Angeli Café. Most L.A. restaurants have the shelf life of rock & roll bands, so it’s an impressive and moving fact that Angeli Caffé on Melrose has survived two decades. It was among the first of the new Italians, and chef Evan Kleiman’s clear-eyed, big-flavored cooking was an enormous influence. 7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 936-9086. Lunch Tues.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner Tues.–Thurs. 5–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–11 p.m. Closed Monday. Beer and wine. Valet parking. Entrées $11–$18. Thursday dinners $25. AE, D, MC, V. Italian. MH

Canary. Canary is an Iranian sandwich shop on Westwood’s Iranian strip, a house of kebabs in the most kebab-intensive neighborhood in California. Also notable are Iranian-style sandwiches made with a split-and-grilled Hebrew National frank, a hollowed-out length of toasted French bread and condiments similar to those you might expect to find on a Chicago-style hot dog, only inflected with more garlic. 1942 Westwood Blvd., Westwood; (310) 470-1312. Open daily 11 a.m.–12 a.m. Lunch for two, food only, $12–$14. No alcohol. Takeout. Parking lot. MC, V. Iranian. JG

El Colmao. Start with the avocado salad — cool, ripe chunks garnished with thin slices of raw onion and dressed with splashes of vinegar and torrents of good Spanish olive oil; then a heaping plateful of thin, pounded circles of unripe plantains, fried crisp as potato chips and dusted with salt. Next, boiled yucca; a big plateful of moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians), a tasty miscegenation of black beans and rice fried with garlic and gobbets of fat pork; piles of fried fresh ham, pierna de puerco, crisp and brown on the outside and meltingly tender within, topped with an immoderate portion of caramelized onions. For dessert, good flan and torpor — and strong Cuban espresso. 2328 W. Pico Blvd.; (213) 386-6131. Lunch and dinner, tk days and times. Beer and wine. Takeout? Lot parking. Food for two, $9–$28. MC, V. Cuban. JG

Kim Chuy. The basic deal at this noodle shop is, of course, the noodles: slippery rice noodles or firmer, square-cut egg noodles, submerged in broth, garnished with things like boiled duck legs and sliced pork. At Kim Chuy, the special noodles include duck and shrimp, squid and cuttlefish, and four kinds of fish cake; also floppy, herb-spiked won ton. The Chiu Chow beef-stew noodles come with melting shanks of tendon and hunks of long-simmered chuck. Chiu Chow spiced beef noodles come in a gritty, spicy demicurry, almost crunchy with ground nuts (another missing link between Chiu Chow cooking and Thai). 727 N. Broadway, No. 103, Chinatown; (213) 687-7215. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, tk days/ times ( daily 8 a.m.–8 p.m)?? No alcohol. Takeout?? Lot parking. Food for two, $8–$10. Cash or AE, MC, V. Type of cuisine?? JG

Kotohira. Kotohira is one of the few places in the United States that still makes udon by hand: thick, white and long, diminishing to squiggles at the ends, clean in flavor, with the bouncy resiliency of elastic ropes. Whether dunked in fish soup or anointed with curry; hot in a bowl or cold on a mat; or dry in a bowl and garnished with ginger, green onion and wisps of freshly shaved bonito — the wheaty sweetness of the noodles, set off by the clean smoky smack of the dried bonito, is among the most delicious things you have ever eaten. 1747 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena; (310) 323-3966. Lunch and dinner, Wed.–Mon. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Beer and sake. Takeout?? Lot parking. Dinner for two, food only, $15–$19. MC, V. Japanese. JG

Musso & Frank Grill. Here in these worn wooden swivel chairs beneath the ancient hunt-scene wallpaper, you can get what seems very much the perfect gentleman’s lunch. A red-jacketed waiter comes over and pours a clear, cold martini, Hollywood’s best, from a pony into a tiny frosted glass, then carefully spoons Welsh rarebit — rich and warm, if a little grainy — from a metal salver onto crustless toast. The service is solicitous, but mostly leaves you to your own thoughts. You can order coffee and a bread pudding and people-watch for hours during the pre-theater rush. Musso’s, the oldest real restaurant in Los Angeles, is an easy place to be happy. 6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 467-7788. Open Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, $75–$100. Full bar. Validated parking in rear. AE, MC, V. American. JG

Pho Café. Though the pho is better at other well-known Vietnamese restaurants, Pho Café is far more stylish, and the food is fresh enough, the ingredients good quality. The menu is pared down and easily mastered. Try the banh xeo appetizer, a crunchy, chewy crepe with shrimp, beef, mushrooms and bean sprouts in a turmeric-yellow flour batter and wrapped with lettuce and herbs in just-moistened rice paper. And remember the soup here the next time you have a cold; it’s bound to be curative. 2841 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 413-0888. Lunch and dinner seven days 11 a.m.–midnight. Beer and wine. Takeout. Lot parking. Entrées $5.95–$6.75. Cash only. Vietnamese. MH

LA Weekly