Home #Hwoodtimes Three Valley Restaurants Welcome Moms, Families for Mother’s Day

Three Valley Restaurants Welcome Moms, Families for Mother’s Day

Federal exterior

It’s coming: Mother’s Day, and you’d better be ready. Research from The National Restaurant Association consistently ranks Mother’s day as the most popular holiday of the year to dine out, followed by Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Easter.

So, if you’re going to push the boat out, why not make it count? Here’s three of our favorite places in the Valley to make mom or loved one—and you—feel special on the day.

Noho Federal signage (Photo credit Morgan Margolis)

Has mom got a rock and roll heart? Does she like BEER? Well, then, she’ll love The Federal Bar Noho, which ushered the gastropub tradition into the Valley ten years ago and has anchored the neighborhood ever since.  The converted bank building offers a brick-walled, floor-to ceiling windows, early 20th century vibe and a punk, rock, and ska club upstairs, newly christened Knitting Factory NoHo after the company’s other venues in Washington, Idaho and soon-to-come Manhattan. Chef Chris Olsefsky recently rejoined the Knitting Factory family after refining their pan-Latin concept Bow and Truss via Say It Ain’t So @sayitaintsopb, where he riffed classic SoCal fast food with plant-based alternatives like vegan crunchadillas, burgers, and mini taquitos.

Fed Noho Salmon Eggs Bennie

Olsefsky’s turned the Federal’s gastropub menu inside out with a pan-Asian twist. Mother’s Day specials include salmon benedict with smoked salmon, poached egg, and yuzu hollandaise on a house baked English muffin; avocado tartine with smashed avocado, yuzu, and salsa seca on house-baked sourdough; and a lemon ricotta cheesecake. Olsefsky’s refreshed the all-day dining menu for Mother’s Day, offering pickled jalapeno poppers with goat cheese, cheddar, Monterey jack, and buttermilk raita, buffalo cauliflower, and seasoned impossible tacos with vegan nacho cheese alongside decidedly meaty birria gyoza (dumplings) with braised beef, guajillo, consommé and cilantro and yellowfin tuna crudo with yuzu kosho, cucumber, scallion, cilantro, sesame, edamame, and rice crackers. He’s doing three kinds of mac & cheese (one vegan), steaks and salmon, and The Federal’s venerable OMH (Oh My Habanero) burger: a beef patty, tomato, avocado, habanero jam, pepper jack, onion strings, chipotle aioli, and iceberg lettuce on a brioche bun.  Mom can wash that all down with rotating taps and cocktails running the gamut from the J Lo (El Jimador Reposado, Passionfruit, lime, agave, tajin) to the Nearest and Dearest (the sensational Uncle Nearest 1884 whiskey, Sorel, Lucano Amaro). Oh, and she’ll appreciate the Federal’s signature bottomless mimosas and a live acoustic guitar set from noon to 2:00PM. All service a la carte.

Fed Noho food selection

In Encino, new owners took over the shabby old El Torito on this site a few years ago, and after several incarnations, it’s emerged as The Oaks at Lakeside and remains the only place for waterside dining in the Valley. Mother’s Day brunch is served both on an exquisite patio and fully outdoors under Encino’s namesake ancient oaks alongside a lake chock full of squawking ducks, geese, cormorants, and numerous other species of waterfowl. Kids will have a ball getting their sillies out on the adjacent lawn (featuring a natural spring-fed stream) and in Encino State Historic Park next door.

The Oaks at Lakeside

The 4.7 acre rancho site, purchased by Californio Vicente de la Ossa in 1849 and designated a State Park in 1949, includes the original nine-room De la Ossa Adobe—the oldest home in Encino—the 1872 two-story limestone Garnier building (rebuilt after the Northridge earthquake), a blacksmith shop, and a pond.

What’s on the menu? A three-course prix-fixe brunch with a mimosa toast for $65 per person combining traditional brunch favorites, seafood and just a hint of Mediterranean influences.  Start with crab cakes and corn succotash, avocado toast with watermelon radishes, za’atar and lemon vinaigrette, a breakfast parfait layering yogurt, fresh berries, and granola with a honey drizzle, or a burrata salad with tomatoes, a balsamic glaze and basil chiffonade (that’s thin strips of basil for the rest of us). Mains run the gamut from pork belly hash—mmm, pork fat—with eggs any style, bell peppers, spinach, caramelized onions and potatoes and crab benedict to a New York steak and eggs, brioche official Nutellaâ French toast with walnuts and berries and a veggie omelet. Choose bread pudding or strawberry cake for dessert and drink in the view of your mom along with your mimosa.


Few restaurants pivoted as adroitly through the pandemic as well as Studio City’s Firefly, hiding in plain sight behind an unmarked door and lush ivy wall at Ventura and Colfax. While other joints just threw up a tent, Firefly converted its parking lot into as breathtaking a patio—with parquet floors, drapery and framed Victorian mirrors and wicker chandeliers, white wicker tables and mid-century wireframe chairs—as  its main (and thankfully, mainly outdoor) space. A Valley institution since 2002 with a freshness and verve that feels like today, Firefly boasts an elegant fine dining experience with a weekend late night lounge element. The restaurant features a magnificent ambience, covered in vines and outdoor greenery, complete with a stunning library lounge and, now, TWO of the Valley’s best patios.


Mother’s Day’s an $85 three-course prix fixe at Firefly, starting with an amuse bouche of Luca Bosio Brachetto D’Acqui sparkling red wine and sunchoke croquette of brie cheese and honey. Starters include chilled cantaloupe melon soup with olive oil, nduja oregano, and sourdough toast,  a spicy little gem niçoise with hard boiled quail eggs, green beans, baby artichokes, olive, spring onion, shallots and spicy Dijon mustard dressing, and an avocado toast salad with beetroot, pickled turnip, goat curd, balsamic dressing.


Mains include steak and eggs with smoked bacon hash and fried duck eggs, tea-smoked salmon benedict with Spinach and yuzu hollandaise, a pan-seared branzino filet with savory English pea pancakes, asparagus, herbs, and a sabayon and bell pepper ginger relish. For vegans, there’s a mushroom pasta with creamy white bean and black truffles. Desserts on offer include berries two ways—as a tart or in a bowl—and chocolate molten cake with homemade clotted cream ice cream.

In closing, we were thinking of publishing recipes for MY official cocktail of Mother’s Day—and pretty much all daylight hours—the Bloody Mary. Then we thought, let’s save that for another column. But we’ll tantalize you with ONE recipe, from the kitsch palace the Madonna Inn, a scant 180 miles up the road in San Luis Obispo. I don’t know what they are serving Mother’s Day, but we promise it includes pie.

2 scoops horseradish
½ cup black pepper
1/3 cup celery salt
2 bottles A-1 steak sauce
2 cups Worcestershire sauce
Cholula and Tabasco to taste
1 small scoop brown sugar
7-10 limes
3 64-ounce cans tomato juice

Combine thoroughly. Serves 24.

If you go:

The Federal Bar: 5303 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601, (818) 980-2555, https://thefederalnoho.com/ 11:00AM-3:00PM Reservations Yelp

The Oaks at Lakeside: 16817 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436, (747) 217-4002, https://theoaksatlakeside.com 10:00AM-3:00PM Reservations Open Table

Firefly, 11720 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604, (818) 762-1833, https://www.fireflystudiocity.com 10:00 AM-4:00PM Reservations Open Table