Ramzy’s Cafe: Your answer to Valley nightlife

Nicole Lauren Johnson

Forget driving 20 miles to Hollywood and dealing with the ridiculous lines of overplayed celebrity hangouts. Finally, there is a place for those Valley-dwellers seeking a night life close to home and budget. Adorned golden walls carved with statues of pharaohs and sensual red lighting enticed me as I entered Ramzy’s Café in Tarzana. The former Italian eatery Viva Italia has been transformed into a Mediterranean palace.Faint smells of citrus-scented hookah smoke floated into my nostrils as a waiter led us to a black leather sofa decorated with ruby pillows.Already feeling like a king, we were given a full menu that included Mediterranean style appetizers, sandwiches, salads, kabobs, smoothies and about 30 flavors of hookah. Tea, coffee and desserts were also an option, including alcohol.Two large flat-screen TVs streaming non-stop hip-hop and Arabic videos had me swaying on my sofa. My waiter, Leo, noticed the rhythm in my hips that I could hardly contain. “Don’t be shy, people are always dancing,” he said. It must have been the vodka and Red Bull. Or was it?At the suggestion of my charming waiter, I ordered a mixture of the sweet melon and passion kiss hookah flavors. At $20, I was beyond satisfied, with a hookah that burned past half an hour and a coal that never seemed to go out. Once my hookah had burned through, Leo packed us some hookah full of white grape that went for $15 a refill. After the liquor ran through my veins, I was ready for some munchies. To be honest, the menu was full of mostly ethnic food unfamiliar to me, so my friend and I opted for the mozzarella sticks and chicken wings with french fries. For about $8.50, we received a massive amount of food fit for a pharaoh.Open since May 11, 2007, it is easy to see how Ramzy’s Café has attracted young crowds with their music and sensuality. With no established closing time on Fridays and Saturdays, Leo insisted that the party doesn’t stop until the last customer leaves, which is usually around 4 a.m.”New Year’s Eve was crazy,” said Leo. “We didn’t leave until 9 a.m. People stopped drinking at last call and then stayed until 6 a.m. to start drinking again.”Don’t get your hopes up, kids. You must be 21 to order alcohol and 18 to enjoy hookah. On Friday and Saturday nights, a DJ spins beats from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.Being a clean freak, I set out to investigate the restroom, hoping that it didn’t resemble many of the damp infested bars I’ve been subjected to. Ladies will most certainly appreciate the clean, spacious and divinely decorated restrooms fit for a queen.The reasonable prices, energetic staff and alluring ambiance of this local joint make it an essential stop. Located less than two miles from Pierce College on Ventura Boulevard, Ramzy’s is the perfect place for an after school hangout or an all-night party.


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