1253 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood
The owners of this Thai bistro bring the majesty and elegance of their homeland to our corner of the world. For dinner we recommend the baked New Zealand mussels with fresh basil and lemon grass in a spicy lime sauce ($8.95), or yum ped salad with strips of honey-roasted duck tossed in a tangy chili dressing ($6.95). Stop in for lunch and eat for $5.95 and under. Lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout, delivery; catering; parking. AE, MC, V.
260 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
This swanky Japanese restaurant has it all, from classic dishes like the teriyaki and tempura combo served with salad, miso, rice and fruit ($13.80); to the ornate tekkadonna meal, featuring slices of fresh tuna in a lacquered bowl of sticky white rice, garnished with sea urchin, crab, salmon eggs or mentaiko (spicy cold eggs), and pickled vegetables and miso ($15.80). Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner seven nights. Beer and wine; takeout. AE, DC, MC, V.
738 Rose Ave., Venice
Outside you can enjoy an eye-catching fountain and garden, inside you can watch tortillas being made before your eyes. Anywhere you sit here, it’s like you’re on vacation. The fish tacos are a popular staple ($7.75), as are the chile rellenos ($2.95), perfect for munching on while cooling off with one of the — count ‘em — 18 margarita varieties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days, brunch Sun. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested for large parties. DIS, MC, V.
LOCANDO DEL LAGO
231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica
Before a movie or that special date, stroll into this open-air trattoria. Evoking the comfortable charm of a Northern Italian locanda, it provides ambiance and good food. Try the trotella al burro e salvia, whole boneless trout in a fresh sage and butter sauce ($14.95), or the alborelle fritte, smelts lightly battered and crisped ($6.95). For vintage accompaniment, choose from the award-winning wine list, or share sips of a flaming Italian grolla ($9 per person) — a traditional concoction of espresso, grappa, brandy and spices. Lunch and dinner seven days, brunch weekends. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, MC, V.
Los Feliz Restaurant and Jazz Spot
2138 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz
The Los Feliz Restaurant and Jazz Spot, once second home to the likes of Spencer Tracy and Fred Astaire, captures the elegance and style of Old Hollywood. The California-Mediterranean menu ranges from pan-seared day-boat scallops to the more exotic veal cheeks with pink lentils and horseradish potato cream. Entrées range from $17–$26. The dining room is separate from the Jazz Spot, which hosts artists from Los Angeles and across the country. Dinner Tues.–Sat. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, MC, V.
10351 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City
L.A.’s finest blend of French-Italian Provençal cuisine and entertainment can be found at restaurant/jazz lounge Lunaria. Groove to modal melodies while your taste buds swing to the braised Chilean sea bass with potato fennel purée, tomato, green onion, black olives, capers and basil ($21.50). Or if you’re in the mood for a feast, make your reservations by e-mail and get a full three-course meal for a mere $27 (lunaria@earthlink. net). Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sat. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
861 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles
Relaxed, fine dining — in a modern indoor or patio setting — is the name of the game at Mark’s. With live jazz on Sundays and “Dish it Out” Mondays — when every item on the menu is half price — you can’t go wrong. Seafood lovers can tuck into Maryland blue crab cakes with watercress salad and remoulade ($11.50), or the popular sesame-crusted ahi with sweet cherry-tomato salad ($16). There’s also succulent Australian lamb chops with tomato risotto and rosemary-garlic au jus ($18). Dinner seven nights, brunch Sun. Full bar; takeout; catering; delivery; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
934 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach
Scheduled to open at the end of the month, this French-Caribbean bistro will offer gourmet cuisine in a casual setting. Patrons can look forward to a bevy of delicious entrées like the achiote-ginger chicken with caramelized mango, jerk salmon and bouillabaisse à la caribe (Caribbean-style fish stew). We’ve heard that the white-chocolate passion-fruit cheesecake and the coconut crème brûlée, made fresh on the premises, will be irresistible. Dinner Tues.–Sun, brunch weekends. Beer and wine; takeout. AE, DIS, MC, V.
