The Best Restaurants In Sherman Oaks
Great places to eat in LA’s most suburban neighborhood.
For many people, Sherman Oaks is the embodiment of suburban LA. You can buy big houses on quiet streets, decorate your backyard with high-achieving children and golden retrievers, and pretend like you’re hours outside the city even though you’re in the middle of it. It’s an objectively sleepy neighborhood—except for Ventura Blvd, a gigantic stretch of pavement filled with good places to eat. From a legendary Mexican restaurant with lethal margaritas to more solid sushi restaurants than anybody knows what to do with, there’s no excuse to be eating poorly in “The Shoaks.” Here are the places to concentrate on first.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Anajak has been operating in Sherman Oaks for over four decades, but only recently became our highest-rated restaurant in the city. Why? For starters, you could dine at this family-run Thai spot a hundred times and have a completely different—and incredible—experience each time. Come on Tuesdays for dry-aged fish tacos and collaborations with guest chefs, farmers, and foragers. Show up on just about any other night to drink funky natural wine sourced from a Slovenian commune and eat Southern Thai fried chicken you will be thinking about for the rest of your life. Then there’s the omakase—a multi-course, reservation-only experience where outdoor grills shoot twirling embers into the air. There’s no such thing as a dull night at Anajak, so just go whenever you can snag a table the fastest.
Borekas Sephardic Pastries
This tiny takeout window serves nothing but perfectly decadent Isreali-style bourekas, and that's perfectly fine by us. This spot comes from the people behind PSY Street Kitchen, located in the same strip mall on Ventura Blvd. You might wait as long as a half-hour for your order (though you can call and pre-order), but once you taste these crispy, cheese-stuffed pastries, none of that will matter. Four different filling options are available: feta and spinach, mushroom and truffles, ricotta and za'atar, and brown butter with potatoes. All are amazing. Get here early, order a few before they sell out, and share the leftovers with a deserving friend.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
This tiny spot on Ventura has two of the world’s greatest gifts under one roof. Not only does Sushi Note serve some of the best sushi in Sherman Oaks, but it’s also a wine bar. If it’s your first visit or you want to make the most of your life, get the Whole Note omakase. For $140, you get 12 pieces of perfectly-cut sushi (everything from red snapper and otoro to gravlax that will ruin all other gravlax), edamame, miso soup, a starter, a handroll, and yuzu gelato for dessert. Let the waitstaff suggest wine pairings to match your sushi—even if you just order a few la carte pieces of nigiri.
photo credit: Philip Guerette
No one will tell you that Casa Vega has the best Mexican food in town, but this massive restaurant on Ventura is an LA institution and perhaps your best chance at spotting your tax guy and a Kardashian eating one booth apart from each other. This is the kind of place where drunk locals and A-list celebrities commingle without anybody making a big deal of it. The margaritas are deadly and that lobster quesadilla is a must-order.
Osteria La Buca
Osteria La Buca in Hollywood is one of the most reliable Italian spots in the neighborhood, perfect for midweek client lunches, casual date nights, and rowdy private dinner parties upstairs in the pasta room. The Sherman Oaks location is basically a carbon copy of that (minus the pasta room, sadly), meaning if you’re cruising up Ventura craving a solid bowl of carbonara, a hearty chopped salad, or quick glass of wine at lunch hour, this bright, spacious trattoria is a great option to keep in mind.
Carnival is a Sherman Oaks staple where the people-watching is arguably more important than the solid Lebanese food. Sure, you’ll fill up on well-cooked chicken shawarma and consider ordering seconds of their fantastic lentil soup, but that’s not really why you’re at this dimly lit strip mall spot. You’re here because it’s nice to know places where couples read newspapers in booths together and little old ladies scream “More baklava!” at their waitresses like it’s a family potluck.
The Blue Dog Beer Tavern
If you live in Sherman Oaks or a neighborhood surrounding Sherman Oaks, Blue Dog is your Cheers and there’s a solid chance you’re there right now. Blue Dog is special because it feels like you stepped into a towny bar in the middle of Indiana, when in reality it’s a burger and beer spot one block off the 405 Freeway. The servers will talk to you like you’re a regular, the table next to you will ask for your life story, and all the burgers are worth traveling over the hill to eat. Just don’t leave without ordering a side salad—the salad itself is whatever, but their house-made bleu cheese dressing might be the best on Earth.
