This French bistro from chef-owner Raphael Lunetta opened in 1996, and stops just short of fine dining. The restaurant has brown awnings and arched windows outside, and inside, canary-yellow walls, ground-floor and mezzanine seating, and crystal chandeliers. The seasonal menu might include purple Peruvian gnocchi with rock shrimp, a caramelized pork chop with wild rice and smoked bacon, or pepper-crusted ahi with soba and bok choy. Chef Lunetta regularly severs a seasonal four-course menu, as well as a special prix fixe dinner every Monday. The beverage program centers on wine, relying on French, Californian, and Oregonian selections.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
This Venice teahouse is set in a quaint beach bungalow behind a fence, surrounded by a flower garden. Run by the Singaporean-born Kristy Choo, the place has a breezy California sensibility, though the gorgeous sweets and savory dishes have a strong Chinese aesthetic—think lemongrass chocolate.
We loved: Egg-salad finger sandwiches; green-tea cake with red-bean paste.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.