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Coachella Music Festival 2020

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2020 lineup is here. Rage Against the Machine is headlining and so are Frank Ocean and Travis Scott. See the full lineup below. Coachella 2020 takes place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California across two weekends: April 10-12 and 17-19.

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Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour 2020

Blue-eyed soul and soft rockers The Doobie Brothers have become an indelible part of the American musical landscape, making their mark as a durable and resilient band that fearlessly embrace genres ranging from RnB to classic rock and boogie.

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Eagles Hotel California Tour 2020

Eagles - Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, with Deacon Frey and Vince Gill – are bringing their recent, highly acclaimed “Hotel California” performances on tour in 2020 with concerts in Atlanta, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. See below for a full listing of tour dates.

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Mark Knopfler at Santa Barbara Bowl September 20, 2019

In celebration of his upcoming ninth solo studio album, Down The Road Wherever (out November 16 on British Grove Records via Blue Note), Mark Knopfler is set for a 28-date North American tour which will make a stop at Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday, September 20, 2019.

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Local News Headlines

Restaurants

Below is a list of some restaurants within Ventura County.

Click here for a complete list, including phone numbers and addresses, or to search the directory.

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
5050 Cornell Rd

818-597-8900
Pricing: $12-28
Very popular for barbecue with locations in The Grove at the Farmer’s Market, Northridge, Valencia, and in Orange County. The architecture at every locale is slightly different, but the meat is always slow-roasted and then finished on the grill, not smoked. The huge chopped salad can be topped with either chicken or tri-tip and is a winner, as are the garlic-parsley rolls that come with dinner. Steaks and prime rib are also perennial favorites of this always-packed chain.

Agoura Bistro & Wine Bar
30315 Canwood St

818-991-2170
Pricing: $13-25
Owner Carlos Orozco also has Adobe Cantina in Agoura Hills, but this bistro is much more sophisticated. Chef Domenick Medina creates a nice range of interesting salads at lunch. One is the Sea Breeze with poached shrimp, Ahi tuna, blue crab, asparagus, avocado, and hard-boiled egg over greens. At dinner Medina offers appetizers from all over the globe: escargot in garlic butter, tomato basil bisque, and jalapeño corn cakes topped with smoked salmon and crème fraîche. Pricing: also reflect Asian, French, and South American influences with a sake-glazed Hawaiian Ahi, rainbow trout fillets with beurre blanc, and a tequila-marinated hanger steak with chimichurri sauce and a tamale.


Chapter 8 Steakhouse & Dance Lounge
29020 Agoura Rd

818-889-2088
Pricing: $18-$48

It’s quite the scene at this dance lounge wrapped around a steakhouse. Those interested in the action will be just as happy in the shiny black and red surroundings (or in a cabana on the patio) as the serious eaters. If you’re there for the food, pay attention to the specials from chef Matthew Briggs. He’ll be adjusting the menu over the next few months. Tons of potato choices (roasted potatoes with truffle cream, blue cheese twice-baked, warm German potato salad) accompany a long list of meats (prime rib, New York strip loin, skirt steak) and sauces (single-malt-Scotch peppercorn, Cognac-garlic sauce, spicy Argentinean chimichurri). The vegetables (everything’s à la carte) are seasonal.


Moz Buddha Lounge
30105 W. Agoura Rd

818-735-0091
Pricing: $17-$37

A river-rock wall greets you as you walk in and a very tall Indian-style golden Buddha gazes benevolently upon you as you dine. Moz encourages you to share dishes and to challenge the kitchen to create custom plates. They offer lots of seafood, including a crispy whole striped bass, whole Dungeness crab, and a lobster cobb salad. For the marine-phobic, steak, lamb, and a chicken breast are on offer.


Padri Cucina Italiana and Martini Bar
29008 Agoura Rd

818-865-3700
Pricing: $11-$26

Chef and owner Saverio Posarelli also shares a partner interest in Cafe Fiore on California Street in Ventura. The spirits flow freely at the Martini Bar’s happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The outdoor patio is great for smoking cigars or tucking yourself away in a private cabana and listening to Live Music Wednesday through Saturday nights. Inside, get cozy with a Cal-Italian menu of beef carpaccio, crab cakes, burrata cheese with arugula and pine nuts, lobster and leek ravioli, seafood risotto, osso buco (braised veal shank), and coconut crème brûlée with caramelized bananas.


Cafe 14
30315 Canwood St

818-991-9560
Pricing: $17-$31
A full liquor license should make things even more interesting at this jewel box café run by husband and wife Neil Kramer and Claudine Bernard. They have very eclectic taste and create appetizers like handmade gnocchi in a mushroom ragout, and a tuna tartare stack with daikon sprouts and wasabi mayo. Main courses could be European-inflected like Parisian chicken fricassee or beef bourguignon. Or you might see New American dishes like jumbo shrimp and diver scallops over white cheddar grits, or boneless short ribs in a hoisin sauce with sticky rice and cucumber salad. Be sure to save room for dessert or a cheese plate.




Adobe Cantina
29100 W. Agoura Rd

818-991-3474
Pricing: $9-$17
This wide open cantina has all outdoor seating for a festive atmosphere. Don't worry, there are heaters on the many patios for the winter months. Choose from one of 40 premium tequilas to wash down achiote pork fajitas, crab enchiladas, shrimp in a tequila cream sauce, fish tacos, or even baby back ribs or a pulled pork plate.




Willy's Smokehouse
28434 Roadside Dr

818-991-7227
Pricing: $9-$24
The meat is smoked for hours and hours over hard woods using a formula from a former USO chef named Willy who served this authentic 'cue to Bob Hope among others. The pulled pork is very popular, but the tri-tip is great, too as are the baby-back ribs. If you want to venture outside the world of BBQ, you could opt for the prime rib, Atlantic salmon filet, Ahi tuna topped salad, shrimp scampi, or New York strip steak.




Char Fasl
in the Agoura Hills City Mall, 5843 Kanan Rd

818-889-9495
Pricing: $13-$20
A handmade Persian backgammon set beckons patrons to linger over tea and a friendly game. Kabobs of filet mignon, lamb, chicken breast, or ground beef are served over heaps of fluffy basmati rice. The tahdig appetizer is the crispy crust of the rice from the bottom of the pan topped with your choice of stew. It’s crunchy and addictive. Try the pomegranate juice; it’s a great source of antioxidants. On Friday and Saturday nights there’s singing and belly dancing after 8 p.m.




Yamato Restaurant
28700 Roadside Dr

818-706-7711
Pricing: $11-$23

This sprawling Japanese restaurant has an adjoining cocktail lounge, separate 16-seat sushi bar, and Teppanyaki tables where you sit around a grill top and watch your dinner being cooked for you. If you sit at one of the regular booths, feel free to order tempura, udon noodle dishes, or one of the show boat dinners.




Exotic Thai Café
29045 W. Agoura Rd. , Agoura Hills
805-658-4861
Pricing: $9-$15
Some locations (like the Westlake Village restaurant) are decorated more elaborately than others, but you don’t come here for the ambience. You come for interesting Thai food when you’re ready to move beyond pad Thai and chicken satay (although they serve those, too). The seafood hot pot, exotic catfish, or one of the curries with coconut milk are great choices.




Fabrocini's Italian Kitchen
29020 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills
818-879-8268
Pricing: $9-$20
The tiny dining room runs along the kitchen counter where you can watch pizzas being made and topped with high-end items like grilled shrimp, Gorgonzola, and pesto sauce. The veal Fabrocini is sauteed medallions of veal topped with eggplant parmigiana. You can also get the chicken version of this dish. Pastas and salads round out the menu.




Sushi Agoura
5015 Cornell Rd

818-991-0245
Pricing: $11-$14
Unusual ingredients in their sushi rolls like soft-shell crab, lobster, quail eggs, and giant clams (when in season) keep diners devoted to this somewhat small space with an army of sushi chefs. Salmon skin salad, easy to order dinner combinations, and reasonable prices also put this spot on the top of most lists.




Terri's Café
30135 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills
818-707-1934
Pricing: $8-$15
This café is a sister to the 10-year-old Terri’s in Pacific Palisades. Owner Terri Festa and her daughter oversee this pretty space dressed in warm yellow with a china collection over the bar. Breakfast and lunch are hot times to visit, maybe due to the fact that you can get fruit instead of french fries with your sandwiches or turkey chili. Breakfast is served until 3 p.m.




King's Fish House
4798 Commons Way

818-225-1979
Pricing: $10-$39 and up to $72 for a 3 lb. Lobster
Huge dining room, huge menu, well executed. Part of the King's Seafood Company (Water Grill, I Cugini) so the fish is always fresh. The menu is printed daily so expect the best picks to be sold out by the end of the evening. The fried oysters and the clam chowder are reliable favorites. This place is big enough to handle energetic kids and good enough to satisfy adult tastes.




Marmalade Café
4783 Commons Way, Suite E

818-225-9092
Pricing: $8-$24

If you like Country French decor, this is a cozy lunch spot and a perfect wedding- or baby-shower location. Breakfast and lunch are more popular than dinner due to the great sandwiches like the Reuben, turkey with cranberry sauce, and New York steak on garlic bread. Portions are big enough for two, so don’t be afraid to doggy bag it or order the half portions of the many pasta dishes.




Mi Piace Italian Kitchen
4799 Commons Way

818-591-8822
Pricing: $8-$20
We love the pumpkin ravioli in the butter and sage sauce and all of the freshly baked breads. There's also a great chicken piccata and shrimp scampi. Baked goods and sweets are displayed in a glass counter that beckons you as you walk by it to your table. Smart.




