my favorite stretch of shops and restaurants in the Valley, the recently opened gastropub seemed to promise great things, with its relaxed and casual yet charming decor including an inviting, open bar area, communal tables and flat screen TVs in front, and cozy, sunlit dining area with its jewel colored cushions and dark woods in the back.
|Langostino Taco ($9)|
While waiting for our main, we were simultaneously driven to complete and utter distraction from our conversation by the pervasive fragrance of truffle - which wafted over from the next table - apparently one of the diners had opted for the Tartufona pizza as well. The aroma infused every sense and I literally could not think straight enough to continue holding conversation - we both stared at the pizza next table over and driveled incoherently until our own pizza arrived.
|Tartufona Pizza ($25)|
If not for social convention and need for some semblance of decorum, I would have picked the plate up and licked it clean. As it was, we ate every single crumb off this plate. Definitely the best truffle pizza north of Sunset Blvd. Actually, just to have truffle pizza period, in the effing Valley, makes me an instant fan of 8 1/2 Taverna. But to offer amazing truffle pizza - and the ability to have a fine dining experience in this virtually barren culinary landscape around our office - makes me a fan for life. Will definitely be escaping...I mean, returning, to this place on many more occasions.
8 1/2 Taverna also offers Happy Hour Daily 4pm-7pm - tap into dishes from sliders to shrimp cocktails $5-$8 and drink specials. And, this place is listed on OpenTable, so eligible for reservation points.
Thanks "Artist Cyclist" for recommending the place. I will be dreaming of the Tartufona tonight and can't wait to go back!
Update April 2011:
Whenever I have time to take a little longer lunch, I grab a coworker and head to 8 1/2 Taverna. Here are two more highlights of awesome bites from one of my favorite spots in the SFV!
|Ahi Tuna Bites ($9)|
|Porketta Pizza - daily special ($16)|
Yesterday I got the Porketta Pizza ($16) with spinach, mushrooms and braised pork belly - an incredibly juicy and flavorful pie. I had enough leftovers to reheat for dinner tonight and it still held up. Can't wait to go back and see what they serve up next!
[Update July 2011: Sad to report that 8 1/2 Taverna seems to have left the building with no notice. The place is locked and gutted, and there is a sign taped to the door that says the building owner was due to inspect the place to determine whether it's been abandoned on July 7th. Looks like it to me. I loved this place and this example is one reason that I have this blog - to let people know about great places so that hopefully as more readers like you come to the blog and discover them, to help to keep good spots open by giving them business. It's tragic for the neighborhood to lose a place like 8 1/2 Taverna - I will truly miss their pizzas and casual chic watering hole!]
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6.5 bites
Presentation - 5 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience - 5 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%
8 1/2 Taverna
Studio City, CA 91602
OpenTable: Look for reservations