Food & Drink

31 Amazing Restaurants to Explore in the San Fernando Valley

From top-tier tacos to stellar strip-mall sushi.

If one of the LA dining scene’s defining characteristics is incredible food in unexpected places, there may be no better area of the city that represents that more than the San Fernando Valley. From buzzy Studio City to suburban Chatsworth, the Valley is home to a seemingly limitless amount of hidden gems. You’ll find regional Syrian joints a few blocks away from sushi bars that are considered the best in the country, family-run taquerias across the street from French-Vietnamese fusion, and everything else in between. We put together this guide to the best food the Valley to offer, all offering delivery or takeout.

Tortas Ahogadas La Ramadita
Courtesy of Wilder Shaw

Tortas Ahogadas La Ramadita

North Hollywood
If the Valley is known for blink-and-you’ll-miss-it type gems, there aren’t many places more exemplary than Tortas Ahogadas La Ramadita. Family-run like any good sandwich shop should be, the specialty here are the tortas ahogadas, which are a Guadalajaran specialty. The Jalisco-style sandwiches are served on the bolillo rolls that any self-respecting torta ahogada should be, and absolutely smothered in homemade salsa. The torta matriarch’s tasty homemade hot sauce is so spicy and delicious, she won’t even tell her husband the recipe… but if you ask nicely, you just might be able to take some home. Maybe.
How to order: Call for pickup at 818-506-6473

Cemitas Don Adrian

Van Nuys
Any lover of sesame seed buns would live a wasted life if they never got a chance to experience the temple of Pueblan-style sandwiches that is Cemitas Don Adrian. Loaded with fresh cheese, avocado, and onions, you quite literally cannot make the wrong choice (though you might wake up in a cold sweat if you don’t grab an extra cecina asada for later). You’ll also get the option of jalapeños or chipotle sauce -- but we say, why not both?
How to order:  Postmates and GrubHub

Sushi|Bar & Pasta|Bar

Encino
While Top Cheftestant Phillip Frankland Lee’s Scratch|Bar slumbers throughout quarantine like a sleeping dragon, his sushi and pasta concepts next door are alive and well. His omakase sushi experience is an easy frontrunner for best in the city; the fact that takeout is an option is just the icing on the cake (the wasabi on the nigiri?). Pasta|Bar is a similar experience, and while takeout isn’t an option at the moment, you’re getting that same omakase-style heat in the form of expertly-crafted Italian food. 
How to book: Via Tock

Pinocchio Restaurant

Burbank
For over 50 years, Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio Restaurant (one entity) has been a benchmark of Italian greatness in Burbank. Anybody who’s lived in Burbank for even a week will swear by the half-deli-half-restaurant, which has been soaking in old-school red sauce glory since day 1. Chicken Parm and sausage & peppers are musts, but don’t forget to grab some imported specialties from the deli to take your antipasti game to the next level. It’s not hard to leave with enough food to feed an entire family, so don’t fight the inevitable: order to your heart’s content.
How to order:Postmates

Mizlala

Sherman Oaks
There’s no shortage of good hummus in Los Angeles, and the Sherman Oaks chickpea titan Mizlala is no exception. Helmed by a chef who’s done time at a few SBE restaurants, Mizlala is doing everything right, from the rich, nutty hummus, down to the harissa-bathed Moroccan fried chicken, all served with perfectly fluffy, fresh-baked bread for dipping. 
How to order:  Postmates

Petit Trois

Sherman Oaks
Though celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre recently lost his legendary Michelin-star winning Trois Mec, the spirit and playfulness of his cooking is still waiting for you behind the doors of Petit Trois. The Sherman Oaks outpost of the original has all your favorite Ludo bites, including his fluffy-as-hell omelette, somehow made with nothing more than butter, eggs and Boursin cheese.
How to order:  Caviar

Sushi Note

Sherman Oaks
In a city where an omakase experience can run you between $200-300, Sushi Note’s $90 tasting is an absolute dream. The other thing to know about Sushi Note is that the place doubles as a wine bar and their sommeliers know what they’re talking about, so place the same trust in them that you do in Saito-son.
How to order:  Postmates

Dan’s Super Subs

Woodland Hills
There is no San Fernando Valley without places like Dan’s Super Subs. The beloved family-run sub shop has been a staple of the neighborhood since 1980, and all these years later, they’re still serving sandwiches big enough for at least two people, laden with high-quality meats, crisp veggies, and Chicago-imported dill pickle spears.  Never change, Dan’s.
How to order:GrubHub

