8393 Beverly Blvd., Los Angelels
With 24 different noodle dishes and 13 rice dishes to choose from, stop here and enjoy the best of Asian delights! Begin your journey in Japan, with the soba crepe appetizer ($4.50). Next, let your taste buds travel to Vietnam with pho tai nam (Vietnamese rice noodles in clear soup with beef, bean sprouts and green chile, $5.50). China is just an order away with four to five different types of mein served, including zha-zha mein ($5.50). Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. No alcohol; takeout; delivery (lunch only); parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
12223 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles
If it is Mexican Vera Cruz–style cuisine you are after, then Mi Ranchito is your hot spot. Specializing in creative seafood entrées and authentic Mexican food delights, the menu is as extensive as they come. While enjoying the "best margaritas in town," start with the coctel de abulon (abalone cocktail, $7.95). Then go for the camarones endiablados (deviled shrimp, $8.95) or langosta a la Veracruzana (half a lobster, Vera Cruz style, market price). Breakfast Sat. and Sun. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. AE, DIS, MC, V.
655 W. Cahuenga Blvd., Universal City
1646 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood
The classic Hollywood location is the city's oldest Italian restaurant, while the sister location in the Valley is legendary in itself! They both offer 11 types of delicious pizzas that simply can't be missed! Try the shrimp and garlic pizza or the veggie house (mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and black olives). But the pies aren't the only goodies offered here. Try the sausage scaloppine, the spaghetti and meatballs, or keep things light with the excellent caesar salad and, of course, a glass of your favorite vino. Don't miss the live entertainment at the Hollywood location (comedy, pianists, live singers, etc.). Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
11819 Wilshire Blvd., #106A, Los Angeles
This little Japanese noodle restaurant is bustling with goodness. Most notably, the noodle dishes themselves are quite delicious. Whether it is soba (thin buckwheat noodles) or udon (thick white flour noodles) —served hot or cold, Mishima's touch is guaranteed to raise a smile. Give the kitsune with fried soybean curd a try ($5.95), or the tori nanban with chicken ($6.25). All the rice dishes are equally tasty, in particular the tanin don with beaten egg ($6.25) is a crowd-pleaser. Cap it all off with a zenzai, toasted rice cake in a hot red-bean sauce ($3.50). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
2000 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A.
Shabu shabu translates as "swish swish," the sound made when a diner dips paper-thin pieces of beef, chicken or veggies in a pot of boiling water. Japanese goma (sweet sesame) or ponzu (citrus soy) sauces and a heaping bowl of steamed rice accompany the main course. The lunch menu offers a choice of beef or chicken ($9.95) or vegetarian shabu shabu ($7.95). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and sake; free parking. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
11927 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.
If it is tasty Oaxacan food that you crave, look no further than Monte Alban, with its authentic cuisine from southeast Mexico! Known for its exotic flavors and wholesome portions, this hot spot is considered one of West L.A.'s best. For breakfast, try huevos a la Oaxaqueña (scrambled eggs with green beans, chopped tomato, onions and jalapeño pepper, $4). For lunch or dinner, you can't go wrong with estofado de pollo (chicken breast covered with tomato mole made with raisins, olives, sesame seeds and served with rice, $6.75). Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; parking availablet. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
7166 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
After pounding the pavement on trendy Melrose, rest your tired feet and revive your dulled senses with Mumtaz's complex Indian spices. Start off with curried mussels in garlic sauce ($5.50) or, for the more adventurous, there's tandoori quail ($4.95). All tandoori dishes (dinners of lamb tikka or fish tikka include soup, rice, naan and rice pudding for $10.95–$12.95) are marinated in yogurt and spices for a full day before being cooked to tender perfection in the traditional clay over. Specialties for two, like the King Prawn Masala dinner, start with samosas and onion pakoras, then finish up with dessert and coffee — all for $28.95. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1110½ Gayley Ave., Westwood
Native Foods prepares vegetarian food the way it should be, and tofu is not the be-all-to-end-all anymore. Now there are ingredients like tempeh (an Indonesian main staple made with soybeans, grains and rice cultures) as well as seiten (100 percent wheat protein) that are used as delicious meat substitutes. So try the spicy "save the chicken" burger ($5.95) or the Philly pepper steak (sliced and peppered seiten, sautéed in mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and Native cheese, $7.95). Lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout; catering; street parking. MC, V ($5 minimum).