McCORMICK & SCHMICK’S
2101 Rosecrans Ave., No.1250, El Segundo
McCormick & Schmick’s offers its patrons a choice of 30 to 40 different seafood dishes from around the world, but the daily menu also includes chicken, pasta and salads. Among the house specialties are dungeness crab cakes in spicy hollandaise sauce and New Zealand blue-nose bass stuffed with bay shrimp and Brie cheese. Dinners range from $12–$19. Come for early- and late-evening happy hours with a cold brew and Cajun fish tacos. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
8393 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
Imagine a noodle house that serves over 60 varieties of piping-hot, fresh dishes. The offerings don’t stop with noodles. Try the popular spicy ground pork with tempura rice ($4.95) or some shyumi dumplings ($4.50). Don’t forget to check out the daily specials for favorites like Mediterranean noodles with tomato, basil, garlic and your choice of shrimp or calamari ($5.75). Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat. No alcohol; takeout (lunch only); parking. AE, DC, MC, V.
3655 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Universal City
1646 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood
This is your classic neighborhood Italian eatery. You know, the one that’s kinda dark inside, with Chianti bottles hanging around and dishes served with lots of stretchy mozzarella cheese and big meatballs? Miceli’s is an L.A. institution at the ripe old age of 50. Stop on by and order the standard spaghetti with marinara (side of meatballs optional) or a pepperoni pizza placed on a fire-lit riser just for you. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout, delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations accepted. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
6010 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
The Mint has blended the best of L.A.’s celebrated dining and music cultures. Chef extraordinaire Rob Kamm rocks in the kitchen, while tunes rock the dining hall. Start the evening with an order of bruschetta malcesine, herb-roasted pizza bread with tomato, garlic, basil and cheese ($8). And when the headliners hit the floor, take your meal to the bridge with Harry Dean’s Filet Mignon ($16), served in a light cabernet-shallot sauce. Dinner seven nights. Full bar; catering; valet parking; reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V.
2000 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A.
Shabu shabu translates as “swish swish,” the sound made when a diner sloshes chopsticks in a boiling pot of water filled with paper-thin pieces of beef, chicken or veggies. Japanese goma (sweet sesame) or ponzu (citrusy 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. DC, MC, V.
9609 Venice Blvd., Culver City
This family-operated restaurant serves healthy, country-style victuals with charming Southern flair. Bring an appetite, because the portions are the kind that’ll loosen the belt a notch or two. Try the fried catfish ($8.50) or barbecue beef ribs ($8.75), deliciously complemented with sides of collared greens, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, or rice and beans. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. Breakfast and lunch seven days. Beer; takeout; catering; parking. MC, V.
MUSTARD SEED CAFÉ
1948 N. Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz
Those with a fondness for color will love the orange walls, paintings, lanterns, plants and ceiling fans here. But there’s also lots of food to enjoy. Take your pick of quiches, sandwiches, soups and plenty of options for vegetarians, all ranging from $6 to $9. The place is kid-friendly, too. Stop in and take advantage of the daily and weekend specials. Breakfast and lunch Tues.–Sun. No alcohol; takeout; catering; parking. AE, MC, V.
1621 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
For more than a dozen years, this Northern Indian restaurant has offered delicacies and service fit for a king. Its dishes are based on recipes brought to India by Persian nawabs (Muslim kings), though you don’t need a sovereign’s wealth to enjoy them. 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. A lunch buffet is available daily ($9 weekdays, $12 weekends). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations accepted. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1700 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake
As Netty says, “when you walk in the front door, you walk into the kitchen.” But don’t be fooled, unless you can whip up a salad with scallops, shrimp, toasted almonds and oranges perched on a bed of baby greens ($10.50); or a Salvadoran chicken and green-olive tamale wrapped in banana leaves ($9.95). With its patio-garden seating and Pan-American/California-Cajun cuisine, this family-run restaurant has kept it real for 13 years. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat. Beer and wine; takeout. DC, MC, V.
