A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were invited to experience an authentic Israeli meal. Since our host is Israeli, when he told me it was the real deal, I really had no reason to doubt him. After all, he wanted us to experience what a true Israeli meal was like, and if this was the best example he knew of in the Los Angeles area, I was game. We were not disappointed.

We met him at Big Itzik Grill, which is located in a strip mall on Ventura Blvd, in Encino. I have to say, I am beginning to think some of the best kept secrets in the culinary world seem to be located in strip malls. I used to shy away from even considering a strip mall for a location, preferring a restaurant with a view, but it seems that every time I eat at a restaurant in a strip mall I walk away extremely satisfied. Big Itzik Grill was no exception.

To be honest, I was not sure what to expect. Since I needed an address for the place, I headed over to Google and read some reviews. Naturally, the [presumably] college age kids that frequent Yelp were complaining about the price. Since I have yet to see a review there that did not have someone complain about cost, I took it with a grain of salt. I read what the menu consisted of to be sure there would be something Tanya would eat and decided that as long as they had lamb we would be fine.

Once seated, our host ordered what I thought was a salad for us to share. Well, if you saw the pictures I linked to above you will see that the “salad” was about 20 different salads. The waitress just kept coming out with more and more food. There was eggplant, cucumber, carrots, potatoes, eggs, hummus, falafel, and a couple different kinds of bread. Each of the salad dips came in small bowls that were immediately refilled upon request. The amount of food was almost overwhelming.

Since we were told we had to try some kabobs and skewered meats (not exactly the same thing), we dove in. Delicious! I know we had lamb and I am pretty sure there was some chicken and beef involved along the way, but the food just kept on coming, so it would have required that I take notes to be able to list everything we had.

As we were guests I did not see the check, however, I read that a meal like that runs between $20 and $25 per person. For the amount of food and the quality, I do not know how anyone could complain. The hot tip seems to be to eat up, let them refill your order, and then pack that to go. They do not have a problem with that and will pack it nicely for you. In fact, there were so many leftovers that the next day we headed to the Arabic market down the street to pick up some pita bread and we enjoyed it for lunch the next day. It was just as good then as the night before.

Will I go again? You can bank on it. One nice thing about this restaurant is that if you have a group of people and some of them are vegetarian, you are not going to have a problem since all of the salads are all vegetables, even if they do taste like they could have meats involved. One was an eggplant dish that was a faux chicken liver (or that is what I gathered). All I can say is that chicken livers never tasted that good when I was a kid.

If you are in the Encino area and want to try some great mid-Eastern food, Big Itzik Grill gets two thumbs up from me.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top