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LOS ANGELES
Restaurants:
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  • Travel Guide: California
  • The diverse cultures within the boundaries of Los Angeles have produced a tantalizing array of ethnic cuisines. You can have huevos rancheros for breakfast, falafel for lunch and sushi for dinner, often within the same neighborhood. And when culinary traditions are hybridized by inventive chefs, you wind up with "fusion" cuisines, such as Cal-French and Cal-Asian, that leave you wondering where in the world you are. This California cuisine -- with more than a bit of health consciousness thrown in -- gives gourmet treatment to fresh local ingredients. While quite good, it's usually characterized by small portions and high prices.

    Angelenos tend to eat out often and can be very particular. Some will think nothing of driving an hour on L.A. freeways to satisfy a craving or indulge in the latest food fad. You'll see calorie counters gingerly dipping their forks in dressing ("on the side, please") before plunging them into a bowl of field greens, and transplanted New Yorkers lining up in delis for a pastrami fix or ruggeleh to go. You too may find yourself in hot pursuit of trendy, lard-free Mexican food or chai tea.

    Many restaurants offer alfresco dining. Initially that was done as a way of attracting smokers -- smoking is illegal inside all California restaurants and bars -- although most eateries now ban smoking entirely, even on patios.

    Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one and not including drinks, tax or tip:

    $ = less $15
    $$ = $15 to $30
    $$$ = $31 to $60
    $$$$ = more than $60

    BEST IN TOWN

    L'Orangerie -- French waiters serve great meals in a romantic room. This restaurant has been dishing up its famous appetizer, eggs in the shell with caviar, for 20 years now. Other extravagances include roasted rack of lamb with thyme, terrine of rabbit with juniper berries and, for dessert, a crispy napoleon with mango sorbet. Tuesday-Sunday 6-11 pm. Reservations required. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 903 N. La Cienega Blvd. Phone 310-652-9770.directions

    Campanile -- Located in a building built by Charlie Chaplin, the restaurant is equally popular for chef-owner Mark Peel's earthy California-Mediterranean cooking and Nancy Silverton's world-famous, on-site La Brea Bakery. Rustic breads and morning pastries are served for weekend brunch. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm. Dinner Monday-Thursday 6-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-11 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 9:30 am-1:30 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 624 S. La Brea. Phone 323-938-1447.

    Citrus -- Michel Richard's highly rated French-California cuisine is served in a beautiful, large room with umbrella-topped tables and a view of the glass-fronted kitchen. Considered one of the city's top dining spots. Specialties include soy-grilled tuna, lamb with saffron ravioli and scallops served with crispy onions. Mr. Richard began his career as a pastry chef, so dessert is a must. Monday-Friday noon-2:30 pm and 6:30-10:30 pm, Saturday 6-11:30 pm, Sunday 6-10 pm. Jacket requested. $$$. Most major credit cards. 6703 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. Phone 323-857-0034.directions

    Patina -- This is the crown jewel in Chef Joachim Splichal's expanding empire of "Pinot" restaurants. French-California cooking is paired with rare seasonal delights such as wild partridge, grouse and venison. We like their rich, creamy mashed potatoes. Lunch is served Tuesday only noon-2 pm. Dinner Sunday-Friday 6-10 pm, Saturday 5:30-10 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 5955 Melrose Ave. Phone 323-467-1108.

    Matsuhisa -- Chef Nobu prepares traditional sushi as well as avant-garde Japanese cuisine enhanced by sauces made with garlic, fresh chile or caviar. Specialties include grilled toro fish and crab broiled with chile-mayonnaise dressing. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:45 am-2:15 pm; dinner Monday-Sunday 5:45-10:15 pm. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 129 N. La Cienega Blvd. Phone 310-659-9639.

    The Tower Restaurant -- French-Continental cuisine, seafood and steaks on the 32nd floor of the TransAmerica Building (whatta view!). When the emperor and empress of Japan dined there, they ordered the grilled, miso-marinated, Chilean sea bass. Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2 pm lunch, 5:30-10 pm dinner. Fridays and Saturdays until 11 pm. Jackets required, ties preferred. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 1150 S. Olive St. (south of downtown near the convention center), phone 213-746-1554.directions


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    HOT AND TRENDY

    p> Chaya Brasserie -- This restaurant serves up excellent French-Californian food with Asian touches. Live bamboo grows in the center of the wonderful dining room. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm. Dinner Monday-Thursday 6-10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 6-11 pm, Sunday 6-10 pm. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 8741 Alden Dr. Phone 310-859-8833.

    Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop -- "Last cappucino before the 101" is emblazoned on the outside wall of this popular coffee shop located in the Hollywood Best Western Hotel. It's a breakfast hot spot for film producers, writers, actors and young studio executives seeking to hobnob with all of the above. Daily 7 am-10 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 6145 Franklin Ave. Phone 323-467-7678.

    The Ivy -- Patio dining in the heart of the design district brings out both the show-biz elite and L.A.'s social set. Savory American food, from meatloaf to chopped chicken salad, makes this a popular lunch spot. Daily 11:30 am-10 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 113 N. Robertson Blvd. Phone 310-274-8303.

    Les Deux Cafes -- Dine in the rustic Craftsman house or out on the patio in this showbiz haunt. Sting had his birthday party there and Bill Murray may be spotted chatting with his brother John, the bartender. It's small, and the Provencal French food is served a la francaise (i.e., slowly), so reservations are necessary. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm; dinner Monday-Saturday 6:30-11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 1638 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood. Phone 323-465-0509.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    LOCAL AND REGIONAL SPECIALTIES

    Spago -- Overlooking Sunset Boulevard, this famous Wolfgang Puck restaurant is one of the best places in town to see celebrities. Be prepared to wait for a table while regulars and famous folks are seated ahead of you. With all the hoopla, don't forget to notice the designer pizza on your plate. Open for dinner only. Tuesday-Friday 6-11 pm, Saturday 5:30-11 pm, Sunday 6-10 pm. Reservations required. $$$$. 1114 Horn Ave., West Hollywood. Phone 310-652-4025.directions

    Geoffrey's -- Enjoy delicious food outdoors on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. The brunch, served Saturday and Sunday, is divine. Monday-Friday noon-9:30 pm, Saturday 11 am-10:30 pm, Sunday 10:30 am-9:30 pm. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 27400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Phone 310-457-1519.directions

    Granita -- This is Wolfgang Puck's dining room for stars who live in Malibu, but it's accessible to mere mortals as well. The restaurant, like all of his others, was designed by his wife. The room, with an open kitchen, is a mosaic masterpiece dotted here and there with artwork and classy fish tanks, giving an impression that you're dining beneath the sea. Such specialties as tagliatelle with sea urchin complete the picture. Dinner Monday-Thursday 6-9 pm, Friday 6-10 pm, Saturday 5:30-10 pm, Sunday 5:30-9 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 am-2:30 pm. Reservations required. $$$. Most major credit cards. 23725 W. Malibu Rd. Phone 310-456-0488.directions

    Mon Kee's Seafood Restaurant -- Locals love this casual stir-fry place in Chinatown where the emphasis is on reasonably priced entrees rather than fancy decor or service. Try the crab with garlic sauce. Chicken and beef dishes are also on the menu. Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-10:30 pm. Reservations recommended. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 679 N. Spring St. Phone 213-628-6717.directions

    MEXICAN

    Border Grill -- This restaurant was born in a Melrose storefront, grew into the former City Cafe and now enjoys a bustling new life in Santa Monica. Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (the Too Hot Tamales hosts on U.S. cable TVís Food Network) serve modern versions of Mexican classics, such as chiles rellenos, green corn tamales and shrimp with ancho chile sauce. Monday 5-10 pm, Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday 11:30 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am-11 pm. $$. 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, phone 310-451-1655.

    El Cholo -- The 68-year-old mother of Mexican cantinas serves enormous margaritas with authentic south-of-the-border food. Green corn tamales, a speciality, are available May-October. Monday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-11 pm, Sunday 11 am-9 pm. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 1121 S. Western Ave. (between Olympic and Pico). Phone 323-734-2773. A second location with the same menu and hours is in Santa Monica: 1025 Wilshire Blvd. Phone 310-899-1106.directions

    SEAFOOD

    Water Grill -- A vast selection of fresh seafood is served daily: Twelve varieties of oysters and fish from the Pacific Northwest, the East Coast and New Zealand are on the menu. Good service. Monday-Wednesday 11:30 am-9 pm, Thursday and Friday 11:30 am-10 pm, Saturday 5-10 pm, Sunday 4:30-9 pm. Reservations recommended. Semicasual attire or better is required. $$$. Most major credit cards. 544 S. Grand Ave. Phone 213-891-0900.

    VEGETARIAN

    Inn of the Seventh Ray -- Housed in a converted church, this natural-food restaurant is a rustic, creekside retreat high above the city. It specializes in vegetarian dishes, though meat and fish are also on the menu. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-3 pm, Saturday 10:30 am-3 pm. Dinner Monday-Sunday 6-9:45 pm. Sunday brunch 9:30 am-3 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd., Topanga. Phone 310-455-1311.