Cilantro Mexican Grill

North Hollywood
There’s “that’s so LA”, and then there’s “that is SOOOOOO LA” -- Cilantro is the latter. Operating inside of a (surprisingly clean!!) Chevron station, the place is a powerhouse when it comes to casual Mexican fare. The burritos are every bit as good and well proportioned as they’re cracked up to be, but let’s not forget: this is a taco town. You’ll need some of those, too.
How to order:  DoorDash

The Brothers Sushi

Woodland Hills
Chef Mark Okuda is bringing over 20 years of experience to the West Valley, with fish imported from Japan and a takeout game that’s hard to beat. The $180 sushi platter is a true banger, and served with things like fresh uni, toro, and A5 wagyu. There have been more than a few expats who claim that sushi in the Valley is just as good as Japan. We believe them.
How to order:  Tock

Angel’s Tijuana Tacos

North Hollywood
Tacos 1986 may have brought Tijuana-style tacos into the spotlight via its unending trendiness, but don’t let that stop you from doing a thorough investigation into the fire that Angel’s Tijuana Tacos is spitting. The pork that cooks on their trompo is some of the best in town, served on handmade tortillas and buried under a river of fresh guac. Cash only!
How to order: Walk-up

Mantee Cafe

Studio City
It should come as no surprise that Mantee Cafe’s signature dish is called mantee: tiny meat raviolis topped with fresh garlic yogurt sauce, sumac, and red pepper. You’d be an absolute loon to skip out on ordering them at this spot specializing in Lebanese and Armenian fare, and the same goes for their entire lineup of mezze options, like spicy olives, tangy labneh, and the showstopping hot feta (served sizzling, with tomato and jalapeño).
How to order:  Postmates

Amir’s Falafel

Studio City
Much of the Studio City falafel accolades go to Joe’s down the street, yet it’s our duty to stop you from sleeping on Amir’s. The eponymous falafel is strong, but you’re here for their knockout lineup of Israeli salads, ranging from smoky fried eggplant to some of the Valley’s best hummus. And that deathly hot house-made hot sauce? Order extra.
How to order:Postmates

Barone’s

Valley Glen
There are no corners cut on the square pizzas Barone’s has been serving since 1945 -- their thin-crust rectangular pizza remains to this day one of LA’s biggest, baddest pizza titans. If you leave without burger meat on your pizza, you did Barone’s wrong.
How to order:  Postmates

Bill’s Burgers

Van Nuys
There’s not much left to say about the burger that has been repeatedly called one of the best in America. Longtime owner Bill Elwell has mentioned selling the place more than a few times, so before it’s too late, we urge you to get over there. Bill’s is everything that a simple stand-style burger should be. The guy is 94. He’s learned how to make burgers by now.
How to order: Walk-up

Feu Pho Kitchen

Studio City
Or, to the common Angeleno, “Fuh-Fuh” has garnered a rep for slinging the best Vietnamese food in Studio City and we’re not here to argue. All of the banh mi options (hanger steak, pork belly, jidori chicken confit, and tofu & mushroom) are a treat (and served on toasted ciabatta rather than the traditional baguette), and same goes for the ribeye pho, but you’ll go to bed with memories of the oxtail fried rice.
How to order:  Postmates and GrubHub

Boneyard Bistro

Sherman Oaks
It’s not hard to see why Aaron Robbins’ elevated Sherman Oaks BBQ spot has so far been impervious to the massive changes that have rippled throughout the Valley over the years. The smoked meats here at the top of their game -- order more than you think you need, and don’t skip the fried mac & cheese.
How to order:  DoorDash

Carney’s Express Limited

Studio City
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Carney’s still dishes out some of the best classic American comfort food in the entire city. The homemade chili is unstoppable, and paired with shredduce, melty cheese, huge beefsteak tomatoes, and their signature beef patties, there aren’t many LA burgers that hit the spot harder.
How to order: Postmates

Daichan

Studio City
You could order something new at Daichan every time you went and never make a wrong move. They’ve been doing fresh fish bowls since way before LA’s poke trend blew up, not to mention their perfect “Japanese soul food” plates. You haven’t had black cod 'til you’ve had it at Daichan.
How to order:  Postmates

King’s Burgers / Got Sushi?

