When I'm not away at school in San Luis Obispo, the San Fernando Valley is where I call home. Many know it simply as, "the valley," home of the "valley girl" phrase, but to me, it is much more than that. The San Fernando Valley has been seen as the less glamorous and sophisticated part of Los Angeles, but it's slowly becoming more trendy and relevant. This could be credited to its food scene and introduction of many new sought-after restaurants. This list is a mixture of both old and new valley spots. I think it is important to remember the restaurants creating great food that aren't headlined by the celebrity chefs and write-ups in numerous food magazines, while also highlighting the newer eateries giving the valley its recognition.


Where: Sherman Oaks

When I'm home from school, Stanley's is a must visit. A few years ago, Stanley's original location on Ventura Boulevard was closed suddenly, upsetting those that knew and loved its food. Answering all our prayers, a new restaurant location was opened on Van Nuys Boulevard, serving a mix of old and new menu items. Stanley's stars of the show would have to include their salads, specifically the Amy's Grapefruit Salad (pictured above), which includes grapefruit, shredded chicken, avocado, cashews, and a tangy sesame dressing. The restaurant is also known for their hot and fresh sourdough bread, as well as for their traditional dishes with a Stanley's twist, like my other favorite, the pesto chicken pasta. 

Iroha Sushi of Tokyo

Where: Studio City

Yes, this picture is the epitome of #foodporn. Iroha Sushi brings the iconic sushi burger to the valley, and its as good as it looks! This restaurant has been a valley staple for high-quality sushi, and now serves this American Japanese creation. All the menu items at Iroha are good, but if you go, I highly recommend ordering their classic spicy tuna sushi burger, which includes two crispy rice buns, red onion, tomato, lettuce, and spicy tuna. 

#Spoon Tip: if you aren't a fish person, they also make a great chicken teriyaki version. 

Nat's Early Bite Coffee Shop 

Where: Van Nuys

Nat's Early Bite isn't anything fancy, but that's part of its charm. They serve up some hearty and traditional diner food, but what brings me there are two things that they especially excel at: tortilla soup (pictured above), which is similar to a spicy chicken soup (minus the chicken) with veggies, chips, cheese, and chunky avocado, and their addicting baked goods (the sticky buns and cookies are my family's favorite). After trying the soup at Nat's, this is all you'll ever ask for when you're laying in bed sick. Nat's Early Bite is comforting, inexpensive, and my childhood favorite growing up!.

La Fogata Mexican Restaurant

Where: Van Nuys

La Fogata, is hands down, some of the best Mexican food you will try in the San Fernando Valley, and I'm not just saying this because I've grown up eating it once a week. La Fogata is a family run business that has been feeding valley diners since 1977. I've tried a large variety of their menu, and have never been disappointed. My favorite menu item would have to be their tacos dorados, which are super crispy, fried hard shell tacos topped with lettuce, tomato, and cheese-- in addition to their fantastic velvety salsa. When I'm leaving home after a long break, the last meal I always root for is a plate of La Fogata's hard shell chicken tacos with their creamy beans and rice. It's simply the best. 

Pitfire Pizza

Where: North Hollywood

Pitfire Pizza creates hot woodfired pizzas with seasonal toppings and out of this world combinations. For example, their Burrata Pie (pictured above), is one of my favorites, topped with burrata mozzarella chunks, pesto, arugula, and chopped hazelnuts. Pitfire's menu includes dishes with simple, yet complex flavors--always with fresh ingredients. The location itself feels like a local neighborhood joint, with outdoor firepits and live music on warm summer nights. This is a great spot to gather with friends and family, while sharing some gourmet pizza, pastas, and salads. 

Brent's Deli

Where: Northridge

Brent's Deli thoroughly reminds me of my Jewish roots with their classic deli selection. If you're in the mood for hearty comfort food with a side of coleslaw, this is the place to try. There's no doubt of Brent's popularity. Located in Northridge since 1969, and now with a second location, Brent's serves up some deli favorites from corned beef sandwiches to chicken matzo ball soup. It's not deli food though, without the pickles, and Brent's knows how to make a mean half sour cucumber. Of all the Jewish delis in LA, Brent's is one of the best! 


