opened its second location on Ventura Boulevard and Rhodes in Studio City just over a year ago. The original, on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, is iconic for the fact that it really started the coffehouse plus food movement in Los Angeles in 1989.
This casual café is a welcome addition to the San Fernando Valley with a choice of indoor or outdoor (sidewalk) seating. It has that urban feel that is rare to find in the 818. It can get fairly loud inside due to the minimalistic design mix of concrete walls and glass windows, so if you want to talk quietly, outside is a better bet.
First up, if you’re a coffee drinker, this is the place for you. Each cup ordered is individually prepared. It’s one strong cup of ‘joe’ served in hefty, round, wide mouthed mugs ($2.25 a cup, no free refills, but believe me, you don't need it). The beans are not roasted on the Studio City premises (they are roasted over the hill), but with a special barista brewing each cup, you won’t know the difference. You can purchase roasted beans for $12 a pound.
Got a yen for lattes? Kings Road makes theirs with the perfect foam — the design on top lasts until you drink that last drop. There is also a good selection of teas for non-coffee drinkers.
is well-known for its breakfasts and signature paninis — and they serve both all day. Stand out breakfasts are the Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes with a choice of plain, blueberry, or banana pecan and served with 100% maple syrup ($8.95); the Breakfast Burrito is huge and slightly different than the usual with eggs, black beans, Spanish rice, mozzarella and guacamole ($9.50); the Breakfast Panini is a pretty perfect combination of fontina cheese omelette, fresh pesto and roma tomato ($9.25).
And of course, the omelettes are quite good and on the drier, rather than buttery side. If you order an omelette that includes avocado, ask if it’s guacamole or avocado because depending on the omelette, it might be guacamole (if it matters to you). Omelettes come with a side of roasted potatoes and toast.
Paninis are served on fresh focaccia bread from the Melrose Baking Company. The Chipolte Chicken Breast (grilled) with avocado, tomato, mozzarella and watercress is moist and delicious ($10.25). I’m not usually a fan of chicken sandwiches, but this stands apart. The Ahi Tuna Panini is prepared rare with lemon oil, roma tomatoes, onions and watercress. ($10.50). The Ahi is perfectly prepared and plentiful, although it needs a little more flavor, so I asked for the onions caramelized and aioli on the side.
If you’re a meat eater, try the Top Sirloin Steak Panini artfully blended with garlic aioli, caramelized onion, roasted tomato and watercress ($10.95) or the Braised Beef with roasted short rib meat, caramelized onion, cremini mushroom ($10.95).Vegetarian options include a fresh grilled vegetable panini (($8.50) and a fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and cucumber panini ($8.50). All paninis come with a side of red cabbage slaw with a tart olive oil and lemon dressing, which is a nice switch from fries. They do have sweet potato fries that are more like chunks of grilled sweet potatoes for an extra $1.50.
The Baja menu is eclectic with such dishes as the rich and flavorful Vegetarian Quesadilla filled with mozzarella, sundried tomato, cilantro, cremini mushrooms and spinach ($7.95) and the Rosarita Beach tacos with a choice of lobster, jumbo shrimp, chipolte chicken, steak or lobster with a side of Caesar salad ($8.75).
The menu is also filled with Burgers (garden, beef, turkey, salmon $9.50-$10.75), Salads with chicken, salmon, shrimp (my favorite) and ahi ($6.75-$14.95 & 1/2 portions available), Pastas ($11.50-$13.75), as well as various entrée dishes more appropriate for dinner, including fresh salmon, blackened ahi tuna, Cajun shrimp, rotisserie chicken and top sirloin ($12.50-$15.95). All include various sides such as garlic mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes and fresh grilled vegetables.
Kings Road Cafe is open M-F 8 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 7 am-6 pm www.kingsroadcafe.com (818) 985-3600