Northridge
For a long time, the burgers at King’s were enough to get them on this list. Then, they decided to take the logical next step: sushi. A helluva choice, but they seem to know what they’re doing because the sushi is as good as anything you’d expect from the dusty corners of the West Valley. Whatever choice you make won’t be the wrong one -- but let’s not pretend like you can’t do both. We have.
How to order:Chownow

Casa Vega

Sherman Oaks
For over 60 years, Casa Vega has stood the test of time as one of the Valley’s most crucial Mexican hangs. They’re as rooted in LA lore as anywhere else, and just as beloved. Grab a combo plate, and don’t even consider taking a bite without a margarita in hand. Check out their fab new outdoor dining setup as well, located in their parking lot.
How to order:DoorDash

Chiba

Sun Valley
You’ll see Chiba splattered all over every “Best Sushi in LA” list, and we’re here to tell you that the place is absolutely not overrated. Like uni? Chiba’s serving perhaps the best uni in all of LA. The place deserves every ounce of acclaim it’s received, so do yourself a favor and over-order. You’ll eat it all. 
How to order:Order Online

Kobee Factory

Van Nuys
Incredible Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants decorate every corner of the Valley, but when it comes to Syrian food, your options are limited. The well-lauded Kobee Factory had a consistent slot in Jonathan Gold’s 101, so call them up and order some. You’d be a fool to leave without the m saren (stuffed lamb intestine). Don’t let it get in your head -- the herbaceous, cinnaminny treat stuffed with rice & beef is one of the best tasting things in the city.
How to order:  Clorder

Henry’s Tacos

Studio City
Since 1961, Henry’s Tacos has been the kind, watchful spirit that looks after Studio City. They’ve been selling “gringo”-style hardshell tacos since before Taco Bell (Glen Bell didn’t work his magic until a full year later… coincidence?), and though they had to relocate down the block due to some issues of the evil-landlord variety, the food still tastes the same as it always did. If you find yourself wondering what a “taco burger” is, here’s our answer: you want to order one.
How to order: Walk-up

Hy Mart Sandwiches

North Hollywood
If you’re one of those sad saps who thinks Hy Mart closed forever when it left its spot across the road, we’ve got great news: they’re very much alive on the other side of the street, still crushing it behind the H. Salt. The Foreman’s Special deserves a spot in any best-sandwich-in-LA conversation, so if you like chicken, serranos, jalapeños, and their always-killer “Ben’s” sauce, get over there... now. Again.
How to order:  Postmates

Iroha

Sherman Oaks
This hidden spot in what looks like a transformed house is where you should take New Yorkers to blow their minds, not just because the fish is fresh, not just because they have odd cuts, not just because you can get out of there for less than $50 for a meal that’d cost them hundreds of bucks on the east coast, but because of all of these things.
How to order:  Postmates

Lal Mirch

Studio City & Agoura
Despite the fact that Lal Mirch has set up outposts on both ends of the Valley, it would be tough to find a restaurant cooking southern Indian food of the same quality anywhere in between the two locations. This isn’t the place to impress your friends with regional specialties you saw on Instagram. This is a place for the classics. Get some chicken makhni, get some saag paneer, get some aloo gobi, get some samosas -- it’s all comfort food from here on out.
How to order:  Postmates

Les Sisters’ Southern Kitchen & BBQ

Chatsworth
For many, Chatsworth is a drive, but there is no better SFV option for a pseudo-trip to The Big Easy. Their kitchen is bursting with Creole flavor so order yourself a couple hundred po-boys, along with Nola favorites like red beans & rice, hush puppies, and candied yams.
How to order:Postmates

Mandarin Deli

Northridge
As with most of the best Valley eateries, the building that Mandarin Deli resides in is generally unimpressive. Why they call themselves a deli is a mystery to us, but we’re not worried: they do scallion pancakes better than almost anybody, and their beef noodle soup is an absolute grand slam. Order more than you think you need, cause it’ll go fast.
How to order:  Postmates

Rustic Spoon

Universal City, Valley Village, and Sherman Oaks
A lot of simplicity and passion gets lost in many of the upscale Thai restaurants that have popped up in LA, but that’s far from the case at Rustic Spoon. If you’ve been eating in LA long enough to remember Hungry Pig BBQ, you’ll be pleased to hear that Rustic Spoon is helmed by the same chef. At his Universal City spot, he’s showcasing old school dishes like chicken sa-te’, in addition to panang curry with Japanese pumpkin and cinnamon-braised chicken breast.
How to order:  Order online

Salsa & Beer

Lake Balboa & North Hollywood
If there’s one upside to quarantine, it’s that you no longer have to wait in line to get your hands on the food from Salsa & Beer. It’s hard to describe exactly why the Jerez-style cooking they’re doing outshines nearly every other similar restaurant in the city, but when you taste their bacon-wrapped shrimp or their asada molcajete plates, it makes a lot more sense. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you to get the bean dip. It’s the best in LA.
How to order:  Postmates

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Wilder Shaw is a proud Valley boy who unknowingly trained for this story his whole life. Ask him about other Valley secrets on Twitter & Instagram.​​​​​​​