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EDITED BY LOVELL ESTELL III

 

Written by Cindy Arora, Siran Babayan, Nicole Campos, Bryce Coleman, Marco Contreras, Kristin Fiore, Wendy Gilmartin, Millay Hyatt, Aaron Jacobs, Rita Neyter, Christine Pelisek, Matthew Pevic, Lou Rutigliano, Amy Sorkin, Jennifer Smith and Stefan Thiel.

 

 

ANNA'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

10929 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.

(310) 474-0102

Heart-warming Italian cuisine and friendly service have made Anna's a favorite among Angelenos for nearly three decades. The menu has something for everybody. How about a fiorentina salad (spinach, fresh mushrooms with hot bacon, apple cider vinegar, oil and spices, $7.50) or tagliarini verdi con pollo (spinach noodles in a cream and cheese sauce, with chicken, mushrooms, onions and peas, $13.95)? The Monday-through-Thursday specials aren't pricy, and are generous enough to feed the Vatican. Lunch Mon.­Fri., dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations recommended. AE, CB, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

AOKI'S SHABU SHABU

11680 Olympic Blvd., West L.A.

(310) 479-7537

If in the mood for great Japanese cuisine, take out your chopsticks and stop here. Not to be missed are the nabe (one pot) dishes, such as chanko, famous as a meal for Sumo wrestlers, or ishikari (filled with delicious shrimp and salmon), both $8.95 at lunch, $12.95 at dinner. This is the only restaurant in L.A. that serves miso nikomi (noodles in a clay pot) with prime beef, chicken, vegetables, or shrimp tempura ($6.95). Lunch and dinner Tues.­Sun. Beer and wine; takeout; reservations accepted; parking. MC, V.

 

ATLAS SUPPER CLUB

3760 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.

(213) 380-8400

Located in the historic Wiltern complex, Atlas offers global cuisine and swingin' entertainment in a glamorous '30s-style atmosphere. Among the culinary splendors are chicken curry served over saffron rice in a pineapple shell ($17) and charbroiled ahi tuna with wild rice and vegetables in a cilantro wasabi pesto ($19). Meat shunners can dine on vegetable Wellington, with wild rice, black beans, tomato, carrots, zucchini and rich portobello mushrooms in a puff-pastry shell ($14). Lunch and dinner Mon.­Fri., dinner Tues.­Sat. Full bar; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

BACKSTAGE RESTAURANT

10400 Culver Blvd., Culver City

(310) 839-3892

All diners are treated like stars here. The menu boasts an assortment of tantalizing Mediterranean and American dishes (over 48 items to choose from!). You'll find mouthwatering seafood delights, as well as kebabs of the chicken and beef variety ($8.99­$10.99). For the big appetites, the chicken breast steak ($9.99) or the filet mignon steak ($12.99) are top quality. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; reservations suggested. AE, DC, Disc., MC, V.

BAMBOO RESTAURANT

10835 Venice Blvd., L.A.

(310) 287-0668

Want a feel of the Caribbean? Then step into Bamboo for a refreshing escape from the city. While seated among huge leafy palms and giant grass (bamboo), enjoy the popular Yucatán chicken, a marinated, boneless, skinless breast of chicken topped with Indian pepper sauce, served with rice, sweet plantains and black beans ($11.75). If you want a lighter, sweeter meal, the mango curry chicken in pineapple and raisins with Jamaican curry sauce ($10.75) will leave room for a workout. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

THE BIGG CHILL

10850 W. Olympic Blvd., West L.A.

(310) 475-1070

You'll know it by the five-foot yogurt cone perched on the roof. Westsiders have long enjoyed the revolving smorgasbord of flavors — from cookie dough to orange café — mixed on-site and served in large portions. Recharge with a chai or an ice-blended mocha (both $3.25), while pondering what combination of flavors to choose for your frozen-yogurt pie with homemade graham-cracker crust ($12.95­$17.95). Cookies, nonfat muffins, shakes and smoothies are also available. Open seven days. Takeout; parking. Cash only.

