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1. Adana Restaurant
6918 San Fernando Road, Glendale, CA 91201 Phone: (818) 843-6237
I owe 3 weeks of a stint at Western Storage and the yelp app for turning me on to this place. It's very easy to miss as it looks more like an awning shop then a restaurant from outside. But don't let the modest exterior fool you. I've been here numerous times and everything I had was nothing less than amazing. The beef and chicken kabobs, the koobideh, and different choices of rice (sour cherry is a personal favorite with the chicken kabob) are all delicious. There are a couple of eggplant dishes that are can't miss. Most dishes come with a choice of 2 sides and I go with the humus and roasted tomato. Some dishes will push you over the $12 cap but it is easy to stay under. Parking on the street and the receipts are hand written with a stamp. Although I am working on getting "good receipts." The owner was receptive to the idea after I explained our needs. Great place.
2. Flavor of India - Burbank
To date this is by far my favorite Indian buffet in LA. (And I am open to anyone's recommendations!) For $11 you get a wide variety that varies each day of the week. The samosas are always perfectly fried and flavorful. The various curries are not too spicy and there are always a few vegetarian options. The staff is very attentive to the water glasses and really, it's all about the Bollywood music videos on the TV....Great food for a great price. The only draw back is the limited 5-ton parking. But we've pulled it off every time. The food is what propels this not-so perfectly 5-ton friendly spot to 5 stars.
3. Original Kabob Factory
After only a few visits I can say this is one of the best kabob places in town! I had the chicken kabob and the beef liver and both were perfectly cooked, and that isn't easy to do with liver. And for those that live in the area, they also sell the meats raw to-go so you can pick some up on the way home and cook it yourself. The only real knock on this spot, aside from we are rarely in this area? limited seating. Good parking, good receipts and at $12.
4. CaCao Mexicatessen
Admittedly it isn't the easiest place to park and it might go a little over $12, hence the lower rating, but that does not speak to the food. It is fantastic. A dozen tacos to chose from served on hand made tortillas, an amazing Cochinita torta, and many options for our vegetarian friends. This would certainly be higher in rotation if it were easier to get to in a 5 Ton. Great food.
5. The Oinkster - Eagle Rock
The original in the A-frame building. Great burgers and amazing Belgian fries with a house made garlic olio, but for me the Oinkster House-cured Pastrami and the BBQ Pulled pork with Carolina BBQ sauce is the way to go. Get a buddy to split them so you don't have to chose. This one seems a little more crowded then the Hollywood spot so I suggest getting there early. Parking is spotty on Colorado Blvd and it does go a bit over $12 but the food is so good.
6. Din Tai Fung
Back in the 90s Dim Sum was a big thing in the Set Dressing world. At least once a show we would pile in the trucks and head to Chinatown, usually Empress Pavilion, and gorge out on dim sum. But that stopped. If Din Tai Fung was accessible I think it would make a roaring return to my work life. So, why is it listed here? Because it's simply the best dim sum I've had in Los Angeles in the 25 years I've lived here. When a place has you gushing over their green beans and spinach dish you know you're on to something special. This is probably the only restaurant in LA that I will accept wearing a pager and waiting for up to an hour to eat. And since in my everyday life this matters, it is VERY kid friendly. Perhaps one day you'll be shooting at the Americana Mall in Glendale and you will remember this. Or, just go early one Saturday morning, order the soup dumplings (available weekends only) and do the happy-food dance.
7. TORO Grillhouse
This isn't fusion, it's the best of the best global street food. Tacos, burgers and Filipino dishes, all spot on. A perfect place for a crew that can’t make up their mind. Perfectly fried fish tacos and tasty grilled shrimp tacos. The Aioli Burger, creamy cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and peppery arugula are perfect with the truffle French Fires on the side. As matter of fact, everything is perfect with the truffle French Fries on the side. The micro egg rolls are addictive so don't limit them to the Asian side of the menu. A lot of scratch cooking at this stand and very well priced. Parking is sketchy at best, so get there early and you can have some luck on Colorado. As a back up, have Angel Thai (See Below) on deck incase you can’t find a spot. Great food, good receipts.
8. Angel Thai Cuisine
I'm almost afraid to mention this place because it's already pretty packed but really, I feel obligated because the food here is so good. The lunch specials are a good way to keep the price down; modest serving with rice, wonton and salad and a spicy soup that will keep you under $12. The roasted duck pad see iw is fantastic at $12. Not a huge portion but a rich garlic sauce with perfectly prepared noodles. And the “Fish in a Garden" might be the best thing on the menu. Expect to go a little out of pocket, but it’s definitely worth the money. Parking on San Fernando and good receipts but get there early, it fills up pretty quickly.
9. U-Pick Cafe
I’m always on the hunt for good Mediterranean food and this place is GREAT Mediterranean food. Everything I've had here is seasoned well and cooked to tender and juicy perfection. The #1 chicken kabob (order with my roasted tomato) is a steal and hummus and you're still under $12. (And check-in with yelp! for a free side.) The #14 combo is a little over "cap" but the combo of beef lule and chicken kabob is absolutely worth going out of pocket. Like most of Pasedena, this spot is NOT very truck friendly, but if I crack the code I’ll let you know. (And like-wise…) Great food and good receipts. (review based on the Pasedena Location only, Highland Park, I’ll be there soon….)
10. Cafe Bravo
Not sure why but I always feel like Mediterranean food when it gets hot, and to me it's mostly always hot. Cafe Bravo came recommended through my facebook page and it's a gem; fast food done right. Try the beef shawarma, or any of the other combo plates. All come with a choice of two sides, the crunchy cabbage and smoky eggplant are a great pair for your protein and pita pockets. If you know the area you know it isn't easy to find parking, but it's worth the attempt for food this good and this affordable. Good receipts.
11. Pho Hot
I first tried this spot out a few weeks after they opened, and naturally tried the "House Special" Pho. It's a delicious broth with a blend of meats topped with fresh herbs and sprouts, and at $7.50 you can round it out with a spring roll and keep it under $12. Or try one of the noodle bowls. The pork, tender with a slightly crispy edge, served with fried egg and topped with tons of fresh vegetables is perfectly refreshing on a hot day. Great service, great prices. The parking is decent on San Fernando.