Monday, November 22, 2010

Casa Vega puts the tinsel in your holiday season

If you want the kind of restaurant where they have overflowing tinsel hanging from the ceiling in November (and perhaps more of the year), Mexican food with a lot of melted cheese, inexpensive margaritas during happy hour and long waits if you arrive after 6 pm, then Casa Vega is for you.  It is one of those San Fernando Valley institutions that has been on the Boulevard forever, in this case more than 40 years.

Meals at Casa Vega begin with bowls of the saltiest tortilla chips I have ever eaten.  I like salt, a lot.  But these chips were a whole new level of saltiness; just two or three would likely exceed the recommended sodium intake for the day.  The margarita I had was strong but also salty and I was drinking it through a straw, not the heavily salted rim.

Many of the meals come with a salad or your choice of tortilla soup or albondigas (meatball) soup to begin.  I choose the tortilla soup, which was fine and thankfully not oversalted.  The combination of chicken tamale and chicken enchilada was huge.  It was enough food to feed two people easily.  The enchilada was average as was the tamale.  The service was decent and they were good natured about serving our large party, which can't have been easy.

I can't really see the attraction of Casa Vega unless you are either nearby in the Valley during happy hour and want a cheap margarita or are hungry late night as they stay open until 2 am.  You could easily do better than this for dinner at a normal time, and the waits are legendary.  No reservations, of course.

Casa Vega: 13301 Ventura Blvd @ Fulton, Sherman Oaks.  Phone: (818) 788-4868.  Website:

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