What happens if, on the spur of the moment, you try a really great restaurant without a reservation and they can't fit you in? Is there an easy, good alternative close by? A plan B? Case in point: After a couple of art openings, we decided to see if we could squeeze into Angelini Osteria down the block. Angelini without a reservation at 9pm on a Saturday night? Not a chance, so then what? Get back in the car and go home, or walk to another restaurant?

Living in the Beverly/La Brea neighborhood, we're lucky: there are several options, ranging from “entertaining” to palatable to good to excellent, all within walking distance. But more to the point, at that particular moment, why bother when, right next door to Angelini is Itacho, the Japanese restaurant we'd been meaning to try since moving to the neighborhood a few months back. And so, we walked — about six paces.

There would be no warm skate salad or porchetta, but there would be fresh sushi in a casual, friendly environment — a perfectly enjoyable evening thanks to plan B.

Plan B: Itacho Restaurant, 7311 Beverly Boulevard

Plan B: Itacho Restaurant, 7311 Beverly Boulevard

The following weekend, we walked the same neighborhood to BLD for brunch. Same problem. So, wait or take plan B – Kokomo Café a block away? No, Kokomo's cranberry-and-orange pancakes aren't quite up to BLD's ricotta version — but then, whose are? Yet the Kokomo fare is good, the price is half that at BLD, yada yada. So what if the chairs are plastic?

These experiences got us thinking about the importance of plan B – the restaurant next door, or just down the block, that fills in nicely when plan A doesn't work out. (As in personal relationships, plan B may be as important as plan A, if not more so.) No room at Animal? Cross the street to Golden State — or vice versa. Some others come to mind: Bar Pintxo is a few doors from Anisette, Providence from Marino, BLD from Eva, Beacon from Father's Office. Hatfield's just opened a block from the always-packed Mozza, a smart move.

Got your plan B?

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