The following are capsule reviews of some of the better restaurants recently visited by our critics:
The rumor is that Giovanni's is the best Italian restaurant between Los Angeles and Camarillo. Giovanni's does an excellent job of living up to its reputation. The classic, formal restaurant offers a menu ranging from simple, grilled-to-order dinners to sophisticated, amazing dishes. There is the double-duty entree of opah fish wrapped in red leaf cabbage with red peppercorns and saffron, alongside a fine piece of cod covered with a lemony crab sauce. Lamb on greens is a superb salad, with sweet pine nuts, white beans, warm goat's cheese, and a perfect vinaigrette. 5227 Mission Oaks Blvd., Camarillo. 805-484-4376. Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday 5-10 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, $40-$75.
Middle America and its hearty food are alive and well at Doc'n Sandy's Cafe on the edge of Saticoy. Doc's is an outstanding value, but be hungry. This is not light fare. A hearty hot beef, open-faced sandwich leads the list, followed by the beautifully flavored chicken-fried steak and the California omelet stuffed with chili beans, onions, green peppers, salsa and cheese. 11033 Citrus Drive, (805) 647-2619. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-2:45, Saturday 7 a.m.-1:45. Meal for two $14-$20.