Tag Archives: burbank lunch

Prime Pizza Blesses Burbank With Top-Notch Slices, Tasty Salads And Sandwiches

The much anticipated third outpost of Prime Pizza opened in Burbank a few weeks ago on January 20, to a lot of excitement for the boutique chain’s signature pizzas, sandwiches and garlic knots.

After working out a few kinks in the ensuing weeks, Prime Pizza has settled in at the corner of Hollywood Way and Verdugo Avenue, the former location of Taste Chicago. Along with the location came a much-coveted liquor license, so Prime Pizza can offer a nice selection of draft beer along with canned beer and wine options.

prime pizza

Sicilian square from Prime Pizza. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

And the pizza? It’s excellent. From the thick yet airy crust of their square pizza to the very thin crust of the traditional round pies, Prime Pizza is, well, prime pizza. They offer a variety of toppings, from spicy mini pepperoni, fresh pesto, to ricotta, kale, meats and more. Check out their menu for all the options at this link.

Slices of sausage and white thin crust. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The garlic knots are tender dollops of dough topped with butter, fresh minced garlic and parsley and quite spectacular when fresh from the oven.

So far, we’ve only been able to try the Meatball Parm sandwich, and it’s delightful. Super tasty meatballs and cheese are coated with the right amount sauce and nestled in a soft ciabatta roll. We were a little concerned the ciabatta might have too hard of a crust, but it stands up perfectly to the moisture without being tough on the mouth.

We’ve also tried both the caesar and chopped salads, and they are terrific. The caesar dressing is thick and authentic and the house balsamic for the chopped is very good. The chopped reminds us of old-school Italian joint antipasti salads, with cheese, garbanzo beans, pepperoncinis and red bell pepper.

While Prime Pizza’s prices for a whole pie may seem pricey, at $22 for a cheese and $28 for a specialty, we agree it’s worth the cost for the quality. The restaurant also offers some good lunch specials from $7 – 13 and a family meal special for $30 as well.

Slices are available at $3.50 for a cheese, $4 for pepperoni, sausage, white and grandma and $5 for the Sicilian slice. Other toppings are only available on a whole pie order.

Prime Pizza Chopped Salad is rather like old school antipasti over lettuce and radicchio with a house balsamic vinaigrette. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Bathrooms are located outside and are clean. There are only a few spaces in the tiny parking lot, but street parking is available for those who are able to walk a little. The restaurant intends to add delivery and online ordering soon.

With festive red-and-white checked tablecloths, large windows that let in a lot of light, a quick turnover, fast service and friendly staff, Prime Pizza has found a welcoming home in Burbank and receives a Tops In Town out of the gate.

Restaurant Info: Prime Pizza is located at 603 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA, 91505. 818-736-5120. Prime Pizza is open Sunday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Prime Pizza receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Le French Rooster Hits A High Note With French Pastries, Sandwiches And More

Le French Rooster opened quietly a few months ago on Olive Avenue and in that time has built a dedicated fan base for their French pastries, breads, crepes, sandwiches and salads.

The sunny, small storefront serves mainly takeaway, but does have a standing bar for diners to eat, New York style. The owners have plans to add some chairs and perhaps even tables in the future, but there are no seats for sitting down at this time.

Savory buckwheat crepe with goat cheese, pesto and pine nuts topped with arugula, cherry tomatoes and a vinaigrette. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We’ve enjoyed Le French Rooster several times over the past month. The brioche rolls, both plain and those with a few pieces of large chocolate pieces, are so buttery and soft first thing in the morning when the shop opens up.

Le French Rooster also offers a nice selection of freshly baked pastries including a delectable Kouign Amann, both plain and with almonds and filled with almond paste, a brioche with streusel, Schneck Aux Raisins and choquettes, along with lemon meringue and raspberry tartlettes, Vanilla Choux, almond and pistachio financiers and Paris Brest, which is topped with slivered almonds and filled with a creme.

(clockwise from top left): Brioche Choco, Lemon Meringue Tartlette, Paris Brest and Raspberry Tartlette from Le French Rooster. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The bakery also serves vegetarian quiche, Quiche Lorraine, ham and cheese croissant and groundwork coffee, espresso, cappucino and cafe au laits. Cold soft drinks and water are also available.