 

BLUEWATER GRILL

517 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey

(310) 822-3386

This restaurant has been open for just three months and already has a huge following. The place is big on seafood and pasta dishes. Try the linguini and mussels ($8.95), garden penne (with arugula, vegetables, feta cheese, $9.95) or the halibut on fettuccini ($12.95). The swordfish, served with spaghetti and fresh checca sauce, is superb ($14.95). Dine on the outdoor patio for that special, romantic occasion. Dinner Tues.­Sun.. Beer and wine; takeout; lot parking. AE, MC, V.

 

BOUCHON

7661 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood

(323) 852-9400

The capital of French gastronomy is Lyon, where the creation of perfect food has been elevated to an art. But you don't have to fly to France, as there's a little bit of Lyon in our very back yard. Take a trip to Bouchon for peerless Gallic dishes, like bavette à l'échalote — a tender flank steak sautéed with white wine and shallots ($12.95) or pike dumplings in lobster sauce ($9.50). Don't leave without dessert: the clafoutis (baked custard with cherries and crème anglaise, $4.75) is délicieux! Dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations required. AE, MC, V.

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BOURBON STREET SHRIMP AND GRILLE

10928 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A.

(310) 474-0007

8454 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood

(323) 653-2640

New Orleans­style Cajun cooking made with or without the heat. Bourbon Street Shrimp and Grille takes you into the heart of the Mississippi Delta with jambalaya (spicy rice, smoked sausage, $7.95), a steaming shrimp gumbo ($10.95) and deliciously spiced Bourbon Street shrimp (“large gulf shrimps swimming in famous Cajun sauce served with a basket of French bread,” $12.95). There are also lots of chicken, fish, beef and vegetarian dishes on the menu. Lunch and dinner seven days (Melrose location, dinner only). Beer and wine; takeout; catering; lot parking. AE, MC, V.

 

BRUNO'S RISTORANTE

3838 Centinela Ave., L.A.

(310) 397-5703

If you're struck with a sense of déjà vu when you walk in here it's because a lot of TV and movie crews have taken advantage of its regal interior. The menu boasts an array of regional Italian dishes like osso buco (prime veal shank braised in red wine, served with penne and a cacciatore sauce, $19.95), and scampi angela (tiger shrimp, artichoke hearts in white wine and garlic butter sauce, served with angel-hair pasta, $15.95). And vino! Bruno's extensive, award-winning wine list has a reasonably priced bottle for every taste and occasion. Dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; parking. AE, MC, V.

 

CAFE 50'S

11623 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.

(310) 479-1955

Flipping through the juke-box selections here is fun, but deciding what to eat is even more fun. Sandwich devotees are especially fond of the Philly cheese steak sandwich ($6.25), packed with jack cheese and tender grilled onions. Really hungry? Try a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings ($7.25) or fresh fish ($8.95). Come on “Mellow Mondays” when, from 6 p.m. to midnight, you can chow on a burger or omelet for half price. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations accepted. MC, V.

 

CAFé MIRABEAU

440 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

(310) 271-1995

Frederic Fekkai modeled this outdoor café after his native Aix-en-Provence. He even imported an 18th-century Provençal fountain that flows continuously, furthering the tranquil ambiance. The menu is always changing and offers a variety of regional soups, desserts and sandwiches. Signature dishes include the roasted tomato and fennel soup ($4), the curried chicken salad on walnut bread ($8.50) and the grilled fillet of ahi ($12.50). Breakfast and lunch Mon.­Sat. No alcohol; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.

 

CARMINE'S

10463 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.

(310) 441-4706

“Everyone is treated like family,” says Carmine of his Italian restaurant, which has been serving palate-pleasing fare since 1969. Enjoy live piano music while dining on delish osso buco — veal shanks in an Italian vegetable gravy served over homemade gnocchi ($19.95) or chicken dino, a chicken breast with Italian sausage, roasted potatoes, onions, peppers and wild mushrooms ($15.95). Try the hearty meat sauce, a family specialty for 57 years. Lunch Tues.­Fri., dinner Mon.­Sat. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.

CAT & FIDDLE

6530 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood

(323) 468-3800

Just inside a brick archway, there's a patio where, surrounded by foliage, English expatriates lunch on fresh fish and chips ($8.75), bangers and mash ($8.25) and shepherd's pie ($8.75). Then there's the occasional patron who will opt instead for the traditional English breakfast ($7.95). But don't let the setting fool you — this place is strictly a good time. All night long, industry types consume large quantities of imported beer. Enjoy some good jazz on the patio Sunday nights and howl at the moon! Don't forget happy hour 4­7 p.m. daily. Full bar; takeout; catering; reservations suggested for parties of six or more. AE, MC, V.