8029 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
One of the best late-night dining picks in L.A., North serves a variety of eclectic American home-style dishes. Very popular among the patrons are macaroni and cheese ($7) and the Nite Club sandwich (grilled chicken breast, bacon, tomato, arugula, jalapeño jack and spicy aiolo, $10). The cocktail menu has everything from Beelzebub to Midnight Sin (all $8). Dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.
1076 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
Wot’s for dinner? 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 ($5) or Ethiopian honey wine ($3.75). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; parking. AE, DIS, MC, V.
672 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
Owner-chef Serge Burckel calls his culinary creations “author cuisine,” meaning his own personal style. You can’t go wrong with creations like Crispy Duck Firecracker with oyster sauce, bitter green and mint appetizer ($10), or one of many delicious entrées like Chilean sea bass steamed in a banana leaf with mushrooms and asparagus purée ($20). Do try the dessert called “The Nervous Noodle,” champagne noodles surrounded by assorted berries, mango and pineapple, resting in a broth of chilled mint teeth. Enjoy! Dinner seven nights. Beer and wine; catering; valet parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1858 North Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
Named “the best pizza” in L.A. by the L.A. Weekly, Palermo does much more than just pizza, and they do it well. There’s everything from veal ($12.05) to vegetarian lasagna ($8), chicken cacciatori ($11.75), linguini with clams ($8) and oh so many more pastas. No dinner would be complete without the rich sweetness of tiramisù ($3.95), washed down with a creamy caffe latte ($2.50). Lunch and dinner daily (except Tues.). Full bar; takeout; delivery; parking. DC, DIS, MC, V.
PANE E VINO TRATTORIA
8265 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
This trattoria (voted the best in L.A. by the Zagat Survey) is an alluring place for patio dining, celebrity gazing and authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Entrées like rich fusilli con melanzane, with corkscrew pasta smothered in smoked mozzarella, eggplant and tomato sauce ($10.50), or bisteca alla Fiorentina, a juicy rib-eye steak mesquite-grilled and served with Tuscan beans ($20.75), will satisfy the most discriminating tastes. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
8545 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
This is an inviting stop for all you waist-watchers out there, offering delicious and healthy over-the-counter eats. Choose from a selection of tasty herbed-egg dishes, served all day, or one of many enticing sandwiches made on French bread, and then relax on an outdoor patio lined by Magnolia trees. Start the day with a ham and cheese omelet served with French bread and fruit, or the scrambled egg and cheese croissant breakfast (both $5). Breakfast and lunch seven days. No alcohol; takeout; parking. MC, V.
281 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
625 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
The specialty here is unbaked gourmet pizzas loaded with savory toppings, ready to go. Owner Patty Phillips serves tasty edibles onsite 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.). A must-try 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.
11929 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
Since its debut two years ago, Perroche has earned a reputation for culinary excellence. Relax and enjoy its stylish ambiance, while savoring an appetizer such as sautéed escargot and oyster mushrooms on soft polenta ($5.95), along with your favorite libation. For dinner, try the delectable roasted halibut with a ragout of white corn and spinach in a Dijon-mustard glaze ($15.95). And be sure to save room for the chocolate-custard pie ($6). Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Mon.–Sat. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
Eleven locations in California
Planning an office lunch or a home party? This favorite among hardworking mothers, bachelors et al. is the answer. Freshly prepared and made-to-order sandwiches (turkey gobbler, $4.39), salads and pastas (alfredo a la roasted garlic, $6.49), as well as Cheesecake Factory desserts and Starbuck’s coffee are just an e-mail or phone call away. Also available are grocery items, health and beauty aides, beer, wine and spirits, all delivered in about 30 minutes, with no minimum purchase ($2.99 fee required). Open 365 days.
1638 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood
Owner Tony Boon has been catering to the appetites of Thai food lovers for over a decade. Everything on the menu is fresh and perfectly seasoned, from the sweet pad Thai noodles ($5.95) to the tangy, spicy tom yum gai soup infused with lemongrass and cilantro ($2.95 bowl, $5.95 pot). Hungrier patrons can fill up on choo-chee, a platter of enormous grilled prawns served with tamarind and curry sauces ($14.95). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; lot parking. AE, MC, V.
