Down the Boulevard & Around the World

Reseda Boulevard may be a concrete jungle of strip malls, but a closer look reveals a treasure trove of international food finds.

 

 

 We are all pretty familiar with the epicenter of the Valley’s dining scene, which falls at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Laurel Canyon. However, clear across the Valley to the west, championship-level eating is possible along a rather surprising corridor—Reseda Boulevard. Though the eateries may not be quite as fancy, what you forgo in terms of ambiance is more than made up for in delectable eats. Discover 10 inventive spots well worth the drive.

Photographed by Tameka Jacobs


Baja Subs Market and Deli 

Who would have dreamed that a small deli that looks like a sparsely stocked Mexican bodega would serve some of the best Sri Lankan food in all of LA? Anura Edussuriya had the vision when he took over Baja Subs. Now people come from across the city to pick up dishes like fish curry, caramelized eggplant and minced bitter greens. At night, the spiced rice dish biryani arrives caked with caramelized onions, hard-boiled egg and spiced potatoes. Kottu—a handmade tortilla alongside curried vegetables with choice of meat—and Rice & Curry—green beans, yellow chilies, eggplant, potato, beets and lentil curry—are two other crowd-pleasers. All dinner dishes must be ordered in advance. However, peppery vegetarian roti rolls, assorted baked buns filled with minced meat and onions, and fried fish rolls are baked daily and always on display.   TO

Bonano's Chicken

You can order many dishes at Bonano’s Chicken, a Peruvian favorite from Janet and Dante Balarezo that dates to 2003, but most people select polla a la brasa. Rotisserie chicken spins over hazelnut wood, yielding smoky, pink meat and caramelized skin. Supplement with rice, garlicky beans and fiery green salsa called “aji” that’s flecked with black mint (huacatay). Tame the flames with warming chicha morada and sweet-tart maracuya, drinks made with purple corn and passion fruit.   M

King's Burgers/Got Sushi?

A spot that serves sushi and burgers? Yep. It happened somewhat organically. The opening of The Habit two blocks down cut into King’s Burgers sales. Thankfully the family had a secret weapon—Jun Cha—a seasoned sushi chef who worked at both Katana and Sushi Roku. In 2010 he started crafting creative sushi. You can still get burgers, but most customers are now opting for silky Hokkaido sea scallop sushi with yuzu, salmon belly with Sevruga caviar, and Tasmanian ocean trout dressed with kelp and two-toned sesame seeds. Costs are a fraction of what Cha’s former employers charge.   M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's All Good House of Kabob

The name of Medh Ghasemil’s restaurant is reassuring, but the plates are proof positive you’re in the right place for Persian food. It’s All Good House of Kabob has persisted for almost two decades due to char-grilled skewers like shish, koobideh (ground beef) and chicken, which come with fluffy basmati rice. Saturdays and Sundays bring biryani, a well-spiced ground lamb patty that’s served on buttery wheat flatbread. Tear, snag juicy meat, and repeat.   M

Lala's Kitchen

Chef Elly Penalosa, along with her daughter and son-in-law, serve flavorful Filipino comfort food. Start with great adobo starring meaty pork belly braised in soy sauce and vinegar. Tapas involve pleasantly-chewy brisket strips that join garlic rice and fried egg. Son-in-law Carl Viray previously ran a Persian restaurant and serves beef koobideh or chicken thigh kabobs Thursday through Saturday nights.   TO

Lum-Ka-Naad

Alex Sonbalee and wife Ooi bridge northern and southern Thailand at Lum-Ka-Naad here in Northridge, as well as at their Encino spinoff. Their menu is nearly 200 dishes deep. “We serve literally every dish you can get in Thailand,” Alex quips. Highlights include lanna hin-le—northern pork stew infused with curry powder, tamarind juice and ginger. Yum jing jang is a pungent anchovy salad balanced by chilies, lime juice, mint leaves and mango. Larb kua is a textural study that combines pan-fried minced and dried pork, rau ram, rice powder, and “Northern spice.” Why can’t all “salad” be this fun?   D

Metro Balderas

Abraham Guzmán named his Mexico Cityinspired eatery for a Metro stop and produces some of LA’s tastiest carnitas. He slow cooks the meat in pork fat on Saturdays and Sundays and doesn’t stop at shoulder meat. Tender buche (stomach), collagen-rich trompa (lips) and chewy oreja (ear) are just three cuts he uses. Build tacos with corn tortillas and housemade salsas like smoky, tangy tomatillo chile de arbol. Weekdays, Metro Balderas serves simpler Mexican comfort food.   M

Pita Pockets

Pita Pockets is an Israeli sandwich shop from Haifa native Amin Elmor and his mother that debuted in 1997. Diners can enjoy watching most of the action from the open kitchen. Chicken shawarma showcases dark meat that’s spice-stained and crisped before serving. Delightfully soft house-baked laffa bread is our preferred vessel, piled with lettuce, tomato, and rice or French fries. Drizzle on nutty tahini sauce or spicy jalapeno vinaigrette.   TO

Szechuan Place 

Spit fire like a Game of Thrones dragon after eating at the Northridge branch of Danny Zhou’s burgeoning chain. Spicy diced chicken has enough Sichuan peppercorns to deliver novocaine-like numbness. The Chongqing native also floats flaky sole fillets, cabbage and sprouts in a flame-red sea. Thick mung bean noodles are similarly ferocious, thanks to a perfect blend of chile oil, ginger and minced garlic.   D

Top Thai

Noi Chatburth and her nephew sell pad Thai and pineapple fried rice, but Top Thai is worth seeking out for northern Thai dishes like khao soi, egg noodle curry soup with coconut milk, warming spices and a crispy noodle nest. Snappy pork sausage (saioua) is seasoned with coriander, shallots, galangal, lemongrass and black pepper. Crispy rice salad combines the funky joy of fermented chicken, ginger and peanuts. That’s our kind of salad.   M

 

 

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