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BEST BITES

October 18, 1990

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

The 24-page menu at Jack's Restaurant and Deli offers everything from Mexican and American to vegetarian food and deli. The beers alone come in 136 varieties. Try the sweet, tangy baby-back pork ribs or the Mexican dishes, which are particularly good. Jack's is in Westlake Plaza Shopping Center, Westlake Village; 495-8181. Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-midnight; Friday 7 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; Sunday 7:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, $19-$52.

You can go to Santa Barbara's crown jewel, the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, for more than just the atmosphere or the Sunday brunch buffet. The kitchen is now among the best in town, turning out wonderful dishes from lobster sausages to a bittersweet chocolate souffle. Better at dinner than at lunch. Either the indoor La Marina or the sparkling outdoor Patio makes for romantic dining. The Four Seasons Biltmore is at 1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara; 969-2261. Serving in the Patio weekdays 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., weekends 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Serving in La Marina weekdays 6-10 p.m., weekends 6-11 p.m. Lunch for two, food only, $30-$48. Dinner for two, food only, $50-$70.

The pub at Victoria Pub and Restaurant is a lively gathering place for English expatriates and pub lovers alike. It stays open until everyone goes home, and the dart games never stop. The more subdued restaurant serves an English menu, complete with steak and kidney pie, fish and chips, and Cornish pasties. The soups, which change every day, are excellent, as is the lamb steak. And you don't have to be British to appreciate the desserts. The crumble of the day with hot fruit, sweet crumble and cream is particularly good. Victoria Pub and Restaurant is at 1413F S. Victoria Ave., Ventura; 650-0060. Lunch is served every day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner is served from 5-9:30 p.m., and the pub is open until 2 a.m. Dinner for two, food only, $25-$60.

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. 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 in Ojai; 646-8131. Dinner is served from Thursday-Sunday 5-9:30 p.m., and Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, runs $52-$68.

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