Cosmos Grill
23663 Calabasas Rd.

818-591-2211
Pricing: $10-$22

Ladies will like sipping martinis and cosmos while nibbling on the French quesadilla, the peanut chicken satay, or one of the many salads like the seared Ahi tuna. Guys will appreciate the mojitos and mixed grill or barbecued tri tip in this sleek little bistro across from The Commons.




Banzai Sushi
23508 Calabasas Road

818-222-5800
Sushi $5-$16; Pricing: $11-$23

Locals love the covered patio at this sushi bar with a chef who can handle high-maintenance requests for anything on the menu: the rolls, the sashimi, the tempura, and the teppanyaki. Kids love the high energy of the rooms (inside and out) and the tempura ice cream.




Saddle Peak Lodge
419 Cold Canyon Rd.

818-222-3888
Pricing: $22-$40

Recognized as one of LA’s finest restaurants in terms of food, atmosphere, and service (it won a star from the Michelin Guide), this former hunting lodge in the hills of Calabasas delivers an outstanding evening. The surroundings of mounted animal heads, wooden beams, and fireplaces are very rustic and romantic (as long you’re not a member of PETA). Chef Steven Rojas is very creative with game meats like elk tenderloin, buffalo, and venison chops. His tasting menu pulls out all the stops with interesting flavor combinations, unusual pairings, plus foams and emulsions. The most adventuresome eaters will appreciate it. Wednesday night’s farmers’ market menu showcases the week’s best produce from the Santa Monica farmers’ market. An extensive wine list adds to the pleasure. Brunch is served on the patio with views of the hillsides in the warmer months.




Riviera Restaurant & Lounge
23683 Calabasas Rd.

818-224-2163
Pricing: $14-29
This is the third child for restaurateur Tommaso Barletta, who also runs Tuscany Il Ristorante and Rustico. Try the carpaccio of beef with celery root salad or the three lentil soup with bacon and cheese croutons for starters. For pasta, there’s panzerotti filled with roasted chicken and sweet corn. For protein, there’s a nice Sonoma County rack of lamb in a mustard-shallot crust with truffled potatoes. In the lounge, try one of the 40 wines by the glass.




Fins Creekside
23504 Calabasas Rd.

818-223-3467
Pricing: $12-$32

The creekside patio is the draw at the Calabasas location. The owner and chef also run Moz Buddha Lounge. The menu features interesting takes on seafood like macadamia-crusted halibut, oven-roasted seafood over yakisoba noodles, and a lazy-man’s bouillabaisse in which the shellfish are removed from their homes for you. You can also choose your cut of steak and its preparation.




Corner Bakery Café
4776 Commons Way

818-876-7340
Pricing: $4-$7

They make takeout easy with boxed meals and phone-ahead service. Breakfast is funa dn filling with egg scrambles, French toast, oatmeal, and muffins. For lunch try the chili or a bowl of soup with a chopped salad, D.C. Chicken Salad, or Tuscan Pesto Past Salad. Ham on pretzel bread makes a great sandwich, as does the roast beef with cilantro-lime mayo or a warm corned beef Reuben with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The low prices make everything taste even better.




Damon & Pythias
in The Commons at Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way

818-224-1555
Pricing: $8-$13

Create your own salad or sandwich using their gourmet ingredients or choose from the regular menu, which features items like Cuban black bean soup and smoked turkey and chicken habañero sausage. A long list of salads includes Southwest Steak Salad and a spinach and bacon salad. Sandwiches can be healthy like the California Garden Sandwich. Dinners include Teriyaki Salmon or turkey with all the trimmings. Beer and wine help make this an upscale quick-food experience.




Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
1101 E. Daily Drive

805-482-1202
Pricing: $12-$28

Very popular for barbecue with locations in The Grove at the Farmer’s Market, Northridge, Valencia, and in Orange County. The architecture at every locale is slightly different, but the meat is always slow-roasted and then finished on the grill, not smoked. The huge chopped salad can be topped with either chicken or tri-tip and is a winner, as are the garlic-parsley rolls that come with dinner. Steaks and prime rib are also perennial favorites of this always-packed chain.




Enoteca Toscana Wine Bistro
2088 E. Ventura Blvd

805-445-1433
Tapas $6-$18; Pricing: $22-$26

Owner Antonio Anderson wants to introduce you to a wine you've never tried before. Ask him for suggestions. He has a great selection of unknown wines, especially Italian and Spanish vintages. They pair well with the tapas dishes of shrimp in olive oil with lemon and garlic, empanadas stuffed with meat or vegetables, and cheese plates. If you want a full entree, explore the nightly Bodega specials. If you're a fan of Champagne, stop by Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. for special prices on glasses and bottles of the bubbly.




Bandits' Grill & Bar
1980 Ventura Blvd.

805-445-4742
Pricing: $10-$20

A younger sibling of the Thousand Oaks location, this Bandits' was built in an original Ventura Highway roadhouse. Now it shares the menu and the decorative sensibility of the original thanks to a recent remodel. The meat is slow-cooked in gleaming stainless steel smokers and slow cookers kept at the perfect temperature for 24 hours at a time. The bar is hopping and so is lunch, so come early if you have limited time. The potato skins topped with ranch beans and cheese are a meal in themselves. Jalapeños stuffed with crab and cream cheese are a unique touch. But the real draw is the barbecue, of course. The tri-tip sandwich and the beef ribs move fast. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights go for the prime rib. The burgers and salads are satisfying lunch options.




Exotic Thai Café
2001 Ventura Blvd.

805-383-7666
Pricing: $9-$15
Some locations (like the Westlake Village restaurant) are decorated more elaborately than others, but you don’t come here for the ambience. You come for interesting Thai food when you’re ready to move beyond pad Thai and chicken satay (although they serve those, too). The seafood hot pot, exotic catfish, or one of the curries with coconut milk are great choices..




Sheila's Place Wine Bar & Café
330 N. Lantana, Suite 32

805-987-9800
Pricing: $10-$24

With wine classes, wine dinners and live jazz on the weekends, Sheila's is a nice spot to bring acquaintances and turn them into friends. Executive Chef Jeff Boullion focuses on wine-friendly foods like baked Brie, seared Ahi salad, Lousiana crab cakes, leg of lamb panini, wild mushroom pizza and salmon in puff pastry. Catering Chef Gael Lecolley will bring the party to your house.




Safire
4850 Santa Rosa Road

805-389-1227
Pricing: $12-$40

A New American menu by chef and co-owner Michael Muirhead (who worked under chef Lee Hefter at Spago) includes wood-fired pizzas, short ribs with mascarpone polenta, scallops in a red Thai curry sauce, double-cut pork chops with a green-apple slaw, and a roasted Tuscan branzino. The classy setting matches the quality of the food, which should bring a smile to Camarillo residents looking for more fine-dining options in their neck of the woods. A glass-walled wine cellar holds a table for eight. Safire is open for lunch and dinner daily.




Aloha Steakhouse
5800 Santa Rosa Road

805-484-1422
Pricing: $8-$29

The surf theme is displayed on the walls and in the attitude of the owners, who would love it if all diners wore deck shoes and floral shirts. The food is mainly American with lots of burgers, steaks that come with potatoes and salad, and seafood like macadamia-crusted mahimahi or Coco-Nutty Shrimp. Desserts are eye-popping. Hot chocolatey goodness flows from the Volcano Soufflé, topped with McConnell’s ice cream. The Hula Pie is stuffed with macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream.




Amaranta Cocina Mexicana
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park
818-610-3599
Pricing: $14-$19

Tucked in the northern half of the Westfield Topanga mall, this brightly decorated space has comfortable booths with striped fabric plus snazzy glass globes hanging from the ceiling. The selection at the full bar includes nearly 400 different tequilas for your tasting pleasure. The menu leans toward traditional Mexican fare, offering classics such as enchiladas and chicken with mole sauce. The appetizers are the most interesting and appealing dishes. Come on the right night (every other Thursday) and you’ll be serenaded by mariachis. Happy hour (from 3 to 7 p.m. daily) has its own taco menu. Lunch and dinner are served daily.




Giannfranco's Trattoria
666 Linden Ave., Carpinteria
805-684-0720
Pricing: $12-$22
Chef Giovanni creates classic Italian cuisine like Caprese salad, fritto misto, gnocchi with chicken and green peas, and ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach at this upscale eatery in Carpinteria. He uses elements of both northern and southern Italian cooking so you’ll see seafood risotto as well as braised short ribs. Giovanni’s parents Anna and Frank, who work the front of the house, keep the atmosphere upbeat and friendly. Giannfranco’s is open for lunch and dinner daily.




Terra
21337 Pacific Coast Highway

310-456-1221
Pricing: $23-$35

Set right on PCH (at Rambla Pacifica), this adorable Spanish-style bungalow has passionate owners in chef Chris Bocchino and his wife Kristine, who is the general manager and pastry chef. The front patio, with its colorful tile fountain, is the perfect place to enjoy ocean breezes; the space acts as a lounge for an adjacent bar area. The high-ceilinged dining room features a large fireplace. A garden behind the restaurant provides much of the inspiration—in the form of fresh produce—for the daily specials; you can’t go wrong with them. The rest of the New American menu is solid, made up of seasonal dishes alongside evergreens like flatiron steak or black-pepper tagliatelle with boar ragù.




