on the menu. And they still take Diners Club!



Posted By:  Noah Albert
Photo:  Noah Albert

Franklin Canyon Lake has been thru a number incarnations. The lake (Upper Franklin Reservoir back in the day) was created in 1916 by William Mulholland as an overflow reservoir to control the water level in the Lower Franklin Reservoir. The reservoirs were used as a water source for the rapidly growing area and also for production of electricity. After the 1930s the location also became a favorite for film and TV shoots—this is the lake seen in Andy Griffith Show, among a host of other productions. Then in 1971, after the Sylmar earthquake, the upper and lower reservoirs were retired in favor of Franklin 2, a new rubber-covered reservoir near the lower one. At this point Sooky Goldman started organizing to make Franklin Canyon a public facility and the National Park Service got involved. The Park Service bought the Franklin Ranch in 1981 (a historical Doheny residence) and also reached an agreement in 1991 with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power regarding additional parts of the park. Voila. The park is really large and a good way to quickly get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The upper Lake is a great family destination, with a pond nature walk on one side. All sorts of paths lead up into the hills where you can look down on the fancy Beverly Hills villas.



Posted By:  Rin-rin Yu
Photo:  Rin-rin Yu

Max
A pleasant surprise awaits on the other side of the hills on up-and-coming Ventura Boulevard. Yes, there is something worth crossing the I-101 for, and it comes in the form of foie gras buried amidst pastry dough, seared duck, and other melt-in-your-mouth dishes that is only found at Max Restaurant. It’s fusion, like all Californian cuisines, but without all the hype, the way only a real food connoisseur would really know to blend. There’s a romantic, candlelit interior and charming outdoor patio space with white linen tablecloths and Christmas lights to make you forget you’re in the Valley at all. In addition, the dessert list is a must-see, must-have type with your favorite standards of flourless chocolate cake and a rich granny apple galette with buttery caramel sauce you can smell all the way from the kitchen. Though you have to dial 818 to make a reservation (and reservation is recommended for weekends), the dining experience will make you actually want to return to the Valley again and again.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

I don’t know how the hell Hugo’s does it. First of all, why can I always find a spot in their tiny parking lot? Even if the line at the order window is 15 deep and it looks more like toilet paper day in Soviet-era Moscow than a taco stand next to a freeway onramp. Second, how do they melt my diet resolve so skillfully? Waiting to order, I silently repeat my mantra: two chicken tacos, honey chipotle salsa. Yet once it’s my turn, chaos ensues—I order the two aforementioned tacos, PLUS two more with Hugo’s heavenly mix of soy chorizo, potato and zucchini. A torta with carnitas—sweet and spicy pork floating on a saucy yet crisp bread boat. Fresh chips and guacamole. And don’t forget the cinnamon-y rice pudding for dessert. Defeated, I grab my to-go bags and skulk off, picking up a couple extra forks so no one thinks its all for me. Do yourself a favor: go to Hugo’s Tacos. Bring a finite amount of cash so you can’t order the whole menu. Or prepare to pay your penance on the treadmill every night for a week. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

In both Chicago and New York, my favorite Italian restaurants were small, modest places tucked away from the street. Which is good, because I feel like the only good Italian places in LA tend to be the Californian equivalent: open air beach places and divey joints in the Valley. But, when I do feel like coughing up a bit more of my paycheck for a nicer slice of old Italy, I tend to tread back over the hill to Il Tiramisu. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Melrose-expensive. But it’s an attractive place that has great presentation: the sleek restaurant, the attentive waitstaff, the wine decanters, the gorgeous food—the owner even likes to tour around the tables and ask you how you’re enjoying your meal. Which is fantastic. Because Italian restaurants are all about character and ambience. And as I have yet to find a Mom & Pop garden level restaurant in LA, Il Tiramisu is filling that void with its personal touch. It also doesn’t hurt that the food is great. Homemade pasta. The calamari. The Ravioli Maria. The Crespelle di Zucca (butternut squash and ricotta filled pasta rolls). . . I’m sorry, what was I talking about?