1621 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
For 13 years this northern Indian restaurant has offered service fit for a king, although you don't need a royal budget to enjoy their dishes. Nawab has also undergone some renovations like adding décor such as silver lighting to enhance the dining experience. Feast on one of a variety of delicious samosas and pakoras, then try the aachari chicken or aachari gosht, a spicy assortment of marinated chicken and lamb. The lunch buffet is the best in town and is available daily ($9 weekdays, $12 weekends). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; free delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations required weekends only. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1700 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake
Netty's is a cozy, inviting nook specializing in "California comfort food." On the menu are tasty vittles like drunken shrimp with spicy beer butter, served with rice, salad and a corn-jalapeño muffin ($13.95), or a juicy pork-tenderloin sandwich with paprika onions, feta cheese and a side salad ($8.50). Vegetarians can tuck into a warm goat cheese salad with mixed baby greens served with balsamic vinaigrette and pesto bread ($9.95). Want to pick it up to go? Check out the convenient menu line at (323) 665-DISH; listing changes twice daily. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Beer and wine; takeout; parking. DC, MC, V.
1076 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
Wot's for dinner!? Yep, you got the idea. Soak up some wot (stew) with a piece of injera at this comfy establishment. Carnivores and herbivores alike can chow down on exotic combo plates (lamb, chicken and beef in a battery of sauces for the former, or lentils, split peas, carrots, potatoes and collard greens for the latter). Some dishes are spicy, so quench the fire with African beer ($4) or Ethiopian honey wine ($3.75). Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
10800 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A.
1111 E. Wilson Ave., Glendale
3488 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena
Panda Inn's executive chef Huang and his team of chefs (one at each restaurant) emphasize the four famous Chinese tenets of food preparation: color, fragrance, taste and completeness. With this in mind, his restaurants are appealing to all the senses, simultaneously, not just focused on the taste buds. The jade chicken (marinated white meat sautéed and smothered in seasonal greens) is a delightful entrée, as is the honey walnut shrimp. Also excellent are the rice and noodle dishes. Lunch and dinner seven days (brunch on Sunday). Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations accepted. AE, DC, MC, V.
281 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
625 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
The specialty here is unbaked gourmet pizza, custom-made and loaded with savory toppings — ready to go. Owner Patty Phillips serves tasty edibles on-site as well, including pizza by the slice, salads, sandwiches and calzones. The Nature's Feast Pizza — including mushrooms, olives and artichoke hearts — is a winner, and all pizzas are available in healthy variations (cheeseless, with soy cheese, etc.). Must-tries are the Asian Delight and the barbecue-chicken pizzas, winners of the 1999 American Taste Award of Excellence. Lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout; delivery; parking. MC, V.
Pink Pepper Thai Restaurant
1638 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood
With its authentic décor, tropical outdoor patio and large menu selection, this restaurant offers alluring atmosphere and good food. The pad Thai ($6.95) — a dish of shrimp, chicken and rice noodles (tofu optional for veggies) — is a real crowd-pleaser. Other popular dishes include the garlic lover's chicken ($6.95) and Pink Pepper roll ($4.95). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. AE, MC, V.
Pit Fire Pizza Co.
5211 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
Your quest for the perfect pizza may be over when you enter this gourmet pizza restaurant, with its variety of individual fire-grilled barbecued pizzas (six slices for $4.95–$7.95). Everything is fresh, from the pastas and salads to the grated Parmesan cheese. Try the popular Tuscan Pie pizza with barbecue chicken, roasted potatoes, Gorgonzola cheese and pesto ($6.95). Enjoy outside dining on a spacious patio, where you can enjoy a glass of wine or cool off with a glass of ale. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery (for parties over 25); catering; parking. AE, DIS, MC, V.
