kai ramen in sherman oaks is my go-to. I particularly enjoy their takoyaki and beef ramen. their popcorn chicken ramen is also pretty good, although the broth does taste kind of one note after a while.
I received some referrals when I asked about Inn of the Seventh Ray:
Boneyard Bistro isn’t super close to the Galleria, but it might make a nice dinner option. @J_L had also recommended Scratch Bar. If you want to spend the $ and are heading back to the westside, the Restaurant at the Getty is totally do-able.
For lunch, I like Streets of India in Encino (good lunch buffet and they have plenty of veg options).
+1 of Pho So 1. Just be prepared for a wait at lunch. MiDiCi (like 800 Deg back when it was good) is also very tasty.
A place called Davenport’s just opened in Encino; I know nothing about it. Red Room gets good reviews, but I also haven’t been.
Blue Dog Tavern and Pubilc School 818 are fine but nothing exceptional (although I don’t drink, so perhaps the appeal is lost on me).
Would skip Claudine (which is okay taste-wise but overpriced).
There are two good gastropubs across the street from the Galleria; The Blue Dog Beer Tavern and 818 Public School. If you go east on Ventura there are quite a few options. My favorite for dinner is the Bellwether, http://thebellwetherla.com/, a lovely small plates restaurant. Other options include the Scratch Bar, Spumoni, The Woodman, The Tipsy Cow, Natas, and Boneyard Bistro. There are a few new ramen spots and if want go all the way to Laurel Canyon you hit sushi row, the Tuning Fork, and Laurel Tavern. I hope you end up at the Bellwether so I can admire the lovely photos you always take!
Nearby in Encino (1-1.5mi away from Sherman Oaks Galleria), two solid and easy (no wait) lunch options come to mind:
Sadaf (Persian) - I’ve only had the kebabs there but they were good.
4 on 6 (sushi) - a casual but pretty good (along the level of Nozomi in Torrance) sushi spot. Sit with Saito san and order omakase, you will get a pretty good selection for a very reasonable price. I think he may have worked at Matsuhisa before - if he’s busy with other guests at the sushi bar we’d snack on some rock shrimp tempura first. It’s a comfortable neighborhood place and doesn’t break the bank.
Okay. I’m ready to take the rap for being terribly unhip, but I must recommend Cafe Bizou. It offers an extensive menu of classic French fare at both lunch and dinner that is both very well-prepared and a great value. They also offer corkage for $2 a bottle. If you’re into bouillabaise, check their website for the nights it’s on offer. It’s quite good.
Caveat, haven’t been since late last year, we used to hit it every few months. Although there were some minor downhill reports, perhaps my palate isn’t fine enough to notice the difference. The unlimited salads with a side order of the hummus is the thing to get there. The hummus is not part of the unlimited salads. About a third of the salads are pedestrian but the rest are really good. Different dips, babaganoush, etc. We like the vegetarian chicken liver a lot too.
But really all of this is an excuse to eat a lot of their laffa bread. Made fresh, they bring it out one huge piece at a time.
The unlimited salads by itself is about $19-20 but half price if you get an entree and pair it with the salads. We’ve liked their skewers and kabobs and the portions are very generous. We’ve ordered the kabobs, take a couple of bites and save the rest for work lunches. Devote the rest of the meal to the salads.
Service has been very attentive in all our visits. They salads all come in small bowls and they’ll quickly bring a fresh one of whatever you want.
Hey, I found a menu online. Not sure how current the prices are
We should have hit them for the salad DOTM. We always enjoyed it as a place to sit and chat leisurely for a couple hours in middle of day while noshing on the food. Hopefully the quality is still good. We’ll have to make the drive over the hill soon.