Open since 1956, Casa Vega Restaurant in Sherman Oaks is considered by many to be a San Fernando Valley mainstay. Long popular among Los Angeles residents, the restaurant is a favorite spot to grab a margarita at the bar or enjoy an authentic Mexican dinner.
The dimly lit restaurant was decorated festively for the holidays and the bar was crowded with customers sipping margaritas and eagerly awaiting their table. As Casa Vega does not accept reservations, you will often find the bar and waiting area packed, especially as the night progresses since the restaurant is one of the few in the area serving food until 1 a.m. The atmosphere is fun with a mixed crowd of trendy youths, families, lifelong Valley residents and even the occasional celebrity.
As you peruse the extensive margarita and drink menu, your table will be served chips and salsa. The smooth salsa has a spicy kick and is addicting alongside the crunchy tortilla chips.
Nearly every meal begins with a choice of a tostada salad or cup of soup. The Tostada Chiquita salad has fresh shredded lettuce, tomatoes, beets and beans atop a crispy corn tostada. Among the soup options, the Chile con Queso soup is highly recommended. A flavorful, tomato broth with tender chunks of carrots, celery and mild green chiles served with a helping of shredded cheese is a savory, satisfying start to the meal.
Among the entrée choices are classic combinations of tacos, tamales, enchiladas and chile rellenos. House specials include Pollo En Mole, The Vega Rib Eye and Taquitos Rancheros. A highlight of the menu is the Carnitas de Puerco; an insider tip is to order the deliciously seasoned shredded pork “extra crispy.”
An unusual entry on the menu is the Lobster Enchiladas, prepared in a corn tortilla with Maine lobster sautéed in a garlic lemon sauce. The enchiladas are topped with a light green sauce rather than the traditional red sauce, offering a subtler flavor so as to not overpower the taste of the lobster.
The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, high-quality ingredients such as cage-free, all-natural chicken, all-natural Angus beef, and Maine Lobster. All of the entrées are generous portions, served with refried beans and Spanish rice.
Desserts include Flan, Churros and Fried Ice Cream, though it is doubtful you’ll still be hungry after the hearty meal. The servers are all friendly, as are the bartenders, which is a good thing since the wait for a table can reach over an hour during peak times. But with the fun vibe, tasty margaritas and delicious food, Casa Vega is well worth the wait.
Casa Vega Restaurant is located at 13301 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and offers valet parking. 818-788-4868. http://www.casavega.com/