First things first. A vineyard was designed for the northeast corner of Agoura Road and Lakeview Canyon Road in Westlake Village on the beautiful grounds of the Westlake Village Inn Resort. Included in the property is the "hot spot" at night for Westlake Village, Bogie's Lounge. Also a bistro style restaurant, Mediterraneo is located behind the vines. Something new was going to be added that makes this a unique getaway for that romantic weekend or short holiday; Owner, John Notter, had a dream and now it is a reality. The Stonehaus, a boutique Enoteca, as described by the manager, is one giant step for John Notter into the California wine culture. Opening to the delight of many on November 1, 2012, I spoke with the owner and looking at his enthusiastic smile and gracious manner, it said it all. Finally, a completion of the dream.
Westlake Village just got a piece of heaven, wine heaven to be sure. No need to go any further than your own backyard for a romantic evening and the Stonehaus is going to be that gathering place, in my humble opinion. "Build it and they will come," words that can be used for the grand opening. The first weekend was crowded and this could be that way every weekend by the reaction of those who patronized the Stonehaus on the opening weekend. Others, by their comments, and I were delighted with the wines and also the food selections offered. The wait staff and wine bar personnel were a reflection of the owner with their smiles and gracious manner. They were very helpful with the choices I made for both food and wine.
Just seeing the completion of this structure of stone and wood is amazing. It showed like a Tuscany Winery tasting room with a unique look and a warmth within that said; "Come share the wine, you are among friends." Dramatically placed wine barrels and coffee sacks on high let you know that this was not only a wine bar but a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after dinner stop. The wine tasting bar is exquisite and I was impressed with wine staff member, Heather Hughes's knowledge of wines, as well as her lovely smile. No need to go to Napa Valley for that wine time outing. Just drop by the Stonehaus and sit back and enjoy. A welcome addition to an already lovely resort. Open daily from 6am to 10pm
Favorite Dish: Trying to explain my favorite dish will take more than one visit. So much on the menu to try and I was intrigued by the charcuterie plate with the mixture of prosciutto, salami, Grana padano, mixed olives, and grilled bread.
UPDATE: I returned Friday night November 23 and found new tables and chairs in the lounge. The outside courtyard was all aglow and on the grounds I counted 4 firepit areas, one with a stonewall waterfall. Worth stopping by just for dessert. I tried the same charcuterie plate and it was delicious and filling, being the perfect complement to the wine choices I made from the large selection of wine labels that I enjoyed while sitting on one of the most comfortable bar table chairs that I found myself glued to for a couple of relaxing hours. BTW, "Build it and they will come" was so true again. If the quality of food, the helpfulness of the staff and the grounds stay the same, the Stonehaus is going to be the place to come to if you want to enjoy an evening out. I will have to make if for breakfast next time for a cup of cappuccino. I shall return...often.
Four months running and things are looking better than ever. Stonehaus has become the place to enjoy an evening out as well as the place to have that cappuccino. I have been back numerous times and now an outdoor wine bar and pizza oven bar are completed for use and that is even more of a reason to make Stonehaus a great wine bar/restaurant to patronize. Get those bocce balls ready for the court that sits next to the new pizza oven bar. Another glass of Chianti Classico with that slice of pizza will be the perfect compliment. Benissimo! Salute!
Bingo! Loteria! Grill. Bingo is the word after finding this excellent Mexican restaurant. Loteria is the name of a game similar to Bingo in Mexico. The theme of the restaurant features Loteria cards. The cartoon murals on the walls of the Loteria cards by artist Richard Altuna add a fun atmosphere to the dining room. You go for the food, but you stay for the exotic Margaritas. Tables inside and outside, bar stool dining looking into the kitchen, as well as bar stools at the small bar. General Manager, Laura Zepeda, will meet and greet you. Full of life with a great smile and knowledge of the entire menu, Laura will explain every dish on the menu, If you so desire. c*
Happy Hours with reduced prices on drinks and appetizers is from 3pm until 6:30pm, Sunday thru Thursday. Open Monday thru Friday 11am till 9pm , Saturday and Sunday 10am till 9pm. If you visit, please say hello to Laura Zepeda from VTer travelgourmet.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed the Burrito CARNITAS EN SALSA MORITA* • Carnitas (Pork) Michoacán-Style, in a very Spicy Chile Morita Sauce. Avocado, Onion and Cilantro. This burrito also is filled with black beans and the house special rice. Different and delicious. Many great dishes on the menu. If you like Margaritas, ask for their special Jalapeño Margarita made with pureed jalapeno peppers and quality tequila. Ole! Check out their website for the menu. Loteria! Grill for me.Yummy!
