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Babita's: Go down San Gabriel Boulevard, past the repeating strip malls of this part of the SGV, and you'll find, on a badly lit and oddly desolate corner, a tiny restaurant where one should not be. Open the doors to the place and you'll transition from utter doubt to instant pleasure. Here you will sit at a quiet table in a small room with few of them, in an unexpectedly formal atmosphere -- candlelight, tablecloths -- and find yourself being poured wine and served chef-owner Roberto…

Kiyokawa: If you think about it, there are fewer places as utterly romantic as a very good sushi bar. You sit elbow-to-elbow with your beloved, the table an altar, the sushi chef ministering to your tastes and wishes. If you are there for the omakase, which you should be, chef-owner Satoshi Kiyokawa will ask you what you want in a serene call and response. And then the procession will begin -- grilled sanma, Spanish mackerel, abalone, whole Santa Barbara prawn -- like an ad hoc ceremony…

Marouch has been a Hollywood Lebanese-Armenian mainstay for so long that it is sometimes possible to forget just how good it can be, how succulent the grilled quail, how zataar-fragrant the toasted-bread salad fattoush, how reliable the kebabs, which sing with spice and juice and char. I can't count the times I've crushed out on some Middle Eastern dish I'd tasted in Glendale or Michigan only to find out that Marouch chef Sossi Brady had it on her menu all the time, whether fried fish with…

The Bazaar: Taking your beloved to José Andrés' fun-house of a restaurant -- the interior design of which resembles a cross between Salvador Dali and Monty Python -- is a kind of statement, as is the restaurant itself. The limos circle the driveway of the SLS hotel like toy trains, bearing this or that celebrity or sports star (the Lakers' Pau Gasol loves the place, as Andrés is a fellow Spaniard). Go in, past the fashionable hotel guests and Philippe Starck's glorious silliness, and enter…

LA Weekly: LudoBites: Because in this town, nothing says I Love You quite as much as getting your date a seat at whichever LudoBites iteration is currently running (right now: LudoBites 8, at Lemon Moon). Whether you do this by winning the reservations lottery, by standing outside for hours on opening night like a misplaced Rolling Stones groupie, by offering free babysitting, or by trading seats on Craigslist, it matters less than your willingness to brave the crowds of bloggers to share…

Natraliart is one of the nodes of Jamaican culture in Los Angeles, a high-ceilinged restaurant on a faded corner of Washington where the background reggae pounds out of Peavey speakers on the dining-room floor, the big television shows silent hip-hop videos when it isn't tuned to police chases, and half the dreads in the city drift in and out over the course of a lazy afternoon — for flagons of fresh-squeezed carrot-lemon juice, for to-go cartons of vegetarian food, or to buy tickets to any…

Palate Food + Wine: Part of the enormous appeal of Octavio Beccera's restaurant is how incommensurate it is. You're in Glendale for starters, which is about as romantic as Peoria. You're in Car Dealership Land (honey, let's test-drive a Hyundai!), just south of the suburban dystopia of Americana at Brand. But enter Palate and you forget all that as soon as you're through the doors. The place is gorgeous but unintimidating, the white tablecloths more pragmatic than Michelin-oriented, the…