What's better than a beachside lunch dreamed up by Mario Batali? An “interactive” one cooked by the super chef himself. On Jan. 28, Batali will take over Coast Beach Café & Bar at Shutters on the Beach hotel. As a plus, he will “interact with the crowd,” says a publicist. Nine people at each seating (11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.) can pay $75 for counter spots facing the open kitchen for an up-close view of the action. Otherwise, the cost is $65 for the three courses.

Batali's recently-released cookbook, Molto Batali, inspired the meal. Ravioli with rabe, potato and ricotta comprises the first course. Braised chicken with sweet onions and parmigiano, plus spaghetti squash with herbs and robiola cheese, come second. The final item is orange-scented cannoli. Joe and Lidia Bastianich's winery and Batali's La Mozza will provide the wine pairings.

For a reservation, call 310-587-1707 or click here. The publicist warns that “tickets will fly.” Can't save a spot or make the date? You'll miss the “interactive” experience, but not the food. Coast will keep the braised chicken and spaghetti squash on the menu. Or, get the cookbook and try out the recipes yourself. You could even picnic on the beach.

LA Weekly