The Al Fresco Factor:
Your Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Eating in Woodland Hills
There’s a reason why temperate climates encourage outdoor – or “al fresco” – dining beyond the obvious more favorable temperatures and weather: It remains a style of social engagement that is often party-esque and casual in its atmosphere and approach. The phrase “al fresco” is borrowed from the Italian for “In the cool (air),” yet in Italy it’s actually not used to describe outdoor dining – interestingly, Italian natives refer to this as fuori or all’aperto. Similarly, Spanish natives refer to this type of dining as al aire libre or fuera.
Because of L.A.’s generally favorable climate year round, the city is teeming with an almost limitless amount of outdoor patio dining establishments…from casual dessert cafes that have spread their seating curbside to celebrity-endorsed restaurants walking the fine line between refinement and trend-setting. In the Woodland Hills neighborhood, there’s no shortage of al fresco-style dining locales ready to sweep patrons away to a place where a truly different kind of experience awaits.
Here are our picks for the spots offering some of the most memorable outdoor patio eating in Woodland Hills:
The Local Peasant, located at 22901 Ventura Boulevard – and boasting a location in Sherman Oaks as well, also on Ventura – is a “comfort food” spot that feels as if it were custom-built for the Woodland Hills neighborhood. Amidst an atmosphere buzzing with an overtly inviting vibe akin to the favorite room in your home, patrons of The Local Peasant routinely take in an open, friendly décor that beckons with an exposed structure, oversized chalk boards and an upscale pub feel. The Woodland Hills location is open from Monday to Friday at four pm, with a Saturday and Sunday brunch running from 11 am to three pm. Saturday and Sunday dinner begins at three pm, and The Local Peasant’s bar is open all the time until 1:30 am.
Mazar Mediterranean Restaurant, located at 21926 Ventura Boulevard, serves up Lebanese and Mediterranean delicacies amidst a hookah lounge atmosphere unique in the Valley. With a formidable ethnic menu and incredibly flavored cuisine, this hidden jewel has become renowned for its kabobs, sandwiches and Chicken Kuftas. The uber-comfortable seating extends to the outdoors, where patrons can indulge in a variety of hookahs while dining.
The Villa, located on one of Woodland Hills’ most historic restaurant sites at 22160 Ventura Boulevard, was originally Eckbergs Steak House of the 1960s and ‘70s, itself originally a home converted to a 10-table dining establishment on Ventura Boulevard just off the Shoup exit. After the business changed hands in the early ‘80s, the original home/restaurant was expanded upon and transformed, though with much of the original framing still intact, into several incarnations under the same ownership banner. Today, visually reimagined by top interior designer Thomas Schoos, The Villa has returned to its home-themed beginnings with careful attention paid to creating a warm and inviting space. Lunch, dinner, brunch and dessert are served amidst several atmospheres, including the awe-inspiring outdoor Vine Garden.
Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, a franchise operation with 21 restaurants located primarily in L.A., Orange and Ventura Counties and boasting a Woodland Hills location situated at 6219 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, is the brainchild of founder Steve Paperno, who fulfilled a vision to combine the variety of flavors he experienced traveling through Mexico with innovative recipes and a passion for healthy living. The result was an innovative menu that strives to fuse fresh, natural and organic styles for enhanced flavor with a dedication to excellence and satisfaction.
The Stand Woodland Hills, situated at 5780 Canoga Avenue, takes the concept of outdoor eating in Woodland Hills and turns it completely on its ear – with three locations including the Woodland Hills spot serving Los Angelinos with a “fresh spin on American classics,” The Stand offers the comfort of early century diners, boasting casual space, sincere hospitality and honest foods. From hot dogs and sausages to burgers and even chicken enriched by proprietary toppings, The Stand satisfies a sweeping range of casual dining interests, all served to the backdrop of a bygone charm.
While al fresco dining simply refers to “eating outdoors,” it’s more than that to us…it adds a lively and enjoyable dimension to dining, and gets people out of their homes into the fresh, open air, simultaneously encouraging a hearty appetite and an appreciation for the slower pace of life. We hope you enjoy one or more of the sensational dining options we highlighted for your next outdoor dining foray.