 

CAVA

8384 W. Third St., L.A.

(323) 658-8898

Located in the Beverly Plaza Hotel, this restaurant is big on zesty Latin dishes. Popular tapas include crispy shrimp cakes with creamy tarragon tartar sauce ($7.25). For the main course, the choices range from a tender, boneless breast of chicken with mango chutney and Brazilian spices, served with black beans, saffron rice and plantains ($14.50), to filet mignon with shallots, cognac and diablo sauce ($26, Wed.­Sat. only). Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, Disc., MC, V.

 

CHA CHA CHA ENCINO

17499 Ventura Blvd., Encino

(818) 789-3600

If you're not entranced by the salsa players or tarot-card readers, you'll be voodoo-stricken by the Mardi Gras atmosphere that sizzles through here. Savor irresistible dishes like the crispy jerk pork ($6) or the camarones negros (jumbo shrimp sautéed with a spicy sauce, $16). Nowhere else can you enjoy spicy Mambo Gumbo and listen to live Latin music for under five bucks. Lunch and dinner seven days, brunch weekends. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, DC, Disc., MC, V.

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CHAO KRUNG

111 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.

(323) 939-8361

One wall of Chao Krung features a tribute to Vietnam-era journalists, an unaffected warmth which is extended to its customers. Waitresses in traditional costume lead guests past Buddhist murals to richly hued wooden tables, where diners can enjoy an especially recommended pad Thai ($6.75) and freshly steamed Thai spring rolls ($4.95 for five). On weekdays, enjoy a trip or two to the delicious buffet ($6.50). Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking. AE, Disc., MC, V.

 

CHAYA VENICE

110 Navy St., Venice

(310) 396-1179

In the heart of Venice is this chic restaurant with its flashy sushi bar and free-floating starfish-shaped lamps. The menu is as varied as Madonna's hairstyles: There's plenty of seafood, pasta, steak, chicken and salads. Go for some spaghetti pepperoncino (tossed with extra virgin olive oil, cracked with chili pepper and topped with garlic chips, $9) or reel in miso-marinated Chilean sea bass with yuzu butter sauce and wasabi pesto ($20.50). Lunch Mon.­Fri., dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking. AE, DC, MC, V.

 

CHILLERS

239 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach

(310) 798-3171

Crazy from the heat? Chill out here with one of 23 frozen drinks ($4­$6 for 12­22 oz.), like the Suicide or the Purple Orgasm (vodka, grape juice and grape punch). But don't down a 22-ouncer on an empty stomach — dig into a half-pound burger, Philly cheese steak, burrito or hot dog. If you're saving calories for the drinks, try one of six salads or seven boneless-chicken dishes. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; parking. AE, DC, MC, V.

 

COBALT

616 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood

(310) 659-8691

4326 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake

(323) 953-9991

This is where fun-loving people come to eat, drink and play. One of L.A.'s hottest alternative restaurants, celebrating its eighth year with a new sizzling summer menu, Cobalt serves California cuisine with a Latin flair to hipsters in East and West Hollywood. Check out the specials every night and don't miss late-night weekends at Silver Lake and West Hollywood. Open seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested for parties of eight or more. AE, DC, MC, V.

 

CRUSTACEAN RESTAURANT

9646 Little Santa Monica Blvd.,
Beverly Hills

(310) 205-8990

Travel back in time to the elegance of French Colonial Vietnam at Crustacean, where executive chef Helene An guards her secret recipes so zealously that six “sacred dishes” are prepared in a private, steel-encased kitchen. We recommend the Dungeness crab, simmered in sake, chardonnay and cognac ($33.95), or the unforgettable colossal royal tiger prawns, charbroiled with secret spices, served over garlic noodles ($33.95). There are also live jazz performances nightly. Lunch Mon.­Fri., dinner Mon.­Sat. Full bar; valet parking; reservations recommended. AE, DC, MC, V.