Marmalade Café
3894 Cross Creek Road

310-317-4242
Pricing: $8-$24

If you like Country French decor, this is a cozy lunch spot and a perfect wedding- or baby-shower location. Breakfast and lunch are more popular than dinner due to the great sandwiches like the Reuben, turkey with cranberry sauce, and New York steak on garlic bread. Portions are big enough for two, so don’t be afraid to doggy bag it or order the half portions of the many pasta dishes.




Nobu
3835 Cross Creek Road

310-317-9140
Pricing: $8-$32 or Omakase menu $80-$120

The stars love to come to Nobu Matsuhisa’s small sushi bar and Asian fusion restaurant for the omakase (chef’s choice) menus, the yellowtail with jalapeño, the lobster salad with lemon dressing, and the black cod. The rest of us like to go to see the culinary stars, for the rock shrimp tempura, and for the bento box of desserts (you have to ask for that one), but be prepared to pay the price.




Tra Di Noi
3835 Cross Creek Road

310-456-0169
Pricing: $12-$29
The patio is the draw in good weather (warm or cold) for this great people-watching scene packed with Malibu locals, which means low-key millionaires, power players, celebrities, and good-looking soccer moms. They’re all chowing down on the thin-crust pizzas and creative salads. Try prosciutto and cantaloupe over arugula for an appetizer or add grilled skirt steak to the spinach salad with figs and dates for a healthy main course. Pastas, fish, veal, and chicken complete the menu.




Moonshadows
20356 Pacific Coast Highway

310-456-3010
Pricing: $19-$30

The owners got serious about this former surfer hangout a couple of years ago when they remodeled a bit and hired chef Joachim Weritz to create a menu worthy of destination dining. He flies in sweet quahog hard-shell clams for his chowder and buys American Kobe beef for his braised short ribs. His menu changes four times a year to follow the seasons, but you can always count on really fresh seafood with Asian touches, a pasta or risotto, homemade fruit cobblers, and a cheese plate. Views of the Pacific are great from every table, indoors or on the party deck outside. Brunch is always crowded.




Taverna Tony
23410 Civic Center Way

310-317-9667
Pricing: $11-$29

Owner Tony Koursaris is a solicitous host, overseeing your good time either inside by the fireplace or outside on the patio. Weekends bring live Greek music, dancing waiters, and belly dancers. Eat your flaming cheese, moussaka, and grilled lamb family-style if in a big party (which is the best way to experience the fun here). If you can’t save room for the baklava (and you probably can’t due to the huge portions), take it home.




Duke's Malibu
21150 Pacific Coast Highway

310-317-0777
Pricing: $16 and up (lots of market-priced seafood)

Named after Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Duke's is a "celebration of surf culture" according to its owners, TS Restaurants which has waterfront places in California and Hawaii. Apparently surfers eat crab and macadamia nut wontons, sugar cane shrimp, Maui onion and tomato salad, fresh fish, steak, and Kona coffee creme brulee.




Geoffrey's Malibu
27400 Pacific Coast Highway

310-457-1519
Pricing: $25-$49

Chef Bijan Shokatfard creates some beautiful dishes to go with the beautiful ocean view. He makes an orange-glazed salmon with a soba-noodle salad, and coconut curried prawns with sticky rice. A two-pound lobster is presented in a puff pastry basket with Madeira butter—perfect for impressing a date. And the Kobe sirloin comes with potato risotto and a chanterelle mushroom sauce.




Sage Room Malibu
28915 Pacific Coast Highway

310-457-0711
Pricing: $13-$30
California blends with Italy at this upscale casual room at PCH and Kanan. The maître d’ will say you don’t have to dress up because this is Malibu, after all, but know that the crowd will be beautiful anyway. Classic Italian dishes bolster the menu, which has interesting departures like Maryland crab cakes; chicken breast with roasted bell peppers, goat cheese, and crispy spinach; and meatloaf wrapped in Swiss chard.




Allegria
22821 Pacific Coast Highway

310-456-3132
Pricing: $11-$23

Owners Franco Simplicio and Antonio Tommassi are part of a group that also owns Locanda Veneta on Third Street in Los Angeles and Ca’ Del Sole in North Hollywood. Here, chef Angelo Traversa makes his own duck and chicken sausage along with a mustard chicken and a lamb shank. Wine dinners are held at the end of every month.




Beau Rivage
26025 Pacific Coast Highway

310-456-5733
Pricing: $16-$37

The gorgeous ocean views keep this place packed for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, when you can order caviar on soft-boiled eggs, eggs on a spinach nest with red hollandaise sauce, vegetarian lasagna, linguine with clams, poached cold salmon, or marinated lamb tenderloin. At night, take advantage of the deep wine list (you can even dine in the wine cellar downstairs). Start with carpaccio with Pommery mustard, or a grilled portobello mushroom on polenta with mascarpone. Ravioli can be made with salsify, prosciutto, and pistachios. The branzino is done cleanly with herbs and olive oil.




Champagne French Bakery Café
23715 Malibu Rd.

310-317-1121
Pricing: $6-$8

Part of the Jacques Gourmet company, which also owns the Miss Meringue cookie company, this Ameri-French bakery moves from omelettes and organic oatmeal in the morning to salad niçoise and chopped salads at lunchtime. The warm, open-face sandwiches called tartines do well, as do the panini (on baguettes instead of ciabatta bread). True Francophiles can take comfort in the croque monsieur.




Piatti Ristorante & Bar
516 San Ysidro Road, Montecito
805-969-7520
Pricing: $11-$24.50

This pair of easy Italians is part of a chain with locations all over California, but each Piatti has its own chef and personality. Both restaurants offer a nice range of items: salad, soup, pizza, pasta, fish, lamb, chicken, and veal, but each place puts its own stamp on the menu. For instance, where the Thousand Oaks location offers polenta fries with roasted tomato sauce, the Montecito location makes soft polenta with mascarpone cheese. Thousand Oaks also has added a crema Catalana to its dessert list along with a caramel-balsamic gelato topped with balsamic-macerated strawberries. Nice patios and fireplaces can be found at both locations.




The Natural Café
840 New Los Angeles Ave.

805-523-2016
Pricing: $5-$9

The Santa Barbara State Street location launched all the others. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options make this a magnet for the health-conscious. The same casual menu is available for lunch or dinner with extremely reasonable prices. At night there are soup, pasta, and fish specials. Fresh vegetables abound in the Buddha Burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat chapati. The Zen Burger is a Gardenburger done right. The Ranch Salad is a favorite with grilled chicken breast over baby greens with carrot, jicama, and feta cheese.




Café Firenze
563 W. Los Angeles Ave.

805-532-0048
Pricing: $15-$28

Here, a lovely, authentic Italian restaurant adjoins a bustling deli in Moorpark. Both spaces have friendly service and the same wonderful owners from Florence. The restaurant includes a martini bar and lounge with live music a couple of nights per week. It also sports a 10-seat copper-topped pasta bar where you can fill up on multiple small plates of homemade pastas and sauces. The dining room serves a large menu of Italian specialties like osso buco with saffron risotto, a veal chop with spinach, and chicken marsala. The deli is best for sampling the antipasti plates or pizzas and salads, not to mention espresso and pastries.




Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
540 New Los Angeles Ave.

805-523-7253
Pricing: $12-$28

Very popular for barbecue with locations in The Grove at the Farmer’s Market, Northridge, Valencia, and in Orange County. The architecture at every locale is slightly different, but the meat is always slow-roasted and then finished on the grill, not smoked. The huge chopped salad can be topped with either chicken or tri-tip and is a winner, as are the garlic-parsley rolls that come with dinner. Steaks and prime rib are also perennial favorites of this always-packed chain.




Eric's Restaurant & Bar
495 N. Ventu Park Rd.

805-716-4100
Pricing: $14-$30

Inside the Palm Garden Hotel, Eric’s has some nice outdoor dining on their retractable-roof patio with a fireplace. Their menu incorporates fresh fish daily (like grilled salmon, bacon-wrapped scallops, and swordfish with asparagus pasta) and herbs from the hotel’s garden. Stop by almost any time, because they offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. There’s also a full bar with happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. nightly.




Holdren's Steaks and Seafood
1714 A Newbury Road

805-498-1314
Pricing: $16-$38

What began in Santa Barbara as a small, modern steakhouse just branched into Newbury Park. The steaks here are corn-fed, aged, and cooked over a mesquite-wood grill. Sauces include rosemary blue cheese, bourbon, and a red-wine peppercorn reduction. Shrimp or lobster can join the plate for a surf-and-turf combo. The appetizers are fun: coconut shrimp, garlic-pepper onion rings, or a grilled Castroville artichoke with garlic aioli. The tables are tight, but the wine list is deep.




Stella's Restaurant
2385 Michael Dr.

805-498-0989
Pricing: $10-$21
Stella Scholle has been charming her customers for 25 years with eggs with creamed spinach and artichokes over an English muffin, stacks of pancakes, and omelettes. Since breakfast is her most popular meal, she offers it seven days a week, from opening to closing. At lunch the burgers are named after stars, the sandwich selections are extensive, and the salads move fast. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday. Look for specials like clam chowder, inexpensive steaks, chicken with chardonnay cream sauce, and the amazing apple pie.




