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Special Restaurant Issue

The List

From The Times' critics, a survey of more than 300 Southern California restaurants.

June 20, 2004

Ago is more scene than substance, a slick Italian restaurant from Agostino Sciandri (of Toscana fame) that runs on autopilot. Specialties: bistecca and grilled rib-eye from the wood-burning oven, ricotta cheesecake. Entrees, $23 to $42. 8478 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 655-6333.

Though Alex Scrimgeour has streamlined his menu, Alex still offers well-executed, contemporary cooking from this young, talented Brit. It's quiet enough to talk, and the service is first-rate. Specialties: Hand-cut bluefin tuna tartare, crispy duck with Gorgonzola polenta, Colorado lamb loin, tarte Tatin. Five-course prix fixe menu, $79. 6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 933-5233.

Allegro chef Mario Petillo doesn't over-sauce his pastas and isn't afraid of simplicity. Specialties: steamed mussels and clams in red sauce, gnocchi, ravioli in walnut sauce, osso buco. Entrees, $8 to $21. 1160 N. Tustin Ave., Orange; (714) 639-7921.

Freddy Escobar of Alto Palato consistently turns out enticing pastas and thin-crusted pizzas at this classy trattoria. On Wednesdays, the feature is a bargain three-course regional menu. The bar serves a selection of Italian cheeses and wines by the glass. Specialties: pizza margherita, artichoke salad, lasagna, grilled Mediterranean sea bass. Entrees, $11 to $28. 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 657-9271.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday June 30, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Andean city -- The listing for El Misti Picanteria Arequipena in the Los Angeles Times Magazine's Special Restaurant Issue (June 20) incorrectly stated the name of the Andean city at the base of the El Misti volcano. It is Arequipa, not Arequipena.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 13, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant listing -- SeaPreme Seafood, which was listed in the Los Angeles Times Magazine's Special Restaurant Issue (June 20), is no longer in business.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 18, 2004 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Part I Page 6 Lat Magazine Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
The listing for El Misti Picanteria Arequipena in the Special Restaurant Issue (June 20) incorrectly stated the name of the Andean city at the base of the El Misti volcano. It is Arequipa, not Arequipena.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 25, 2004 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Part I Page 4 Lat Magazine Desk 0 inches; 17 words Type of Material: Correction
SeaPreme Seafood, which was listed in the Special Restaurant Issue (June 20), is no longer in business.

Amalfi Ristorante is a smart-looking restaurant with a lively bar scene and L.A. Italian cooking. Specialties: pizzas, seafood salad, tagliolini with shrimp, ravioli al vitello, breaded veal chop. Entrees, $16 to $26. 143 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 938-2504.

Ammo packs in the hip and the healthy, with sleek tables and concrete floors providing a backdrop for stylish comfort food. Specialties: poached eggs with fennel, whipped potatoes with roasted shallots, double-cut pork chop with caramelized pears, Scharffen Berger brownies. Entrees, $9 to $26. 1155 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 871-2666.

The quirky two-story Amuse Cafe attracts a mix of bohemian and well-heeled diners. Specialties: roasted tomato-curry soup, rib-eye burger, lemon-jasmine green tea-infused panna cotta. Entrees, $13 to $18. 796 Main St., Venice; (310) 450-1956.

Angeli Caffe serves rustic regional Italian fare. On Thursdays, chef Evan Kleiman presents family-style dinners featuring dishes from around the world. Specialties: cacciucco livornese (fish soup), pasta, pizza, roasted half chicken. Entrees, $8 to $18. 7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 936-9086.

Angelini Osteria. Pizza, $14; pastas, $14 to $15. 7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 297-0070. See Page 21 for more.

Angelique Cafe. Baguette sandwiches, $7 to $9. 840 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; (213) 623-8698. See Page 10 for more.

Antica Pizzeria. Pizzas, $8.50 to $11. Villa Marina Marketplace, 13455 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey; (310) 577-8182. See Page 21 for more.

Antojitos BiBi features Honduran cuisine. Spices are muted, meals are colorful and vegetables are plentiful. Specialties: Honduran enchiladas, fried banana slices with fried chicken, fresh corn tamales. Entrees, $3 to $10. Park View Center, 2400 W. 7th St., No. 109, Los Angeles; (213) 383-8595.

Antonello Ristorante was designed to resemble a street in owner Antonio Cagnolo's hometown in Italy, and it's where Orange County's power plays happen. The uninitiated order from the menu; regulars leave decisions to the servers. Specialties: fresh-textured sauces, veal, seafood and pastas. Entrees, $14 to $38. South Coast Plaza Village, 1611 Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana; (714) 751-7153.

A.O.C. Dishes, $7 to $14. 8022 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; (323) 653-6359. See Page 16 for more.

The Apple Pan burger counter, an institution since 1947, continues to draw customers who are as loyal as sports fans. Specialties: steak burger, hickory burger, egg salad sandwich, tuna sandwich, apple pie, banana cream pie. Sandwiches and burgers, $4 to $6. 10801 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 475-3585.

Arnie Morton's menu is show-and-tell. The beef is super-aged and every portion is humongous at this high-end Chicago-based steakhouse chain. Specialties: colossal shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, porterhouse, New York strip, filet Diane, double-rib lamb chops, baked potato, sauteed onions, cheesecake. Entrees, $22 to $38. 435 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 246-1501. Two other locations in Los Angeles and one in Costa Mesa.

Arterra may be a hotel restaurant, but the kitchen under chef de cuisine Carl Schroeder, a protege of chef-partner Bradley Ogden, is turning out seasonal cooking that defines California cuisine. The menu changes daily. Specialties: heirloom tomato salad, sweet corn soup, foie gras with cherries, guinea hen with mushrooms, grilled wild salmon, berry sampler. Entrees, $20 to $33. San Diego Marriott Del Mar, 11966 El Camino Real, San Diego; (858) 369-6032.

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