    LATIN AMERICAN

    Ciudad -- This restaurant, which specializes in nuevo Latino food, is the latest gem in the crown shared by TV chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. Between lunch and dinner, the bar serves up tasty tapas and rum drinks. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-3 pm; dinner daily 5:30-10 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Union Bank Plaza, 445 S. Figueroa St. Phone 213-486-5171.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    AMERICAN

    Apple Pan -- Since 1947, Apple Pan has served the best hamburgers around, especially the smoked burgers. There's usually a wait for a counter seat. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday 11 am-midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 am-1 am. $. No credit cards. 10801 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles. Phone 310-475-3585.directions

    Musso & Frank Grill -- For American fare, try the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. It started serving in 1919 and very little has changed. It's still known for its chicken pot pie and martinis. Tuesday-Saturday 11 am-11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Phone 323-467-7788.directions

    Nate 'n' Al's -- It's hard to believe you're in L.A., not Manhattan, at this choice Beverly Hills delicatessen with motherly waitresses. Take home the chocolate chip Bundt cake. Daily 7 am-9 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 414 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills. Phone 310-274-0101.directions

    Patrick's Roadhouse -- Across from the beach, beach bums and movie stars eat hearty diner food and listen to a fabulous jukebox with records as eclectic as the room's decor. Monday-Friday 8 am-3 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am-4 pm. $. No credit cards. 106 Entrada Dr., Santa Monica. Phone 310-459-4544.

    Pink's Famous Chili Dogs -- Called Pink's for short, this is where everyone, including movie stars, has gone for chili dogs and hamburgers since 1939. Those with iron stomachs may relish the foot-long jalapeno dogs. Sunday-Thursday 9:30 am-2 am, Friday and Saturday 9:30 am-3 am. $. No credit cards. 709 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood. Phone 323-931-4223.directions


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    ITALIAN

    Chianti -- Quiet and subdued, with a Little Italy feel, it's a place where you can count on excellent Northern Italian food. Next door is its "daughter," Chianti Cucina, a white-tiled pasta palace (actually the kitchen for Chianti), where the atmosphere is very different -- noisy, even wacky. Monday-Thursday 5:30-11:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30 pm-midnight, Sunday 5 pm-11 pm. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 7383 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. Phone 323-653-8333.directions

    Louise's Trattoria -- This chain of trats is very popular with Angelenos because of its fresh pastas. The large-enough-for-two portions of designer salads and pizzas are listed on the menu at small prices. In addition to the West Hollywood location, they're also in Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Los Feliz, Glendale, Pasadena and downtown. Sunday-Thursday 11 am-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-midnight. $$. Most major credit cards. 7505 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Phone 323-651-3880.directions

    Il Moro -- Tucked away in a highrise office building, this Northern Italian restaurant has a lovely patio and serves marvelous pastas. Monday-Friday 11:30 am-10 pm, Saturday 5:30-10:30 pm, Sunday 4:30-9:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 11400 W. Olympic Blvd., West Los Angeles. Phone 310-575-3530.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    ASIAN

    Chaya Brasserie -- This restaurant serves up excellent French-Californian food with Asian touches. Live bamboo grows in the center of the wonderful dining room. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm, dinner Monday-Thursday 6-10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 6-11 pm, Sunday 6-10 pm. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 8741 Alden Dr., near Beverly Hills, phone 310-859-8833.directions

    Siamese Princess Ginger Grill -- Elegant versions of regular Thai menu items, in a romantic setting. Open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday 6 to 11 pm, and lunch Friday and Saturday noon to 3 pm. Closed Monday. Reservations advised. $$. Major credit cards. 8048 W. Third St., West Hollywood, (213) 653-2643.directions

    Toi -- Enjoy fantastic Thai food in this restaurant decorated in a hanging-dragon-cum-rock-'n'-roll style. Daily 11 am-4 am. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 7505Ĺ Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Phone 323-874-8062. The newer version, open daily 11 am-3 am, is at 1120 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. Phone 310-394-7804.directions

    Yamashiro -- Dine in a centuries-old Japanese pagoda, high in the Hollywood Hills, with eight acres of sculptured gardens and a sweeping view. Ask for a table next to the window. Sunday-Thursday 5:30-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-11 pm. Bar open Sunday-Thursday 4:30 pm-12:30 am, Friday 4:30 pm-1:30 am, Saturday 4:30 pm-1 am. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood. Phone 323-466-5125.directions


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    ADDITIONAL DINING EXPERIENCES

    Dar Maghreb -- A fixed price gets you a pillow seat, a seven-course Moroccan meal (including lemon chicken, lamb kabob and roasted pigeon) and a floor show with belly dancers. US$35 per person. Monday-Friday 6-11 pm, Saturday 5:30-11 pm, Sunday 5:30-10:30 pm. Reservations required. 7651 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Phone 323-876-7651.directions

    Tam O'Shanter -- This spot is a bit of Scotland not far from Griffith Park. It serves such traditional English fare as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with trifle, and even haggis on Robert Burns' birthday. The lively bar serves sandwiches and ale by the half yard (a very large glass). Lunch Monday-Friday 11 am-3 pm. Dinner Sunday-Thursday 5-9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 5-10:30 pm. Sunday brunch 10:30 am-2:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 2980 Los Feliz Blvd. Phone 323-664-0228.