 

CUISINE OF INDIA / GOLDEN GATE INDIAN RESTAURANT

10959 Kinross Ave., Westwood

(310) 208-6699

In the mood for something exotic before seeing that show at Royce Hall? Located near the UCLA campus, Golden Gate has been serving authentic Indian delicacies since 1981. Savor one of its renowned tandoori plates — chicken ($11.95), shrimp or mixed ($13.95). The succulent lamb tikka masala ($11.95) shouldn't be missed, but if you're worried about karmic consequences, the vegetarian dishes are sure to satisfy. Lunch Mon.­Sat., dinner nightly. Beer and wine; takeout, delivery; catering; reservations suggested. AE, MC, V.

 

CUTTER'S ROADHOUSE

22252 Palos Verdes Ave., Torrance

(310) 540-9799

Get yer motor runnin' for this gritty, boot-stompin' cattle wrangler's haunt. Here ya can listen to tunes on the juke box and 'mire the local scenery. Take on the baby backs, if ya dare: They're slathered sweet in barbecue cowpoke sauce ($13.99), or, if you're looking to carve some new holes in that dusty belt, go for the lighter mesquite-grilled albacore tuna ($10.99). The whole feast will leave you plain, darn satisfied. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout. AE, MC, V.

 

CYRANO

8840 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood

(310) 271-4193

This is a restaurant that combines French Mediterranean cuisine with Hollywood Hills scenery and SoCal chic. Relax with a cocktail on a velvet couch before feasting on Maryland crab cakes with tamarind sauce ($11) or “la tray” prawns with cucumber, red pepper and tapenade ($21). Whether you're on the balcony or inside Cyrano's luxurious confines, you'll salute this gem in your very best French accent. Lunch Tues.­Fri., dinner Tues.­Sat. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking. AE, DC, MC, V.

 

DADO RISTORANTE & PIZZARIA

2002 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A.

(310) 575-1544

This ain't your run-of-the-mill pizza joint. Sure, the slices are to die for, but we're talkin' a nontraditional variety of regional, Italian dishes served with a distinct California flair. Don't believe me? How about the “Robes Pierre” appetizer of N.Y. steak, sliced and served atop fresh arugula and tomatoes ($9.50), or the warm, baby spinach salad ($7.50). If you're really hungry, try the mixed grill — sausage, beef and lamb, served with spinach, potato and fresh vegetables ($14.50). Lunch Mon.­Fri., dinner Mon.­Sat. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking; reservations suggested. AE, MC,V.

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DA PASQUALE

9749 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills

(310) 859-3884

All of the pastas here are made to order, never pre-cooked, hence the piping-hot goodness of their linguine, fettuccine and gnocchi ($7.50­$11.75). The same goes for the pizzas and bread, and daily specials like farfalle al salmone (bow-tie pasta with salmon, hot pepper, and cream sauce, $11) or ravioli al sugo (stuffed with ricotta and spinach, tossed with fresh tomato sauce, garlic and basil, $11). Heaven on Earth in Beverly Hills! Lunch Mon.­Fri., dinner Mon.­Sat. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking; reservations accepted. AE, MC, V.

 

DELMONICO'S SEAFOOD GRILLE

133 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills

(310) 854-9077

When fish and chips just won't cut it, treat your fabulous self to one of the most elegant finds in the city. The famed chef De La Cruz offers grilled halibut on mushroom ravioli with a curry glaze sauce ($19.95) and lobster linguini with spicy tomato sauce ($15.95). The A-list clientele provides an evening of indoor stargazing. Finish the night with banana cream pie ($6.50) or fresh apple tart ($7.25). This is what luxurious dining is all about. Lunch Mon.­Fri., dinner seven nights. Full bar; takeout; catering; valet parking; reservations recommended. AE, MC, V.

 

DIVINE PASTA

615 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.

(323) 939-1148

1303 Montana Ave., Santa Monica

(310) 394-7930

443 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills

(310) 858-8786

12616 Ventura Blvd., Studio City

(818) 761-1874

Transform your kitchen into a trattoria with Divine Pasta's healthy, gourmet Italian delights, select kitchen items, imported oils, and ceramic ware. Purchase pasta by the pound ($3), which you can mix and match with 15 different homemade sauces ($4­$6), or settle down at the pasta bar and fill up on the pumpkin ravioli. Don't feel like cooking? Take home some tofu-filled ravioli with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes in whole-wheat pasta, ready to go from fridge to table in six minutes flat. Lunch and dinner Mon.­Sat.; Santa Monica retail location, Sun. only. Takeout; catering; parking; AE, MC, V.