After 11:00 a.m., a limited number of freshly made sandwiches are placed in the case and after 12:00 p.m. the kitchen will make sweet and savory crepes and a Croque Monsieur. The restaurant offers a salad of the day as well.

My favorite sandwich so far has been Le Pan Bagnat: tuna, egg, olives, green pepper, onion, tomato and baby lettuces piled in between the softest bread. We’ve also enjoyed L’Italien, with fresh mozzarella, tomato, arugula and pesto inside a crusty ciabatta roll. The Croque Monsieur was spectacular, with crispy cheese on the outside and ham and bechamel inside.

Vegetarian quiche made with eggs, heavy cream, spinach, leek and goat cheese in a pie-pastry crust is served with a side salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Le Biquette savory buckwheat crepe was also fabulous, filled with goat cheese, pesto and pine nuts and topped with arugula, cherry tomatoes and a vinaigrette.

Both quiches are flavorful and light and served with a side salad. The crust is flaky and tender. The vegetarian option is made with eggs, heavy cream, spinach, leek and goat cheese. The Quiche Lorraine is made with eggs, heavy cream, lardons, Swiss cheese and nutmeg.

Other sandwiches available include Le Nordique (smoked salmon, Le Boursin, cucumber, dill, capers and mixed greens) and Le Parisien (ham, gruyere cheese, butter and pickles.) They are on our to-try list.

Le Pan Bagnat is tuna, egg, olives, green pepper, onion, tomato and baby lettuces piled in between the softest bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We love the friendly and positive atmosphere of Le French Rooster and its owners, Alex and Cindy. Every time we’ve stopped in – morning, noon or late afternoon – the place has been bustling. Don’t wait til after 2:00 p.m. or your food choices will be limited, because Chef Alex only makes a certain number of pastries and sandwiches daily and when they’re sold out, they’re sold out for the day.

Le French Rooster earns a Tops In Town for excellent, fresh, flavorful food and friendly service. Parking is very easy on that part of Olive Avenue near Buena Vista Street.

Restaurant Info: Le French Rooster is located at 2221 W. Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91506. 818-859-7153. Le French Rooster is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and closed on Sunday.

Le French Rooster receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Lotus & Light Brings Fresh Flavors, Light Plates To Burbank

Lotus & Light, an absolutely excellent Vietnamese/Asian Fusion restaurant in the Lakeside Shopping Center on Pass Avenue in Burbank, has been open for almost a year and they’ve developed quite a solid clientele in that time, with good reason.

We recently visited for the first time and were blown away by the atmosphere, the friendliness and attentiveness of the servers and, most importantly, the food.

Lotus Papaya Salad is fresh and flavorful. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Excellent pho, top notch rice plates, fresh and tasty summer rolls and a flavorful papaya salad, topped off with Thai iced tea and ice cold lemon water, had us enjoying every bite.

With a menu that offers a lot of choices for any mood, from a solid selection of starters and vegetarian/vegan options, to vermicelli noodle dishes, rice plates, pho and a few banh mi sandwiches, Lotus & Light also tout a range of desserts, beer and wine.

Chicken Over Rice with three ginger sauces. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The interior is bright, light and airy and the mood is upbeat and friendly. Bathrooms are clean and accessible. Parking is available in the busy Lakeside Shopping Center lot or on surrounding streets.

Lotus & Light is a prime example of how to create a restaurant that is welcoming and popular, with food, ambiance and good service.

Filet Mignon Basil Chili at Lotus & Light in Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Lotus Papaya Salad was gingery and slightly spicy and so fresh. Summer Rolls, packed with juicy shrimp, crisp cucumber and leafy green lettuce, were perked up with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. The Thai iced teas were the right amount of creamy sweetness and aromatic tea.

Chicken Pho was some of the best pho we’ve ever had – light, but very chicken-y broth, tender chicken, with a perfect balance of onion, basil, lime juice, sprouts and a nice heat from the green chili pepper.

lotus & light

Chicken Pho at Lotus & Light. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Chicken Over Rice plate included three different ginger compotes, one mild and two spicy. Balanced with a small bowl of chicken broth to cleanse the palate, the dish was one lovely combination of flavors after another.

