A selection of the better restaurants in the area, by Ruth Reichl, Times restaurant editor. Prices listed are for food only; tax, tips and beverages not included.
MARINA DEL REY
Akbar, 590 Washington St.; (213) 822-4116. An odd location for one of the finest Indian restaurants in Los Angeles, but this colorfully furnished restaurant decorated with classical Indian paintings serves extraordinarily flavorful Indian cooking. Each dish is made with fresh spices, and each has its own unusual flavor. Open for lunch Monday-Saturday, for dinner daily. All major credit cards accepted. Dinner for two, $30-$50.
Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch, 4371 Glencoe Ave. B-2; (213) 823-8703. Down-home, Southern-style cooking in a humble storefront restaurant. The service is a bit homey as well, but once you taste the great corn muffins, jambalaya, collard greens and fried chicken, you'll be glad you waited. Portions are generous; you might want to bring some beer from the supermarket next door. Open for lunch Monday-Friday, daily for dinner, brunch on weekends. No credit cards. Dinner for two, $16-$26.
Benny's Bar-B-Q, 4077 Lincoln Blvd.; (213) 821-6939. You'll smell it before you see it; great barbecue cooked over oak in a brick pit. Just about everything at this little takeout place is good, but don't miss the burnt ends or the handmade sausage covered with barbecue sauce. Open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-10 p.m. No credit cards. Delivery within a one-mile radius. Dinner for two, $10-$16. Visa and MasterCard accepted.
Curry Cuisine, 13444 Maxella Ave. (Villa Marina Shopping Center); (213) 301-2477. Despite the shopping center location, this is an elegant restaurant, with pink-and-gray marble floors and flowers everywhere. The food is billed as " nouvelle Indian," a light and subtle version of Indian food. Open for lunch Monday-Friday, for dinner daily. All major credit cards. Dinner for two, $18-$35.
Fiasco, 4451 Admiralty Way; (213) 823-6395. The quintessential place on the water, with rough cedar walls and huge windows looking out at the boats. But the food, which is better than average, offers something for everybody--from steak and potatoes to really interesting pasta and eclectic dishes such as chicken tamarind. There is a very good wine list. Open for lunch Monday-Friday, dinner daily, brunch on weekends. Dinner for two, $30-$50. All major cards accepted.
TGI Friday's, 13470 Maxella Ave.; (213) 822-9052. There is always a line here, and no reservations are taken. It's loud and silly and a big hit with singles looking for a scene. Still, the food is fresh and varied, running to omelets, salads and all sorts of quasi-Mexican, French and Italian concoctions. The hamburgers are excellent. Open for lunch and dinner daily. All major credit cards accepted.
Casablanca, 220 Lincoln Blvd.; (213) 392-5751. A Mexican seafood restaurant that instead of the usual tacos and enchiladas serves dishes such as crab and green pepper in a mild cream sauce, also steamed clams with a Mexican seafood pasta. The most popular dish in the house is the extremely potent dish called calemar mojo de ajo-- breaded squid covered in lots of garlic and butter. The decor is bright, the atmosphere energetic. Open for lunch Monday-Saturday, for brunch Sunday, for dinner daily. Dinner for two about $25. Visa and MasterCard accepted.
Rockenwagner, 1023 W. Washington Blvd.; (213) 399-6504. Surprisingly sophisticated food at a storefront restaurant. The restaurant is simple but attractive. There are seats for only 38 people, and through the window to the kitchen you can watch the chef make dishes such as crab souffle with mangoes and lobster butter. Service can be excruciatingly slow, so be prepared. Open for dinner Monday-Saturday. Dinner for two, about $50. Visa and MasterCard accepted.
72 Market St.; (213) 392-8720. Everybody knows that Tony Bill, Liza Minelli and Dudley Moore are among the owners of the place, and everybody knows that the stars often come here to shine. But this place still has a casual air, the architecture is stunning, and the understated food is generous and good. Try the meat loaf. Open for continental breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Friday, for dinner daily, for brunch on weekends. American Express, MasterCard and Visa accepted. Dinner for two, about $60.