04 Feb Mizlala Sherman Oaks
At least once a week, I find myself driving on Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, near the exit from the 405. Whether I am driving to or from my parents home, I pass by a handful of restaurants on the west side of Sepulveda Blvd. There is an Italian restaurant and a Katsuya izaka-ya, which I have been to, but I had not noticed the restaurant in between the two until now. Mizlala, which opened in 2016, is a family run restaurant serving modern Mediterranean cuisine and I now cannot stop going there.
Mizlala is owned and run by Danny Elmaleh and his wife Justine. Danny took over the space, formerly known as Simon’s Cafe, from his father, chef-owner Simon Elmaleh, when he retired. Danny Elmaleh had previously worked at Cleo and Doheny Room before opening Mizlala, which means “eatery in Hebrew”.
Open for lunch and dinner, Mizlala, which has a second location on West Adams, offers a flavorful menu of Mediterranean dishes that will tempt you. I can never decid what to have as everything looks and sounds so good and I have not ordered the same thing twice yet.
The Hummus is a must! It is rich and creamy and reminded me of the delicious hummus I ate when I was in Israel. The Hummus “Masabacha” is served with warm chickpeas, nutty tahini, lemon, cumin and cayenne. The hummus comes with soft, za’atar-dusted laffa bread that is baked in-house and served hot. There is also hummus with spiced beef and green chili oil, one with avocado, feta, and zaatar, and one with fried artichokes and chimichurri.
The Salatim are small side dishes. Each one also comes with the freshly made za’atar-dusted laffa bread.
Roasted Pepper Muhammara
Lebaneh with Feta
Under the Shared Plates, one of my favorite dishes is the Bourekas. The delicate puff pastry pockets are filled with cheese, truffled mushrooms, or spinach and feta.
The crispy Brussel Sprouts are served with hazelnuts, fresno chilies, orange and sherry for a touch of sweetness.
The Skillet Haloumi is served flaming tableside with a brandy flambe. Honey, walnuts and orange are on top of the cheese, adding a sweet note, and chimichurri is served on the side.
One of the most popular dishes, and rightfully so, is the Moroccan Fried Chicken cooked with spiced duck fat and served with dill chips, apricot mustard, harissa aioli.
The Kebab section of the menu offers a single kebab of chicken, kefta (lamb meatballs), skirt steak, filet mignon, tiger shimp, lamb shewarma, spicy merguez sausages or Scottish salmon. The Scottish salmon is cooked in a tandoori marinad and the fish is simple yet so flavorful.
There is also a section of Laffa Wraps, using the delicious house-baked, Israeli-style flatbread. Laffa wraps are made with chicken shawarma, grilled kefta (ground spiced lamb kebab), spicy merguez sausage or falafel. The falafel is very fresh and wrapped with lebane, chopped vegetables, pickled fennel and sabina.
Mizlala is not a large restaurant. The glass-fronted restaurant looks out to Sepulveda Blvd and a colorful tile arch decorates the side wall of the open kitchen, which offers counter seating. The space is informal and casual and they do not take reservations. Expect a long wait for a table, especially on a weekend. You can add your name to the waitlist before you arrive via Yelp.
Northing on the menu exceeds $18 and there is an automatic 14% tip added to each bill for the back-of-the-house staff.
Mizlala is a popular place and the wait may be long and the service can be slow, but it is worth it. Once you take your first bite into the food at Mizlala, you will forget about the wait and understand why I keep going back for more.
4515 Sepulveda Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA