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Alcazar: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

When it's pretty late at night, and you are half-woozy on arak and secondhand hookah smoke, and the fried mullet in front of you has long since been transformed into skeletons yet you can't resist swabbing bits of fried pita around the plate, hoping to pick up a stray puddle of tahini sauce — at these times, it is possible to persuade yourself that Alcazar may be the best restaurant in this part of Encino. The band stops playing. You can hear tiny crickets singing all along the patio. Life is good.

Los Angeles has a pretty good community of Middle Eastern restaurants, but there is no place quite like Alcazar, with its salad made with the wild thyme called za'taar; a half-dozen kinds of hummus; pungent shanklish cheese chopped into a salad; and a definitive version of sautéed chicken livers with fresh pomegranate seeds. Alcazar is one of the finest Middle Eastern kitchens in Los Angeles. The cooks are Egyptian and Lebanese, but the owner, a well-known Armenian crooner who sometimes sings here on weekends, is not above insisting on putting Armenian-style kibbe nayeh on his menus, to go along with the chicken kebabs, stuffed grape leaves and superbly crunchy boreg. 17239 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 789-0991, al-cazar.com. Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Full bar. Hookah and cigar lounge. Lot parking in rear. All major CC. Lebanese.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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miles
Alcazar

14432 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91316

818-789-0991

www.al-cazar.com


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