Where: Studio City

The Carney hot dog and burger train pulled up to Ventura Boulevard in Studio City in 1981. Well, it didn't actually pull up, but the restaurant was built out of an old Pacific Railroad passenger train car. Carney's serves some of the best hot dogs in LA, in addition to great burgers and sausages. Their most notable menu item is most likely their chili, which is velvety, greasy, and rich. Carney's serves classic hot dogs, including my favorites, the Red Baron, topped with pickled red cabbage, chili cheese dogs, Chicago dogs, and New York style dogs. This is comfort food at its finest, situated at a landmark destination. 


Where: Studio City 

The Yenbamroong family has been serving enticing Thai food to Studio City eaters since 1992. This family-run restaurant never disappoints my Thai food cravings. Everything on the menu is high quality and delicious, which makes it hard for me to pick a favorite dish. I'm partial to the appetizers though, with their chicken larb, crispy Thai spring rolls, and mee krob as some of my top choices. Talesai also makes delicious homemade coconut ice cream and Thai coffee as a great end to any meal. If you're ever in the valley and thirsting for some good Thai food, I highly recommend giving Talesai a try.

The Local Peasant

Where: Sherman Oaks

The Local Peasant is easy to miss. This restaurant has an inconspicuous appearance, but once you enter, you'll feel like you're in a sophisticated version of a New York subway station. The Local Peasant brings a hip scene to the valley, with gourmet twists on bar food and speciality cocktails. Their seasonal menu is always changing, but they excel with their classic hearty menu items like their fish n' chips and juicy burgers with thick cut fries. 


Where: Valley Glen

If you're searching for old-school, red leather booth, Italian food, Barone's is your place. Since 1945, this restaurant has been serving its famous cheesy lasagna and rectangular style Neopolitan pizza to valley diners. Barone's pizzas are the star of the show, with their thin crust, and inside out toppings. They place toppings below the cheese, giving each of their pizzas that signature bubbly mozzarella topping. 



Where: Sherman Oaks

Started by a former chef from the restaurant Cleo in Hollywood, Mizlala brings gourmet Mediterranean food to the valley. The restaurant serves small plates, as well as kebabs and tagines, that mix both authentic and innovative flavors. I recommend ordering the halloumi, which is flambeed tableside, as well as the sherry roasted Brussel sprouts, crispy Morrocan fried chicken, and classic hummus masabacha to eat with the complimentary za'atar flatbread. Mizlala may look like a hole in a wall, but it's a pleasant surprise that is contributing to the valley's promising culinary scene.

Quick by Katsu-ya 

Where: Studio City

Fairly new to Ventura Boulevard, Quick by Katsu-ya is an original offshoot of the Katsu-ya brand. This restaurant keeps it simple: oysters, open hand rolls, and ramen ONLY. What drew me to try Quick wasn't their ramen, which is actually MSG free, but it was their original open hand rolls that steal the show. The hand rolls range from $2-3, which makes it easy to mix and match different fish. They're delicious, fresh, and inventive. Quick's service is fast, no pun intended, and the price is right. 

Bollywood Bites 

Where: Sherman Oaks

Currently undergoing its "soft opening," Bollywood Bites is a very new addition to the valley food scene. This restaurant is serving up some traditional favorites, like chicken tikka masala, garlic naan, and veggie biryani-- but what sets it apart is its Indian street food selection (chaat). Their chaat menu includes some of my favorites ranging from pani puri to naan wraps and samosa chaat. Bollywood Bites' food is authentic, packed with complex flavor, and deliciously rich! 

Whether you're a valley native, or just visiting LA, these are the places to go try! The San Fernando Valley is cooking up some diverse, delicious eats, and deserves its moment in the culinary spotlight.