The Filet Mignon Basil Chili dish started with white rice, covered with quality, tender steak with basil and chilis for a little spice, topped with a fried egg that once mixed in, made every bite creamy and complex.

Summer Rolls and Thai Iced Teas at Lotus & Light. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Wow. We will be back soon to try more of the menu. So many items look amazing; we can only imagine their flavors. Lotus & Light is Tops In Town for excellent Vietnamese/Asian Fusion food, friendly service and cleanliness.

Restaurant Info: Lotus & Light is located at 345 N. Pass Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505. 818-562-7777. Lotus & Light is open daily 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Lotus & Light receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Lotus & Light interior. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)



Red Maple Cafe Makes A Mark In Burbank And Toluca Lake

Open for just over a year, Red Maple Cafe on the Toluca Lake and Burbank border has really come into its own. In recent months, the restaurant has developed an outside patio area and opened Corner Poke, an adjacent raw fish bowl shop for quick bites and takeaways.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Red Maple Cafe is also a great place to stop for a coffee or sweet treat. They have several kinds of gelato, including the yummy ube (purple yam), and a variety of Verve coffee and espresso drinks.

red maple

Ube and vanilla gelato (left) and peanut butter cup gelato. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

On the weekends, the restaurant offers a brunch menu until 4:00 p.m. During the week, the wide range of breakfast items is available until 11:30 a.m.

My favorite item so far is the Chipotle Chicken sandwich. Not too spicy but with a nice kick, the sandwich is very tasty. Served on rosemary focaccia bread, the sandwich is a perfect combination of textures and flavors.

red maple

Chipotle Chicken sandwich with a side of kale salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We also like the Chicken Tinga Tostadas. They are fairly hot and spicy – a nice, albeit messy, plate to share.

The poke bowl is a simple but healthy option for a meal, with more customizable bowls available in the Corner Poke shop.

red maple

Chicken Tinga Tostadas at Red Maple Cafe. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Service is friendly and helpful and the bathroom is clean and well-maintained. The cafe is small, but their expansive and well-protected patio really adds a lot of charm and space to the restaurant.

For reliable, delicious food, treats and drinks, Red Maple Cafe is definitely On The Marquee. They’re a great option for eating out or takeaway, seven days a week.

Restaurant/Bar Info: Red Maple Cafe is located at 173 N. Maple Street, Burbank, CA 91505. (818) 230-2500. Red Maple Cafe is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

SOTTA Mediterranean Kitchen And Coffee Bar Brightens Burbank

Flavor and freshness seem to be defining qualities of SOTTA Mediterranean Kitchen and Coffee Bar’s menu. With a number of salads, pita wraps and kabob plates from which to choose, diners are in for a delicious bite, no matter the choice.

Open just a few months across from the Walt Disney Studios lot on Alameda Avenue, SOTTA is not just popular with the lunch crowd. With a nice selection of coffees, teas and cold drinks, along with a decadent-looking pastry case, the coffee bar is popular at all hours of the day.


Falafel pita wrap at SOTTA. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We enjoyed the falafel wrap, the sirloin wrap, the mediterranean salad with salmon and the cran-ginger salad with chicken on a recent lunch outing. All the items were chock full of flavors that complemented each other. The vegetables were fresh and the meats and fish buttery and delicious.

We started the meal with some lentil soup, served with a side of fresh pita quarters. The soup was terrific, but definitely a bit on the spicy side, showing its notes of jalapeno, ginger and cumin.

The wraps were stuffed with lettuce and vegetables, surrounding fried falafel or seasoned grilled sirloin. They come cut in half and wrapped with a thin brown paper on the outside. To keep the wrap from coming apart in your hands while eating, leave that paper on and peel it down as you bite.


The fantastic grilled salmon mediterranean salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The salads were excellent. The miso-ginger dressing was perfect and the grilled chicken was nicely seasoned. The salmon was absolutely delicious and seasoned with similar spices as well.

SOTTA is a welcome addition to Burbank and a much-needed change of pace from the usual chain offerings. The restaurant is stylish and simple, with attention to minor details. Bathrooms are clean.