PIT FIRE PIZZA CO.
5211 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
Your quest for the perfect pizza will be over when you enter this gourmet pizza restaurant, with a variety of individual fire-grilled barbecue pizzas (six slices, $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 cool off with a refreshing ice-blended coffee. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery (for parties over 25); catering; parking available. AE, MC, V.
1866 N. Vermont St., Los Angeles
More than just a coffee shop, this family-run business covers a lot of ground. In addition to the dark nectar, you can indulge in delicacies like fresh mint-leaf tea, scones, bagels, muffins and cheesecakes. The sandwich board includes a N.Y. strip steak topped with swiss on a wide selection of breads ($6.95), or the cracked-peppercorn turkey with sun-dried tomato, provolone and a pesto-mayo sauce ($5.95). There is food for the soul too, with art shows, spoken-word performances and occasional live music on weekends. Lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout; parking. Cash only.
Quality Food AND Beverage
8030 W. Third St., Los Angeles
Health-conscious folks can’t seem to get enough of the goodies offered at this restaurant. For the a.m., there’s the unique Asian-style tofu scramble, packed with earthy mushrooms ($6.95), or the weightless vegetable hash ($8.25). For lunch, the grilled-eggplant sandwich, sided with eggplant caviar ($7.95) is another tough competitor that won’t add any inches to the waistline. Is it worth a try? Ask any Quality customer. 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
Owner-chef Ann Gentry brings 18 years of creative-food experience to her strictly organic, gourmet restaurants. The onetime chef for Danny DeVito offers a variety of culinary goodies (all organic and vegetable based) like seitan (wheat gluten) fajitas ($9.75) and the mock Reuben sandwich made with marinated tempeh. Gentry’s use of grains and legumes, abundant seasoning and organic produce make this strictly no meat, dairy, white sugar, or honey place an experience in healthy, delicious dining. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine (West Hollywood); takeout; delivery; catering; parking. AE, MC, V.
8782 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Old Hollywood meets Old English in this double-decker restaurant-bar right in the heart of the storied Sunset Strip. Hang out with all the black-clad hipsters amid low mood lighting and finger-poppin’ tunes. Unwind over a martini or some suds (18 drafts, plus a selection of bottled beers), then fill up on bangers and mash ($9.90), a char-grilled chicken-breast sandwich with mozzarella ($8.50) or a portobello-mushroom salad ($7.90). Drop in for the hearty lunch specials ($7.90), served noon to 3 p.m. Lunch and dinner seven days, brunch weekends. Full bar; takeout; valet parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
7051 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier
Tired of the limited Caribbean offerings around town? If so, give this place a try. There’s lots of atmosphere, as well as great food. A cold beer goes along well with such delicious entrées like Jamaican jerk chicken ($12.95), hearty oxtails ($11.95), or the always-delightful arroz con pollo ($11.95). It’s not by accident that Babaloo was voted one of the top 10 by restaurant critic Merril Schindler. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. DC, MC, V.
97.1 FM TALK RESTAURANT CONNECTION
(800) 774-FOOD (3663)
Eating in is sounding tastier than ever these days as Southern California’s first-ever 1-800 food line brings new meaning to the term “fast food.” 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. 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.
2930 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel Air
Situated in the Glen Center is this piece of Northern Italy, serving hearty fare like risotto with strawberries and white wine sauce ($12.50); saltimbocca, veal wrapped over asparagus, sage and sundried tomatoes in a marinara sauce ($18.50); and the fettuccine delo zar, with smoked salmon and shrimp, sautéed in vodka and served in a pink sauce ($16.50). Live jazz is featured Monday through Saturday. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Fri., dinner Mon.–Sat. Full bar; takeout; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.
