WHY The seafood’s usually outstanding, including almond-crusted rainbow trout and pepper-crusted ahi with green-tea soba noodles.
WHAT JiRaffe epitomizes the California bistro, with its elegant chandeliers hung above cozy tables, first-rate service and the creative market-based California-French cuisine of surfer-chef Raphael Lunetta. Bargain hunters, take note of Lunetta’s fantastic three-course Monday-night dinner, a bistro-style menu for $38: perhaps duck confit with haricots vert, pan-roasted Alaskan halibut with a spaghetti of zucchini, and a lemon bar with crème fra’che ice cream.
WHO Santa Monica creative types, businesspeople and politicians, often celebrating an achievement.
Region: West of the 405
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
Features: Dinner, Private Room, Romantic, Sustainable
Price Range: $25-$33, $34-up
Cuisine Type: Californian, French