Service is fast casual, so one orders at the counter and the food is brought out to you when ready. Staff is friendly and attentive.

Lots of interior and patio seating and a small parking lot in the back. Street parking is readily available.

For fresh, quality food, SOTTA is Tops In Town. We’re looking forward to trying out the coffees and more of the menu on our next return visit.

Restaurant Info: SOTTA is located at 2009 W. Alameda Avenue, Burbank, CA 91506. 818.309.2333. SOTTA is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

The New Deal Restaurant Adds Style To Burbank’s Magnolia Park

Since opening in August 2016, The New Deal restaurant has drawn a lot of interest with its stylish, 1930’s-themed vibe and menu of beers, burgers and malts. The New Deal does a lot of things right, but continues to lack consistency in execution.

We have eaten at The New Deal at least half a dozen times since August 2016. Each visit, something was off – either the service was mind-numbingly slow, one of the dishes served was not up to the standard of previous visits or the restaurant was out of one or more items on the menu.

One aspect that has dramatically improved since the opening is the service. For months, service was slow, non-attentive and frustrating. Recently though, we have had excellent, attentive service.

The New Deal’s All American burger in August 2016. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

But, the burgers were terrible on our last visit! It was shocking for a place at which we had enjoyed several terrific burgers in the past.

Although the burgers looked amazing, the patties used on the Blue Eagle and the All American burgers were well done instead of medium as ordered. The meat was dry and tasteless and basically ruined the overall effect of the bite, no matter the toppings. The Blue Eagle was not stuffed with gorgonzola cheese as indicated on the menu but topped with a few crumbles.

Blue Eagle Burger at The New Deal in Magnolia Park. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We had been impressed by the burgers from the first visit – we do hope this was a one-time blip. The All American and Roosevelt burgers have been excellent in previous meals.

This inconsistency in preparation and presentation  has happened before – we’ve had a delicious House Salad of butter lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and Green Goddess dressing one time, only to be served shredded romaine lettuce in the salad another time, with the avocado missing – basically the kitchen took a side salad and added the dressing to serve it as House Salad.

The New Deal made one of the best tomato soups we have ever tasted – once. The next time, the soup was overly spicy, and its accompanying Grilled Cheese Sandwich was dry and hard.

Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The New Deal. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We have also enjoyed The New Deal’s fantastic Brown Derby Cobb Salad – a fresh lettuce mix topped with hard-boiled egg, bacon, Roquefort cheese, tomato, avocado, chicken and a delicious French dressing.

Shakes and malts are consistently terrific – try the Creamsicle. Mini Milkshakes and The Teen Special (cheeseburger or hamburger, fries or chips and a mini milkshake) are perfect offerings for the younger set or lighter eaters.

The New Deal in Burbank’s fantastic Brown Derby Cobb Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The fries have always come out from the kitchen perfectly crispy and warm. The Street Corn is very tasty, coated with mayo, cotija cheese and chili powder. The fried pickles and roasted carrots with burrata and pesto are delicious, too.

The New Deal offers a nice selection of wine and beer. But on every single occasion we’ve ordered a beer in the past six months, the restaurant has been out of at least one or two of the beers requested. They have been able to substitute with a delicious option, though.

The style of The New Deal is lovely, with old-fashioned looking utensils, salt & pepper shakers and a vintage decor. We appreciate the individuality of the place. Restrooms are clean and fun.

Street Corn at The New Deal in Magnolia Park. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Parking is available on the street. Usually, The New Deal is steadily busy at lunch and dinner and the restaurant does take reservations. Sometimes, the wait for a table can be a while because it’s a small place.

Magnolia Park, and Burbank in general, really needs more individual and unique restaurants and shops, and we are rooting for The New Deal to make it all work. Great concept, great menu of food and drinks… but consistency in service and the quality and presentation of the menu items is vital.

For the first time in myBurbank history, we have a restaurant that sits between two ratings. Because it does so many things well, yet really needs to pay attention to some important issues, The New Deal ranks between Could Use A Rewrite and On The Marquee.

Restaurant Info: The New Deal is located at 3501 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505. 818 861-7731. The New Deal is open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 pm.

