Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
Margarita Rocks is part nightclub, part restaurant, and doesn’t skimp on either end of the equation. Cooks prepare shrimp tacos, pizzas topped with carne asada, and other savory snacks, and bartenders pour made-from-scratch micheladas, margaritas, and other cold drinks until 2 a.m. Although Margarita Rocks is known for live music and raucous good times, the spot is also kid friendly, welcoming families with children until 8 p.m.
The resident chefs at McAlan's Pub & Grill channel Irish and American traditions to construct their menu of pub grub. Limber chomping muscles with starters of steamer clams ($10) whose fresh manila clams are set afloat in a pool of white-wine garlic broth. Buttermilk crackling chicken ($11) arrives accompanied by biscuits and country sausage gravy and Del Mar fish 'n' chips ($10) armor fresh cod in an exoskeleton of tempura ale batter to protect its flaky insides. All-you-can-eat brunch, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sunday mornings, rewards early-rising appetites and provides late-rising roosters with a false sense of accomplishment. Stockpile offerings from the made-to-order omelet bar or pile plates high with french toast and buttermilk waffles.
Tropica Restaurant and Bar builds on classic American fare with inventive renditions of pizzas, burgers, and tacos. From behind the restaurant's sleek, wooden bar, mixologists craft cocktails and draft beers and pour sangria by the pitcher or glass. Flat-screen TVs and hanging lamps illuminate the dining area, a mere formality since forks rely on echolocation to find food.
Best known as a leading cast member on the iconic variety show In Living Color, Tommy Davidson stands out with his elastic delivery and swift acting chops, which have landed him eclectic roles in a variety of films, including Booty Call, Spike Lee's Bamboozled, and Black Dynamite. The improv theater in Ontario is a stop on the comedy trail for all legendary laugh-inducing artists, and its tasty menu and full-service bar fuel audience belly laughs and set the tone for a night of high spirits. Arrive an hour early to guarantee seats and avoid having to sit on someone's shoulders.