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Fickle Angeleno diners are always restless for new haunts to supplant the standbys. That is, when they bother to eat at all. Still, how many times can a young starlet pick at a salad at The Ivy or brave the crowds at Dolce? Five new (and one new again) restaurants satisfy the craving.
The Buzz: One of the few establishments offering sophisticated late-night fare in the form of kappo, which is Japanese-style tapas. Husband-and-wife team David and Michelle Myers let friends glide in and out of the kitchen to hang out while cranking Portishead until 1 a.m.
It’s Got Bite: Albacore tuna tartare with pickled watermelon rind.
Celeb Diners: Sumner Redstone
The Buzz: After making waves with his garden-fresh cuisine at Chadwick, chef Govind Armstrong has resurfaced at this understated gem of a restaurant on happening-again Melrose Avenue.
Vibe: Nouveau preppy.
It’s Not on the Menu, but Ask for It Anyway: Salt-roasted porterhouse for two.
Celeb Diners: Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart
The Buzz: After closing for nearly a year, this 25-year-old Hollywood legend is reopening with a rich new Tuscan interior by Dodd Mitchell, who designed Dolce and Sushi Roku. “It was time for a new dress for the old lady,” co-founder Eddie Kerkhofs says.
Vibe: Sunset Plaza Euro-chic.
Dress Code: Jacket still required.
Must-Eat: Pasta with caviar and vodka sauce.
Celeb Diners: Everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Richard Gere. According to Kerkhofs, “The ones that are still alive will be back.”
The Buzz: One of the most popular spots in San Francisco’s Mission District has been transplanted to midtown L.A.
Hot Dish: Goat cheese fondue with toasted bread and apples.
Celeb Diners: Paul and Chris Weitz
The Buzz: Just down the street from the scene-y Dolce and Ago, this is a laid-back place more serious about food than atmosphere. There are, however, several prized corner tables, and the massive windows offer ample people watching.
Vibe: Ascending mogul.
Everyone Orders: John Dory with eggplant fries, onion marmalade and parsley vinaigrette.
Celeb Diners: Mena Suvari and David Schwimmer
The Buzz: Chef William Annesley, formerly of Tangier, promises Moorish and Spanish delights beneath the purple-tented ceiling. “We’re not a club, we don’t have DJs, but we do have ‘flamenco night’ every Monday,” he says.
Vibe: Marrakesh meets Melrose Place.
Don’t Leave Home Without Your…: Cigarettes. Smoking is allowed on the patio.
Most Popular Menu Item: Cured tuna and watercress salad with blue cheese croutons.
Celeb Diners: Quentin Tarantino, Gavin Rossdale