The Natural Café
1714 Newbury Road

805-498-0493
Pricing: $5-$9

The Santa Barbara State Street location launched all the others. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options make this a magnet for the health-conscious. The same casual menu is available for lunch or dinner with extremely reasonable prices. At night there are soup, pasta, and fish specials. Fresh vegetables abound in the Buddha Burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat chapati. The Zen Burger is a Gardenburger done right. The Ranch Salad is a favorite with grilled chicken breast over baby greens with carrot, jicama, and feta cheese




Exotic Thai Café
2205 Michael Drive

805-375-0272
Pricing: $9-$15
Some locations (like the Westlake Village restaurant) are decorated more elaborately than others, but you don’t come here for the ambience. You come for interesting Thai food when you’re ready to move beyond pad Thai and chicken satay (although they serve those, too). The seafood hot pot, exotic catfish, or one of the curries with coconut milk are great choices.




Bistro Ella
1714 Newbury Road

805-498-2500
Pricing: $17-$30
It’s small, casual, and in an unassuming location, but this cute bistro owned by the team behind Leila’s turns out fantastic comfort food with a fancy twist. The menu will evolve through the year, but expect hearty main dishes like skirt steak with garlic fries; braised short ribs over mashed parsnips; marinated pork tenderloin with ancho chili barbecue sauce; and pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and brown butter. Appetizers like frisée aux lardon, tuna carpaccio, and crispy shrimp tempura with hoisin glaze and wasabi aioli are delicious. Service is friendly and the dress code is casual. If you live anywhere near Newbury Park, this is the perfect neighborhood spot for a fantastic dinner with an interesting bottle (or glass) of wine. Bistro Ella is open for dinner nightly.




Leila's Restaurant & Winebar
752 Lindero Canyon Rd., Oak Park
818-707-6939
Pricing: $15-$30

An exhibition kitchen dominates this little but lovely space so diners can watch chef Richard De Mane turn out his Peking duck confit pancake, port-roasted pear salad, and Moroccan spiced salmon. There’s also a communal table up front for more social dining. The adjoining wine bar expands the space nicely for comfortable dining everywhere.




Auberge at Ojai
314 El Paseo Rd.

805-646-2288
Pricing: $18-$32

Christian Shaffer, chef and owner of Avenue in Manhattan Beach, recently purchased this beautiful, natural restaurant (formerly known as L’Auberge) with lovely views from its wooden deck. He features many Central Coast wines with his New American menu of roasted beets with arugula and warm Brie; or albacore tartare with capers, shallots, and an avocado vinaigrette to start. Main course choices include a pork chop with apples and fingerling potatoes, or local rockfish with tomato-olive ragout and chickpea fries.




Suzanne's Cuisine
502 W. Ojai Ave.

805-640-1961
Pricing: $15-$28

Travelers to Ojai make Suzanne’s a part of their itinerary so they can explore what she’s up to in any given season. Relying heavily on the produce around her, Suzanne Roll turns out lunch and dinner dishes that are interesting and handcrafted. Breads for the sandwiches are made by a local bakery; soups change daily. You might see a rainbow trout grilled with rosemary and lemon or a stuffed Cornish game hen with an apricot-marsala sauce. The atmosphere is casual with seats on the back patio next to the garden and a most pleasant gurgling fountain and outdoor fireplace. For cooler weather, there’s also an enclosed patio. Note: The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.




Maravilla
905 Country Club Road

805-640-2100
Pricing: $25-$50

Nestled in the luxurious Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Maravilla acts as the fine-dining venue for both the health-conscious and those who indulge. Even if you stick to the lighter side of the menu (garden pea soup, Hawaiian sea bass with artichokes and a shellfish reduction) you’ll still fill up on the luscious valley views. Those who aren’t counting calories can partake of Kobe beef sliders and truffled potato bouquets, foie gras with French toast and pistachio butter, or seared lamb loin with chanterelles. The bar is a cozy place to wait for a table. The wine list consistently wins Wine Spectator awards. Maravilla serves dinner Wednesday through Sunday nights.




Native Café & Gathering Grounds
23536 Calabasas Rd., Old Town Calabasas
818-223-9600
Pricing: $12-$30

They’ve begun serving lunch at this organic café with Native American decor. The ravioli is stuffed with homemade ricotta cheese and the burger can be topped with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and avocado. At dinner, the jumbo shrimp are marinated in a lime and mint vinaigrette as a starter. The baked eggplant starter is topped with tomato and mozzarella. An unusual entrée is the organic bison in a cherry-port sauce. The New York steak comes with a peppercorn sauce. A cup of fair-trade coffee with the homemade cheesecake ends the meal with a clean conscience.




Tierra Sur Restaurant at Herzog Wine Cellars
3201 Camino Del Sol

805-983-1560
Pricing: $25-$44

Kosher food is complex and flavorful here at this restaurant inside Herzog Winery. Chef Todd Aarons employs local ingredients for his seasonal dishes. You might see butternut squash soup with lemon oil, ahi tuna carpaccio with an avocado gelato, or a spicy venison and bison sausage with a potato croquette. Desserts include a flourless Mexican chocolate cake with caramel frozen custard and an orange-almond flan. Aarons puts together three-course menus paired with wines for easy ordering. Reservations are required on Sundays. On Fridays, only lunch is served. The restaurant is closed on Saturdays in observance of the Sabbath.




Downey's
1305 State St.

805-966-5006
Pricing: $27-$37

Chef and owner John Downey sources ingredients like meat, seafood, and organic vegetables locally and prepares them in imaginative, but not overwrought, ways. His wife Liz runs the front of the house, which is dotted with her own paintings of local scenes. The menu, which changes daily, might include a porcini soup with crème fraîche and chives; squab salad with a garlic-mustard dressing; or a boneless veal chop with chanterelles, marjoram, and fettuccine with spinach.




Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant
119 Harbor Way

805-966-4418
Pricing: and oysters $8-$20 ($32 for lobster)

This lively New England-style clam shack features Pacific lobster, oyster shooters, clam chowder and fish. The double-sided bar is where most of the regulars hang out. Despite the gorgeous view of the harbor and the mountains behind, it ain't the place for romance, but it is a good time. Tip: it's less crowded with tourists in the winter months.




Jade
3132 State St.

805-563-2007
Pricing: $12-$18
This space used to be Aja Restaurant until the sous chef Dustin Green bought it and turned it into his own kind of Hawaiian fusion restaurant. It looks nondescript from the street, but inside the decor—featuring local artwork—is simple yet elegant. Green adds Hawaiian touches to some of his dishes, like kalua pork with polenta and avocado salsa.




Ca' Dario
37 E. Victoria St.

805-884-9419
Pricing: $15-$28

Chef and owner Dario Furlati features dishes from his native northern Italy at this popular trattoria that gets high marks for service from regulars. His menu features some unusual choices like fusilli pasta with artichokes, shiitake mushrooms, and truffle oil; radicchio and ricotta-cheese crêpes; terra-cotta-baked chicken with a tomato and red-wine sauce; and a classic rib-eye steak with white beans and sage.




The Hungry Cat
1134 Chapala St.

805-884-4701
Pricing: $16-28

A tiny raw bar and seafood house that specializes in New England-style food and cocktails, this Santa Barbara twin of the Hollywood original celebrates the purity of oysters, clams, lobster
spot prawns and fresh vegetables. Preparations from chef and owner David Lentz are sometimes simple, sometimes complex, but always spot-on delicious. The Maine lobster roll is smeared with a Meyer-lemon aioli instead of standard mayo. Baltimore crab cakes sit on frisée with pancetta and a coddled quail egg. The space is small and reservations aren’t taken, so some waiting may be involved, but an East Coast cocktail with muddled fruit ought to take the edge off. Open for dinner nightly.




Wine Cask
813 Anacapa St.

805-966-9463
Pricing: $23-$37

This legendary wine store and restaurant has a new owner, but all signs point to a smooth transition. Oenophiles still flock in for a huge selection of wines by the glass, half bottle, or bottle—and for chef Jeremy Tummel’s Cal cuisine that’s wine-friendly. His seasonal dishes might include a vodka-infused potato soup, three-cheese tomato tart, or grilled foie gras with a balsamic reduction to start. Miso-broiled black cod and barbecued beef short ribs show up as main courses. A changing five-course tasting menu (paired with wines or not) is available every Sunday and Monday night. The more casual Intermezzo café and wine bar is across the patio. It has a lighter small-plates menu and is open later at night.




Holdren's Steaks and Seafood
512 State St.

805-965-3363
Pricing: $16-$38

What began in Santa Barbara as a small, modern steakhouse just branched into Newbury Park. The steaks here are corn-fed, aged, and cooked over a mesquite-wood grill. Sauces include rosemary blue cheese, bourbon, and a red-wine peppercorn reduction. Shrimp or lobster can join the plate for a surf-and-turf combo. The appetizers are fun: coconut shrimp, garlic-pepper onion rings, or a grilled Castroville artichoke with garlic aioli. The tables are tight, but the wine list is deep.




Stella Mare's
50 Los Patos Way

805-969-6705
Pricing: $22-$38

Where else can you begin dinner with a rabbit satay, move on to a pan-seared loin of buffalo, and close with a warm banana, rum, and chocolate gratin? All this while enjoying the cozy rooms of a house built in 1872 overlooking a bird sanctuary. The wine-country cuisine includes game, an oak-grilled artichoke starter, red and yellow roasted beet salad, and pan-roasted rainbow trout. Tuesday’s bistro menu is a real bargain for around $30 per person, which gets you three courses and a glass of wine. Live jazz is featured Wednesday nights. Thursday nights the chef creates a four-course tasting menu paired with wines for around $55.




