Encino is an enclave of the San Fernando Valley filled with quiet blocks of big houses, as well as areas with clusters of apartment buildings. The area is infamous for being mentioned in Frank Zappa’s 1982 hit song “Valley Girl” – and in a lot of ways, this upper middle class, historic neighborhood hasn’t changed since.
Where is Encino?
Encino is an old money area, surrounded by even older money. It starts in the south at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, just north of Bel Air and Brentwood, with Sherman Oaks to the east, Reseda to the north, and Tarzana to the west. It is sliced through by a bustling section of Ventura Blvd.
Encino is one of the oldest parts of the Valley. The 1769 Portola Expedition went over the Sepulveda Pass and stayed near what is now Los Encinos State Historic Park. The name Encino means “evergreen” or “oak” in Spanish and is said to refer to The Encino Oak Tree that resided for 1000 years in an area that became Louise Avenue near Ventura Blvd. Sadly, it was felled by the El Nino storms of 1998 and now only a stump and a plaque remains.
According to many residents, Encino has a small town feel, with amenities within walking distance. The average lot size is bigger than other areas of the city, making certain blocks very quiet and rural, particularly above Burbank Blvd.
What to Do
The main area for shopping and dining is situated on Ventura Blvd. between White Oak and Balboa, an area called the Encino Commons, dubbed The Valley’s Miracle Mile, and home to a high number of businesses.
Encino is anchored by several areas of lush parkland, including the 5-acre Los Encinos State Historic Park, the Sepulveda Dam, and Sepulveda Gardens. Dog owners can enjoy the off-leash Sepulveda Basin Dog Park. There’s also a sports complex with baseball field and several golf courses. In short: there’s plenty to do outdoors.
For groceries, there’s Ralph’s, Gelson’s Market or Super Sal Market down the boulevard, which features Israeli and kosher foods.
Where to Eat and Drink
Want to get a true taste of Encino? Save this date: October 10, 2021. It’s when the Encino Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual event – A Taste of Encino. This mega event showcasing the best that the community has to offer – from local restaurants to arts and crafts and home improvement ideas – takes place on the second Sunday of October, every year.
Davenport’s Restaurant is also a must-visit. Excellent food made with quality ingredients coupled with a cozy restaurant where you feel right at home – equals a great experience.
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If you like Middle Eastern fare, you can visit a few places including Sadaf, specializing in kabobs and eggplant. Also check out Scratch, a popular spot among locals where they get to taste some very unique dishes, all made from scratch, as the name suggests. They also serve what is probably the best sourdough bread in the area.
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Moving to Encino
Real Estate Snapshot
Encino apartments are not for bargain hunters. The average rent here runs around $1,964 and the cost of living is higher than the already expensive Los Angeles average rate. This is primarily due to the high cost of rent, rather than groceries or restaurants.
Most people get around by car, which can be especially frustrating if you have to commute on the 405 to West LA. However, the Orange Line cuts across Encino, and many commuters take it to Warner Center or North Hollywood and beyond. Because there are so many seniors in the area, there are several shuttles just for them.
Schools & Employment
Schools in the area are predominantly private or charter, catering to well-heeled families. Elementary and middle schools both public and private get high marks, but there is no public high school within its boundaries. Since they can afford it, many opt for a private option like Crespi Carmelite.
The local economy is primarily based on healthcare jobs, but there are also plenty of opportunities available in the professional services sectors such as accounting, real estate and legal. The neighborhood is home to over 3,800 businesses so finding a suitable job might not be a very difficult task.
If you are looking for an area that’s quiet, upscale, and you don’t have too far to commute, there’s no better option than Encino.
Check out more Los Angeles neighborhood guides:
Downtown Los Angeles: Cutting Edge Living in LA’s Historic Core
Living in Van Nuys, Los Angeles: Where You can Enjoy the Glitzy LA Life on a Budget
Wilshire – Montana, Santa Monica: Beach Living with a Touch of Class
Westlake, Los Angeles: A Low Cost Alternative to Downtown Living
Living in Palms, Los Angeles: A Historic Neighborhood, Populated by Millennials
Hollywood – a Vibrant LA Neighborhood with Celebrity Status
Koreatown – The Little City That Never Sleeps
Westwood – Live Large in the Center of It All
Sherman Oaks – Timeless Elegance in the Heart of the Valley
Sawtelle – A Walkable, Culture-Filled Enclave Bustling with L.A. Charm