14704 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Chef Justin Pichetrungsi received a James Beard award shortly after taking over his family’s Thai restaurant in Sherman Oaks. In a city full of great Thai spots, it’s one of the best. The à la carte menu is classic—chicken satay, drunken noodles, and curries, all present—with seasonal twists. Two special menus to consider: One weekend a month, Anajak Thai hosts a ticketed omakase-style dinner. And every Tuesday, they take walk-ins only for an unbelievably good taco night starring excellent ingredients like albacore, uni, and ikura.
13447 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
If the complimentary sparkling cocktail you were handed upon arrival didn’t clue you in, Sushi Note is more than a neighborhood sushi joint. It’s also a wine bar. And a great one at that (co-owner Dave Gibbs is the discerning palate behind Augustine Wine Bar and Mirabelle). What sets it apart: It takes your traditional omakase tasting menu and one-ups it with sommelier-curated wine pairings from the best vineyards in Burgundy. And we haven’t even gotten to the sushi yet. Yuzu-and-truffle-drenched scallops, peppered albacore, and simple, salt-dusted sea bass that might be the single greatest bite within miles, and then there are the precisely sliced, perfectly seasoned cuts of nigiri that defy description. It’s only after you leave that you realize the sushi was so spectacular, you didn’t even drizzle it with soy sauce. Our advice: Snag a seat at the bar, go for the tasting menu, and watch the chefs work their magic.
Arclight Cinemas (Closed)
15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
It always blows visitors minds that at most of the city’s movie theaters, you can pre-book specific seats, meaning that you can eat dinner and wander around until minutes before the show starts, and not have to jockey and jostle for position. We love the Arclight in particular because there’s an on-site bar and during 21+ screenings you can sip your wine while you watch. Locations in Culver City, Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and Sherman Oaks.
Mulberry Street Pizza
15136 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
If you want a slice of New York pizza that is better than most places in New York, look no further: A super-thin crust and wonderfully tangy sauce set the standard for pies you can eat by the slice or take out whole. We particularly love the eggplant parm and the white spinach pizzas, but nothing disappoints. There is another location in Encino, and two in Beverly Hills—in Beverly Hills proper and on Beverly Blvd.
4351 Woodman Ave., Sherman Oaks
At this Sherman Oaks café, there are classic sandwiches (BLT, club, Philly cheese, etc), and there are artisanal grilled cheeses, of which the spicy short-rib option is the standout. Tender pulled short ribs serve as the base for grilled onions and peppers, and melted jack cheese—all made even better with a substantial kick of spicy aioli. All in all, a favorite in the Valley.