    Milky Way -- This kosher dairy restaurant is notable for its personable owner, director Steven Spielberg's mother, who is usually on hand to greet diners. Lunch Sunday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm; dinner Sunday-Thursday 5:30-8:30 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 9108 W. Pico Blvd., Beverly Hills Adjacent. Phone 310-859-0004.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH

    Clafoutis -- Nestled among the shops of the Sunset Plaza, this popular cafe offers sidewalk tables for people watching as well as window seating at the rear with scenic views of West Hollywood. A favorite power-breakfast spot, it also draws crowds for its tasty Cal-Med-style cooking and its namesake clafoutis pastry. Daily 7 am-midnight. $$. Most major credit cards. 8630 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Phone 310-659-5233.

    Duke's -- Each morning finds this Sunset Strip coffee shop full of musicians and an assortment of eccentrics, eating breakfast and chatting. Monday-Friday 7:30 am-8:45 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-3:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 8909 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Phone 310-652-3100.directions

    The Farmers Market -- Try Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts (cash only, phone 323-933-8929) for great cinnamon rolls, apple fritters and the best doughnuts in town. Or try Kokomo (most major credit cards, phone 323-933-0773) for fluffy pancakes, eggs and French toast. The market has more than 100 stores, and it's open Monday-Saturday 9 am-6:30 pm, Sunday 10 am-5 pm (extended summer hours). $-$$. 6333 W. 3rd St. Phone 323-933-9211.directions

    Jerry's Famous Deli -- Their huge, 24-hour-a-day breakfast menu is served up at branches in Encino, Marina del Rey, West Hollywood, Westwood and at the original in Studio City. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 12655 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Phone 818-980-4245.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    CAFES AND TEA ROOMS

    Chado Tea House -- Choose from a menu of 250 gourmet blends from 17 countries. You can turn teatime into a full meal by adding a watercress, goat cheese or olive spread sandwich or an order of souchong chicken (chicken breast with lingonberry sauce). Monday-Saturday 11:30 am-6 pm, Sunday 11:30 am-4:30 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 8422Ĺ 3rd St., West Hollywood. Phone 323-655-4681.directions

    Patrick's Roadhouse -- Across from the beach, beach bums and movie stars eat hearty diner food and listen to a fabulous jukebox with records as eclectic as the roomís decor. Monday-Friday 8 am-3 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am-4 pm. $. 106 Entrada Dr., Santa Monica, phone 310-459-4544.directions

    Living Room -- The Royal Tea, for a fixed price of US$24, includes a full spread of sandwiches, scones, pastries, strawberries, champagne and, oh, tea. The Full Tea (minus the champagne and strawberries) is US$18.50 and the Light Tea is US$14.50. Daily 3-6 pm. For weekends, two weeks' advance reservation is required. $$$. Most major credit cards. 9882 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Phone 310-551-2888.

    Sunset Tea Lounge -- Located in the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, this tearoom serves traditional English tea with sandwiches, pastries and scones. Daily 2-6 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills. Phone 310-276-2251.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    COFFEEHOUSES

    Anastasia's Asylum -- This is a terrific place to sip a cafe au lait while catching local acoustic and spoken-word talent. Your palate will be tempted by luscious homemade desserts, sandwiches and pastas. Music begins between 8 and 9 pm. Monday-Thursday 6:30 am-1 am, Friday 6:30 am-2 am, Saturday 8:30 am-2 am, Sunday 8:30 am-1 am. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 1028 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Phone 310-394-7113.

    Lulu's Alibi -- In a swift little neighborhood, very close to a used bookstore, is this espresso lounge that serves Franco-California specialties, gourmet salads, sandwiches and the biggest, best, most amazing hot chocolate. Sunday-Thursday 8 am-1 am, Friday and Saturday 8 am-2 am. $$. Most major credit cards. 1640 Sawtelle Ave., West Los Angeles. Phone 310-479-6007.


    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local and Regional Specialties | Italian | Asian | American | Additional Dining | Cafes and Tea Rooms Breakfast and Brunch | Coffeehouses

    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.




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