Elements
129 E. Anapamu St.

805-884-9218
Pricing: $19-$31

The four elements (earth, fire, water, and air) reflected in the name of this relatively new restaurant are well represented. The menu by chef and co-owner Paul Becking is earthy and imaginative: A portobello mushroom is stuffed with tofu and fried tempura-style; duck confit risotto is spiced with cinnamon; the Kobe burger is topped with piquillo peppers and Cabrales blue cheese. The firewater (aka cocktails and wines by the glass, including many regional selections) fuels the chic bar scene. And the airy view of the gorgeous Santa Barbara courthouse doesn’t hurt either.




Olio E Limone
11 W. Victoria St.

805-899-2699
Pricing: $13-$30

Chef Alberto Morello, who hails from Sicily, blends his country’s cuisine with dishes from all over Italy. The pear carpaccio topped with Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts is as lovely as it is delicious. Homemade pastas are sauced with lamb ragú and pecorino cheese or stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Veal scaloppine comes with artichoke hearts and a lemon sauce. The wine list consistently wins Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.




Eladios
1 State St.

805-963-4466
Pricing: $10-$20
The outdoor patio here is wonderful for people-watching since the restaurant is at the beginning of State Street near the beach. Since it’s on the ground floor of the Harbor View Inn, a lot of tourists congregate here, but locals love it especially for breakfast. Sunday brunch offers brioche French toast filled with mascarpone cheese; eggs Florentine over English muffins; and smoked salmon and red onion scrambled with eggs and crème fraîche.




The Natural Café
508 State St.

805-962-9494
Pricing: $5-$9

The Santa Barbara State Street location launched all the others. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options make this a magnet for the health-conscious. The same casual menu is available for lunch or dinner with extremely reasonable prices. At night there are soup, pasta, and fish specials. Fresh vegetables abound in the Buddha Burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat chapati. The Zen Burger is a Gardenburger done right. The Ranch Salad is a favorite with grilled chicken breast over baby greens with carrot, jicama, and feta cheese.




The Natural Café
361 Hitchcock Way

805-563-1163
Pricing: $5-$9

The Santa Barbara State Street location launched all the others. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options make this a magnet for the health-conscious. The same casual menu is available for lunch or dinner with extremely reasonable prices. At night there are soup, pasta, and fish specials. Fresh vegetables abound in the Buddha Burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat chapati. The Zen Burger is a Gardenburger done right. The Ranch Salad is a favorite with grilled chicken breast over baby greens with carrot, jicama, and feta cheese.




Pierre Lafond Bistro
516 State St.

805-962-1455
Pricing: $11-$20

What has been a casual breakfast and lunch bistro for years has gone slightly more upscale with the addition of a dinner menu from chef Joshua Keating. He’s sticking with locally sourced ingredients and aiming for organic whenever possible in his seasonal dishes. Salads, sandwiches, panini, and pizza are available all day. Evening Pricing: change regularly but might include grilled tri-tip with sweet potatoes and mojito sauce, shrimp tamales with mole verde sauce, or blackened ahi tuna with mango salsa. The bistro is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.




Bouchon
9 W. Victoria St.

805-730-1160
Pricing: $24-$35

Local wines and local ingredients are showcased at this candlelit, romantic ode to the wine country. The wine list is deep with many California selections and the seasonal menu is inspired by choices at the farmers’ markets. You might find an appetizer of sweetbreads over an English pea risotto; a rack of venison with farro (a grain similar to barley); or plum-glazed Pacific salmon. Cheese selections come from C’est Cheese Shop in Santa Barbara and desserts include (while in season) a huckleberry and blueberry upside-down cake.




Tupelo Junction Cafe
1218 State St.

Santa Barbara
Pricing: $13-$29

People come here for the crispy fried free-range chicken with roasted shallot mashed potatoes, sautéed mustard greens and sweet corn, and herbed pan-gravy—and for the chocolate turtle beignets with crème anglaise, homemade caramel, and candied pecans. This casual but delicious Southern bistro has vintage fruit-crate labels on the walls and serves mimosas in Mason jars. We recommend a trip at dinnertime when it’s less crowded since it’s beloved by locals for breakfast and lunch. But who can blame them? It’s hard to beat cinnamon-apple beignets, fried green tomatoes, and white cheddar burgers with sweet fried pickles and caramelized onions.




The Blue Fin Grill & Sushi Bar
1230 Madera Road

805-584-9668
Pricing: $9-$19; Sushi $3-$12 per roll

Sit at the long, dark wood sushi bar; at one of the white-linen-covered tables in the main dining room; or out on the patio at this sophisticated bistro offering almost anything you can think of. For lunch, nosh on an iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing, chicken pot stickers, any of the Mediterranean-style pastas, or dive into a full bento box lunch that includes miso soup, a California roll, an entrée like grilled salmon or teriyaki chicken, some salad, and a little rice. Maybe Thai beef salad is more to your liking, or an arugula salad topped with grilled shrimp. Dinner has all of the above plus satay skewers, grilled rack of lamb, and marinated swordfish. We haven’t even touched on the pleasing array of sushi and 10 different rolls. Whatever you do, save room for desserts like hot apple puffs with ice cream and caramel sauce, warm chocolate tartlets, and the Monster Banana chocolate brownie with ice cream, caramelized bananas, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.




Red Fish
1555 Simi Town Center Drive

805-823-4756
Pricing: $23-$42

Some of the guys who brought you Spark Woodfire Grill and Alto Palato have turned their attention to fish. Their slick restaurant in the Simi Valley Town Center allows diners a peek behind the culinary scenes with a window into the fish-cutting room. Both the raw bar and open kitchen allow diners to watch even more cooking action. Chef Fredy Escobar buys organic products whenever possible and treats his fish and meats simply, sometimes adding only olive oil, butter, or lemon after grilling. Sauces, however, are available for those who want more punch. Fish can be baked in a tomato broth with sweet garlic, while steaks and chops can be topped with béarnaise, cabernet-peppercorn sauce, or a Danish blue cheese. Accompaniments include asparagus, buttered corn with wild mushrooms, and jasmine rice. Lunch and dinner are served daily.




Amuse Bouche
5754 E. Los Angeles Ave.

805-583-5959
Pricing: $19-$29

You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but this is a pretty little French jewel tucked into a Simi Valley strip mall. Chef and owner Sylvain Rivet has been teaching cooking classes and catering all over Los Angeles for years. Now he has four walls in which to serve the public his intricate French cuisine. An endive salad is topped with diced pears and blue cheese. A crispy crab cake sits on a papaya-cucumber relish. Seared salmon is crusted with potato and doused with shallot vinaigrette. Bouillabaisse comes with steamed potatoes and saffron-garlic mayonnaise. For dessert, choose from sweets like tropical bread pudding or crème brûlée, or be very French and go with the cheese plate.




Mastro's Steakhouse
2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-418-1811
Pricing: $26-$76

Big, bold, and beautiful is the motto of this steakhouse group out of Arizona. That translates into powerful drinks, very large steaks, extravagant seafood towers, and desserts ample enough for two people to enjoy. The steaks and seafood are very high-quality and high rollers won’t mind the steep prices or that the side dishes are à la carte. The attentive service will make you feel pampered all night long. Low lighting and smallish rooms keeps things cozy while a pianist plays live music nightly in the bar area at the center of the restaurant.




Exotic Thai Café
2705 Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-373-9231
Pricing: $9-$15
Some locations (like the Westlake Village restaurant) are decorated more elaborately than others, but you don’t come here for the ambience. You come for interesting Thai food when you’re ready to move beyond pad Thai and chicken satay (although they serve those, too). The seafood hot pot, exotic catfish, or one of the curries with coconut milk are great choices.




Sushi-Tei
1125 Lindero Canyon Road

818-889-0133
sushi $5-20, Pricing: $10-$18
The 12-seat sushi bar is separated from the regular tables by a discreet screen in this cozy Japanese restaurant. The sushi menu is long and at least slightly descriptive for newbies. Cooked food fans can have various vegetables and fish (including king crab) as tempura or teriyaki-style beef, chicken, and fish.




Ori Sushi
74 N. Skyline Dr.

805-496-1067
Pricing: $13-$20; Sushi $5-$24 per roll
Previously Hiyana, this free-standing sushi bar and Japanese restaurant wraps around a central bamboo garden. Owner Orikono mans the sushi bar and shouts greetings to all who enter. He loves seasonal ingredients and fusion. His Prosciutto-Balsamic Roll has cream cheese and cucumbers; the Expensive Roll features lobster, caviar, and gold leaf; the dramatically named Sudden Death Roll has only jalapeno to kill you, not the poisonous blowfish fugu. Cooked dishes include tempura, udon, teriyaki, gyoza, and shabu shabu in winter.




Pellagio Café
868 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-370-3131
Pricing: $9-15
Pellagio is owned by the affable Alex Momen and his wife. Momen is a partner in Avanti, an Italian café in Pasadena where he cooked for 20 years. For the last five years his heart has been here. Momen turns out authentic olive-oil based (not red-sauce based) Italian pizzas from his wood-burning oven, with toppings like duck sausage and glazed apples. He’ll also cook any pasta dish you can possibly request even though it’s not on the menu. Everything is made in-house (like the salad dressings) or purchased from high-end purveyors (like the gelato truffles for dessert). It’s the food that people come back for, and the low prices make this a bargain find.




