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A Foodie’s Guide to Studio City Restaurants

All the best Studio City restaurants you need to try and none of the ones you don’t. Plus a few restaurants to venture off the beaten path of Ventura Boulevard, if you dare…

Asanebo
11941 Ventura Blvd.
Perhaps the best sushi in town! Executive Chef Shige Fujimoto is a master and was awarded a second Michelin Award this year. If you can, get Omakase B, which consists of Uni with baby abalone and tofu, Oysters (from Seattle),  King mackerel with Japanese salad, Baby yellowtail, octopus, monk fish liver, and baby sardine tip, Clam with seafood and liver, Halibut sashimi topped with Italian winter truffle, Live soft shell crab (from Florida), Wagyu beef, bluefin toro, sea bream, Spanish mackerel, and salmon nigiri. That’s a lot of food! And 
at $140 per person go when you have cause to celebrate!

Barrel & Ashes
11801 Ventura Blvd.
This suave and casual, two story American barbecue eatery has an open-hearth oven, a rotisserie & a mesquite grill so needless to say it’s a favorite of meat lovers. It’s Southern comfort food at its most fried. Go with a big group and get the hush puppies, potato salad, tater tots, bacon brussel sprouts, 
collard greens, fried pickles, and, of course, the fries. The space itself is also lovely, having been stripped back to its original 1940’s structure and creatively redesigned by Ricki Kline. The original 1940s tile-work that was discovered during construction and meticulously restored.

Bellwether
13251 Ventura Blvd.
This sleek and stylish eatery specializes in modern New American fare & classic cocktails with a twist. The best time to go is on Mondays for their Nashville Hot Chicken Night and the all day happy hour. I love the hamachi, the shishito peppers, the pan e pomodoro, and the goat kofta and the bread pudding is divine. But if you’re looking for meatier options Bellwether also boasts a terrific pork meatball made with beef,ricotta,pecorino,tomato sauce, and grilled ciabatta plus the Patty Melt made with Taleggio cheese, caramelized onions caraway,Calabrian aioli. As for the cocktails, you can’t go wrong with any but the most popular might be their Blood Orange Manhattan.

Black Market Liquor Bar
11915 Ventura Blvd.
This is one beautiful bar with a gorgeous curved brick ceiling. Old school, yet with a chic modern design, Black Market is the spot for after work drinks and small plates. It has a great, casual ambience. Try the Brown Butter Gnocchi, Blue Crab Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, the Dill Chips, Fried Cauliflower, and the Ahi BBQ sliders. Small, yet filling, four or five plates for two is the perfect amount. Black Market has a terrific selection of fine spirits, plus a really nice beer and wine list.

Firefly
11720 Ventura Blvd.
Dining at Firefly is like dining at one of the world’s most beautiful libraries or book shops. There are bookcases everywhere and it’s fun to spot titles on the spines you may have read. This upmarket restaurant serves American cuisine in a librarylike foyer. Plus there’s  hopping bar and a romantic patio dining area making this a great date night choice. Get the Drunk in love to start, a watermelon vodka cocktail. Start with the cheese platter which is currently ES ore sardo (sheep), p’tite basque (sheep) 3/18 camembert (cow), humboldt fog (goat), fourme d’ambert (cow). Then share with your date the Tomato – seascape strawberry, white balsamic, basil whipped goat cheese crostini, the Endive –  market beets, parma ham, grain mustard, crisp camembert, the Grilled Artichoke – garlic aioli, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, and the Grilled Octopus –  house made hummus, squid ink potato, piquillo peppers, black olive. Next for entrees I recommend the market fish of the day.

Girasol
11334 Moorpark St.
At Girasol the backbone of their “refined-rustic” cuisine is defined by the changing seasons and their relationship with the local farmers. So you can be sure every time you visit what you’re eating is fresh and from nearby. Start with the delicious House Baked Bread and the Wild Garden Salad. Entree favorites include 
Plancha Seabass with roasted rosemary potatoes, fava Beans, peas, & mushrooms and the Grilled Swordfish with heirloom tomato stew, manila clams with toasted buckwheat. Girasol also offers a 9 course tasting menu and a very nicely curated champagne list.

 

Good Neighbor Restaurant
3701 Cahuenga Blvd. West
Delicious homestyle breakfast and brunch staples make Good Neighbor Restaurant a favorite for locals. It’s busy and for good reason. This mom and pop knows how to do breakfast correctly. Portions are large and nearly all of them contain potatoes, which makes Good Neighbor Restaurant ideal for morning after dining. Plus they have damn fine cups of coffee.

Laurel Tavern
11938 Ventura Blvd.
Locals love Laurel Tavern for their craft beer list and their seriously big burgers. Start with a round of Blackberry Gold Rushes, made with Jameson Whiskey. Follow that with a bottle of red wine for the table. Laurel Tavern’s reputation may scare away vegetarians but there are plenty of salads, and side dishes, but, really, you’re coming here for the drinks and the fun, happening atmosphere. There’s also a location in Hermosa Beach.

 

Laurel Point
12050 Ventura Blvd.
Los Angeles seafood lovers must try Laurel Point. Crisp whites and nautical blues set the scene for raw-bar specialties, lobster rolls, sushi, and much more. The lobster roll is fantastic – the big pieces of lobster are cooked to perfection, it will melt in your mouth. Their oysters are $1.50 during happy hour and there are so many other goodies on their happy hour menu. You’ll love the crab dip and their homemade grilled bread, crab cake, and mussels, which are huge and plentiful. Plus, what truly sets Laurel Point apart is the fact you can take your dog! Perfect for Sunday brunch.

La Loggia
11814 Ventura Blvd.
A Studio City institution by now and for good reason. The longtime restaurant offers Italian standards and tapas that are authentic and delicious. Start the meal off with focaccia and tomato salsa. You’ll be asking for seconds. For dinner, everyone seems to love the short rib lasagna. For me, their Sea Bass is phenomenal and is perfectly paired with one of their Tuscany bottles of Sauvignon blanc. Risottos, pastas, and steaks fill the menu, and the sides are hearty servings of mashed potatoes, garlic truffle french fries, creamed spinach, and Frank’s quinoa.

Mantee Café
10962 Ventura Blvd.
This charming family owned Armenian-American cafe has a peaceful backyard garden with an intimate atmosphere. Mantee Café doles 
out delectable dumplings, kebabs, and salads. The Fattoush salad, hummus with pine nuts, dolma with yogurt, and muhamara are musts with your meal. Plus, there’s free parking in the back so if you can snag a space you’ll be very lucky!


SunCafe
10820 Ventura Blvd.
For vegans you can find no better fruit and vegetable smoothies in town. You’ll love the cashew and kale ones. This no frills spot features a multilevel patio, beer and wine, and a variety of raw vegan cuisine.  Start with the 
Mint Shamrock Shake then follow that with the nachos made with jicama chips, the raw pizza, lettuce tacos, and the Kale Colossus salad. For dessert, the blueberry cheesecake. The coconut avocado base  of the pie is lovely and it’s a light and a perfect way to end the delicious and healthy meal.

Vitello’s Italian Restaurant
4349 Tujunga Ave.
Another Italian mainstay only this one is off the beaten path of Ventura Boulevard and has a popular jazz nightclub upstairs. Get the Margherita Pizza for table. It comes with a lot of fresh, delicious basil. The arugula and avocado salad keeps things refreshing and light before you take the plunge into Vitello’s heavy and amazing pasta plates. 

Happy dining!

Jacqui

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