STUDIO CITY

Forget Hollywood. If you want to spot a real-life celebrity in Los Angeles, your best bet is Studio City, the neighborhood quite literally named after a movie studio lot (what is now CBS Studios). During our day in the area, we spotted one former “Sexiest Man Alive,” a big budget action star, and a Real Housewife.

The location of Studio City, nestled between the Hollywood Hills and many TV and movie studios, makes it an ideal neighborhood for actors (and wanna-be actors!), but sometimes less ideal for the rest of us. You’ll see Angelenos crinkle their noses at the mention of “The Valley” (a reference to the San Fernando Valley, the urbanized valley on the outskirts of Los Angeles), and Studio City’s lack of diversity and walkable streets can make for challenges. But we found that beyond the well-known sushi spots and popular Middle Eastern markets, Studio City has another side: emerging and interesting restaurants, a beloved farmers’ market and some incredible hikes. We also delved into some TV history, a couple of glasses of velvety wine, and one unforgettable dish of vegan cinnamon apple french toast (who knew?!) There might be something for the rest of us here, even if we aren’t on a Bravo TV franchise.

Stop 1: SunCafe Organic Cuisine

We may not be vegans, but our brunch at SunCafe was the stuff of Sunday dreams. We planted ourselves on the sunny patio, and quickly ordered the kombucha on tap (hi, we live in LA) and the cinnamon apple french toast. We followed with the house raw cereal, avocado toast, and a savory crepe. The bread – made at a local farm which grows the wheat, mills it and then bakes it – served to remind us that everything we’re buying at the grocery store is junk. That is how bread is supposed to taste, by god.

Insider’s tip: we didn’t have room after stuffing ourselves, but SunCafe is known for their shakes.

(10820 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City)

Stop 2: Red Window Coffee

Red Window Coffee is a walk-up coffee bar serving up some crazy good coffee. They use Blue Bottle, and are known for their delicious Flat Whites (get it “Aussie Style” for a little extra sweetness). Because we were contending with 90-degree plus heat, we opted for the cold brew and an iced soy latte, both of which were silky AND strong. You should probably stop by.

(12953 Venture Boulevard, Studio City)

Stop 3: Studio City Farmers' Market

The Sunday Farmers’ Market is probably one of the biggest draws in Studio City: in a neighborhood where it’s unlikely you’ll run into friends on the street, this is the spot to see people and feel part of the community. There is the usual fresh produce and flowers, but also a variety of family activities (and some incredibly delicious Middle Eastern goods – look no further for hummus, babaghanoush, and freshly baked pita). It’s located on Ventura Place, between Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevards. Ample street parking.

Stop 4: Artisan Cheese Gallery

We’ve never come across a slice of cheese we didn’t like, but Artisan Cheese Gallery offers all kinds of unique gourmet cheese you probably won’t find anywhere else (along with paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches – SWOON). We ordered a Three Cheese Plate of the cheese monger’s choice – they plated a blue cheese, a gouda and a brie, along with a sampling of dried apricots, candied ginger and pineapple, crispy baguettes and an assortment of nuts. We washed it down with some glasses of rosé and chardonnay.

(12023 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City)

Stop 5: Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook

The Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook is located on the north side of Mulholland Drive, in the gorgeous Fryman Canyon Park. There are plenty of fantastic hiking spots nearby, but if you’re in heels (like we were) or just out enjoying a Sunday drive in your red sports car (as many others were!), this is the perfect place to just stop for a glorious view of the entire San Fernando Valley. There’s a small free parking lot, and it’s a great starting point for a nature hike, with a plethora of trails within reach.

(8401 Mulholland Drive, Studio City)

Stop 6: Brady Bunch House

If you were a big fan of the Brady Bunch as a kid (or a grown-up!), there’s a small slice of TV history located within Studio City: the 70s-style suburban home where the Brady Bunch “lived.” True fans might notice that the Brady’s home on TV was two-story, and the actual house is single-level – since the Studio City house was found after the crew had already constructed a set with an upstairs and downstairs, set designers added a fake window above the house to make it look two-story.

There were a couple of fans outside taking pictures when we pulled up, but the home still embodies much of what drew the crew to it in the first place: a normal, middle-class suburban appearance.

(11222 Dilling Street, Studio City)

Stop 7: Local Ice

We’d certainly eat ice cream on a January evening in Antarctica, but the scorching April temperatures in Studio City made for perfect ice-cream-eating weather. We walked over to Local Ice, a classic ice cream parlor with counter service and a small outdoor patio. The interior might have an old-school vibe, but the menu is anything but: they serve New York Italian ice, but with flavors like pineapple, orange creamsicle, and chocolate snow. We ordered two scoops of ice cream (Josh’s Java and Milo’s Minted Chip) and a Diet Coke Float (with Cookie Monster ice cream). They have a certified dairy plant on site, and make all their treats in-house with only a handful of ingredients.

The sweet owner, Greg, also let us sample the Salty Sam’s Caramel and the Cherry Chocolate Chunk. This could easily become our new after-school spot.

Insider’s Tip: they are closed on Mondays.

(12747 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City)

Stop 8: Ceremony

Oh, what’s that? We can order our tacos and Cuban sandwiches from a VW bus, while sitting on a darling patio and sipping margaritas? SIGN US UP.

At first glance, Ceremony is slightly confusing: there’s a bar to your right, an Italian restaurant to your left, and the VW kombi bus smack-dab in the middle (all three are connected). But find yourself a seat in the covered patio area, and grab a menu. In addition to the Baja tacos and Cuban pork sandwiches, there’s an array of Mexican dishes, agua frescas and a healthy beer and cocktail list. The concept is said to be inspired by the film “Chef,” which is only another reason to add that the Cuban sandwich is a MUST.

Insider’s tip: Shoe shine service is coming soon.

(11814 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City)

The Details:

Mostly everything in Studio City is located along Ventura Boulevard, but getting around on foot and bike is challenging. You will need a car (or be up for a serious hike!) if you include the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook. There are a few buses with routes along Ventura, and you can find more information here.

A map of our day looks like this:

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