From Citrus to Spago, L.A. restaurants abound

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LOS ANGELES -- One sign of the growing maturity and sophistication of the L.A. area is the ever increasing number of fine restaurants it offers. ASTA delegates will be able to satisfy any taste, and any budget, within relatively short distances of convention hotels.

Here is a partial list of some interesting places to dine and socialize in and around L.A.

  • Lavande. What? A hotel restaurant making its way into a listing of places to eat? Yes. Lavande, in Loews Santa Monica Hotel is not a ho-hum hotel restaurant. Offering the cuisine of Provence in an oceanfront setting, it deserves to be listed. Alain Giraud, the head chef, was a chef at Citrus, one of Los Angeles' finest, for a decade before taking his talents to the beach. To contact the restaurant, call (310) 756-3181.
  • Citrus, at 6703 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood (213) 857-0034) still serves some of the best food in town, even without Giraud.That's because Giraud's boss, Michel Richard, another of the top names in cooking, is there.
  • Crustacean, at 9446 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, is an attractive, primarily Asian/ European seafood house. Crustacean's gimmick is having customers walk to their tables along a plexiglass-covered pathway over a pond containing dozens of koi fish.
  • Jade West, 2040 Avenue of the Stars, in the ABC Entertainment Center, in Century City, specializes in fine upscale Chinese food. The owner, Bill Lee and his chef, James Fan, have on occasion in the past taken their act to sea, preparing Chinese dishes for passengers on Princess Cruises ships. Information: (310) 556- 3388.
  • Spago

  • Spago Beverly Hills, 176 Canon Drive, just off Wilshire Boulevard, is one of Wolfgang Puck's creations. Expensive but worth it. For information, call (310) 385-0880.
  • Lawry's the Prime Rib, at 100 N. La Cienega Blvd., is a Los Angeles institution, although in larger quarters and on the other side of the street, than it was a few years ago. May just be the best prime rib dinner in town. Call (310) 652-2827 and find out for yourself.
  • Musso & Frank Grill, 6667 Hollywood Blvd., another fixture of the Los Angeles/Hollywood restaurant scene for, lo, these many years. The waiters could care less, it seems, but the ambience of the place and the good food make it worth visiting. Call (213) 467-7788 for reservations.
  • For a change of pace, try the fish and chips -- or the steak pie at Ye Olde King's Head, at 116 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. Darts, pints of ale, British memorabilia, soccer pennants -- everything you could ask for in an English pub. The number is (310) 451-1402.
  • Water Grill, 544 Grand Ave., (213) 891-0900, is one of Los Angeles' best seafood houses and is in the heart of downtown.
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