 

DOUBLE DUTCH DINETTE

9806 Washington Blvd., Culver City

(310) 280-0991

This family-owned restaurant has won a big local following with its innovative home-style fare. Hearty entrées like the grilled rosemary chicken ($7.95) and grilled salmon with raspberry glaze (10.95) are served along with fresh grilled vegetables and a choice of sides. Don't forget your pecan pie ($3) or the jumbo cookie ($1.50) to go. Lunch Mon.­Sat., dinner Tues.­Sat., brunch weekends. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; meter parking. MC, V.

 

DUKE'S

21150 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

(310) 317-0777

317 Pacific Coast Highway,
Huntington Beach

(714) 374-6446

Real seafood lovers gather at Duke's to satisfy their picky palates. The roasted firecracker fish, lobster, shrimp scampi, and the hibachi-style teriyaki ahi are must-haves; if your diet doesn't include fish, shift gears with the prime rib steak ($12.95­$19.95), pork ribs ($16.95), or the huli huli chicken ($12.95). The Polynesian music enhances the exotic island atmosphere. Lunch Tues.­Sun., dinner seven nights. Full bar; catering; valet parking; reservations suggested. AE, Disc., MC, V.

 

DU-PAR'S RESTAURANTS AND
BAKERIES

6333 W. Third St., L.A.

(323) 933-8446

12036 Ventura Blvd., Studio City

(818) 766-4437

75 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd.,
Thousand Oaks

(805) 373-8785

Delicious food and friendly service have made Du-par's one of the city's busiest restaurants. With breakfast served all day, you won't miss out on its award-winning hot cakes or French toast. The omelets ($7­$8) are superb, and the meat pies (steak, chicken, or steak and kidney) are house favorites ($6.95). If you've got an itch for something sweet, all locations have on-site bakeries where delectable pies and pastries are prepared daily. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar (Thousand Oaks only); takeout; parking. AE, MC, DC, Disc., V.

 

EL FLORIDITA

1253 N. Vine St.

(323) 871-0936

If the “Big Zipper” in the White House tasted the Havana-born specialties at this place, the Cuban embargo would be lifted pronto. He'd forget the Big Mac and go for a savory roasted pork, ham and Swiss sandwich ($4.50) or chicken and rice seasoned with olive oil, tomato, onions and green and red peppers ($4.50). Then he'd work off that paunch by jiggling it to the nightly live entertainment. All that's missing are the stogies. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; reservations essential. AE, CB, DC, Disc., MC, V.

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EL TEXATE

316 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica

(310) 399-1115

Drop in at this Oaxacan-style restaurant, where color is everywhere, starting with a dazzling collection of straw hats adorning the walls. Then there's the irresistible mole sauce in fiery red, yellow or green, and the wildly popular, chocolate-based mole negro sauce. Choose one and savor it served over white rice with chicken or pork ($8.99), or try the barbecued goat, cooked with avocado-tree leaves, tomatoes and red peppers ($8.99). Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; parking. AE, CB, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

EL TORITO GRILL

21321 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance

(310) 543-1896

Take a cab to this place, because after sampling a few tequilas and plowing through an avalanche of fresh tortillas or firedancer popcorn shrimp ($7.95), you won't want to take off — let alone take the wheel. Blow your swimsuit diet with a hand-shaken margarita and the jalapeño spinach-artichoke dip ($6.95), a perfect topping for the homemade tortillas. Continue the fiesta with a platter of sizzling steak, shrimp or chicken fajitas ($10.95­$13.95). Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; catering; delivery; parking; reservations suggested. AE, CB, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

EREWHON NATURAL FOOD MART

7660 Beverly Blvd., L.A.

(323) 937-0777

This is not your regular market; it's a Super Natural Food Market and the home of the “Healthycatessen,” where you'll find over 60 hot and cold dishes, including vegetarian goodies, free-range chicken, homemade soups, and a full-on salad bar ($2.99 & up). If you've got a cavity-free sweet tooth, then go for the sugar-free bakery, the organic espresso bar, or a made-to-order smoothie. Fax orders accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; catering; parking. AE, Disc., MC, V.

