Top Restaurants on Ventura Boulevard

Tuna carpaccio at Okumura | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Ventura Boulevard is the main artery of the San Fernando Valley, a straight east-to-west shot from Studio City to Calabasas. It’s where you'll find all the cool shops: there are malls, yoga studios, vintage stores, bars and a multicultural variety of restaurants. Here are the top places to eat on Ventura Boulevard.

Photo courtesy of Asal Bakery

Asal Bakery and Kabob



Bread is king at Asal Bakery and Kabob. In fact, Asal’s owner, Reza Abdollahi, owned a flour mill in Iran and is known for his sangak, a long flatbread sprinkled with sesame that’s freshly made in-house every day. Pair your bread with their signature kabobs, dipped in hummus, honey or creamy yogurt.

Assorted sashimi | Photo courtesy of Asanebo, Facebook

Asanebo



Asanebo is a Michelin star recipient, and skews to the pricier end - it's hard to leave without spending at least $80 per person. Their omakase is one of the main attractions of Ventura Boulevard - the seared toro is a must, and believe it or not, the hot dishes are just as good as their sushi selection.

Black Market Liquor Bar



Black Market Liquor Bar is the San Fernando Valley’s go-to destination for craft cocktails, but their food menu - created by “Top Chef” alum Antonia Lofaso - is not to be overlooked. Whenever it’s possible, ingredients are freshly sourced from local farmers markets, and the ravioli is made in-house. We love the mussels, which are flavored with fennel, chili and garlic; a baguette is of course provided to soak up all the flavors. The oxtail ragu is another standout dish; it gets an extra kick from pecorino cheese. Finish the night with the deep fried fluffer-nutter or house-made ice cream.

Red oak grilled rack of lamb | Facebook

Boneyard Bistro



Boneyard Bistro specializes in meat on bones. They have a great barbecue selection, complete with baby back ribs and grilled rack of lamb. Happy hour goes from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, with 25% off all draft beers and a sizeable discount on finger foods like onion rings, meatloaf sliders and our favorite, double hickory smoked bacon sticks. Beer and whiskey are their strong suits - opt for flight tastings, or choose from their list of international libations on tap.

Photo courtesy of CiCi’s Café

Cici’s Café



CiCi’s Café is the brunch darling of Ventura Boulevard, a family-friendly establishment where everyone can get their favorite breakfast and brunch staples. The creative pancake selections range from green tea tiramisu to red velvet topped with nutella and bananas. There are eggs aplenty, as well as sizeable hash browns and thick, hearty French toast. Get there early on weekends, the lines can get long.

Crispy eggplant skin | Photo courtesy of The Gadarene Swine, Facebook

The Gadarene Swine is an animal-free eatery in Studio City serving strictly vegan bites. Chef/owner Phillip Frankland Lee, who also created Scratch Bar, is reinventing what it means to eat vegan. The food doesn’t skimp on taste; it’s substantial and popping with flavor. Their kale chips, for example, are dusted in pistachio and paired with honey-drizzled olives. The Swine has a 7 course tasting menu for $50 per person, with each course revolving around a fruit and vegetable. Lee is planning on starting a vegetable garden in the back of the property, so expect freshly-picked, garden-fresh bites soon.

Lum Ka Naad | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Lum Ka Naad



Lum Ku Naad is the Northern Thailand phrase for “delicious food,” and it’s an apt description of the restaurant’s selections. The food is indeed delicious. The husband and wife team are from Northern and Southern Thailand respectively, and their lengthy menu is filled with dishes from each of their hometowns. We’re a fan of the pork curry, which is seasoned with spices straight from Thailand.

Sushi at Okumura | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Okumura



Raw fish is Okumura’s strong suit. The tuna carpaccio, marinated in a beautiful light pool of soy vinaigrette, is sprinkled with edible gold flakes, which will have you oohing and ahhing while you pause to snap a photo. You can taste the quality - the cuts are delightful, the choices are plentiful, and the prices are quite reasonable. Ryota Okumura, a Hattori Culinary Academy graduate with experience at Koi, Katana and Sushi Zo, is the owner and chef.

Buffet at Taj Mahal | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Taj Mahal



Taj Mahal has one of the best buffets in the Valley. Prices are well under ten dollars, and even if you order a la carte for dinner, you still won’t break the bank. The fresh naan, flavored with garlic, is addictive - pair it with their selection of chutneys. The tandoori selections, tikka masala, and curries are also crowd favorites. If you stop by on a Sunday, a tall glass of champagne is happily included.