SAI BEVERLY HILLS SUSHI
340 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills
If you find yourself famished in the heart of Beverly Hills, stop here and unwind with one of the 30-plus flavors of fine sake in an indoor bamboo garden. Daily lunch specials are available, and the grilled chicken teriyaki ($10.50) or the udon and California roll combination ($9.50) are highly recommended. For dinner, don’t miss out on the splendid sushi combinations ($18-$28). Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat. Beer, wine and sake; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, MC, V.
San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar St., Los Angeles
Established four generations ago at the turn of the century, this family-owned winery boasts both a modern bottling facility and a restaurant that seats 400 people. Tours are offered daily, and for groups of 20 or more, a guide is available. Try the Napa Valley– or Loma Vista Valley–grown Riboli family of wines with Italian cuisine: linguine with eggplant and other pastas, grilled entrées, fresh salads and rotisserie meats. Open seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; parking. AE, DIS, MC, V.
SantÉ La Brea
345 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
Here you’ll find a spectrum of non-dairy, sugar-free, vegetarian options. Two veggie soups are offered daily, the salmon and produce are bought fresh every day, and brunch on the weekends finds the restaurant teeming with those anxious for a short ($4.50) or full stack ($7.50) of organic pancakes with pure maple syrup. Egg whites abound, of course. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; parking; reservations accepted. AE, DIS, MC, V.
17th STREET CAFÉ
1610 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
Think of it as a culinary mecca by the sea. Owner Jack Srebnik offers delicious entrées, like balsamic-grilled salmon with mashed potatoes, smothered in corn, spinach, shiitake mushrooms and tomato ($16.75); or blue cheese and toasted-walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette ($9.75, $5.50 for half order). Don’t leave without trying the chocolate-chip-cookie pie or apple walnut cobbler ($5.50), courtesy of Srebnik’s wife, Jane. Banquet room is available. Breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays; brunch and dinner weekends. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
STEVIE JOE’S LOUNGE AND SUPPER CLUB
10433 National Blvd., West L.A.
Owner Stephen Joseph Plaché’s supper club has a late-’50s and early-’60s sleek aura. The interior is filled with candlelight, palms, red mahogany, leopard accents and silhouette mirrors. It’s a great place to sip a perfectly chilled martini, dine on outstanding “New Americana” cuisine, and take in some of the best blues and jazz in town. Dinner Tues.-Sun. Full bar; catering; valet parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
8474 W. Third St., Los Angeles
Owner Isao Nakamura’s ingenious ordering system has won him our most-efficient-dining award. You see, all sushi rolls are priced at $2.50 (but there is no sashimi or tempura) and drinks run you $1. 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.
SUSHI OF NAPLES
735 E. Green St., Pasadena
Don’t let the name fool you. They don’t top the inari sushi with marinara sauce. However, the inari, a bean-curd wrapper stuffed with rice ($2.50), is quite good. It’s best to bring four friends for a grand sushi extravaganza here, where less than 100 bucks will buy you some California and spicy tuna rolls, shrimp, salmon, halibut, eel and much more. Bring the crowd and splurge on any of the party trays, which must be ordered in advance ($50–$100). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer, wine and sake; takeout; catering; parking; weekend reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.
6775 Santa Monica Blvd., No. 3, Los Angeles
Original Japanese cuisine and a comfy vibe await you at this prime spot on Santa Monica. Sushi Ryo is date friendly, lunch savvy and pre-movie perfect. Unwind with a sake or shochu (Japanese-style vodka). No doubt you’ll have trouble deciding between six kinds of sashimi ($14), tender sesame chicken ($5) or eggplant with lotus root ($6.50). Lunch Tues.–Fri., dinner Mon.–Sat. Beer, wine, sake and shochu; takeout; parking. AE, MC, V.
