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RESTAURANT NEWS

Fan Fan to Unfold at Westside Location

April 18, 1993|KATHIE JENKINS

There's good news for C'est Fan Fan fans.

A new improved version of the trendy but tiny Franco-Chinese restaurant that was located at the western edge of Echo Park will open later this year on the Westside.

When the 15-seat establishment closed its doors suddenly in February, it had just been rated the city's sixth best restaurant in the Zagat Restaurant Survey (last year it was rated No. 2), ahead of Citrus, Valentino, L'Orangerie and Spago.

"I loved that place," says chef-owner Hajime Kaki, a veteran of Chinois on Main and New York's China Grill, "but it was too small. And most of my customers were from Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles. They thought it was too far to drive. They begged me to move nearer to them."

Kaki is happy to oblige. He has recently returned from a month's eating trip to France and Italy, and says he is close to signing a lease on a 2,000-square-foot space. His new menu will be 70% French with a mix of Chinese, Japanese and Southwestern making up the rest. "C'est Fan Fan was a good place to begin," Kaki says, "but now I need a bigger place. It's my dream."

OLI OLA TA-TA: When Oli Ola closed during the holidays last year, the owners assured The Times that their Tuscan trattoria in Pacific Palisades was closed only for remodeling. The main hold-up, they said, was the installation of a pizza oven. Now they tell us Oli Ola is all over. It's been sold, says a spokeswoman for the owners. "They were going to remodel, but they just let it go."

CLOSING AND THEN REOPENING: MT Plate Gourmet Bistro, the upscale health food restaurant located in the upper level of a Redondo Beach shopping center, has closed its doors. The doors will open again in six weeks in Brentwood. "The landlord doubled our rent," says a spokesman for the restaurant, "and economically, it was impossible for us to continue. The move will be good for us. It seems like people on the Westside are more conscious of what they eat than those in the South Bay area." The restaurant plans to move into the spot now occupied by Stoney's. "Nothing has been finalized yet," says Stoney's co-owner Jane Elliot Smith.

FILM FLAK: Nicky Blair, the West Hollywood actor/restaurateur who frequently brags that his best parts have ended up on the cutting-room floor, wants everyone to know that he had much more than "a blink of an eye" role in the Elvis Presley film "Viva Las Vegas," as reported in this column. Thanks Nicky, but we ran into Elvis at the Reseda 7-Eleven last week and he set us straight.

THE FORECAST IS CHILE: "We were supposed to cook dinner for the President of Chile," says Bikini's John Sedlar, who just came back from Santiago, "but he never showed." Sedlar knew nothing about Chilean food before he was invited by the Chilean Wine and Food Council to visit the country. Now he's doing an entire Chilean "menu within a menu" which will run through the end of May. Dishes include lomo a lo pobre (poor man's steak), congrio (the flakey, buttery fish from Chile's Humboldt current) and barnacles, "about the size of a red wine glass."

STOCKPOT: Silvio DeMori, of the Italian trattoria Tuttobene, offers a bargain to early eaters. The 3-course dinner is available from 5 to 7 p.m. every day but Sunday; it includes a choice of soup or salad, a choice of entree and tiramisu for dessert. The cost is $12.50. "It's our menu," DeMori says, "not smaller portions or anything." . . . On Tuesdays in Pasadena, Bistro 45 offers a prix-fixe ($28) bistro menu that includes a choice of three courses and a half liter of red or white house wine. . . . Villa Nova's new owners plan to spend $200,000 on a major make-over job for their Newport Beach Northern Italian restaurant. The landmark restaurant, which opened 60 years ago on Sunset Strip and relocated to its current location in 1967, offers valet parking for both cars and boats. . . .

Opus has dropped its prices about a dollar per item. "It's as much as we can squeeze," says executive chef Ian Winslade, who has changed the bistro menu to stay competitive. Also, next month the Santa Monica restaurant will open on Sundays . . . Tatou in Beverly Hills now features fashions and food at lunch on Tuesdays. Upcoming duds on display will include work by designers Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani.

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