Loteria! Grill webpage a must stop for authentic Mexican food.
This restaurant has an outstanding Italian bistro style flair with not only excellent food choices but an excellent view from the outside tables of the Swan Pond. Cozy up with a table next to the inside fireplace for that special occasion. Plenty of ambiance here to put a smile on your face.
A diversified menu that should be able to meet the demands of your palate from lamb shanks to ahi tuna. Now, with a new addition to the property of a wine bar called STONEHAUS, this will be the hot spot for Westlake Village. Of course, this was to be built to go along with the mini vineyard out in front of both MEDITERRANEO and the newly built STONEHAUS.
Mediterraneo serves Lunch; Monday through Saturday, 11:00am to 2:30pm. Dinner is served Nightly at 5:00pm. Sunday Brunch is from 10:00am to 2:30pm. Check out website menu.
Favorite Dish: Lunch time is Steak Panini time. See my travelogue for the Lunch food dishes my party of four enjoyed. A dinner favorite of mine is Braised Beef "Rosso" which is Beef Short Ribs slow roasted in a deep red wine. Melts in the mouth. Besides the tasty food dishes, the bar is small, but cozy and just right if you have to wait a few minutes for a table.
Located in the Westlake Plaza Shopping center, west side, sits this unassuming frontage of a restaurant. The only giveaway that something good may be inside is the outside tables that after 6pm are crowded. You have been looking at FIN'S Seafood Grill. Inside is a cozy bar and seating arrangement.
Every time I visit, it seems as if the restaurant was having a sale. It is crowded. That is the sign of a well received restaurant. The food is very good and the many dishes should satisfy your hunger for fresh seafood. It may be crowded but the service is quick and friendly.
Open Mon-Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm (dinner switch at 4pm), Fri-Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm (dinner switch at 4pm), Sun: 5:00pm-9:00pm (closed for lunch)
Favorite Dish: One of my favorite fish is Chilean Sea Bass and FIN's has a great one with its crispy panko crusted Chilean Sea Bass over mashed potatoes with chive oil.
Of course, if you are really hungry, then the Lazy Man Bouillabaisse is for you.
Zin Bistro Americana has one advantage over the many choices for restaurants in Westlake Village. It sits next to the lake in Westlake Village. The food dishes are American style with decent size portions. Entering the restaurant and one gets good vibes from the sleek lines and warm colors of the interior. Three separate dining areas, one being an outside patio with the lake only a few feet from the tables with a fire-pit and heater lamps for cool evenings. A rectangular bar for close conversations and a cozy feel. This is a great place to visit for a feel of the Southern California lifestyle.
Favorite Dish: Sit down and enjoy comfort food that is a blend of all cultures that is America. Start off with the Charcuterie and Cheese Plate that includes Serrano Ham, prosciutto, salami and choice of 2 cheeses of which we chose goat and Gouda cheese. Good decision as it was plentiful and the Sarrano Ham was delizioso. Moving on to the main course, I enjoyed an
Alaskan Halibut crusted with pepper and mustard seed with a side of Ratatouille. My wife ordered her favorite dish at any restaurant we go to that has a rack of lamb on the menu. Zin Bistro Americana is open for Lunch and Dinner as well as a Sunday Brunch. Going for dessert and you will draw the "ahs" from other patrons, if you order the Bananas Foster. Flame time at your table and the perfect way to end a wonderful meal.
Cafe Firenze, an Italian gourmet restaurant, is not located in Westlake Village, but it is so close and the drink and food creations are so fabulous, I have included the recently returned owners Fabio Viviani, executive chef, and Jacopo Fallieni, mixologist, venture Cafe Firenze restaurant in my Westlake Village "Off The Beaten Path" section. Fabio was on the Master Chef Television program and became quite the Italian Stallion on the show. He is the same at his restaurant in the nearby town of Moorpark
Boccaccio's is located by the lake in Westlake Village. Outside umbrella tables are choice seating in warm weather. Inside is an inviting seating area with a view of the lake out the windows. Many of their dishes could be called gourmet, but that might keep some from being tempted to dine here, so I will call it fine dining. The atmosphere is relaxed elegance.
