16606 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA | Directions 9143634.157554 -118.494910
Neighborhoods: Encino, South Valley
With a bit of luck, the food at this friendly and boisterous Italian-American spot can be as good as the atmosphere. – The Scene
With its black, white and red color scheme, Maria's is a bright, welcoming place. Friendly waiters hover helpfully around tables full of families, ritzy ladies out for dinner and couples grabbing a quick bite.
Maria's might be a handy neighborhood hangout, but the food is hit and miss. The fried zucchini appetizer soars, the slender strips are both juicy and crispy with sesame seeds adding extra crunch to the batter. The spinach salad, with Gorgonzola, pancetta, and glazed walnuts, is also satisfying. Equally tasty are the porcini mushroom risotto with artichoke hearts and peas, and the grilled chicken panini served on a thick wedge of foccacia. The chicken florentine is also good, a huge serving all gooey with spinach and melted cheese. On the unimpressive side are the Capri salad, served with stiff mozzarella, and doughy gnocchi a la marinara.
Good Stuff – We have been coming to Maria's for several years. The food here focuses on tomato based offerings as opposed to cream - southern style we're told. The service can be spotty, sometimes it's great, sometimes a bit lazy. All valley locations seem to be constantly busy - the result of providing consistent food at reasonable prices. If you are nearby one of their locations, you might want to give them a try.
Ave Maria – You can't beat Maria's for take-in/delivery. They're fast, affordable, and the chopped salads here are the best. Pastas are also excellent, and the pizza is adquate, but not the best in town.
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