Is there a street in greater Los Angeles changing more rapidly than Ventura Boulevard? The San Fernando Valley thoroughfare, which Wikipedia claims is "the world's longest avenue of contiguous businesses" (hard to believe, but hey...Valley pride!), is an ever-changing strip of places to eat, drink and shop. In recent years, the restaurant options have blossomed, and some of the city's coolest new businesses reside on Ventura.
Aaron Robins is a longtime fan of the Boulevard, having been the chef and owner of Boneyard Bistro on Ventura for more than a decade. He's seen the changes, and appreciates both the old standbys and the newcomers. Later this year he'll be opening another restaurant (a new concept, though he's not divulging any details at this time) on Ventura, doubling down on his investment in the Valley and the street.
Robins was kind enough to share his 12 favorite places on Ventura with us (his 13th, of course, being his own Boneyard Bistro). Here's a tour of the Boulevard from a Ventura Veteran.
12. Red Ginger
"Funky mix of Thai and sushi bar. Their Red Dragon roll is really good, and the guitarist who plays some nights is fantastic." 22984 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills. (818) 591-8055. redgingersushithai.com
11. The Local Peasant
"The back room at Woodland Hills was a great setting for my rehearsal dinner. Carl, Chad, and team knocked it out of the park." 22901 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 876-0105, thelocalpeasant.com.
"Possibly one of the best restaurants anywhere around. Old school French…that’s a great thing!" 22757 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills.
9. In-n-Out (of course)
"Double Double, Animal Style, both raw and grilled onions...perfection." 19920 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. in-n-out.com.
8. Tel Aviv Grill
"Laffa sandwich with schwarma, French fries, and loaded up with the spicy sauce!" 19014 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana; (818) 774-9400.
7. Emilio’s Trattoria
" Chopped Salad. As much of a Ventura Blvd staple as Stanley’s Chinese chicken salad was." [Stanley's, famous for its chicken salad, closed after 32 years in 2015.] 16234 Ventura Blvd., Encino. 818-784-7499. emiliostrattoria.net
"The kid loves the chili dog!" 12601 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. 818-761-8300. carneytrain.com
5. Black Market Liquor Bar
"Late night cocktails on date night!" 11915 Ventura Blvd, Studio City. (818) 446-2533. blackmarketliquorbar.com
"Happy hour al pastor tacos! (The happy hour at their sister restaurant, Mercado, is awesome too.)" 11929 Ventura Blvd, Studio City. (818) 358-3423. cocinasycalaveras.com/maradentro.
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3. Augustine Wine Bar
"Cured Meats, Cheeses, and impossible to find wine. What's not to love?" 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 990-0938. augustinewinebar.com
2. Thai’n I
"Get the Thai style BBQ chicken!" 17544 Ventura Blvd, Encino. (818) 783-8424. thaini.net.
"Henri is a restauranteur’s restauranteur. Timeless class and elegance. Outstanding steak au poivre." 13422 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks. (818) 981-6650. mistralrestaurant.com