Los Angeles
  Los Angeles

Downtown L.A.
La Parrilla
2126 Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Boyle Heights, tel.213-262-3434
This casual and cheerfully decorated spot is located in a largely Mexican neighbourhood east of downtown. It offers authentic Mexican specialties in a festive atmosphere.

445 S. Figueroa St., tel.213-486-5171
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, famous for their City Cafe and City Restaurant eateries, are also behind Ciudad's delicious hybrid of South American, Spanish and Portuguese cuisines.

Cafe Pinot
700 W. Fifth St. at Hope St., tel.213-239-6500
Cafe Pinot offers an interesting combination of French and Californian cuisines. The restaurant is located on the grounds of the Central Library, with both indoor and outdoor dining areas in a garden setting.

1999 N. Sycamore Ave., tel.323-466-5125
Although the food and service are good at this very romantic Japanese restaurant, the real reason to come here is for the extraordinary view of the city below.

West Hollywood
401 N. La Cienega Blvd., north of Beverly Blvd., tel.310-659-7708
This refined French restaurant is without a doubt one of West Hollywood's best eateries. For a memorable gourmet experience, go for the six or nine course tasting menu. The restaurant's wine list boasts some 2,200 selections to choose from and its wine cellar holds a staggering 21,000 bottles.

El Cholo
1121 S. Western Ave., near Olympic Blvd., tel.323-734-2773
Open since 1927, this is one of the oldest Mexican restaurants outside Mexico. It offers authentic cuisine and a warm atmosphere.

624 S. La Brea Ave., north of Wilshire Blvd., tel.323-938-1447
One of L.A.'s best restaurants can be found on La Brea Avenue: Campanile, a veritable gourmet temple. Here, chef Mark Peel uses only the finest ingredients in preparing his complex dishes.

Pasadena and Surroundings
Twin Palms
101 W. Green St. at De Lacey Ave., Pasadena, tel.626-577-2567
This vast but friendly outdoor restaurant features a retractable tent that provides protection from the rain, and an indoor seating area is also available. It is built around two enormous palm trees and includes a bandstand as well as a row of rotisserie spits.

Orange County
31631 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, tel.949-661-0425
Pink bougainvilleas caress the walls of this lovely adobe-style restaurant. Inside, French and Belgian specialties are served in a lovely patio garden within view of the mission. The food is beautifully presented and the service is impeccable.