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Simplethings Burbank Serves Spectacular Sandwiches And Salads

The first thing we always notice walking in the door to Simplethings Burbank is their pie case filled with small sizes of beautiful pies in flavors such as key lime, chipotle pumpkin, salted caramel, banana cream, blueberry and the ‘smores-like mud.

For those who can bypass the glass case and order at the counter from the menu of colorful and tasty sandwiches and salads, there’s something for everyone. Our favorites so far have been the perfectly crispy and picante fried chicken sandwich, the fluffy egg salad sandwich and the best cubano sandwich ever.

Cubano sandwich from Simplethings Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Cubano sandwich from Simplethings Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The kale salad with chicken and a roasted tomatillo dressing is delicious, hearty but not too heavy. The spicy tater tots were nicely crisp on the outside and the chipotle aioli really kicked it up.

And then there’s the pies. We sampled some of the mini-sized pies – the key lime, the mud and the chipotle pumpkin. All were perfection in a mouthful. For the first time ever, I’m considering not making pies for Thanksgiving and ordering from Simplethings. The chipotle pumpkin was a little different, smooth, with a tiny bit of heat – a new combinations of flavors.

Simplethings' Kale salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Simplethings’ Kale salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We’ve only eaten from Simplethings Burbank a few times and there’s a lot to explore on the menu. The restaurant offers the option to customize your plate with the protein, salad and side of your choice.

The brunch menu holds some new twists on old favorites: fluffy french toast with mascarpone and blueberry compote, green eggs & ham with pesto mixed in the scrambled eggs, simple items like avocado toast or a frittata, tasty quinoa & eggs, and more.

Quinoa & eggs from Simplethings (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Quinoa & eggs from Simplethings (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The setup is fast casual – order at the counter, a runner brings your food, they clean up your table when you leave. Lots of seating and brown butcher paper and crayons decorate the tables to pass the time while the food is being prepared. Servers are very friendly and knowledgeable and bathrooms are clean.

Don’t forget to check out their rotating specials. Current specials – Portabella Pot Pie and Butternut Squash Salad and Soup – sound amazing. The restaurant serves from the brunch menu along with the regular menu on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Simplethings Burbank rates a Tops In Town for breathing some fresh, tasty flavors and style into the restaurant offerings in Burbank and Toluca Lake.

Restaurant Info: Simplethings is located at 4013 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505. 818-562-9619. Simplethings Burbank is open Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Simplethings Burbank receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Forman’s Tavern Opens With Excellent Food, Chill Vibe

Since Forman’s Tavern opened in Toluca Lake about six weeks ago, the public house has settled into the neighborhood quite nicely with consistently excellent food, a comfortable vibe and decor, along with friendly, expert bartenders. A breath of fresh air for Toluca Lake and Burbank!

Serving the same, large menu at lunch and dinner, the offerings range from small plates to heartier entrees, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Forman’s serves up a nice menu of beers, IPAs and wines, along with colorful, creative cocktails.

Forman's Tavern Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Tavern Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We have stopped by Forman’s Tavern several times in the past few weeks, late at night and for lunch. Every visit has been pleasant, from bar atmosphere to the quality of the food and drink.

At night, a bouncer checks i.d.s and the place is busy inside. We still were able to find a seat at the large community table in the center. The tavern is dark, punctuated with atmospheric lighting. Fortunately, the place isn’t overly loud, like many bars can be.

During the day, Forman’s does a steady business for lunch yet finding a nice table at which to sit is pretty easy. The pub is light, bright and expansive.

Forman's amazing Brussels Sprouts. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s amazing Brussels Sprouts. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

At Forman’s, we’ve had one of the best burgers we’ve tasted anywhere in the United States, the Steakhouse Burger. At $14, the diner gets their money’s worth. Ground fresh daily, the meat is perfectly cooked to order.

A medium burger melts in the mouth, with an incredible flavor. Topped with braised mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and crispy shallots and placed inside a potato bun, Forman’s Steakhouse Burger is simply perfect.

Hand cut fries are available separately, and are expertly crispy, potato-y and a little picante. Forman’s Brussels Sprouts ($7) are a thing of beauty – crispy and chewy with a hint of citrus, heat and nutty, salty cheese.