Mizlala is a casual Mediterranean spot a few blocks down from The Galleria mall that works for just about every occasion. Maybe you’re craving Moroccan chicken and solitude on your lunch hour, or are trying to find a non-intimidating spot for a first date with someone who’s probably catfishing you. Mizlala’s bright, modern space and delicious food will make it work. Get the artichoke hummus, the eggplant moussaka, and the aforementioned Moroccan chicken.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Pizzana Sherman Oaks
Pizzana’s conquest of greater LA shows no signs of stopping, with Sherman Oaks being the latest in a line of expansion locations. The overall quality of the pizza here can be hit or miss depending on the day, but generally speaking, these are still among the best pies you’ll find in the neighborhood. If it’s your first time, the cacio e pepe is a must (mostly so you can post it on social media), but the best pizza on the menu is the bianca, which comes topped with fragrant shaved fennel, onion, and slightly spicy fennel sausage. The dining space on Ventura Boulevard is fairly cold and sterile, so if you use Pizzana’s well-oiled takeout system instead, don’t feel like you missed much.
The Joint Eatery
Setting up a laptop and getting work done inside a fish market sounds like a nightmare we wouldn’t wish upon even our worst enemies. But Joint Eatery, the coffee shop/fish market on Ventura, proves it can and should be done. The bright, clean space is quite large, and the fish and coffee areas are separated by a wall, so if you don’t feel like looking at giant tunas hanging on hooks while you answer work emails, you don’t have to. But when you do get hungry, there's a small lineup of very good sandwiches—including one of the best tuna melts in town.
Augustine Wine Bar
From the same people behind Sushi Note, Augustine makes other wine bars look like they’re phoning it in. The rustic space feels like you’re drinking in a renovated hay loft, the bartenders will let you taste as many wines as you’d like before you find the right one, and the solid food menu is full of snacks and charcuterie ideal for drinking your way through a bottle of Gamay. Starting your night here and then heading across the street to Sushi Note is one of the best one-two punches in the city.
You like your co-workers just fine, but some lunch hours are reserved for staring in silent defeat at a burger and a giant bowl of fries in hopes of a personal resurrection. When this is your current state, go to Psy Street Kitchen. This order-at-the-counter Kosher spot inside a giant strip mall on Ventura has solid burgers all around, but you need to concentrate on the lamb burger. Topped with the regular fixings and house-made aioli ranch, this is as good of a lamb burger as you’ll find in LA. You also get the choice between a brioche bun and pretzel bun, and you’re getting the pretzel bun if you know what’s good for you.
Ventura Blvd. is full of delicious and affordable sushi spots you can go to once a week, so let us help you prioritize—go to Dojo first. Located in a big shopping center with easy parking (a major perk in Sherman Oaks), this casual spot has excellent, fresh fish at reasonable prices (lunch specials hover in the $15 range) and massive flat-screen TVs playing boring midday sports that you can mindlessly stare at.
Even though Boneyard Bistro sounds like a place where you might eat after riding Big Thunder Mountain, this spot on Ventura is one of the most consistent BBQ places in the Valley. It’s also one of the only places in town where the meats are cooked Santa Maria-style, meaning it’s dry-rubbed and grilled over red oak wood. You can’t really go wrong with any cut of meat, but we usually order the baby back ribs plus some fried mac and cheese and pimento hush puppies on the side. If you’re looking for something non-BBQ though, they have a solid bistro menu full of salads, seafood, and some vegan options too. There’s also 42 beer taps and over 100 craft bottles, so if you’re looking to do some late-night or lunchtime drinking, this is a great place to do it.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Similarly to how you moved from a tiny studio in Venice to a three-bedroom house in Sherman Oaks, Petit Trois moved to the Valley and upgraded to a much bigger space. This second location is more of a big touristy brasserie than hole-in-the-wall, and while the lunch and dinner menu is largely the same as at the Hollywood original, the Sherman Oaks Petit Trois has one thing the other doesn’t - breakfast. That just happens to be the best meal to be here for too. The breakfast sandwich (done in the style of a McMuffin), the nutella toast, and the omelette are all fantastic, and the house-made croissants could win over French person.