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

Grant me this complaint: No one eats French food in LA. I realize this isn’t entirely true. But, hear me out: or is it? The Given: 1) It’s thin out there when talking about affordable places; 2) There’s the A.O.C. factor: It’s not French food when the infusion approach reaches such an evolutionary mishmash; and 3) Despite the fact that California believes that it has it’s own world cuisine, when that bully shares the stage with the French, it’s not exactly French food. I often find myself sitting in a restaurant, staring at its perfectly appetizing menu, and just longing for a simple French bistro. Call me meat-and-potatoes, but I like my French food to take its risks in the taste buds, and not in its multi-hyphenating daring-do. I want my French snooty—and not playing well with others. So, please let me point you to Café Bizou. It’s a small, simple French place. And yet their food is always surprising, delicious, and satisfying. Imagine that. They also have a wonderful array of appealing wallet-friendly features including $1 soup and salad additions to any meal and a mere $2 corking fee. They may be French Canadian, but I’ll take that any day over all this Californian-French-Spanish-Papua New Guinea cuisine crap.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Burgundy Blue Outlet
Okay, let's say you get an invitation to Suri Cruise's birthday party. You want to give something special, something personal, but you can't afford an engraved silver cup or her own star in the sky. Our favorite baby gift, for those famous and those who are simply drooly, is the Initial T-Shirt from this small boutique. The store is the brainchild of a mom, Suzie Gardner, whose t-shirt ensembles, robes, and burp cloths (to name just a sampling of the store's merchandise) are carried by other high-end stores likely frequented by Katie Holmes and her celebrity mommy friends. But the Burgundy Blue Outlet, tucked into a corner of a strip mall, offers clothes for babies and kids that look elegant and comfortable at affordable prices. Even better, the store sells "irregular" merchandise at the deeply discounted price of $5. Hey, my kid wears something for ten minutes and it's irregular. Let me at that sale basket! Beginning on November 9th, Burgundy Blue will offer story time for kids on Thursdays at 10:30. While you're there, why not pick up a second "S" t-shirt? After all, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's birthday will be just around the corner too.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Tony's Mexican Grill
The burritofication of Los Angeles seems to be complete, with seemingly every major intersection home to a Baja Fresh, La Salsa, or—God forbid—Chipotle. But tucked away in a strip mall in the northernmost part of Sherman Oaks is Tony’s, a hole in the wall with little atmosphere but terrific Mexican fare. Sure you could get a burrito—and a darned good one, too—but you can also order a spinach, mushroom, and cheese quesadilla or a whole charbroiled trout, with almost everything on the menu costing under $10. Tony’s is run by a family, rather than a corporation, and the food reflects their pride of ownership. The salsas are made fresh daily, the salads incorporate a variety of fresh fruits (check out the Tropicana Salad), and when you eat at the restaurant, your check comes with a delicious, palate-cleansing dessert of fruit salad and a yogurt sauce. The restaurant does not have a liquor license and, I’ll repeat—it has little ambiance. But for booze and décor you can head down Fulton to Casa Vega and eat mediocre tacos and chips. Tony’s is strictly about the food. Que bueno!



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

By day, Tinker is an uptight parent’s dream: a kid-proofed art studio where your children can paint, glue, and get messy, and where you don’t have to clean up. But on Thursday nights, Tinker turns into a grown-up crafter’s version of the Sky Bar: a little wine (BYOB), a live DJ providing mood music, and enough tacky glue and sequins to turn a plain old Styrofoam sphere into a disco ball. Art time is $5 and includes all basic materials like paints, glue, and various markers & stamps. More exotic supplies are available for an additional charge, pay as you go; and projects range in price from $3-$20. Crafts run the gamut from the whimsical—unpainted birdhouses and wizard hats fashioned out of felt—to the practical—plain canvas aprons and wooden trays, begging to be decorated. Why let the kids have all the fun?




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