Forman's Steakhouse Burger with fresh cut fries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Steakhouse Burger with fresh cut fries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($13) is slightly spicy and juicy. A fried chicken breast is topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a tangy sweet honey mustard dressing on a potato bun.

And then there’s Forman’s salad menu, which looks fantastic, from Kale Salad, Citrus & Beet Salad, Quinoa & Berry Salad and Farro Salad to Fried Chicken Salad, Ahi Tuna Salad and Grilled Steak Salad.

Forman's Farro Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Farro Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Farro Salad ($14), made with nutty farro, house-smoked turkey, tender butternut squash, cranberries, green onions, lemon and olive oil, is tangy, slightly sweet, filling and absolutely perfect.

Another spectacular dish is the Lemon & Ale Mussels. If we had one critique, it would be to request more grilled bread to accompany the dish, with which to soak up the fragrant, lemony, sea-flavored broth. For $15, the plate is a huge stack of mussels steamed with Belgian ale, lemon and parsley. Five slices of sliced, grilled bread are served alongside.

Lemon & Ale Mussels at Forman's Tavern. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lemon & Ale Mussels at Forman’s Tavern. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We also tried the Spicy Bacon Caramel Popcorn ($6.) The combination of flavors worked really well, although perhaps a little more bacon could have been present. The sweetness of the shared plate worked well as a dessert.

Forman’s bartenders make excellent cocktails. The Old Fashioned is served over a single huge cube of ice and garnished with a lemon twist – strong and classic. The Rosemary Paloma is tangy and fresh. Most cocktails range in price from $10-12.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s wine and beer list is solid as well. We’ve tried several varieties on tap, including the Dog Fishhead 90 IPA, Old Chubb Nitro, Big Whig IPA and the Lagunitas Pils. Prices range from $7-9 a glass.

At Forman’s Tavern, no detail is forgotten. The bathrooms are clean and charmingly decorated. The main room is large and open, with lots of hunting lodge and country-inspired accoutrements.

Eating at Forman’s is a visceral, slightly messy experience. Be prepared for some sticky fingers!

Patrons find their own seats and order food and drinks at the bar. Runners bring the plates out from the kitchen to the tables.

Forman’s Tavern is on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, so be prepared to valet or park and walk.

For consistency, style and substance, Forman’s Tavern gets a resounding Tops In Town. We are thrilled to find an excellent casual place for late-night dinners and drinks, close to Burbank, with a little more sophistication than the usual suspects.

Restaurant Info: Forman’s Tavern is located at 10149 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA, 91602. 818-760-6900. Forman’s Tavern is open Monday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Forman’s Tavern receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)


Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Brings Homemade Freshness And Family-Run Atmosphere To Burbank

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, long a fixture of homemade, fresh Italian food in Tarzana, opened its second location in Burbank a few months ago. The restaurant already has some devoted clientele, who’ve spread the word on the creative and delicious plates served.

We stopped by for a quick workday lunch the other day, and were in and out in under an hour. Although we didn’t take advantage of the $11 Lunch Box specials, they looked to be another option for a timely meal. Frankie’s also delivers lunch and dinner.

Aby's Cajun Fried Calamari at Frankie's Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Aby’s Cajun Fried Calamari at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our meal started with some of the best cheesy Parmesan, fresh garlic, herb and butter rolls I have ever tasted. Soft and warm, these rolls are divine.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen offers the same menu for lunch and dinner, with larger portions and prices for the dinner plates. We enjoyed the very tender Aby’s Cajun Fried Calamari, served with standard marinara and ranch dips. The cajun touch was not heavy, but added a bit of lift to the old standby.

The ever-popular Frutti de Mare and Lionel’s Chicken were absolutely delicious lunch entrees. Even with smaller portions served for lunch, we still had to take some leftovers home.

Frutti de Mare. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Frutti de Mare. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Frutti de Mare had just the right amount of garlicky goodness. High quality seafood – mussels, calamari, clams and shrimp – were mixed with linguine in a garlic wine sauce.

Lionel’s Chicken was our favorite dish of the meal. A lightly floured chicken breast, pounded thin and lightly fried, was complemented by angel hair pasta and steamed vegetables. Topped with a creamy Dijon sauce for a light lemony mustard kick, the plate was absolutely excellent.