The Porch Restaurant at House of Blues
8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
House of Blues is known as one of the most revered live-music venues in the city, and a pre- or post-party visit to the Porch is the right way to start or end the evening. Enjoy robust Southern "down-home" cooking served in a comfortable setting, with select porch-style furniture on the front porch, complete with bright flickering lights that evoke the feeling of a cool night on the Delta. Replenish your soul on Sundays at the Gospel Brunch! Available for special events and parties. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; valet parking. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
5923 Franklin Blvd., Los Angeles
At last: an Italian bistro with all the bravado of old Sicily. Enjoy live jazz (Fri.-Sat.) at this trendy little spot, while enjoying a Chardonnay from the award-winning wine list. Begin with some calamari fritti (fresh calamari dipped in Prizzi's special batter, fried in olive oil and served with lemon wedges and marinara sauce, $7.50) and then go for Scarpariello d'Avanzo (chicken-breast fillet and Italian sausage in a rich tomato sauce, with assorted bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives, onions and pepperoncini on a bed of linguini, $18.75). Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; parking available. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1866 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz
This is a great place to meet with friends and catch up on old times over a cup of gourmet coffee. But there are also plenty of eats, like the always-popular two-layer, extra-gooey carrot cake ($3.50). The roasted-pepper vegetarian and oven-roasted turkey sandwiches ($6.95), both served with salad, are to die for, and while dining, you can enjoy the jazz/folk/poetry/vocalist performances that take place on various nights of the week. Spoken-word readings every Sunday, and also every third Thursday of the month. Light breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout; parking. AE, DIS, MC, V.
Quality Food & Beverage
8030 W. Third St., Los Angeles
Health-conscious folks can't seem to get enough of the goodies offered here. For the crowd that loves breakfast served all day long, there's the unique Asian-style tofu scramble packed with portobello mushrooms ($7.25) or the hearty corned-beef hash ($8.75). For lunch, the zesty sautéed ahi tuna salad with capers topped with cucumber salsa ($9.95) is a definite crowd-pleaser. Good? You bet! Breakfast and lunch seven days. No alcohol; takeout; catering. AE, MC, V.
Real Food Daily
514 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica
414 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood
Even die-hard meat eaters could easily convert to a tofu-filled lifestyle after just one taste of proprietress Ann Gentry's organic vegetarian cuisine. Enjoy a variety of culinary delights (all vegetable- and grain-based), such as the seitan (wheat gluten) fajitas ($9.95) or the mock Reuben sandwich made with marinated tempeh ($8.50). Gentry's use of grains, legumes, abundant seasoning and organic produce makes this strictly no-meat-dairy-products-eggs-white-sugar-or-honey place an experience in healthy, delicious dining. Lunch and dinner seven days (there are plans to open weekend brunch at the West Hollywood location in the spring). Beer and wine (West Hollywood); takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking (West Hollywood), street parking. AE, MC, V.
Restaurant Connection (97.1 FM Talk)
6733 Sepulveda Blvd., #240, Los Angeles
Eating in is sounding tastier than ever these days as Southern California's first-ever 1-800 food line is facilitating the restaurant selection process with a systematic, step-by-step-walk-through of connecting restaurant with customer. With Restaurant Connection, you can make reservations, order from restaurants that offer takeout or delivery, arrange for catering and/or look up restaurants with entertainment, all by following the easy instructions. You can also receive a menu or entertainment calendar by fax. Choose from a database of over 500 restaurants. If you have an appetite for convenience, call when your stomach growls. 24 hours daily. For subscription info, call (310) 410-2070, Ext. 101.
150 S. Barrington Ave., Brentwood
Drop in for a taste of healthy Brazilian food and a big splash of exotic freshly squeezed juices. On the menu are fruit and vegetable juices and refreshing smoothies including the “Assai,” an Amazonian Indian fighter drink packed with a wallop of vitamins, protein and Assai berries. And to go along with your drink, try one of many sandwiches on the menu, like the Rio dream ($5.25), tropical tuna ($5.25), or a veggie dog ($2.50). Also available are numerous grilled chicken, fish, veggie or steak plates ($8.95-$10.75). Open seven days. Takeout; delivery; parking. MC, V.