Café Provencal
2310 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-496-7121
Pricing: $13-$28

Grab a quick business lunch in under a half-hour for $15 during the day, or come at night for a slower, more romantic experience under the mirror ball. Nibble on Coquilles St. Jacques (breaded scallops over risotto) or seared foie gras with pear and figs before diving into cheese ravioli in a vanilla sauce; bouillabaisse; or a rack of veal with truffle, rosemary, and garlic sauce. For a real deal, dine on Wednesday or Thursday night and order the five-course meal with three wines for only $40.




Piatti Ristorante & Bar
101 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-371-5600
Pricing: $11-$24.50

This pair of easy Italians is part of a chain with locations all over California, but each Piatti has its own chef and personality. Both restaurants offer a nice range of items: salad, soup, pizza, pasta, fish, lamb, chicken, and veal, but each place puts its own stamp on the menu. For instance, where the Thousand Oaks location offers polenta fries with roasted tomato sauce, the Montecito location makes soft polenta with mascarpone cheese. Thousand Oaks also has added a crema Catalana to its dessert list along with a caramel-balsamic gelato topped with balsamic-macerated strawberries. Nice patios and fireplaces can be found at both locations.




Sushi Ko Japanese Cuisine & Grill
2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. #150

805-777-1137
small bites $3-$15 each; Pricing: $15-$20

This beautiful yet friendly Japanese space at The Lakes is dressed in hard woods and tiles from Kyoto. The kushiyaki grill allows you to try small bites of grilled meats, vegetables and seafood on skewers. If you sit at the sushi counter, you can watch the grill master, the sushi chefs or the plasma television. The crunch rolls are popular with fillings like tempura crab and spicy tuna and outer layers of potato crunchies with eel sauce or rice-cracker crunch. Japanese beer and sake cocktails are also available.




California Pizza Kitchen
2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-777-1778
Pricing: $9-$15

An upscale version of the chain, this location at The Lakes features a separate bar and lounge area as well as a large dining room decorated nicely with stone walls and wine displays. The huge menu features the newest CPK items, like a smoked bacon and Gorgonzola chopped salad, a Thai crunch salad, a carne asada pizza, and a chipotle chicken ravioli.




Champagne French Bakery Café
180 Promenade Way

805-379-5911
Pricing: $6-$8

Part of the Jacques Gourmet company which also owns the Miss Merinque cookie company, this AmeriFrench bakery moves from omeletts and organic oatmeal in the morning to salad Nicoise and chopped salads at lunchtime. The warm, open-face sandwiches called tartines do well, as do the panini (on baguettes instead of ciabatta bread). True Francophiles can take comfort in the Crocque Monsieur.




Claim Jumper
at the Lakes, 2150 Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-494-9656
Pricing: $15-$25 ($49 for steak and lobster)

Anchoring one end of The Lakes, this craftsman-styled restaurant oozes cozy sophistication with stone walls and fireplaces even though it's part of a national chain. The huge portions of baby back ribs, steaks, pot pies and chocolate cake will carry you into tomorrow. The adjoining saloon features Douglas fir logs and a natural stone fireplace. Full bar with craft beers and wine.




Corner Bakery Café
111 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-496-6993
Pricing: $4-$7

They make takeout easy with boxed meals and phone-ahead service. Breakfast is fun and filling with egg scrambles, French toast, oatmeal, and muffins. For lunch try the chili or a bowl of soup with a chopped salad, D.C. Chicken Salad, or Tuscan Pesto Pasta Salad. Ham on pretzel bread makes a great sandwich, as does the roast beef with cilantro-lime mayo or a warm corned beef Reuben with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The low prices make everything taste even better.




P.F. Chang's China Bistro
2250 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-277-5915
Pricing: $6-$18

Two huge Ming horses guard the entrance to this Chinese-American temple at The Lakes where you can sip up-to-date cocktails and down large portions of minced chicken in lettuce cups, double-pan-fried noodles, Cantonese roasted duck, salmon steamed with ginger, wok-seared lamb, and New York–style cheesecake or the The Great Wall of Chocolate (cake). Big round tables make gathering in groups a treat.




The Cheesecake Factory
in The Oaks Mall, 442 W. Hillcrest Dr.

805-371-9705
Pricing: $9-$27

Big portions and efficient service have made this the most profitable chain in America. Bring a diverse crowd because there’s something on the menu for every palate, from burgers to burritos to pizzas, pastas, pad Thai, grilled fish, and steaks. And who doesn’t love cheesecake? There are 35 to choose from. The energy level is always high here, so it’s perfect for a group celebration.




The Melting Pot
3685 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-370-8802
Pricing: $18-$23 individually or $59 for two

Swirl, swish, and dip your way through cheese fondue, hot broth fondue, and chocolate fondue for an interactive meal that will keep even your kids interested. For the adults, a full bar and a large wine list make the night fun. The sauces, salads, and sides round out the meal nicely.




Gino's Trattoria
720 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-494-7743
Pricing: $10-$17
Owner Gino Setola likes to be very personal with his patrons. Instead of writing menu specials on a board, he prefers to give them out to the whole room verbally. It's casual, it's friendly and the menu has classic Italian dishes like veal picatta, fettucini Bolognese, pizza, and Caprese salad. Don't miss the gelato truffles for desert.




Buca di Beppo
205 N. Moorpark Rd.

805-449-3688
Pricing: $8 for individual plates to $35 for a family sized meat platter

Huge family portions meant to be shared are dished out at this raucous kitschy shrine to all things Italian. Lately, however, they've been offering smaller individual portions of some dishes like the pastas. You can only get to the dining room by walking through the kitchen which starts the evening off right, even though it makes you hungrier. For special occasions, book the Pope's table. Skip the garlic bread with its overpowering and undercooked slices of garlic, but go for the baked ravioli, the veal Marsala, and the chicken with lemon.




Bandits' Grill & Bar
589 N. Moorpark Rd.

805-497-7427
Pricing: $10-$20

Barbecue goes high-tech here, where the meat is slow-cooked in gleaming stainless steel smokers and slow cookers kept at the perfect temperature for 24 hours at a time.The décor is Frank Lloyd Wright meets the Old West and it works. The bar is hopping and so is lunch, so come early if you have limited time. The potato skins topped with ranch beans and cheese are a meal in themselves. Jalapeños stuffed with crab and cream cheese are a unique touch. But the real draw is the barbecue, of course. The tri-tip sandwich and the beef ribs move fast. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights go for the prime rib. The burgers and salads are satisfying lunch options.




Marcello Ristorante
140 W. Hillcrest Dr.

805-371-4367
Pricing: $11-$25

About as authentic Italian as this area gets. Everything from tripe in a tomato sauce over polenta to fennel and mushrooms over a smoked salmon fillet to thin-crust pizzas and spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, capers, and dried fish roe.




71 Palm
71 N. Palm St.

805-653-7222
Pricing: $10-$30

Recently chef and owner Didier Poirer retooled his French restaurant—set in a 1910 Craftsman cottage—that he and his wife Nanci opened in 1997. It’s now a blend of French and American cuisines with much more focus on steaks and chops. The rib eye comes with melted Gorgonzola and a cabernet sauce; the New York steak has a morel mushroom sauce. Seafood has a supporting role, as does pasta like the country macaroni and cheese. Chef Didier teaches one-session cooking classes each month that end with a three-course meal paired with wines. He also hosts occasional winemaker dinners featuring wines from the Central Coast, Napa Valley, and Sonoma County.




Café Fiore Restaurant & Martini Lounge
66 S. California St.

805-653-1266
Pricing: $14-$25

With happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, nightly martini specials, and live entertainment throughout the week, it’s hard not to have a good time at this cozy trattoria and lounge. The pastas are inexpensive and good: The ziti has eggplant and smoked mozzarella; the rigatoni has shrimp in a cherry tomato sauce; and the agnolotti is stuffed with chicken and spinach in a marsala sauce. There are plenty of thin-crust pizzas and salad choices for a light meal, or braised lamb shank and grilled steaks for a heartier night.




Cantina Joannafina Y Bar La Luna
1127 S. Seaward

805-652-0360
Pricing: $5-$17
Giant burritos, mild tomatillo salsa, guacamole when in season, a variety of tequilas, great garlic soup, colorful environs, and friendly service make this a savory and fun place to hang. Menudo and pozole are available on the weekends. The Westlake Village location has paella on Thursday nights and live music Thursday through Saturday, which makes your meal quite festive, plus, the heated outdoor patio offers blankets on every chair in case you get chilly.




The Sidecar Restaurant
3029 E. Main St.

805-653-7433
Pricing: $10-$25

Set in a 1910 Pullman train car, this restaurant has been around since 1933. The current owners have a devotion to fresh, locally grown produce; artisanal cheeses; and farm-fresh eggs. Chef Tim Kilcoyne turns out beautiful steaks, creamy polenta, and a build-your-own salad with options like organic greens, niçoise olives, roasted butternut squash, English cucumber, Point Reyes blue cheese, smoked salmon, focaccia croutons, and spiced hazelnuts. At brunch, the hollandaise is tangy and the house-made lemon curd is irresistible. Tuesday night is grilled cheese and jazz night. Look for purveyor dinners and murder mystery theatre nights.




Westside Cellar Restaurant & Wine Store
222 E. Main St.

805-652-7013
Pricing: $12-$27

A small, bustling café just two tables deep, this cellar specializes in wine tastings and fabulous cheese plates. More than 300 wines and 11 cheeses are available to choose from. The wine tastings occur on Wednesday and Saturday nights in the back room before dinner. The small menu leans toward fusion, but the straight-ahead dishes are the best, including the catch of the day rubbed with Spanish herbs.