1911 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
The Taix family has been in the food business for 73 years, and maintain their dedication to abundant portions of affordable French country cuisine such as beef bourguignon ($11.95), which, like all lunch items, comes with fresh sourdough bread, salad, rice or potato and your choice of sherbert, coffee or tea. For an elegant dinner, try pates à la printaniere (angel hair pasta with vegetables in a tomato and basil sauce, $9.95). C’est magnifique! Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1345 Second St., Santa Monica
A mainstay in Santa Monica, Taka Sushi has been serving up fresh seafood and loads of other Japanese delights for over 15 years. For lunch or dinner, try the popular crunchy roll, a sushi creation with shrimp tempura wrapped in rice and seaweed, covered in crispy batter bits ($12.50, four servings). The locals are big on the house specialty lobster hand roll, loaded with fresh lobster, asparagus and cucumber ($8.50). Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner seven nights. Beer, wine and sake; takeout; parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
8165 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
For nine years, Tandoori Nights has catered to the curry cravings of its loyal WeHo patrons. House favorites include tender lamb tandoori marinated in spiced yogurt and cooked in a traditional clay oven till it melts in your mouth ($9.95), and the vegetable aloo gobi with cauliflower and potato in yellow curry sauce ($6.95). All entrées are spiced to order — mild, medium or fire-breathing hot — and served with basmati rice and soup, with plenty of poppadums and savory mint chutney. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.
23 Windward Ave., Venice
Located in the heart of Venice, this is a good place to unwind from a day of rollerblading and all your other favorite beach activities. With its Gypsy-style deco and music, Tantra is a popular hangout with the Hollywood crowd and renowned for flying in the world’s best DJs. Relax in the VIP lounge, which overlooks a spacious dance floor. There are two full bars, and for the hungry, the house caterer has menus to please everyone. $10 admission. Dinner seven nights. Valet parking. AE, MC, V.
7513 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
This little gem dishes up fantastic Thai cuisine and has daily lunch specials that include pad Thai chicken and pad woon-sen ($4.25) and devastating curries such as pa-nang ($5.25). 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; catering; delivery; parking. MC, V.
6290 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
You get a spectacular view of Los Angeles when you dine here, one that’s especially impressive at night. The menu features hearty American classics, done the California way, such as the delectable filet mignon with cracked-black-pepper sauce, served with carrot potato gratin ($26); and free-range chicken ($17). For the health conscious, there’s the vegetable pasta Napoleon that comes with grilled vegetables layered with pasta and topped with roasted red-pepper sauce. Dinner seven days; two full bars; valet parking; reservations essential. AE, DIS, MC, V.
TOI ON SUNSET 7505 1/2 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
TOI ON WILSHIRE
1120 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
Where else can you recline on leopard-print cushions surrounded by psychedelic rock posters and enjoy Thai curry at 3 a.m.? Toi on Sunset must have raided Elvis’ living room and Angelyne’s boudoir for its eye-catching décor. As if that isn’t enough “good taste,” try the Thai spaghetti (spicy egg noodles loaded with chicken and shrimp) or eggplant pumpkin tofu ($7.95 each). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer, wine, champagne and sake; takeout; delivery; lot parking (Santa Monica); reservations suggested. AE, DIS, MC, V.
4714 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey
As one patron said, “The sushi is so fresh here, it bites back.” For lunch, try the teeming plate of chirashi sushi with tuna, whitefish, salmon, shrimp, octopus, albacore and smelt eggs ($9.50). Dinner is even better. The Viking nabe comes warmed in an iron pan with salmon, yellowtail, green mussels, shrimp, scallops and assorted vegetables ($15). Lunch Tues.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sun. Beer, wine and sake; takeout; catering (limited); parking reservations accepted. AE, MC, V.
1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz
This airy, beautifully lit restaurant just north of Hollywood Boulevard offers a mouth-watering mélange of contemporary American cuisine at reasonable prices. The small room encompasses everything from Michael’s favorite salad (frisee greens, bacon, poached eggs and warm sherry vinaigrette, $8) to hearty main dishes like apple-and-cherry-stuffed pork chop, served with a purée of roasted carrot ($17). After dinner, sip late-bottled Quinta do Crasto port between nibbles of lemon tart with lemon sauce and crème fraîche (all desserts $6). Lunch Tues.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sun. Beer and wine; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
VOODOO NIGHTCLUB AND RESTAURANT
4120 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles
One of L.A.’s hottest nightclub/restaurants features a large, heated outdoor patio and a cascading waterfall. Listen to great live music or DJs spinning black vinyl, while enjoying a Voodoo salad dressed in a kiwi vinaigrette, accompanied by shrimp tempura ($7.95); or Southwestern lobster tacos; they wrap them in a won ton taco shell. Dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.