A large private room is off the entrance and is the perfect spot to have a birthday or anniversary party. Matter of fact, my family had a birthday party in the private room for 25 people and it felt like we were all at home. The staff is extra friendly and helpful and very alert to every need. One of the nicest restaurants in Westlake Village.
Open for lunch Mon-Fri:11:30am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun: 11:00am-3:00pm
Dinner hours: Nightly: 5pm-10pm
Favorite Dish: Linguini Portifino is a wonderful pasta dish with rock shrimp, scallops, baby clams, in a garlic and wine sauce. My wife always loves the rack of lamb when she dines out and Boccaccio's doesn't fail to please. Molto Buono!
"IN-N-OUT, IN-N-OUT, That's what a hamburger's all about!" That just about sums it up. One of the best, if not the best hamburger in my neck o'the woods. There are many IN-N-Out locations, mostly in California with some in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Totally there are around 260 locations and all of them are family owned since the beginning in 1948. The reason that they are still around and growing is that everything is freshly made and they are considered a fast food outlet.
I mention this because if you are a visitor to California and want to have what is considered American Food, then nothing could be a better introduction than a hamburger. I mean a real hamburger and not some clown's idea of a hamburger. IN-N-OUT Burger is the one to try. The colors maybe the same as the clown's fast food restaurant but the sign is more to the point. A red background with a modern design yellow pointer with IN-N-OUT Burger in white lettering. There is a drive through ordering lane as well as a sit down area in most of the outlets. The drive through lane may look extra long, but it does more fairly fast.
Favorite Dish: A simple menu to read as hamburgers and fries are the offerings. Oh, they do have soft drinks (free refills) including milk shakes. Three types of hamburger styles with the "Double-Double" being my favorite. In addition, you can order a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, w/wo onions (fresh or grilled) and dressing that looks like a thousand Island spread or a cheeseburger, same as hamburger, but with cheese. For those not in the know about what a hamburger looks like, it has a bread bun half for the bottom with a spread on the cut half, then a variation of a slice of onion, tomato slice, lettuce leaf, a patty of fresh ground beef (grilled) and the top half of the bread bun. In a cheese burger you get a slice of cheese between the beef patty and the top half of the bread bun. Double-Double means just that, double everything except the bread.
That's what the menu says, but those in the know order from a hidden menu for the truly fans of IN-N-OUT. You can feel like a fan, yourself by knowing the secret items. They actually have what they call the "NOT-SO-SECRET MENU" which is located by clicking on the square, not so secret menu box, just below the pictures of the different style of hamburgers on the menu. Most fans, that love the burgers, have them "Animal Style" no matter the size. IN-N-OUT Burger locations are open from 10:30am till 1:00am and until 1:30am on Fri. and Sat.
Something to eat, house made beer to drink, sports to watch on a big screen. No, you are not at home, but at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. This is a chain operation, but acts like your local pub. Beer is brewed on the premise as well as all the popular brews are offered. The bar also has all the alcoholic spirits for full cocktail service. Food service is fast and courteous. The menu is packed with a large selection of food items to satisfy your tastes.
If you are into sports, there are large TV screens located throughout the restaurant with the different sports activities on line. Behind the bar, on the wall is a gigantic TV screen to give the impression that you are in a movie theatre or at a live event. Locals favorite part of the brewhouse. Next to the bar sits an enclosed room with stainless steel tanks that are used for brewing the different styles of beer that BJ's is known for, such as TOTONKA STOUT, one of my favorites. Hey, you can even have a drink or two with other VTers as I have with VT member Odinnthor (Erik). Cheers!
