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Seeing Stars

June 14, 1987| Compiled by Jane Greenstein

If you live in Los Angeles, somebody is inevitably going to ask you where he can go out and dine with the stars. For those who want to gawk while they talk, stare while eating fine fare, here are some of the most celebrity-studded restaurants around. LE DOME (8720 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (213) 659-6919). The owners describe Le Dome as "a casual place, a restaurant place. Everything together." It is those things; it is also an industry hangout, where movie people sit down to large portions of good, basic French country fare. The boudin-- fat French sausages--is wonderful. There is also a thick veal chop, split and stuffed with herbs, mozzarella and prosciutto, and a superb spaghetti with vodka, caviar, cream and chives. The kitchen generally does beautifully with fresh seafood. The wine list shows active interest, intelligent selection and fair prices. Open Mon.- Fri. for lunch and dinner, dinner only Sat. Major credit cards. Reservations advised. Dinner for two: $50-$67.

MORTON'S (8800 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (213) 276-5205). Contrary to popular opinion, you don't have to be in the know or well known to enjoy Morton's, though a lot of show-biz biz is conducted here between bites. The food is simple, decently cooked and does not call too much attention to itself. There's asparagus vinaigrette and a fine fat hamburger accompanied by a mountain of skinny French fries. Try to catch the grilled chicken breast with black beans and tomatillo salsa--it's tender, beautifully grilled and delicious. For dessert, there is fruit for the fitness-conscious; hot fudge sundaes, poppy-seed cake and apple crumble for the rest. Open for dinner only, Mon.-Sat. Full bar. Valet parking. MC, AE, V. Dinner for two: $40-$80.

NICKY BLAIR'S (8730 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (213) 659-0929). When Nicky Blair opened his restaurant last year, after many years away from the business, his old customers came flocking back. Today his place successfully combines the best parts of the old Hollywood and the new. There may be radicchio and arugula scattered about but, for the most part, the celebrities who eat here sit down to an Italian menu with good food and few surprises. The fried calamari are hot and crisp and generously served (with two sauces). The linguine with clams is clean and plain and fresh and simple, filled with small fresh clams, parsley, garlic and very little else. They also serve a respectable red snapper and a perfectly fine spaghetti Bolognese. Open for dinner nightly. Major credit cards. Valet parking. Dinner for two: $40-$50.

LA SERRE (12969 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 990-0500). The most luxurious restaurant in the Valley possesses the following qualities: hearty portions, obvious luxury, quality and restrained imagination. The restaurant is also cool and inviting with its white lattices and perfectly groomed greenery. And most days the place is filled with movie people from the nearby studios, eating dishes like foie gras in a sauce opulent with truffles. Meat and fish are beautifully cooked, artfully sauced. Vegetables are served separately, each given careful attention, sometimes varied according to need. As for desserts, there's the usual things of chocolate and an especially fine creme brulee. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri., for dinner Mon.-Sat. MC, AE, V. Valet parking. Reservations advised. Dinner for two: $65-$115.

72 MARKET ST. (Venice, (213) 392-8720). Filled with industry people and local art and artists, this restaurant is more relaxed than frantic. At night, there is even a pianist in the cool off-white dining room behind the bar. The food is straightforward American fare cooked with flair and imagination. The meat loaf, served with buttery spinach and smoothly mashed potatoes, makes you sit up and take notice. The Cajun catfish has creamy white flesh that is smooth and soft beneath its crunchy golden cornmeal crust. The grilled free-range chicken is delicious. There's also an oyster bar serving all sorts of fresh seafood-- and a very nice wine list. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri., for brunch on Sun., for dinner daily. MC, AE, V. Full bar. Dinner for two: $40-$80.

SPAGO (1114 Horn Ave., West Hollywood, (213) 652-4025). It's probably the most imitated restaurant in America with its open kitchen, it's walls filled with art, its energy, it's noise and it's festive atmosphere. Most nights the well-known Wolfgang Puck is on hand, wearing his chef's whites and baseball cap and greeting his customers. The food is quintessential California cuisine: exotic pizzas, seafood, salads made of home-grown lettuces, pasta such as lobster ravioli, grilled tuna from Hawaii, baby lamb and the like. Desserts (no, they don't serve Puck's frozen ones) are wonderful. Open for dinner only nightly. Reservations essential. MC, AE, V. Valet parking. Dinner for two: $50-100.

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