The tandoors are always busy at Akbar Cuisine of India's four Los Angeles locations, including the newly remodeled Hermosa Beach restaurant. The staff puffs up nan and paratha breads and bakes spices into traditionally prepared lamb and chicken, as well as unusual house specialties. The Chilean sea bass, one of the restaurant's most popular dishes, scintillates taste buds with herb-marinated and grilled slivers of fish. The unconventional twists on traditional flavors last through dessert, which can include mango cheesecake. Chef and owner Avinash Kapoor pickles fresh chutneys each day, and his staff also gives the prawns an unfounded rumor of coconut. The menu also features coco lamb, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and other made-to-order curries that make great diving pools for freshly baked naan and roti and poor insulation for condominiums.
A finalist for ESPN's North America's Best Sports Bar in 2010, South balances its affection for athletics with a menu of authentic Southern fare. Tackle taste buds with the crawfish popcorn starter, with crawfish tails fried in a Cajun batter and sidekicked with tartar sauce ($10), or opt for a signature sandwich—pulled chicken, pork, and tri-tip topped with roast beef, ham, mozzarella cheese, and kettle chips smothered in gravy and served with regular or sweet-potato fries ($11).
For 30 years, Dennis Klempner ascended through the ranks of the restaurant industry, having begun as a dishwasher in an Italian restaurant in San Fernando Valley. In 1981, he was finally able to open the doors to his own place, Earth Wind & Flour, which has thrived under his tutelage and strong yet laid-back family values for three more decades. Three nights a week, guests are entertained by magicians and Rat Pack?style singers. But the performers can only hope to distract them from classic Italian dishes off a menu filled with pizza, pasta, and California-influenced house specialties like vegetarian lasagna and spinach salad with avocados, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms.
Common crooners and undercover celebrities belt out ballads all evening long at The Gaslite. Karaoke commences promptly at 7 p.m. every evening, provided that the bar's nine widescreen TVs are not showcasing the latest sporting events or insightful weather reports. While providing Tina Turner imitators with backup harmonies, patrons can sip on a variety of mixed drinks ($7–$12), beer ($4–$6), and wine ($7) to keep whistles in peak performing form. Stop in during happy hour from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and prepare for songs about buckets with $2 off all drinks or a bucket toting a quartet of domestic ($10) or imported beer ($12), then reuse the emptied container to douse championship-winning singers. The Gaslite is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily and makes up for its lack of kitchen by providing a lengthy list of local eateries ready to deliver directly to your table.
The discovery of fire changed the way we eat in more ways than one; its heat added new flavors to our meals, while its light allowed our obnoxious eyes to horn in on our mouth's enjoyment of those flavors. Today's Groupon takes you and a date back to a more primal time that will reveal what you eat in a whole new light—total darkness. For $99, you get a sensual dinner for two at Opaque—Dining in the Dark any Wednesday through Saturday night starting at 6:30 p.m. (a $200 value).
At Wine Expo, named one of the "10 Best Wine & Spirit Shops in LA" by Los Angeles Magazine, racks teem with wine, craft beer, and liquor from every corner of the globe, plus, a generous selection of real Champagne. The knowledgeable staffers on hand know the difference between standard fruity, oak-infused bottles with lackluster taste and knockout wines that accentuate dinners of red meat or red crayons. They help guide oenophiles in selecting Portuguese whites or Tuscan reds, and organic sparkling white wines or a 31-year-old bottle of scotch. At the wine bar, sippers can sample the flavors for themselves, with flights of three whites, three to four reds, or glasses of beer. Small plates accompany the drinks, including mild cheeses, prosciutto, and crostini.