Okay, I cheered with VTer Odinnthor, Erik and then in August 2012, Erik was back in my neck of the woods, so the call went out to Karl (Roadquill) that the Three Amigos were to ride again. We all met on a Wednesday right here at BJ's. Good to see both Erik and Karl. We are the Three Amigos. Well, one of the Amigos had to leave early, but it was fun to go over where each of us had been. That is what VT is all about. Virtual Friends through Travel becoming real friends in the real world. I must say that the Staff at BJ's really got to know us and I got to know the seat I was seating in pretty good. Starting at 2 pm, losing one of the Amigos at a later hour, not sure when,and then finding my son standing next to me at around 8pm, Where? In BJ's. Right across the table from Erik. My son joined us for about an hour and then both Erik and I had to say Nitey nite with my son taking Erik back to the hotel he was staying in and taking me to my home. Glad he showed up. Thanks to BJ's for letting us laugh and talk and only telling us once or twice to keep it down. Oh well, the Three Amigos will ride again one day. :-)
Favorite Dish: I may have mentioned this on other restaurant tips, but I am a sucker for pulled pork sandwiches. BJ's now has a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich that I tried and must admit, pretty darn good. They make it with a smoky BBQ ranch sauce made with BJ’s very own Jeremiah Red Ale. Fries are included as well as a creamy coleslaw. Goes down well with a BJ's Totonka Stout. My wife loves appetizers and ordered the Angus Beef Sliders, beef with grilled onions and ketchup on little hamburger style buns. A great value as you get four sliders on an order. For those wanting a lot of salads and soups, that's right, lots, BJ's has a special of all the soup and salad you desire, a variety of each available, during lunch. Both booths and tables of your choosing for dining.
CLOSED. I am keeping this post because it was my favorite deli and I want to keep it in my memory.*
Mama Mia! This is one spicy meatball. Actually, many spicy meatballs are available to take out. The aroma as you enter sends the word, Italia, throughout your body. Something about real Italian deli's that do that to me.
Bauducco's has been my main supplier of Italian cold cuts, olives, mushrooms, cheeses, and even cannolis since 1977. A complete Italian market and meat/deli counter, good wine selections, a take out counter, and a small restaurant. That's amore and that's Bauducco's.
Cisco's has been a staple Mexican Restaurant in Westlake Village since 1972. I first went to Cisco's in 1977 and have been a patron even since. In fact, I enjoy the food at Cisco's so much, that I was given a surprise 50th birthday party by my wife for 100 guests. That is one birthday I will not forget. My wife laughed afterwards and told me that the bar bill was three times the food bill. Ah, my friends know how to drink. Ole! One of the best made Margaritas and a good selection of tequilas and beer are available at a wonderful newly built bar. The restaurant was closed at this location for a few years due to a fire that destroyed the building. In late 2009, Cisco's Westlake, reopened to Mariachi Music and a lot of fanfare. The newly rebuilt restaurant has several rooms that can be private party rooms as well as a wall of waterfall windows in a private room that seats twelve.
Service at Cisco's has always been superb, one of the reasons the restaurant has been around since 1972. Always polite waitstaff that want to please every patron. The food is not just typical Mexican American dishes but many fine regional dishes of Mexico are available. The best part is that when, not if, you return the food quality and taste is the same as the last visit. The sign of a great restaurant. The new decor is large mirrors and paintings with lots of greenery outside and wood trim inside. It is done in a refined way and not a touristy, gaudy design but sleek and modern. The strolling Marichis are a nice addition and entertainment nights are also great for the club crowd. Not bad, for a bedroom community that rolls up the carpet by 10 pm.
Favorite Dish: So many choices that one must have a taste in mind or you could spend a lot of time just trying to decide what to eat. Let me give you an example. Fajitas. One of my favorite dishes. Plain and simple; a dish that comprises a main meat and some vegetables, mostly bell peppers and onions and brought sizzling to your table in a pan. Tortillas (Mexican flat bread) served in a container, on the side, to put portions of the dish mixture into, fold the filled tortilla and enjoy eating this wonderful taste by hand. Easy to order. Easy to eat. Ready for this. Cisco's outdoes the competition in Fajitas. Most Mexican Restaurants have three maybe four types of Fajitas. Here is Cisco's eight types of Fajita choices accompanied by grated cheese, pico de gallo and refried beans. Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, Mahi-Mahi, Steak and Chicken, Steak and Shrimp, Chicken and Shrimp and the vegetarian Portabella Mushroom. They are all great and very satisfying as well as filling. Yes, Cisco's is my choice when I desire the taste of old Mexico.
On our way to attend a birthday bash at Bogie's Bar, we thought we should have some dinner in case there wasn't enough food at the party. Located in a shopping center, this was a nice little restaurant with good food. I ordered the scallops and they were cooked perfectly.