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More Bites

April 08, 1999

In these capsules of recent reviews, dollar signs indicate the price of a meal for one, without beverages.

$: less than $10.

$$: up to $20.

$$$: up to $30.

$$$$: more than $30.

ROYAL KHYBER: In its new location, Royal Khyber is aiming to be OC's top Indian restaurant, and it has all the tools--a gorgeous dining room, an innovative menu and the talents of chef Arun Puri in the kitchen. Some of the dishes need more oomph, but certainly not the terrific shrimp samosa, killer warm eggplant salad or wonderful lamb shank in spicy broth.

* Royal Khyber, 1621 Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana. (714) 436-1010. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Sunday brunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $$$.

CHIMAYO AT THE BEACH: Chimayo at the Beach has a hot concept, a killer location opposite Huntington Beach Pier and stunning design. The menu is half Southwestern (star restaurateur David Wilhelm's forte), half seafood. Don't miss the fish baked in a banana leaf, the rare ahi rolls with avocado or the slushy guava margarita.

* Chimayo at the Beach, 315 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach. (714) 374- 7273. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. $$$.

RESTAURANT ABE: Master chef Abe (pronounced AH-bay) has been called the Matsuhisa of Orange County, and the comparison is apt; he has worked at Nobu Matsuhisa's famed Japanese fusion restaurant in West Hollywood. Come to Abe's Newport restaurant for the sushi if you must, but he has far more interesting creations, such as tuna rib, smoked monkfish liver, oddball oyster shooters and mind-blowing omakase dinners.

* Restaurant Abe, 2900 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach. (949) 675-1739. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; dinner 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30- 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $$$.

COWBOY SEAFOOD: The hot new Cowboy Seafood has been packing 'em in from day one. It has a hip, comforting American menu, plus a lively bar filled with the young and the restless of Newport Beach. The best dishes on the menu are wonderful fried jumbo shrimp, the pan-roasted cedar plank salmon and the terrific Caesar. The place also has a nice wine list and even better, no corkage fee.

* Cowboy Seafood, 850 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach. (949) 718-0187. Dinner only, 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. $$$.

TOMMY BAHAMA'S: The Caribbean meets Walt Disney at Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe, a spiffy new restaurant with an attached clothing store. The pricey menu includes conch fritters, mango shrimp salad and other island-inspired fare. There is a lively bar scene, a delightful outdoor patio and a live steel band every evening.

* Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe, 854 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach. (949) 760- 8686. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. $$$.

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