Los Angeles may not be known as a late-night city, but it does have its share of restaurants--from the trendy to the fairly tacky--that cater to both the after-theater and early-morning munchie crowds. All prices exclude drinks.
BISTANGO (133 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles (213) 652-7788). Bistango is fun, the service kind, and the rooms spacious. The food's not bad either. For the uninitiated, the gently grilled baby salmon with sun-dried tomatoes is a superior introduction to California cuisine. The ratatouille pizza is also superb--thin crusted, with jolts of garlic and riotously colored yellow, green and red peppers. Smoked chicken calzone, big as a football, stuffed full of leeks, cheese, cilantro and lots of fragrant meat, is also a treat. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Pizza and dessert served until 1 a.m. All major credit cards. Valet parking. Dinner for two: $30-$70.
DAN TANA'S (9071 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood (213) 275-9444). This haven for movie people is an old-fashioned sort of place: unpretentious, professional, incredibly comforting with a cozy bar, dimly lit interior, red-checked tablecloths and bottles of straw-covered Chianti dangling from the ceiling. The Italian food is substantial, familiar and fine. It basically comes in two varieties: red and white. The red food consists of dishes like squishy spaghetti with meat balls. There is also good red meat, like a tasty, chewy steak. But white food, such as the sauteed whitefish, is what the restaurant is most famous for. Desserts--\o7 tortoni\f7 ,\o7 spumoni\f7 and \o7 flan\f7 --are also quite white. Open for dinner nightly: Mon.-Sat. until 1 a.m., Sun. until 12:30 a.m. Full bar. Major credit cards. Dinner for two: $30-$70.
EDIE'S DINER (4211 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey (213) 823-5339). Here waitresses snap their gum (and blow bubbles, too), and everywhere you look there are signs like "Head jerk." The food's familiar, old-fashioned and fairly good; don't miss the chili. There's even a view of the marina in the back. Edie's is open 24 hours, so it's perfect when you wake up at 3 a.m. with a craving for meat loaf or short ribs. Full bar AE, MC, V. Dinner for two: $10-$15.
KATE MANTILINI (9101 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (213) 278-3699). This is a spiffy new incarnation of an American grill. Food served in this striking modern interior is old-fashioned fare; the huge menu runs the gamut from shrimp cocktail to macaroni and cheese, with a foray through meat loaf, roast chicken and pan-fried trout. It does especially well with starch: The sourdough bread is great, and there are all kinds of potatoes, including real mashed ones. Open for all meals Mon.-Fri. until 3 a.m., Sat. 5:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Major credit cards. Dinner for two: $30-$50. PACIFIC DINING CAR (1310 West 6th St., Los Angeles, (213) 483-6000). The steak at this 66-year-old restaurant is worth waiting for; everything else is about what you'd expect. The Caesar salad is greens in creamy garlic dressing. The bread in the basket may arrive sort of crushed, but they do a fine job with onion rings and baked potatoes. A late menu is available from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. featuring some fancy egg dishes with prices from $6-$9. Open 24 hours daily. MC, V. Dinner for two: $50.
PINAFINI (8612 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles (213) 854-3039). Pinafini is something to see. It bears a resemblance to an amusement park and practically breathes hipness. It serves Venetian food in a high-tech paradise--all white tile and neon lights and modern art. There's \o7 bigoletti coe tellini e gambari\f7 --thin Venetian spaghetti with fresh clams, seafood and garlic, bathed in tomato sauce. There's also grilled boneless breast of chicken as sweet as teriyaki chicken and tired pizza. Open Mon.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m., Sun. 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Valet parking in Beverly Center. Full bar. MC, AE, V. Dinner for two: $25-$50.