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Komatsu Tempura Bar

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WHY For exquisitely made tempura and high-caliber izakaya-style little dishes. WHAT If there were a Tempura Olympics, chef Hiroshi Komatsu would surely get the gold. He plucks your tempura from his proprietary blend of scalding oil and serves the lacy, crackle-crusted fish and vegetables one piece at a time so they never cool and wilt. [...]

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Springbok Bar & Grill

WHY Well-executed versions of South Africa’s culinary hits: curries, chile sauces, meaty barbecues, a subtly spicy Naidoo’s Durban curry, and tasty kebabs called sosaties. WHAT Because this is L.A.’s only South African restaurant, you might envision a modest, family-owned spot where you could sample a few of those wonderful South African wines and explore a [...]

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SaSaYa

WHY Excellent izakaya is paired with a vast collection of sakes and shochus. Good weeknight happy hour, too. WHAT In a rustic, wood-paneled space that looks like a Japanese country inn, customers share tips at the massive communal table. Signs in calligraphy describe special sakes and seasonal dishes that are simple yet perfectly cooked. 11613 [...]

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WakaSan

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WHY A great-value $35 omakase meal, usually 11 or 12 carefully made courses. A real find. WHAT At this rustic charmer in a Westwood strip mall, a delicious multi-course omakase (chef’s choice) menu of home-style dishes is the only option—but no one is complaining. It’s a great deal for a complex and interesting meal. WHO [...]

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Raku

WHY With a long, elegant dining counter, a lengthy menu of homey dishes and late hours, this simple strip-mall spot is a boon for night-owl industry types working in West L.A.’s studios and creative offices. WHAT A motherly woman behind the stoves of the open kitchen at this Japanese-Korean café turns out tamago with free-range [...]

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Furaibo

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WHY Small, tapas-like plates of fried chicken wings, calamari, grilled tofu, various yakitoris and other things that go down very well indeed with pitchers of cold beer. WHAT This izakaya place specializes in tebasaki, Japanese-style fried chicken wings. They head an enormous a la carte menu that includes about 30 varieties of grilled fish, dozens [...]

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Yuzu Torrance

WHY It brings the spirit of washoku—the revival of traditional Japanese flavors and methods updated with today’s artisanal ingredients—from Japan to California. WHAT The two bars, a wine bar, an open robata-style kitchen, tatami rooms and outdoor seating add up to a luxe, sexy environment to indulge in some elegant and traditional Japanese fare: sashimi [...]

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Auld Dubliner

WHY The classic Irish dish boxty is often an awkward potato pancake folded over messy fillings, but here it’s a graceful crèpe-like dish with simple, tasty fillings. Chips (fries) are dusted with curry powder. Try the Irish whiskey brûlée for dessert. WHAT It’s a small chain, and it’s situated in an impossibly corporate-looking site near [...]

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O’Brien’s Irish Pub

WHY Food that’s a notch above the pub norm, including the generous slices of Scottish smoked salmon on wheat toast with capers, green onions and horseradish, or the banger sandwich, a crusty baguette filled with sausage and grilled onions. WHAT This comfortable Irish pub, with its plank floors, brick walls and flat-screen TVs, is popular [...]

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Julienne

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WHY Signature rosemary bread for toast and sandwiches, not one but two great bacon offerings (applewood smoked and candied) on the breakfast menu and killer chocolate-mint brownies in the dessert case. Plus fantastic takeout baskets for the plane or the Hollywood Bowl. WHAT Breakfast or lunch on the shaded sidewalk terrace fronting this impossibly charming [...]

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