Robeks is only 5 years old, but already is serving greater Los Angeles with over 30 locations. The very name Robeks derives from "aerobics," which reflects the company's commitment to aiding healthy and active lifestyles. Choose from a selection of blended-to-order fruit smoothies and fresh juices, all of which are full of essential vitamins and minerals. Try a vitality or power smoothie to fit your area of enhancement, such as the Hummingbird (guava juice, mangos, strawberries, bananas, orange sherbet and ice, $2.95–$4.70) or the Pro Arobek to help you with your endurance before a workout. Also available are frozen yogurts and power shots. Open seven days a week. Go to the Web site for nearest location.
1850 Hillhurst Blvd., Los Feliz
Simply Thai wants you to know it has changed: new owners, new era, a newly revamped, hip ambiance. And when it comes to intermingling Thai and American cuisine, Simply Thai has blurred the cultural lines. The crispy Thai spring rolls with plum dipping sauce ($5.50) with some ginger tea is a perfect starter. Then try the Thai Boxer, which is green-curry beef served with a side of Japanese noodles ($9.95). Save room for scrumptious homemade Key Lime cheesecake for dessert! Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner seven nights. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery. AE, MC, V.
Sofi Greek Restaurant
8030¾ W. Third St., Los Angeles
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will take you to a Greek island — without the aid of plane or boat. Make your way through a narrow passageway, where your contact will hand you a serving of Sofi's dolmades — grape leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef in egg-lemon sauce (lunch $6.95, dinner $9). Should you miss her (or him), rendezvous for dinner on the patio under a starry night and order moussaka ($8.95, $16) or the house special, rack of lamb ($22). Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner seven nights. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery available (310-278-3955, different from restaurant number); catering; valet parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
The Steak House at the Bicycle Casino
7301 Eastern Ave., Bell Gardens
Feeling lucky? How about hungry for an exquisite meal? Well then, check out the newly revamped Steak House at the Bicycle Casino. The menu has been upgraded drastically to fit a fine-dining motif, featuring a variety of steak entrées to suit the king of diamonds. Menu enhancements include a delicious 9-ounce filet mignon wrapped in bacon (Napoleon-style with balsamic-marinated grilled portobellos and Madeira, $24.95) or grilled Alaskan King salmon smoky barbecue (served with vegetables, $14.95). The dessert menu is incredible, namely the banana Foster, which is prepared tableside by the famous Adolpho. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; parking available (self and valet). AE, DIS, MC, V.
Stevie Joe's Lounge and Supper Club
10433 National Blvd., West L.A.
Looking to experience fine cuisine, martinis and music in a beautiful candlelit supper-club setting? Look no further! Executive chef Edward Naber features New Americana cuisine including tuna tartare Napoleon with soy wasabi vinaigrette, poached Pacific salmon with a chevril tarragon beurre blanc and a mouth-watering filet mignon. Sunday is lobster night, serving one-and-a-half pound Maine lobster for $16.95. Stevie Joe's was named "one of the top 150 things to do in L.A. at night" by Los Angeles magazine. Also live jazz and blues nightly. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner seven nights. Full bar; catering; valet parking. AE, MC, V.
The Stinking Rose
55 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills
Bring the breath mints when you stop by this place where the motto is "We season our GARLIC with food!" The menu is loaded with California-Italian cuisine of the delectably stinky variety. Start off with the bagna calda, commonly known as "garlic soaking in a hot tub" ($4) and continue with a house specialty like "The Slab," garlic-roasted USDA prime rib ($29.95) or the whole 2-pound Dungeness crab (roasted in secret garlic sauce, $29.95). Bring along Dracula (selected items can be prepared vampire-friendly garlic-free) and revel in one of its amusement-park-esque theme rooms. Open lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; cigar patio; takeout; on-site event coordinator; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, MC, V.
Sushi of Naples
735 E. Green St., Pasadena
Voted the best sushi restaurant in Pasadena for three years running (Pasadena Weekly), this avant-garde establishment is setting the tone of how sushi should be served. The menu constantly revolves with monthly specials, with highlights on the vegetarian dishes and sushi rolls such as the nouveau Pasadena roll — a takeoff on the Philadelphia roll with tuna, salmon, halibut, yellowtail, cream cheese, avocado, smelt eggs, cucumber and spicy sprouts ($10). They make their own teriyaki sauce, and party trays are available. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer, wine and sake; takeout; parking; reservations accepted. AE, MC, V.
