John O'Groats Grille & Pub's fat menu starts with huge breakfasts for the early-morning, crazy soccer fans and expands to a vast dinner selection for Laker games. This newish establishment, in a San Fernando Valley–luxe suburban fantasy setting, includes an elegant patio in a grove of low-water trees, a well-appointed downstairs spillover room for big games or special parties, complete with a huge screen, and a darkened main-room bar with classy private-library paneling and the right beverages. Named after a tiny U.K. settlement called “Scotland's most dismal town” by one 2010 tourist guide, this is the second John O'Groats in Los Angeles; the first has operated for years in Rancho Park and was mentioned in Esquire's best breakfasts issue in 2009. The Encino outpost had the bloody nerve to throw its doors open in the worst months of the recession. It's been bustling ever since. 16120 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 501-2366,

—Jill Stewart

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