We didn’t have room for dessert and since Frankie’s has a variety of homemade desserts daily, we will have to stop back and give those a try sometime.

Lionel's Chicken at Frankie's Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lionel’s Chicken at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our server was very friendly and on top of things. The bathrooms were clean. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. There’s so much more to try here from the extended menu of pizzas, a wide variety of traditional Italian plates and baked dishes, delicious-sounding fresh salads and a good selection of appetizers along with hot and cold sandwiches.

Frankie’s Italian Restaurant receives a Tops In Town for a great first impression, with fresh, high-quality food and excellent service. It’s sure to become one of our regular go-to spots for dining out or getting take away.

Restaurant Info: Frankie’s Italian Kitchen is located at 267 N. Pass Avenue, Burbank, CA, 91505. 818-567-2288. Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Burbank is open Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

New Restaurant/Bar The Hangar Grille Opens In Burbank

Since their soft open on August 6, The Hangar Grille has drawn a steady stream of Burbankers ready to try the new restaurant and bar. Located in the Magnolia Park district, the spot combines tasty eats with comfortable ambiance.

According to the sign outside the restaurant, The Hangar Grille is dedicated “to the city of Burbank and the employees of Lockheed that dedicated their skill and pride in building the best flying machines during Lockheed’s Burbank history.”

The Hangar Grille opened August 6 on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hangar Grille opened August 6 on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The aeronautic theme makes for a nice vibe inside, with fans, photos and decorative accents, including an open ceiling with exposed piping. Several television screens dot the upper walls. However, the television sound is low so the restaurant is not noisy, but rather an enjoyable place for a conversation.

We stopped by a few days after The Hangar Grille opened, and were charmed by the friendliness of the staff. While we ordered some appetizers and pastas for dinner, the lunch and dinner menus include a host of creative apps, soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, steaks, BBQ and ribs. For now, the bar offers wine and beer only.

The Hangar Grille's Snapper Ceviche: plantain chips accompany high quality fish seasoned with tangy lime and chopped vegetables. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hangar Grille’s Snapper Ceviche: plantain chips accompany high quality fish seasoned with tangy lime and chopped vegetables. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

One of our favorites was the Snapper Ceviche, made from a high quality cut of fish. Accompanied by plantain chips instead of the usual tostada, the appetizer was tangy and fresh. The ceviche included pieces of jicama, red pepper, jalepeno and cucumber and was very refreshing.

We also enjoyed the Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. The plate included eight mushrooms filled with breaded crab mix and topped with parmesan cheese. Dipped in the restaurant’s special red pepper aioli sauce, the mushrooms were a hit with the whole family.

The Hangar Grille's Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hangar Grille’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Of the four pasta dishes we ordered, our favorite was the Gemelli & Chicken. Chicken, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms were sauteed in a light cream sauce with Gemelli pasta. The dish has some Cajun seasoning for a bit of a kick.

In fact, many of the plates we tried had a bit of a kick, incorporating a liberal use of spice and heat. Several of the pasta dishes used cream in the base sauce, making for a heartier, richer plate of pasta.

We enjoyed the Penne Vegetali, with roasted vegetables in a spicy marinara sauce and tossed with penne pasta and cheese. The dish reminded us of ratatouille. The Seafood Linguini was tasty too, very flavorful in a cream sauce.

Gemelli & Chicken at The Hangar Grille. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Gemelli & Chicken at The Hangar Grille. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Penne With Lobster Claws was another favorite dish, combining spinach, tomatoes and penne sauteed with The Hangar Grille’s signature and spicy Santa Fe Cream sauce, and topped with lobster meat and chopped cilantro.

We enjoyed our meal at The Hangar Grille and look forward to returning to try some of the amazing-sounding salads, sandwiches and appetizers. Magnolia Park’s newest eatery, The Hangar Grille, is On The Marquee. With later hours, open until 11:00 p.m., Burbank finally has another option for those of us who eat dinner on the later side or want to go out for a casual drink in the neighborhood.

Restaurant Info: The Hangar Grille is located at 3821 W. Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA, 91501. 818-842-5250. The Hangar Grille is open Monday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The Hangar Grille receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)