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In the Mood / Vegetarian Entrees

May 29, 1997

Meat-free meals are becoming more plentiful and imaginative as chefs woo the vegetarian diner.

Patina: The five-course Garden Menu at Patina may be the choicest vegetarian show in town. It includes "Southern France's favorite vegetables" with a goat cheese fondante, a ragout of white and green asparagus with morel mushrooms, mini roasted red peppers with creamy polenta, artichoke ravioli with hazelnuts and brown butter sauce, and finally, if you've saved room, a timbale of vanilla ice cream with strawberry rhubarb compote and madelines. (Garden menu, $55.) 5955 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 467-1108.

Spago Beverly Hills: At Wolfgang Puck's fun and glamorous new restaurant, listed under the menu's "Wolfgang's Childhood Favorites," vegetarians will find Karnter Kasenuden, which are large cheese ravioli with hazelnut butter and a salad of fresh herbs. Other vegetarian pasta selections include angel hair with wild mushrooms and sugar peas and agnolotti with artichokes, goat cheese and white truffles. (Vegetarian pastas, $13.50 to $16.) 176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 385-0880.

Real Food Daily: At this gourmet vegetarian establishment, some will want the strictly macrobiotic Real Food Meal, and others may select the Total Reuben (an open-face sandwich made with tempeh and served with mashed potatoes and a gravy made from brewers yeast and whole wheat) or the Cajun Wrap (a Caesar salad and blackened tempeh in a sun-dried tomato whole wheat tortilla). Daily specials include tamale of corn and quinoa stuffed with vegetables and tofu, all drizzled with a mole sauce. (Vegetarian entrees, $6.95 to $10.95.) 514 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-7544.

Vida: Chef Fred Eric caters to the vegetarian palate with the appealing, amusing and quite satisfying Veggie Pot Pie: In a moat of bright pesto sauce sits a golden circle of pastry filled with mashed potatoes, colorful small vegetables and a robust garlic gravy. (Pot pie, $14.) 1930 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 660-4446.

2424 Pico: 2424's chef David Wolfe prepares a beguiling vegetarian lasagna with roasted eggplant, roasted tomatoes (heirloom varieties in season), herbed ricotta cheese and a roasted red bell pepper sauce. Pair it with one of several appetizers, like the Greek salad terrine or fresh fruit salad. (Lasagna, $13.) 2424 W. Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 581-1124.

Cinnabar: An elegant three-course vegetarian prix fixe meal includes sweet corn soup or a vegetable napoleon with peppercorn goat cheese; a warm shiitake mushroom salad with baby mixed greens; and angel hair pasta with roasted garlic, asparagus and Parmesan cheese in a light balsamic-flavored sauce. (Prix fixe meal, $21.50.) 933 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 551-1155.

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