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California Good Eats

Dong Ting Spring

A good Chinese restaurant can be hard to find this far west of San Gabriel Valley, but Dong Ting Spring brings authentic Hunanese food to the area — the second location of Dong Ting Chun in San Gabriel. The extensive menu may be difficult to navigate at first. Still, it’s best to stick to the Hunanese section with dishes like braised pork belly with preserved vegetables, lamb in golden soup, and mashed eggplant with century egg for those more adventurous.
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Cafe Sapientia

This newcomer coffee shop brings much-needed single-origin coffee to Oak Park. Cafe Sapientia serves paninis and avocado toasts for the neighborhood lunch, but the main attraction is the snow creme. Cafe Sapientia does the best (if not the only) shave snow in Conejo Valley, and the soft texture is on par with what you’d find in LA and many of the flavor options use housemade ingredients from the mango puree to the whipped cream.
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Moqueca Brazilian Restaurant

One of the best Brazilian restaurants in Southern California is Moqueca, and thankfully they’ve expanded from their original Oxnard location into Thousand Oaks. While most Brazilian spots in LA tend to be churrascarias, Moqueca specializes in its namesake seafood stew from the Bahia region, cooked in a clay pot with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and urucum. A side order of farofa to sprinkle on top is highly recommended, as is a round of caipirinhas.
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eLoong Dumplings

eLoong’s handmade dumplings can stand their own in many LA neighborhoods, but they are particularly welcome in Conejo Valley, where options are sparse. eLoong is the spot to go for those craving xiao long bao or wontons in chili oil. Dumplings aside, there is also a noodles, rice cakes, and buns menu. The menu is similar to that of a particular international XLB chain, but it certainly will satisfy without the long drive.
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Nonna

There are plenty of Italian restaurants in Conejo Valley. Still, Nonna’s handmade pasta stands out among the rest, including strozzapreti in sausage ragu and paccheri with roasted eggplants and gluten-free options. Owner Jacopo Falleni is a seasoned veteran in the restaurant industry, and it shows in the food, service, and details of Nonna’s rustic chic dining room. The owner and current chef hail from Tuscany, but the menu also spans classics from other regions.
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Maru Kitchen

Maru Kitchen brings much-needed Korean food to the area. In an attempt to appeal to the western palate, some ingenious combinations like the lightly spicy kimchi gumbo served with purple rice. Chewy ddeok takes the place of gnocchi in a creamy sauce and ragu. The rest of the menu spans traditional Korean food, from galbi tang and ssam platter, to a tonkatsu curry with a cheese-stuffed pork cutlet.
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Moody Rooster

Collin Crannell worked at various fine dining restaurants in the LA area, from Patina to Water Grill, before opening his neighborhood restaurant in the middle of a shopping center in Westlake Village. One of the earlier proponents of farm-to-table cooking in Conejo Valley, Moody Rooster, offers a small, seasonal menu using sustainable ingredients. The menu is ever-changing, but some favorite mainstays include crispy gnocchi and harissa carrots.
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E+ Mon

E+ Mon was opened just before the end of 2020 by Hidetoshi Teddy Seike, who previously operated Samurai in Mammoth Lakes, and he’s working with Chef Koji Miyamoto, who helmed Hinomaru Ramen in Astoria. E+ Mon brings more high-quality sushi options to the area. The best way to experience it for the first time is the premium nigiri sampler, which usually includes seared toro topped with caviar and the day’s freshest cuts like nodoguro and kinmedai. Tempura and appetizers like aged miso eggplant and takoyaki round out the menu.
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Decker Kitchen

This small, New American restaurant is the kind of neighborhood restaurant that is better than it needs to be. Freshly baked sourdough topped with feta mousse and heirloom tomatoes, the pork chop is brined and marinated for 24 hours, and most ingredients are sourced from local farms. In addition to food, Decker Kitchen’s bar is stocked with infused spirits and syrup using produce that bartender Paul Jones gets from his weekly farmer’s market runs, making this the best place to drink cocktails in the area.
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Coin & Candor

Coin and Candor at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village is not your typical hotel restaurant, from their inviting outdoor patio overlooking the cascading man-made waterfall to the care put into the food. Chef Jesus Medina infuses the menu with Mexican heritage with dishes like Baja red snapper with adobo and a corn stew inspired by elote. With pastry chef Patrick Fahy’s experience, which includes stints at The French Laundry, the bread and desserts here are worth ordering, including the pretzel bread with mustard butter.
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