Summertime means dining al fresco. But what does that mean for the San Fernando Valley? The sidewalk patio is indeed making a comeback with a sprinkling down Ventura Blvd, but where are the patios you can’t always see? We scoped out some of the best hidden, behind-the-scenes dining locales in the 818. Most are perfect for private parties too.
The Stand: Urban country manifests in this closed off patio. Eating hot dogs and burgers at budget prices never felt so good. 17000 Ventura Boulevard Encino, CA 91316, (818) 788-2700
Bow and Truss: This Spanish inspired restaurant has a 2000 square foot front patio is protected by a large gate and includes an outside bar. Dogs are welcome while you dine on small plates and cocktails. 11122 Magnolia Avenue., North Hollywood (just east of Vineland), (818) 985-8787. Street parking or valet parking.
Rive Gauche: This French inspired 818 mainstay tucked back in a small, quaint center has that “ladies who lunch” feel. 14106 Ventura Boulevard Sherman Oaks, (818) 990-3573
Stanley’s: This restaurant was quite the place in the 80s and as late seems to have made a comeback, especially if you can get a seat on the back patio. Their Chinese Chicken Salad and Amy’s Grapefuit Salad still reign. 13817 Ventura Boulevard Sherman Oaks, (818) 986-4623
Mantee: This Lebanese/Armenian restaurant has the sweetest back patio that’s a hideaway off Vineland and Ventura—one is a covered area that looks like an outdoor room, while the other is covered by trees. Enjoy mezze (small plates) at this cozy restaurant. The Queen’s delight, fattoush salad, dolmas with yogurt and the signature “mantee” are stand out. 10962 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, (818) 761-6565.
Firefly: This restaurant without a sign has its dining room outside and the bar area which is designed like a home library with comfy sofas is inside. The side cabanas on the patio are semi-private and sit two to four. There is also a fireplace anchoring the center. It’s the perfect evening getaway for date night or a good time with friends. There’s a changing seasonal menu with a fun cocktail list that evokes a wine country feel. 11720 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 762-1833
River Rock Lounge Sportsmen’s Lodge: This legendary hotel boasts its River Rock Lounge — a full serve restaurant perfect for dinner or drinks and bites. There’s outdoor seating by the little pond where John Wayne is said to have taught his son to fish. 12833 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 432-7500
Vivian’s Millenium Cafe: Just a couple doors down from Mantee, this very casual eatery feels like it could be near the beach instead of a busy street. Open until only 3:30 p.m. daily. Dogs are welcome in the back patio area. 10968 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, (818) 762-8710
The Six: Set in the Coldwater Curve, this enclosed patio backs up to the hillside with a modern, rustic feel. Enjoy a menu of seasonal offerings, including cocktails, burgers, pizza, good old comfort food and the best banana cream pie anywhere. 12650 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City (818) 761-2319.
Ca Del Sole: This Italian mainstay just down the street from Universal Studios has a walled in patio with trees, twinkling lights and cabanas. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner, special family occasion or a private party. 4100 Cahuenga Boulevard Toluca Lake, CA 91602, (818) 985-4669
Inn of the Seventh Ray: This Topanga Canyon restaurant, known for organic, sustainable cuisine has long been one of the most beautiful destinations throughout Los Angeles. With multi-level seating under sycamore trees, there’s plenty of room for privacy. The brunch buffet is rather spectacular or if you’re looking for evening romance, this is the place. 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga (310) 455-1311
Saddle Peak Lodge: This classic institution sits in the Santa Monica Mountains at the canyon edge of Calabasas. It’s known for unique meat dishes, but brunch and happy hour are now being buzzed about. There’s a terrace patio that will make you feel like you’re on a mountain vacation miles away. 419 Cold Canyon Rd, Calabasas, (818) 222-3888
The Villa: Formerly called Villa Piacere, it has a new chef and menu, plus it’s been remodeled with rustic tables and chairs. This Italian/California eatery has a patio that’s reminiscent of a small villa with seating for up to 200. 22160 Ventura Boulevard Woodland Hills, CA 91364 (818) 704-1185
Do you have a favorite hidden patio we missed? Tell is in comments below!