Best of Toluca Lake

Please feel free to email me with recommendations for schools, teachers, restaurants, shops, businesses, etc. I’ll put it on the page and make sure I include your name!  Please also see my Best of Burbank page and my Best of Studio City page, and you can also visit my blog for latest community news.  You might also enjoy my Pinterest “Life in Toluca Lake” board, too.


It’s not cheap, but The Hotel Amarano ( has a hip, elegant vibe that has made it the top hotel for visiting entertainment industry execs.  The Library is the Amarano’s cocktail lounge and has a chic (expensive) but welcoming atmosphere.


Don Cuco’s: We frequent this extremely popular Mexican restaurant located in Toluca Lake on Riverside Drive.  This location is intimate and cozy and perfect for a first date or family outing.  Make reservations or be prepared to wait for a table, especially during the weekend.

Your menu choices at Don Cucos are not limited: the traditional tacos are delicious and I recommend everyone try them with the fish alternative.  The enchiladas Sonora are a real treat made with Jalapeo tortillas and fresh salsa.  Fresh fish and seafood are offered and the shrimp is tasty when combined with guacamole and salsa.  And lastly, dont forget about the fresh margaritas with dinner, theyre delicious.

Address: Don Cucos, 3911 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505, 818-842-1143

Novo Cafe

This place has an unassuming coffee-stop vibe to it from the outside.  Yes, it does have coffee, homemade pastries and snacks.  But Novo also features several homemade fresh pasta dishes for lunch and dinner that are to die for and incredibly priced.  They have beer and wine, too.  You can even watch the pasta being made.  The entrees are bare-bones — no salad and bread but who needs more carbs, anyway? Service is young, efficient and enthusiastic, too.  Novo is located at 3900 W. Riverside and their website is

The Red Door
The coolest speakeasy-type bar ever! It’s in the alley behind Paty’s.  See my 2011 blog post at about this.

The Corner

It’s not hard to find a good hamburger in L.A., but The Corner has some of the best.  You order by columns: meat (or vegan), bun (or not), condiments, etc. Beer and wine, too. It’s a fun place right in the middle of Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.



Tamara Dahill Salon
Tamara’s has been a fixture at 10216 Riverside Drive for many years now and her stylists are uniformly excellent.  Visit for a complete menu of salon services including all hair styling services, facials, spa treatments and more.  Tamara herself trained at Vidal Sasson’s school in London and began her career by specializing in men’s haircuts.  Today, she’s a hair color genius in addition to giving fabulous cuts and other styling services.  If you need Japanese straightening or thermal reconditioning, Alison Carroll is the person to see.  I’ve had my hair straightened by many experienced stylists over the years and Alison is head-and-shoulders above any of the others in talent.  Although it sounds trite to say, she’s changed my life! Regardless of who at the salon you visit, you’ll like the prompt service, the competitive prices, and happy, lively atmosphere.  Telephone 818-752-6567 or 818-285-4101.

Jewelry Repair:

Altobelli Jewelers
Client and friend Barbara Wise recently found a great jewelry store in North Hollywood (okay, my North Hollywood page is coming soon but Toluca Lake is close) called Altobelli Jewelers.  Barbara says they are top of the line for appraisals and repair as well as selection. Visit their website at


George S. Tabor, M.D. (Dermatology)
If you have skin problems or would like other cosmetic services, Dr. Tabor is the person to see.  Since 1971, Dr. George S. Tabor has been practicing in the same office in the Burbank/Toluca Lake area.  He graduated George Washington University Medical School, Washington, D.C., interned at LA County/USC, completed his dermatology residency at UCLA, and is a member of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, as well as a member and past president of the San Fernando Valley Dermatological Society.  I’ve known his expert assistants, Janine and Angie, for so long that I consider them friends!  The office is located at 3808 Riverside Drive, Suite 404, Burbank, CA 91505. Telephone: 818-845-8558.