Delicious place for Chilean food. The steak salad is absolutely addictive and their empanadas are definitely worth trying. Not a lot of seating, Chilenazo gets very busy at lunch hour, so get there early. The people who serve are as sweet as their desserts. A lovely place for lunch!
This is a beautiful, picturesque park located in the Southwest corner of Calabasas. It boasts a roller hockey rink, lovely multi-purpose room you can rent out for parties, and two nice sized playgrounds for the kids. I come here all the time with my family to watch them ride their bikes around the clean and covered picnic tables. We see photographers many times taking subjects out to shoot portraits amongst the gorgeous scenery. Highly recommend a visit!
Conveniently located in the center of West Hills, Shadow Ranch Park is a great place for kids to play and have fun. There's a really nice sized play area with swings, jungle gyms, and lots of monkey bars to climb. Also, they have some really great classes for the family, as well. My children have taken karate classes there and had lots of fun doing them. The fee is relatively nominal and the teachers do a really good job.
A smaller but very active park in Tarzana. Located in a lovely neighborhood just North of the 101 freeway. Had many a family picnic here. Recreation center has great classes (karate, basketball, etc.). Definitely worth a visit.
Absolutely spectacular park with rolling green hills, picnic areas, playgrounds and a dog park. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk or to bring the kids to play. One of my favorite places to hang out with the family.
Sometimes you just want to overdo it. Sometimes you just want to tuck into a heaping plate of hearty, stick-to-your-bones comfort food. The Black Bear Diner is an awesome place for scratching that itch. With generous portions and a fun forest cabin atmosphere, it’s a great place for a weekend breakfast. But, watch out - folks have discovered the goodness and it gets very busy. Last time we ate there, wait times went from 20 minutes to 45 minutes in the blink of an eye. But it’s worth the wait!
This one is a little secret my wife and I have. When we don’t want to mess with the long wait for a seat at the more popular breakfast places in the Valley, we go to Sara J’s in Canoga Park. They have incredible French Toast made from their own fresh baked bread. And speaking of bread... They will bake a piping hot baguette for you to take home with you after your breakfast. And we have to give a special shout out to their pastries. You’re definitely going to want to take some home for dessert!
Empanada heaven. There is just no other way to describe Johnny Pacific's. If you are a fan of these deep fried and stuffed pockets of dough, this will be your happy place. From their savory kalua pork version to their tasty sweet pineapple dessert kind -- every last one is a definite crowd pleaser. There’s not a lot of room in their dining room, but the good news is that these treats travel extremely well. And don’t forget to try a bunch of their dipping sauces, as well. Amazing. A sure shot.
Because my wife is Chinese, we are especially finicky about where we go to have our Chinese Food. No glowing orange chicken balls in the mall food court are going to cut it. That’s why our main “go-to” place in the San Fernando Valley is Sam Woo BBQ in Van Nuys. You know the moment you walk in and see the succulent roast duck and roast pork hanging by the front door that every dish will be as authentic as it comes. But know ahead of time — they only take cash! No cards here!
The “go-to” place in Los Angeles for Cuban food, Versailles consistently delivers on the promise of amazing Cuban standards. Their roasted chicken with its tangy and piquant garlic sauce is, rightfully, world famous. But, the quality of their plantains and beans and rice should not be ignored, either. Not only that — you are treated with a basket of buttery, garlic bread that is out of this world. We feast on this tasty bread to such an extent that we’re often full before the meal even comes!
Many years ago, my family had one and only one pizza place that we would go to — and that was Barone’s. There were two locations that I knew of — one in Van Nuys (now closed) and one in Valley Glen. When I moved to the West Valley I thought I’d almost never travel across the Valley to eat it again. Imagine my surprise when Barone’s The Pizzeria Express opened down the road from me. Almost exactly what I grew up with — square, thin crust and covered with slices of cheese - SO TASTY!
Topanga Pizza was a complete surprise to me. I‘d lived in Woodland Hills for 9 years before I even heard about it. My wife was looking for new places to try and stumbled upon it almost by accident. The place is almost always PACKED! I wondered how it could’ve stayed off my radar for so long. The pasta is really delicious and our kids always dig into their pizza with gusto. Every time we’ve gone, it has been a really great experience. One caution — parking is sometimes difficult. But worth it!
Blinkie's is, without a doubt, the best donut shop in the San Fernando Valley. Period. But, be careful -- once they make one batch of their tasty round treats for the day, they are done. If you don't get there before 10:00 or 11:00, you might just be out of luck. They're famous for their tasty black and white donuts, but my favorite are their buttermilk bars and old fashioned donuts. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. Get there early and treat yourself. Completely worth it!
My little secret coffee shop. Peet’s is by no means a small chain — but for some reason, hardly anyone has discovered this location. At almost any time of day, I can sit down in one of their comfy chairs and enjoy my hot cup of joe without having to wrestle with some part-time “screenwriter” for a table. So, let’s just keep it between us, ok?
Really good, solid Italian food. This is a family favorite, especially with their “buy one classic pasta get one free” deal. They are located in the soon to be abandoned Promenade Mall, but I heard that they will be moving around the end of 2018 into the Westfield Topanga mall — near the soon to open movie theater. So glad to know that they’ve found a new home!
This is the new location for the post office previously located on Clarendon St. It takes over for the building used for the Macy's furniture store in the Promenade Shopping Center. The entire shopping mall is being shut down soon for new development, so the post office’s tenancy may be short lived. You may want to check that they’re still open prior to coming here to mail anything.
Not your average hot dog place, Dog Haus is great place for gourmet sausages and brats. This is a chain with locations all around L.A. and I’ve enjoyed my visits to each of the ones I’ve been to. My favorite is The Fonz — a sausage with mozzarella and pastrami — my mouth is watering just writing this. Their crispy tater tots are awesome, too. Definitely worth checking out.
Great place to bring the family for some great fun. Awesome place to have a birthday party, too. I highly recommend!
Built in 1964, but recently completely remodeled, this mall has been a staple destination for my family all my life. With anchor stores Macy’s, Target, Nordstrom, and Neiman-Marcus, and every other shop you can think of in between, this mall is perfect for a fun day of shopping. Coming soon will be a new movie theater complex and even more restaurants. This mall, along with its companion The Westfield Village across the street, is the jewel at the center of the West San Fernando Valley.
What can I say about Tacos Reyes other than my opinion that it has the single best, authentic Mexican food in the San Fernando Valley. I know, I know... That's a bold statement but I have never been disappointed any time I gone. With their crispy homemade tortilla chips, luscious carne asada tacos, generously-sized burritos -- you won't be either!
Incredible school located in Woodland Hills. High educational standards and wonderful teaching staff. Have two children that are attendees and consider them to be in very capable hands. As of 1/19, Great Schools has them rated 9 out of 10!
Beautiful and clean park located South of Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills. While it doesn't have the usual trappings of a public park (baseball diamond, basketball hoops, etc.), it does have plenty of open space to run and play. There is also a fun play area with sand, jungle gyms, and swing to play on. I've gone many times with my family to walk laps around the park and get some great exercise! Because it's up in the hills, you might spy some wildlife, too!
Aroma Coffee & Tea Company is the home of the most decadent and delicious desserts in the San Fernando Valley. There’s almost no other bakery or dessert shop that is even in the same class. Their moist, mile high cakes and other treats are the reason there is usually a line out to the sidewalk each and every evening. Even though I live on the other side of the Valley, my wife and I will many times find reasons to drive over to Studio City just to stand grab a treat and head home.
When it comes to libraries, this one is my favorite in the San Fernando Valley. Impeccably clean with lots of places to rest and enjoy a book, I think it really sets the standard for what a library should be. My kids love the awesome children’s section and I enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee at the nearby Starbucks and doing some work in the quiet sitting area near the fireplace. They also have a great selection of dvd’s to loan out, as well. All in all, a pretty cool place to hang out.
If you are a guitar player, this place is like Mecca. If you watch their videos on YouTube, you can see a parade of everyone who is anyone in the music business making a pilgrimage to this store (Dave Grohl, Slash from Guns and Roses, Joe Bonamassa). With their collection of vintage, classic guitars — it’s like a history lesson/museum of the electric guitar all in one store. And even if you don’t play the guitar, to walk among the rows of these amazing instruments is an incredible experience.
When it comes to dim sum in the San Fernando, there are unfortunately very slim pickings. Luckily, A & W Seafood in Northridge makes up for it, serving these amazing tasting small dishes served from carts being pushed around the dining room. Maybe an expert would be able to tell the difference between this place and another found in, say... Monterey Park. But, to my palate, these dim sum are just as tasty and definitely fill the void should you want to avoid a drive into San Gabriel Valley.
Zankou Chicken has opened up many other locations in their chain, but this one in (technically) Sherman Oaks is still my favorite. From the crispy skin of their amazing rotisserie chicken — to the thick creamy goodness of their garlic sauce — this is a meal with a bullseye on your taste buds. While their chicken is my “usual,” I have to give a major shout out to their amazing beef shawarma, as well. Slowly roasting on meat laden spits, this tender and savory treat tastes as good as it looks.
Looking for a cool and hip bar in Woodland Hills to spend your evenings? Look no further than HQ Gastropub. From the banks of televisions on the walls to the outrageously attractive servers, this place oozes a club-like party atmosphere. Crowded on most evenings, this (along with The Local Peasant down the street) is the place to see and be seen on Ventura Boulevard in the West Valley. They also have some amazing food, cocktails, and beer on tap. Seriously, what more could you want?
Walking into Pickwick’s Pub is like coming home. You won’t find the flashy trappings you’ll see in other bars and nightclubs. Instead, you’ll find the warm comfort of English Pub standards well done — great beer on drought and amazing fish and chips. They often have really great live entertainment on some nights (check their schedule), as well. If you are looking for a place to hang your hat, belly up to the bar, and drink some well poured Guinness... You couldn’t do much better than here.
Mind Crafters Robotics is an awesome place for children to learn all about STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) courses and build all sorts of fun projects. Classes cover such topics as coding, programming, and even robotics. Even young kids can learn some amazing things during their classes. My kids love coming here and building fantastic machines and finding how to make them move. A little hidden away in the corner of the Fallbrook Mall, you’ll find it next to the move theater.