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Best Bites

September 27, 1990

The following are capsule reviews of some of the better restaurants recently visited by our critics:

The flowing hot springs at Wheeler have drawn people to their therapeutic ambience since the early 1800s. Today you can enjoy them along with a massage and a fine dinner. Or go for the dinner alone; it's worth it. The menu changes every week and the vegetables and herbs come from the restaurant's own gardens. The Restaurant at Wheeler Hot Springs is located at 16825 Maricopa Highway, (805) 646-8131. Dinner is served 5 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, and Sunday Brunch is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, $52 to $68.

The Sportsman Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge is a throwback to the 1950s and '60s when it was one of the "special occasion" restaurants in Ventura. Although its prices might have changed with the times, the quality of its steaks and chops has not. The Sportsman is at 53 S. California St., Ventura, 643-2851. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner Sunday. Lunch for two, food only, $12-$20. Dinner for two, food only, $25-$46.

The owners of Jag's India House call their Northern Indian cooking "royal Mogul cuisine." The hot fresh breads alone are worth the trip to the restaurant. There are dozens of versions of curries, from shrimp masala to a lamb rogan josh. Jag's India House, 860 Hampshire Road, suite U, Westlake Village, 373-6266. Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; dinner 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Wine and beer. Parking lot. MasterCard and Visa. Dinner for two, food only, $30-$50.

MK's is hot and cold. Hot in that it's frequently packed, cool as an oasis on a summer afternoon. Some dishes are very, very good, notably the seafood Vera Cruz and the "grazing platter" of grilled vegetables. MK's is at 139 Ojai Ave., Ojai, 640-8001. Breakfast 8 to 11 a.m. Monday, and Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday; lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, and Wednesday through Friday, noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Meal for two, food only, $26-$58.

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