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Looking for good Mexican food? There's no need to cross the border. You don't even have to leave the SCV. Just head on over to La Cocina Bar & Grill. Once a well-kept secret nestled in the northern end of the Santa Clarita Valley, the word is out. La Cocina (which means "kitchen" in Spanish) seems to be the place to go for margaritas and traditional south-of-the-border fare. Packed nightly with hungry diners, the original location at Seco Canyon and Copperhill has become so popular that the owners have recently opened a second location at the corner of Plum Canyon and Bouquet Canyon Road.
Looking for a great seafood restaurant? Look no further than your own backyard. Mike Beurer runs the family-owned Roast House on Bouquet Canyon. Recently he rolled out an extensive new seafood menu relying on the culinary expertise of Florida transplant (and brother-in-law) Chef Erik McBeth. While still serving the restaurant's signature Prime Rib, Mcbeth also turns out innovative fresh fish and shellfish dishes every night of the week. These delicacies deserve to be tasted - and savored.
"Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels, Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles." Small horses and bells aren't on my shortlist of favorite things (even if they were, I wouldn't admit it here; it's bad enough I allude to a lyric from "The Sound of Music"). But after visiting The German Place on Lyons Avenue, I can now include schnitzel and apple streudel on this list, along with a variety of other dishes I enjoyed at this German eatery in Newhall.
With a melange of influences from Malaysia, China, Spain and even the United States, Filipino food is built upon an interesting melding of cuisines. Despite this wide spectrum of flavors, the melting pot of Filipino food remains distinct from its culinary roots by drawing upon regional and cultural traditions throughout the hundreds, or even thousands, of islands that comprise the Philippine Archipelago. Hundred Islands Grill, a new Filipino restaurant on Bouquet Canyon, masterfully presents this distinctive fare, offering a wonderfully unique gastronomic experience to those of us in the Santa Clarita Valley.
With an established and long-successful location on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, the owners of George's Bistro have expanded and opened a second restaurant of the same name in our very own expanding community. Instead of catering to trendy hipsters and tourists on the Promenade, George's Bistro is now trying to please the palates of SCV residents at its new location on Newhall Ranch Road. With a menu boasting a variety of dishes, George's Bistro offers guests a casual yet diverse dining experience.
It's always a refreshing experience when one's taste buds are liberated from culinary stigmas. Not all Thai food is spicy. Italian food is more than just pizza and pasta. And after sampling El Trocadero Mesquite Steakhouse in Old Town Newhall, some diners may discover that Mexican cuisine can indeed be light and fresh rather than heavy and greasy.
The atmosphere at La Rumba Cuban Restaurant in Saugus can be much like its namesake dance - lively, syncopated, and rhythmic - as the small wait staff shuffles from table to table on busy nights. When I arrived there with my dining group, the fast-paced percussive music played over the restaurant's sound system was almost enough to get us to dance towards our booth.
The Santa Clarita Valley is rich with history. We have Vasquez Rocks on our border and the Oak of the Golden Dream, San Francisquito Dam, William S. Hart Park and Mentryville all within our city limits. Our rapidly growing community has a unique blend of old and new, past and present, that makes our city vibrant with culture and tradition. Our Great Find this month contributes to the history of our valley by being the oldest restaurant in Santa Clarita.
"Buonasera." Good evening. It's the simple Italian phrase diners are greeted with when entering Cavi Cucina Italiana for dinner. Good evening indeed, as diners are sure to enjoy the delectable offerings of simply made, beautifully presented dishes at this new trattoria in Newhall.
If diners are initially unsure of what to order at the Backwoods Inn in Canyon Country, any uncertainties are usually settled in the parking lot immediately upon arrival. The aromas of mesquite charcoal and charring beef escape the kitchen of this steakhouse and drift outside to greet arriving customers.
When entering Naima Persian Restaurant for the first time, diners will notice an immediate air of sophistication. Burgundy curtains are draped across the restaurant's windows, shielding the strip mall scene outside. Inside, sleekness abounds as tables are shrouded in white tablecloths, in stark contrast to the walls awash in deep hues of red and accented with canvasses of Farsi calligraphy. Jazz is filtered into the small dining space, while the sharply dressed staff promptly tends to your arrival.
Although its name may seem outdated for the New Year, a new Vietnamese restaurant on Lyons Avenue may be just the place to seek warm refuge from the blustery 2006 winter weather outside. At Pho 2005, diners can enjoy traditional Vietnamese noodle soup year-round.
After over 26 years in the same location on Lyons Avenue, one of Santa Clarita's favorite sandwich shops has moved. Fortunately, Final Score Food and Beverage Co. hasn't moved far, just further down Lyons Avenue into a newer and bigger space.
If you can find it, Mom Can Cook Thai Kitchen is a worthwhile adventure in traditional Thai cuisine. Literally out of sight and hidden away at the end of a strip mall on Soledad Canyon Road, Mom Can Cook is a small and secluded restaurant you'll wish you had found sooner.
With the end of summer slowly creeping around the corner, there's no better time than now to satisfy any unfed urges for good barbeque. And aside from maybe your own backyard, there's no better place in Santa Clarita than the Barbeque Club Grill for true down-home barbeque.
Folded neatly into the hustle and bustle of Valencia's Town Center Drive is Origami Bistro and Bar, a new Euro-Asian restaurant that can be added to Santa Clarita's growing list of hip and upscale eateries for the casual diner. With its charm and style, Origami is striving to fit in with (or perhaps stand out from) its downtown neighbors and become a mainstay at the hub of Valencia.
Q: The closest I've been able to get to preparing seafood is sticking fish sticks in the oven. I love eating fish in restaurants, but I'd like to eat it more often for health reasons. I'm scared of everything, from purchasing to preparing. Help!

A: We'll admit it - even these caterers have been intimidated at the fish market. The key to cooking fish is to start simply; pan sauteing with a good accompanying sauce is the perfect place to begin. After all, getting a hot pan sauce and hot fish on the table at the same time isn't so easy because fish cools down quickly.
With the recent success of "Sideways," last years surprise movie hit, everyone is thirsting to know anything and everything about wine. And whether you're a Paul Giametti at heart or not, this month's Great Find is the answer to all your wine loving dreams.
Nestled away among the oak trees along a stretch of Sierra Highway lies what appears to be a small, stone-cobbled castle. As strange as the existence of a castle may be in Santa Clarita, even stranger may be the existence of a fine French restaurant in Santa Clarita. In fact, both anomalies are one and the same at Le Chene French Cuisine: an unexpected French dining destination in Sleepy Valley.
Backwards baseball caps and t-shirts that read "I Love Dead Fish" aren't usually the standard garb for serious sushi chefs. But at Light & Healthy Sushi Bar on Lyons Avenue in Newhall, the seriousness of the restaurant is where it should be: in its fresh, top-quality sushi. In fact, the casual attire behind the sushi bar is all part of the charm at this no-frills restaurant, where substance over style is the key ingredient.
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