Brooks
545 E. Thompson Blvd.

805-652-7070
Pricing: $19-$25

The decor is spare and the energy level is high at this downtown Ventura gathering place. Chef and owner Andy Brooks cooks seasonally, letting the farmers’ market selections dictate his menu. Look out for risotto with crispy rock shrimp and red grapefruit, grilled salmon with collard greens, seared scallops with cactus relish, and coffee pots de crème for dessert. A five-course tasting menu is available (with or without matching wines). The full bar has its own bar menu of small plates to go with the specialty cocktails made with fresh juices. And at lunch, hand-cut french fries sit alongside an eight-ounce burger dressed with grilled red onions, smoked bacon, blue cheese, and red-bell-pepper ketchup.




Jonathon's at Peiranos
204 E. Main St.

805-648-4853
Pricing: $20-$28

Set in a historic building that originally housed an Italian grocery store, Jonathan’s provides a quiet, dark, romantic dining room next door to a festive tapas lounge with live music. Chef and owner Jason Collis pulls ideas from all over the world to create his fantastic menu. The salads are mostly Mediterranean; the paella uses Spanish spices, meats, and rice along with internationally caught seafood; the rack of lamb gets a Greek treatment; and the ahi tuna has Szechuan spices. The tapas served in J’s Tapas & Martini Bar next door, along with the cocktails, are all available in Jonathan’s dining room. The small bowl of meatballs in a marsala sauce is a standout. Artwork for sale from local artists is displayed on the walls.




Hush Restaurant & Lounge
185 E. Santa Clara St.

805-648-1462
Pricing: $14-$24

This modern, minimalist club in Ventura serves great appetizers like a dish of fried calamari and olives, tiny fish and chips, and tuna tartare with wonton crisps. If you want a quiet dinner, just come before 9 p.m. to dine on chef Michael Noyes’ tiger prawns and linguine, pan-roasted halibut, free-range chicken, or rib eye with a peppercorn sauce. On Sunday nights all wine is half-price, including wines by the glass.




Exotic Thai Café
1145 S. Victoria Ave.

805-658-4861
Pricing: $9-$15
Some locations (like the Westlake Village restaurant) are decorated more elaborately than others, but you don’t come here for the ambience. You come for interesting Thai food when you’re ready to move beyond pad Thai and chicken satay (although they serve those, too). The seafood hot pot, exotic catfish, or one of the curries with coconut milk are great choices.




Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant
1559 Spinnaker Drive

805-693-0865
Pricing: and oysters $8-$20 ($32 for lobster)

These New England-style clam shacks draw locals who appreciate the harbor views. Many are content to hang out at the bar sucking down oyster shooters and clams on the half shell, but there’s a full menu of blackened mahimahi, shrimp scampi, and white sea bass in a tomatillo sauce, all served with salad or clam chowder and rice or french fries.




Kumo Sushi
860 Hampshire Road

805-494-5250
Pricing: $13-$26; Sushi $3-$13 per roll

The brothers of the owner of Pookie’s Thai Cuisine have opened this smart little sushi bar in her former digs. A wide range of sushi and sashimi are on the menu, but the chef knows which is the freshest and will clue you in on the specials board. Rolls are filled with fun and slightly unusual ingredients like asparagus, potato, or green onions and sometimes spread with American touches like cream cheese or spicy mayo. That being said, you can also get a fine tuna roll, yellowtail roll, or for that matter seaweed salad or even grilled seabass. Brown rice is available instead of white rice on any dish. Japanese beer and sake are on offer, as well as a selection of wines.




Romio's Pasta & Pizza
3316 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-496-6777
Pricing: $7-$17
They make their own pizza dough at this family-owned casual Greek and Italian restaurant that’s great for the kids. Gourmet pizzas come in nice combinations like the Zorba with feta cheese, Greek olives, gyro meat, and Tzatziki sauce; or the potato and prosciutto pizza that also has mushrooms and red onions. Pastas are what you would expect, with some surprises like four-cheese (mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, and feta) baked spaghetti or linguine with prawns in a creamy lemon sauce. For a fun dessert, get the s’mores for four that you melt together over a tabletop hibachi grill.




Suki 7 Sushi Robata Lounge
925 S. Westlake Blvd

805-777-7579
Pricing: $14-$32

Modern Japanese food—like robata-grilled meats and vegetables, unusual sushi rolls, and an individual shabu-shabu entrée—is sent out by chef Katsuo Nagasawa (better known as Naga). Many of the plates are small and meant to be shared, but the “signature” items, fish, and meat dishes are hearty enough to serve as full Pricing:. Chef Naga introduces French and Italian techniques and ingredients to his Japanese dishes, creating a flavorful and interesting menu. Desserts are especially nice. The setting is Asian-inspired with black furniture, a glowing sushi bar, private rooms, a water wall, and fire pits on the large patio.




Pookie's Thai Cuisine
860 Hampshire Road

805-381-0094
Pricing: $7-$13
Seats are easier to come by since Pookie moved her friendly Thai cafe into larger digs in the same office complex. In addition to wood and leather seating in the main room, there's a private room and a patio. The menu hasn't changed yet so the prices are still nice and low while the quality remains high. Standouts include the Westlake roll, the Westlake noodles, Kra Thong Tong (minced chicken in wonton cups) and the Mango Apple entrée with pork. Service has remained affable.




Rosti
160 Promenade Way

805-370-1939
Pricing: $9-$15

Nice little chain started by Agostino Sciandri of Ago restaurant on Melrose Avenue (although he's no longer involved). It's quick, comfortable, casual and has a patio. Go for the tukey apple pecan salad, the turkey pesto panini with roasted potatoes, and the Pollo al Mattone, a brick-flattened rosemary chicken which you can get whole to carry home.




Marmalade Café
140 Promenade Way

805-370-1331
Pricing: $8-$24

If you like Country French decor, this is a cozy lunch spot and a perfect wedding- or baby-shower location. Breakfast and lunch are more popular than dinner due to the great sandwiches like the Reuben, turkey with cranberry sauce, and New York steak on garlic bread. Portions are big enough for two, so don’t be afraid to doggy bag it or order the half portions of the many pasta dishes.




The Landing Grill and Sushi Bar
32123 Lindero Canyon Rd.

818-706-8887
Pricing: $8-$21; Sushi $3-$11 per roll

The buzzword for The Landing is “flexibility.” There’s a sushi bar, tables inside for those who prefer milder temperatures, tables outside with great views of the lake, grassy areas for kids to run around on, and a menu so diverse that no one can complain. Choose from sushi, sashimi, Japanese bento boxes, seafood chowder, seared albacore, Greek salad, a burger with bacon and avocado, pasta dishes, or stir-fries. It’s all there and all well-executed.




The Natural Café
968-12 Westlake Blvd.

805-449-0099
Pricing: $5-$9

The Santa Barbara State Street location launched all the others. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options make this a magnet for the health-conscious. The same casual menu is available for lunch or dinner with extremely reasonable prices. At night there are soup, pasta, and fish specials. Fresh vegetables abound in the Buddha Burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat chapati. The Zen Burger is a Gardenburger done right. The Ranch Salad is a favorite with grilled chicken breast over baby greens with carrot, jicama, and feta cheese.




Bogie's Nightclub & Lounge
32001 Agoura Road

818-889-2394
Pricing: $7-$14

Bogie's is the outdoor bar attached to Westlake Village Inn serving good snack food with those martinis and margaritas. It's best to bring a group and nosh on the appetizers like coconut shrimp, Thai chicken lettuce wraps or one of the pizzas. The seared Angus petit filet is a bargain at $11. Live Music, a fireplace, and people-watching in the outdoor air make for an entertaining evening.




Bella Terraza Restaurant at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza
880 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-557-4710
Pricing: $11-$28

Tall windows and French doors let the light in at lunchtime in this pretty hotel dining room. Stars on the menu mark the low-carb options for your convenience, like the pan-seared trout with lemon and capers, the grilled New York steak with Asiago cheese, and the chilled salmon salad with Blue Lake beans. Higher-carb items like the flatbread pizzas with pesto or grilled vegetables, and the pastas with roasted chicken and arugula are fun. There’s also fire-grilled shrimp and a classic cobb salad.




Brent's Deli
2799 Townsgate Rd

805-557-1882
Pricing: $6-$20

For amazingly good Reuben sandwiches on rye bread piled high with pastrami or corned beef, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing, you can’t beat this slick deli. The booths are cushy and roomy, leaving space for your tummy to expand as you down a four-layer slice of chocolate cake or a plate full of stuffed cabbage rolls. A separate bar also offers the full menu. The patio out back allows for even more seating. A counter up front expedites take-out orders. Brent’s Deli is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.




Exotic Thai Café
1145 Lindero Canyon Road

818-575-3248
Pricing: $9-$15
Some locations (like the Westlake Village restaurant) are decorated more elaborately than others, but you don’t come here for the ambience. You come for interesting Thai food when you’re ready to move beyond pad Thai and chicken satay (although they serve those, too). The seafood hot pot, exotic catfish, or one of the curries with coconut milk are great choices.




