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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…

Yamashiro: You are not here for the food, plates of Asian fusion-y things like spicy tuna crispy rice with black tobiko and micro arugula and hamachi with white truffle-infused ponzu (more micro arugula!). You're not here for the drinks either, even though a few lychee martinis and infused pineapple sake-tinis may help your cause. You are here for the atmosphere of this Japanese-style restaurant -- the kanji for Yamashiro translates to "mountain palace" -- built in the 1920s in the…

5 Best Barbecue Joints in Los Angeles

from Bon Appetit

Thip Khao

Spicy, funky Laotian cuisine takes up residency in Washington DC.

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…

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…

Peruvian cuisine with Japanese influence

from Bon Appetit

Alimento

The tortellini in brodo is just one of the many surprises at this breakout Los Angeles spot.

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…