Chef Phillip Frankland Lee loves the Valley. He grew up there, and recently moved his restaurant Scratch | Bar & Kitchen from Beverly Hills to Encino, where it will open on Dec. 1. His plant-based restaurant, the Gadarene Swine, is in Studio City, and he recently moved to Sherman Oaks. With all this going on, it's also just been announced he'll appear on the next season of Bravo's Top Chef.
We wondered what his favorite places to eat are in the SFV, and being a huge supporter of Valley restaurants he was happy to oblige. Here are his 10 picks.
10. Medici in Sherman Oaks
“After midnight, you really have few options in the Valley. For me there are really only two. In-N-Out or Medici. Medici has ridiculously good pizza. All wood-burning, good, and it's super inexpensive. It's been my go-to lately for quick, cheap, yummy pizza.” 14612 Ventura Blvd.,
Sherman Oaks; (818) 788-2178. mymidici.com.
9. Cactus Taqueria in Sherman Oaks
“I just moved into the neighborhood and already I've eaten here, like, 20 times. Really solid tacos. I get the buche, the cabeza and the asada.” 4378 Woodman Ave., Sherman Oaks; (818) 380-0303.
8. Krua Thai in North Hollywood
“It may not be Ruen Pair, but it's a great substitution now that I'm living in the Valley again. The larb is on point, the papaya salad is stellar — just an all-around solid Thai spot.” 13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood; (818) 759-7998, kruathaica.com.
7. Bills Hamburgers in Van Nuys
“Bill's Burgers is the ultimate DAD burger. Meaning it's just like your dad made it if you grew up in a family that barbecued by the pool during summer and dad flipped burgers. Great quality meat, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles. The way a burger should be. Only open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays so It's a great midday snack spot. I usually get three double cheeseburgers, no mayo, when I go.” 14742 Oxnard St., Van Nuys; (818) 785-4086.
6. Sam Woo BBQ in Van Nuys
“Where else do you get unreal Peking duck in the Valley? Next door to Pho So 1, on the corner where I grew up. This place has tons of nostalgia for me. Being, like, 10 years old and walking into the restaurant and seeing all the hanging ducks in the window and the chefs cutting the ducks with giant cleavers on uneven wood stumps was just awesome.” 6450 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite G, Van Nuys; (818) 988-6813.
5. Barrel & Ashes in Studio City
“My boys over here are doing ridiculous BBQ. Right down the street from the Gadarene Swine, so sometimes I stop in for lunch between services or late night after service … not to mention, Julian's Fiscal Agent upstairs for the late late night!” 11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City; (818) 623-8883, barrelandashes.com.
4. Machu Picchu in Van Nuys
“I spent a month or two in Lima a few years back, and this is as close as it comes. Ceviche mixto, anticucho (beef heart) and lomo saltado. Nothing else that I have tried in the States comes close.” 6465 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys; (818) 997-3394, machupicchu-la.com.
3. Pho So 1 in Van Nuys
“#110 is my favorite dish in Los Angeles, and I have gone on record saying that more than once. It's the rare pan beef with lemon. Just go try it, you will not regret it. I've been eating this dish for 20-plus years and it's still consistent.” 6450 Sepulveda Blvd, Van Nuys; (818) 989-6377, phoso1.com.
2. Crazy Tokyo Sushi in Tarzana
“OK, this place may not replace Urasawa for that special night once every four years, but it's super consistent, super cheap and has the best baked green mussels I've ever had. I usually order at least three orders when I go in, and it is my standard to judge any other baked green mussels around. I went to middle school a few blocks down and used to ride my skateboard to eat these mussels after school in sixth grade.” 18406 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana; (818) 345-0838, crazytokyosushi.com.
1. Anarbagh in Encino
“Hands down the best Indian food I have ever had, and it's right down the street from the new Scratch | Bar & Kitchen. I actually took my chef de cuisine there last night. He used to be the chef of Junoon, the one-star Indian in NYC, and he agreed, best he's had in California. Super yummy, low-key (it's next to a Vons in a strip mall). Love it!” 17312 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 907-7100, anarbagh.com.