8474 W. Third St., Los Angeles
Owner Isao Nakamura's ingenious system of ordering has won him our Most Efficient Restaurant Award. You see, all sushi rolls at his establishment are priced at $2.50 (though there is no sashimi or tempura), and drinks go for only a buck! This makes for a quick pickup and an easily calculated check. A great choice for a night out that won't leave your wallet empty. Lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout; parking. Cash only.
1911 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
The Taix family has been in the food business for 74 years and maintains its dedication to abundant portions of affordable French country cuisine, such as one of their signature dishes, the bistro steak (grilled prime top sirloin, with maitre d' hotel butter, $12.95). Also try the famous roast bordelaisc (half of a roasted chicken with bordelaisc sauce, $10.95). All traditional Taix dinners come with fresh sourdough bread, salad, rice or potato, and sherbet. C'est magnifique! Lunch and dinner seven days. Live music four nights a week. Full bar; takeout; catering (banquet facilities available, 100 to 200 people); valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
Taj Indian Restaurant
50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills
Formerly Gaylord's Indian restaurant, Taj is taking its cultural roots a step further, offering a new champagne brunch on Sundays, a buffet on weekdays and a vast selection of seafood entrées. Go for a lobster tail, some mahi mahi, salmon or a specialty Chilean sea bass. For more traditional tastes, Taj still offers up the best Indian food in Beverly Hills, such as the seekh kebab (minced lamb mixed with onions, herbs and spices, $13.75) and sautéed prawns with vegetables ($16). There is still an extensive wine list to accommodate any meal. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
7513 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
Don't let the name fool you. This little gem also dishes up fantastic Thai cuisine. With daily lunch specials that include pad Thai chicken and pad woon-sen ($4.25), and devastating curries such as pa-nang ($5.25), the end result is always satisfaction. The pla rad prik (deep-fried pompano fish topped with spicy curry sauce, $9.25) is indescribably good, and vegetarians can enjoy the best sweet-and-sour tofu in town. Don't forget the coconut Thai ice cream! Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. MC, V.
The Tinder Box
2729 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
So, you have just finished eating out at a fine restaurant, your appetite has been sated, but you still have an inkling for a little somepin'— somepin'. Come on by the Tinder Box for an after-supper cigar. Since 1928, the Tinder Box has been "tobacconists to the stars," catering to Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Gregory Peck and many others. Owner Ed Kolpin, now 92 years old, has been there since the beginning, and still works daily in his prized shop. The Tinder Box carries a wide assortment of pipes, including Dunhill, Castello, Peterson, Don Carlos, Savinelli and many more. The walk-in cigar humidor is filled with cigars from Fuente, Davidoff, Partagas, Padron and numerous other makers. There is also a gigantic selection of lighters, flasks, music boxes, toby jugs, figurines and accessories for the cigar, pipe or cigarette smoker. Come get a nice cheroot!
Toi on Wilshire
1120 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
Toi on Sunset
7505 ½ Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
At Toi, the décor is as colorful and inviting as the pad kra prao (chicken, beef or pork sautéed with chili, mint, onions, and green and red peppers, $6.95; with shrimp costs extra). Take in the rock & roll memorabilia on the walls while sipping a Thai tea ($2.75) and savoring some barbecue chicken ($7.95). After that late-night concert, it's the perfect stop for food and relaxation. Open late night (3 a.m. on Wilshire, and 4 a.m. at Sunset). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer, wine, champagne and sake; takeout; delivery; lot parking at Wilshire location. AE, DIS, MC, V.
7313 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
24 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Tommy Tang opened his doors on Melrose in 1982 as one of the original pioneers to the shopping/dining scene in West Hollywood, and nearly 20 years later his "Modern Thai" dishes are still drawing praise. If you're in the mood for fine Southeastern Asian cuisine, come on by, and try the Tommy duck with honey ginger sauce ($15.95) or the giant tiger prawns with a cilantro champagne sauce ($16.95). Tommy also knows a thing or two about dessert, as evidenced in the decadent mango/raspberry crème brûlée ($4.75). Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar (Pasadena); beer and wine (Melrose); takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, MC, V.