 

FARMERS MARKET

6333 W. Third Street, L.A.

(323) 933-9211

Think Fairfax and Third, and this venerable 65-year-old market automatically comes to mind. With its shops, restaurants, fruit and vegetable stands and concessions, there's plenty to enjoy. And lots of food: crepes, burgers, Chinese food, Cajun cooking, Middle Eastern cuisine, barbecue, pizza, pastries and more. It's a great spot for open-air dining on a summer's day or evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; parking. AE, MC, V.

 

FLYING LEAP CAFÉ

2538 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake

(323) 661-0618

A great place for an intimate meal with friends, Flying Leap serves hearty American food in a cozy, candle-lit setting. Highlighting the new summer menu is a juicy, top-sirloin steak ($13.95) and the classic Silver Lake salad, with baby greens, sausage, corn, onion, apples, and lemon-herb dressing ($7.95). All summer long, Tues.­Thurs. before 7:30 p.m., the “blue plate” specials feature an entrée, salad and dessert for just $7.95. Dinner Tues.­Sun. Full bar; takeout; parking. Disc., MC, V.

 

GATE OF INDIA

7300 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood

(323) 874-6673

The folds of black and burgundy cloth billowing from the ceiling are more reminiscent of a work of art by Christo than a restaurant; but once the food arrives, there's no question you're here to chow. The menu features a wonderfully tangy chicken tikka masala ($5.95, lunch; $9.95, à la carte), lamb pasanda cooked with almonds and cashews in a creamy meat sauce ($5.95; $9.95) chicken tandoori ($5.95; $7.95), malai kofta ($4.95; $5.95) and a selection of warm naan that will send pangs of fear into the hearts of the indecisive. Good service is always guaranteed. Lunch and dinner seven days. Beer and wine; takeout; delivery; catering; parking; reservations recommended. AE, DC, MC, V.

 

GAYLORD'S INDIA RESTAURANT

50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills

(310) 652-3838

With a new menu and wine list, this is a must-stop for Indian-food lovers. Out of the mesquite clay ovens come delicacies like seekh kabab (minced lamb mixed with onions, herbs and spices, $13.75). Exquisite chicken curries and seafood meals (sautéed prawns with vegetables, $16) are other highlights of the excellent cuisine here. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; delivery; catering; valet parking; reservations recommended. AE, CB, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

GERLACHS' GRILL

1075 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena

(626) 799-7575

A mind-boggling variety of juicy flame-broiled kebabs — from lemon-and-saffron marinated chicken ($9.95) to brochettes of fire-roasted eggplant, squash and tomato ($7.95) — await meat lovers and vegetarians alike at this mostly takeout joint. Just about every sandwich, burger and seafood plate on the eclectic menu is served up with fragrant basmati rice, along with salad or soup. If the kebabs don't fill you up, try one of more than 10 different seafood tacos ($4.95 to $5.95). Open daily for lunch and dinner. No alcohol; takeout; delivery. AE, Disc., MC, V.

 

GIGI BRASSERIE

8555 Beverly Blvd., L.A.

(310) 278-5444

Located at the Hotel Sofitel, this Parisian bistro serves hearty French cuisine that's so authentic it'll have you craving a post-meal walk along the Seine. Where else will you find escargot ($7.25), steak tartare ($14.50) and bouillabaisse ($16.75) all on one menu? Relax on the patio while nibbling a flaky croissant, baked at the on-site patisserie, and dream of gay Paris! Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Full bar; catering; valet parking. AE, V, MC, DC.

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GITANA

260 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank

(818) 846-4400

This lively restaurant has a sports bar, billiard room, nightclub, cigar lounge, dining area and two outdoor patios. And the menu is just as diverse: South American, Italian, French and Mediterranean dishes — with a separate sports-bar menu (full of traditional beer-swilling eats) offered until 1 a.m. nightly. Be it dancing, pool, televised sports or videos (there are over 30 monitors throughout), relaxing or dining as you desire — it's all here. Lunch and dinner seven days. Full bar; takeout; parking. AE, DC, Disc., MC, V.

 

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