We have lived in the Thousand Oaks-Wetlake area for 38 years and have been a leading entrepreneur since 1961 when the population was 16, 000 and The Janss Mall was a big deal with the small and only film theater within 15 miles. If you wanted to dine well, or see an important film, you had to drive to the “Deaded Valley” or Malibu or for the really serious stuff, West Los Angeles. For fine food, live musicals and theater you had to spend 2 hours getting to the Music Center downtown on the 101 freewayafter which you filed bankruptcy.
Today, there are more than 5 resaurants that beat anything in the Valley with that one possible exceptions ??? off Fallbrook in Woodland hills., and a $150 per person Omakase Sushi Bar in Studio city.We now have in addition to the fine Tuscany, it’s sister Rustico, plus Cafe 14 and now , Payman Afshar and his famed chef’s surprising new move of Leila’s from Kanan road to Westlake Plaza It is now called . Then there is Lisa Biondi’s fine cooking at botj the Mediterraneo and The StoneHaus conveniently located the street from the Regent Theater which features the hot sophisticated foreign and domestic films that open the same day as Beverly Hills. Well managed and usually jammed Lakeview Garden has very pleasant Chinese food adjacent to the Regent though for best and widest Chinese choices, we do recommend Chester’s Asia in Camarillo ……worth the trip over the Hill.
As the Thousand Oaks area hit the “Hot Spot” of the country on thecomputers of the developes and Dole’s Murdoch built The Four Seasons Hotel, steakhouses soon followed. Holdrens from Santa Barbara opened on Ventura Road in Newbury Park. it is solid and fairly priced and busy all the time.
Prime of Ventura opened in the large spot across from the theater in Agoura in a spot that has been an “Elephants Graveyard” ofdining for over 25 years. It is somewhat hip from its oroginal Ventura ownership who was a sax player with Woody Heman and now operated by an aggressive new owner who features live music and espcially on Thursday via a Frank Sinatra style singer in the large bar dining area.The main room is somewhat quiet. Often there are special pricing choices that make it interesting.
Then of couse there is Mastro’s for Masochists across from the Civic Cener. The Waiters seem to be trained in Beverly Hills to be somewhat insulting and condescnding with the expectaion that this attitude results in the diner spendin $200 or more per person to prove that he has more money than th waiter.
In contrast is that other Beverly Hills import “Grill on The Alley “. Management is superior and friendly in a warm quiet room. Service is attentive and non-condescending. Prices are right and menu is interesting.
Luckily for my wife and me, we both don’t eat much red meat except for Hamburger…medium rare. But I just had a Wagyu beef burger perfectly prepared in New York at Jean George on Columbus Circle perhaps the best dining in the city as part of their famous $38 goumet lunch. It was wondrful since we went to Kennedy from there to face airline food.