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‘Discoveries’

The Conservatory

EatLA-193

WHY Subtle, artful roasting in a low-key yet cool environment where the bean is king. Seriously good cocoa, too. WHAT The on-site roasting makes this a coffeehouse for aficionados. Fans sing the praises of the nuanced brews and drive happily from the Valley or beyond just to buy a pound. The location, across the street [...]

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Ye Olde King’s Head

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WHY Fresh beer, tasty English pub fare and a gregarious and interesting crowd. WHAT L.A.’s best-known pub has grown over the decades, now boasting two pub rooms and a dining room stretching between the Promenade and the shore. It’s touristy as hell, but it’s saved by the quality of food and the 20-some beers on [...]

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Manhattan Beach Post

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WHY A parade of cocktail-friendly small plates with a beach breeze. WHAT M.B. Post is chef David LeFevre’s first project since his departure from the Water Grill, a so-called ‘social house’ in the oceanfront location once occupied by the Manhattan Beach Post Office. Not everything wows or works, but there are some very good dishes. [...]

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Chichen Itza

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WHY Seductive dishes from the Yucat‡n: robust, citrus-spiked soups; panuchos with shredded turkey, tomato, pickled red onion and avocado; cochinita pibil; and wonderful tamales, including the colado, with chicken and achiote. WHAT Terrific Yucat‡n cooking is served at this order-at-the-counter café in the nonprofit Mercado la Paloma, also home to Mo-Chica. The flavors are rich, [...]

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Little Flower Candy Co.

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WHY Divine salt caramels and other gift-worthy candies, as well as delicious bran muffins, pretzel rolls, cookies and gorgeous cakes to order. WHAT Known for her national line of handmade sea-salt caramels, Christine Moore has livened up this stretch of Colorado Boulevard with a friendly bakery, confectionary and café. Great for to-go sweets, or for [...]

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SusieCakes

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WHY For excellent homestyle sweets: German chocolate cake, banana pudding with vanilla wafers, layer cakes, cupcakes, whoopie pies and lemon squares. WHAT This nostalgia-driven bake shop dressed in retro colors turns out desserts that owner Susan Sarich found on her grandmother’s recipe cards. Several more locations, including Calabasas and Manhattan Beach. WHO Locals stopping by [...]

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Tacos Por Favor

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WHY Tender birria (baby goat), generous carne asada and carnitas tacos, acclaimed chorizo-cheese tacos and restorative menudo on weekends. Watch out for the fiery salsas. WHAT This friendly, capacious taqueria manages to be both healthful (fresh tomatoes, lean meats, no lard) and authentic. WHO At lunch, a long line of people from nearby low-key entertainment-industry [...]

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Du-par’s

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WHY Nostalgic charm for natives, and decent coffee-shop fare at 3 a.m. WHAT L.A.’s original Du-par’s still has the red Naugahyde booths but is brighter and prettier after an overhaul a few years back. Seen-it-all waitresses in gingham-trimmed uniforms and tiny white caps deliver huge (if overcooked) omelets, good (if not as good as in [...]

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Lucques

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WHY For the farm-fresh ingredients that shine with just the right amount of chef behind them. The beloved family-style Sunday Supper brings gorgeous home-style cooking for $45 per person. WHAT Relaxed and beautiful, homey yet elegant, with just-attentive-enough service that’s never pretentious, Lucques is the reigning Chez Panisse of Los Angeles. It’s one of the [...]

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AOC

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WHY AOC has an NYC bistro feel with excellent wines by the glass and perfectly ripe cheeses—and staff members who know more than just their name. The Cal-Mediterranean food is always reliable, if a smidge less so than at sister restaurant Lucques. WHAT Anything vegetable (or animal, for that matter) is coddled by the cooks [...]

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