Wahoo’S Fish Taco
1129 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach
In the mood for food from the Americas 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 fresh daily. Fill up on the famous banzai burrito ($4.85) or charbroiled fish tacos ($5.36 for the combo platter, including black beans and rice). 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. Several varieties of the ravioli-like dumplings are served here, stuffed with everything from mushrooms and cabbage to potato purée and onions ($12-$13). Fish lovers might go in for 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.
WHOLE FOODS MARKET
7871 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
The nation’s largest natural-foods retailer is now bringing value and taste to West Hollywood. Starting February 16, the grocery store — which specializes in high-quality products without additives, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives — will offer everything from gourmet foods to everyday food items. The opening will kick off with a ceremony at 9 a.m., and shoppers are invited to sample exclusive products. Whole Foods will donate 5 percent of pretax sales to the Los Angeles Free Clinic as part of its first 5 percent Beneficiary Day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.
WINDOWS STEAKS & MARTINIS
1150 S. Olive St., Downtown
Within walking distance of the Staples Center, and providing a spectacular city view, this upscale steakhouse is the perfect spot to convene before and after the game. Start a hearty meal off with the classic French onion soup, topped with baguette crust and melted Gruyère in a ceramic crock ($6.95). Steaks don’t get any better than Windows’ California-cut prime rib ($24). Don’t leave without sampling one of 50 signature martinis. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sat. Full bar; takeout, catering, valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, MC, V.
WORLD VILLAGE CAFÉ
8023-2 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican and seafood are the specialties at this classy bistro. Enjoy a universe of music, peruse the art adorning the walls and savor sandwiches, salads, burgers or pastas, such as delicious penne cooked in a non-dairy white garlic-fennel sauce ($10.95). Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. No alcohol; takeout; catering; delivery; parking. AE, CB, DC, DIS, MC, V.
521 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood
11820 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A.
With a garden patio and full-service sushi bar, Yabu offers its patrons an elegant dining experience. The house specialty is soba (buckwheat) noodles, served in multiple varieties: hot or cold, with a shrimp and vegetable tempura, duck with onion, grated Japanese yam and poached eggs ($5.50–$15). Also, there are rice bowls with assorted toppings, such as chicken, egg and sashimi, served with miso soup and pickled veggies ($5.50–$16). Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner seven nights. Beer, wine and sake; takeout; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
1333 Third St., Santa Monica
Having a hard time deciding between Thai, Chinese or sushi? No problem — right in the heart 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 a velvety brown sauce, or kung pao chicken (each $8). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
300 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey
With 40 monitors for viewing sporting events (including seven big-screen TVs), plus video games, fooz ball, air hockey and 31 pool tables, this place is a superfan’s dream come true. Cheer for the home team over some homemade nachos with all the fixings ($6.95), specialty salads and sandwiches ($6.75–$7.95), or lip-smacking, charbroiled baby-back ribs ($12.50). Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; reservations not required. AE, DC, DIS, MC, V.
YE OLDE KING’S HEAD PUB
116 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica
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This venerable establishment has been serving the best of British food and drink at reasonable prices for 26 years, and is famous for its fish and chips, bangers, and steak and kidney pies. Royal afternoon teas in the Hunt Room are quite an affair, where you can feast on delicious scones, pastries and sandwiches. The lively pub has lots of your favorite British beers, with weekend entertainment, and, of course, darts! Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; street parking. AE, MC, V.
Written by Patrick Burleigh, Nicole Campos, Bryce Coleman, Kristin Fiore, Wendy Gilmartin, Mike Gutierrez, Chuck Mindenhall IV, Rita Neyter, Matt Pevic, Christine Pelisek, Stefan Thiel and Nicole Whelan.