Cantina Joannafina Y Bar La Luna
3637 Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-374-7744
Pricing: $5-$17
Giant burritos, mild tomatillo salsa, guacamole when in season, a variety of tequilas, great garlic soup, colorful environs, and friendly service make this a savory and fun place to hang. Menudo and pozole are available on the weekends. The Westlake Village location has paella on Thursday nights and live music Thursday through Saturday, which makes your meal quite festive, plus, the heated outdoor patio offers blankets on every chair in case you get chilly.




Tuscany Il Ristorante
968 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-495-2768
Pricing: $18-$32

Village dwellers pack this beautiful space for its warm, friendly service and top-notch food. The menu is small, but the nightly specials are worth investigating. High rollers and celebs consider this their neighborhood boîte. Others come just for special occasions. The lobster and shrimp martini salad has hearts of palm, avocado, and pink grapefruit segments; the baby greens salad has shaved fennel and toasted pine nuts; the whole Dover sole is topped with a lemon-chervil sauce; and the chicken breast comes under a sun-dried tomato pesto.




Zin Bistro Americana
32131 Lindero Canyon Road

818-865-0095
Pricing: $15-$35

Right on the lake in Westlake Village, Zin takes advantage of the gorgeous view with floor-to-ceiling windows that double as doors; the small patio is cozy with a fire pit. The tables inside without a water view let you focus on your date in the romantic booths. Executive Chef Roberto Leyva (also of FINS and Moz Buddha Lounge) turns out comfort food like macaroni and cheese, chicken-fried lobster, braised short ribs, an Angus beef hamburger, and the cioppino from FINS. Lots of little starters like fried oysters and cheese fondue make tasting different wines easy.Right on the lake in Westlake Village, Zin takes advantage of the gorgeous view with floor-to-ceiling windows that double as doors; the small patio is cozy with a fire pit. The tables inside without a water view let you focus on your date in the romantic booths. Executive Chef Roberto Leyva (also of FINS and Moz Buddha Lounge) turns out comfort food like macaroni and cheese, chicken-fried lobster, braised short ribs, an Angus beef hamburger, and the cioppino from FINS. Lots of little starters like fried oysters and cheese fondue make tasting different wines easy.




P6 Restaurant & Lounge
2809 Agoura Rd.

805-778-0123
Pricing: $15-$33

Something is always happening at this funky indoor/outdoor nightspot with great food. On Tuesdays, small plates rule with $6, $7, and $8 dishes that can be combined with three-ounce pours of wine (about half a glass), which cost $3, $4, and $5. Chef Robert Lia turns out interesting larger plates, too. His menu is highly seasonal, but you can rely on seeing a good steak, miso-glazed black cod, the Kick-Ass Chili, and the P6 fantasy burger. Other dishes might include a lobster linguine, tempura of ahi tuna, Alaskan halibut, or rack of lamb with an herb crust. A DJ livens things up on the weekends, especially out on the patio with its fire pit and water wall.




Hamptons at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village
2 Dole Dr.

818-575-3000
Pricing: $23-36

It’s quite the civilized experience in this beautifully appointed dining room that looks out onto a green with a huge rock waterfall. Since it’s part of the Four Seasons Hotel, service is attentive but not invasive. Chef Sandro Gamba’s cuisine is haute French but not heavy. The tasting menu is a fun romp through his dishes. Sitting at the chef’s table inside the kitchen is also entertaining: Glass walls keep most of the noise out while allowing a great view of the action. Gamba is particularly good at showcasing vegetables, highlighting their texture and flavor. Try the globe artichoke soup with truffles or any one of his risottos. A Colorado lamb rack is served with olive jus and a squash galette. A prime rib of beef with fingerling potatoes and mushroom ragout is for two to share. Pastry chef Celine Plano keeps the desserts low in sugar, light on fat, and beautiful to look at. Hampton’s serves dinner Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sundays. Breakfast and lunch are available daily upstairs in the equally beautiful Lobby Lounge.




Bellavino Wine Bar & Restaurant
3709 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

805-557-0202
small plates $9-15; large plates $19-29

This charming little wine bar has a wonderful selection of wines from around the world to peruse. The wine list has been awarded Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence (their second-highest award). At least 50 different selections are available by the glass for sampling. If you want something to nosh on while drinking, the large selection of cheeses should satisfy. There’s also a charcuterie plate and lots of small dishes for nibbling. Full-size Pricing: of New American cuisine (designed to pair well with wines—with such choices as potato gnocchi with lobster and brown butter or filet mignon with mustard sauce and farmers’ market vegetables) are served at the tables in the bar, in the dining room adjoining the bar, and on the patio.




Boccaccio's
32123 Lindero Canyon Rd.

818-889-8300
Pricing: $12-$27

The floor-to-ceiling windows offer great views of the lake even inside the restaurant. The outdoor patio is the most popular spot for dining, however. Either way, it’s a perennial favorite for ladies who lunch and the senior set. The seafood is always perfectly cooked in the Mediterranean manner (fried calamari, lobster ravioli, seafood risotto, Dover sole meunière). At lunch, a wide range of salads from Waldorf to cobb to niçoise really satisfies. Brunch dishes up classics like French toast, omelettes, and eggs Benedict.




Rustico
1125 Lindero Canyon Rd.

818-889-0191
Pricing: $11-$28
With two large dining rooms plus a small private room and a patio, this is a great place to gather with friends or throw a party. From the main room, watch the chefs in the open kitchen or at the pizza oven. Try the fusion dishes like the handmade trofie pasta with New England scallops, shrimp, and broccoli in a lobster-tarragon sauce. Or try the pizza with baby artichokes, honey-baked ham, mushrooms, and red peppers. It may not be pure Italian, but no one cares as long as it’s good. Open for dinner nightly and lunch Monday through Friday.




Onyx at Four Seasons Hotel
2 Dole Dr.

818-575-3000
Pricing: $10-$45

This lovely Japanese restaurant inside the Four Seasons offers salmon skin rolls and crunchy shrimp with jalapeños as a hand or cut roll. Amber jack, tuna belly, and sea bream are sliced into sashimi. Hot dishes include asparagus tempura, wok-fried Manila clams, and a whole fish of the day. The room is adorned with thinly sliced onyx and other semiprecious stones that are lit from behind, giving it a gorgeous glow. The seats on the patio and some spaces at the main bar and sushi bar overlook an outdoor rock waterfall. Onyx serves dinner nightly.




Mandevilla Restaurant
951 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-497-8482
Pricing: $16-$28

The huge patio with heated floors is packed all year long at this romantic yet fun spot run by Tom Sweet. Partner and chef Nick Blinoff changes many dishes to reflect the seasons, but expect a wide range of menu choices all year including an appetizer of grilled vegetables drizzled with balsamic vinegar, onion soup topped with fontina cheese, linguine with salmon and capers, Long-Island duck breast with cranberry-orange glaze, and 5-spice pork tenderloin with poached apples.




Mediterraneo
32037 W. Agoura Rd.

818-889-9105
Pricing: $12-$28

The remodel of this restaurant has brought its interiors into the 21st century. A white marble-topped bar and low couches made of white leather greet you at the entrance. While the furniture has gone modern, the views of the gardens are as classic as ever. The menu is still Cal-Med, but the dishes are new. Chicken, steaks, and seafood are roasted in the wood-burning oven, as are the individual pizzas. Pastas include capellini with jumbo shrimp and lobster ravioli. Chicken pot pie is topped with a puff-pastry crust. Cheesecake, crème brûlée, and zabaglione are soft and sweet endings.




Fins Seafood Grill
982 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-494-6494
Pricing: $12-$32

A cozy atmosphere and an adventurous yet always satisfying seafood menu make this Westlake Village staple a great night out any day of the week.




Galletto Bar and Grill
982 S. Westlake Blvd.

805-449-4300
Pricing: $10-$17
During the week a live guitarist keeps things interesting while on the weekends the crowd can dance to bands playing bossa nova, rhythm and blues, classic rock, and jazz. Nibbles of an Italian or Brazilian bent go well with the mixed drinks like the caipirinha (lime and Brazilian rum). Apps include cheese plates, fried calamari, crab cakes, chicken empanadas, and quesadillas. Light eaters can stick with the Italian pasta dishes for their main course or fish prepared with Brazilian sauces. Heartier appetites will want steak, chicken, or sausage from the grill.




Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
6373 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

818-346-1005
Pricing: $24-$40

An open kitchen and close-set tables help create a buzz in this clubby steakhouse attended by a new generation of meat lovers. A cheese and charcuterie plate with marinated olives can start the evening off right, especially with a glass of wine. Beef Flemington is their version of the not-too-oft-seen beef Wellington. A 14-ounce veal chop is topped with a béarnaise sauce. And the bone-in rib eye (it also comes without the bone) weighs in at 22 ounces. Sides like shoestring potatoes, chipotle mac & cheese, and creamed corn come separately. For dessert, the choices include a cobbler made with seasonal fruit and a chocolate lava cake.




Roy's
6363 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

818-888-4801
Pricing: $21-$33

Blazing tiki torches greet you as you enter this lovely homage to the islands created by Roy Yamaguchi, the father of Hawaiian fusion cuisine. It’s basically Pacific Rim cooking using products like macadamia nuts, Maui onions, and Kona coffee. The fish is always fresh and the menu is mostly seasonal, but some classics are always available like the Aloha Roll (spicy tuna topped with hamachi, salmon, avocado, and a ginger-ponzu sauce), lobster potstickers, Maui Wowie shrimp salad, macadamia-crusted mahimahi, and a hot chocolate soufflé cake. On special occasions, drummers and hula dancers perform in the restaurant.

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