Trader Vic's (Beverly Hilton)
9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
Step into a tropical Polynesian oasis without jumping onto a plane! The new menu at the world-famous Trader Vic's features Asian Fusion cuisine, the melding of Far Eastern and European dishes prepared daily by renowned chef Tony Baran. Enjoy an island cocktail from the ultimate bar menu which offers over 75 tropical drinks, including house favorites, Scorpion and mai tai. Don't miss this truly exotic atmosphere. Dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; self-parking and valet available; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.
131 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles
Get the real taste of Brooklyn's finest pizza right here at Village Pizzeria, where fresh means fresh (no additives). Once you have tried one of these pies, you will know why so many loyal customers deem it the best in Southern California. Try some spaghetti with the Village's famous meatballs ($7.95), or the antipasto salad ($4.75 small, $8.50 large). Or, stop beating around the bush and get a pizza! The eccentric clam and garlic ($14–$20) is a Village invention from 1979, while the standard pepperoni is anything but standard — it is a slice of heaven! Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; street parking; reservations suggested (for parties of eight or more). AE, MC, V.
Wahoo's Fish Taco
1129 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach
3556 Torrance Blvd., #E, Los Angeles
11911 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
In the mood for food from the America but can't decide between Mexican cuisine or fare from a more equatorial clime? Try Wahoo's Fish Taco and enjoy south-of-the-border dishes with a Brazilian flair. The atmosphere is beach-casual and all the dishes are prepared daily fresh. Fill up on the banzai burrito ($4.95) or charbroiled fish tacos ($5.36 for the combo platter, including black beans and rice). Go to the Web site for other locations. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; parking. MC, V.
1414 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica
You'll be hard-pressed to find better pierogi than those dished up at this Polish eatery, recently featured by The New York Times as one the six best restaurants in Santa Monica. Several varieties of the ravioli-like dumplings are served here, stuffed with everything from mushrooms and cabbage to potato purée and onions ($12-$13). Seafood lovers might try the rainbow trout with leeks and tomatoes, infused with rosemary and dill ($14). For dessert, the warm vanilla crepes with raspberries ($5) are a must. Dinner Tues.–Sun. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
Window's Steaks & Martinis
1150 S. Olive St. (32nd floor), Los Angeles
Within walking distance of Staples Center (atop the Transamerica Building), this upscale steak house is the ideal spot to convene after the game. Start a hearty meal off with the delicious lobster bisque soup ($5.95 a cup, $7.95 a bowl) while enjoying a spectacular 360-degree view of the city. Steaks don't get any better than the "Windows signature 21-day dry-aged Prime New York steak" ($31.95), weighing in at 16 ounces of USDA prime beef. But don't leave without sampling one of the 52 signature martinis. Come for happy hour (Tues.–Thurs.)! Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sat. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking (free with dinner); reservations suggested. Free shuttle to the Music Center and Staples Center with dinner. AE, DC, MC, V.
1333 Third St., Santa Monica
Having a hard time deciding between Thai, Chinese or sushi? No problem — right in the middle of Santa Monica's bustling Third Street Promenade, you can savor all three. Make a post-mall pit stop and try the chow fun, a noodle dish featuring your choice of meat and veggies smothered in velvety brown sauce, or kung pao chicken (each $8). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking available. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
Ye Olde King's Head
116 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica
Think of it as a British oasis in the New World. Stop by in the morning and enjoy a traditional queen-size breakfast (fried bread or toast, eggs, bacon, banger, English baked beans, grilled tomato, $5.95). On weekdays, from 3 to 5 p.m., there's the royal afternoon tea ($12.95), where you can feast on delicious desserts and sandwiches. Also served are tasty island specialties like Welsh rarebit ($4.95) and shepherd's pie ($11.25). Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; street parking. AE, DC, MC, V.
14543 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
8432 W. Third St., Los Angeles
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9111 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills
Besides serving fresh and healthy Asian cuisine, these lively establishments have the friendliest staffs around. Sample a sizzling pan-fried tofu steak served on a bed of steamed broccoli with Asian barbecue sauce ($7.50) or their crispy calamari salad with glass noodles and red onions ($7.50). And no matter how hard it may be, save room for some coconut crème brûlée. Lunch and dinner seven days (Beverly Hills location closed on Sun.). Beer, wine and sake; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking. AE, MC, V.