Special Contributor

Best Vegetarian Restaurant: The Spot

The people at The Spot are proud of the fact that their vegetarian restaurant has lots of customers who aren’t vegetarians – they are meat-eaters who just happen to like the food.The flavors are as rich as any other dining experience in the South Bay, but it’s better for you – you can enjoy a […]

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Best independent Coffee House: Java Man

Once upon a time, the big chain burger joints, restaurants, and coffee places were probably little local institutions that got very popular because they had a quality products, good ideas, and a connection to a community. Java Man is now what they once were – a place where the servers know your name, where they […]

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Best Waiter: Beau Dieda, Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

Pretty sure you’ll always find this guy smiling! It’s like he just can’t help it. He has a contagious smile and a spirit that oozes joy. “I feel good inside knowing people had a great experience and that I was a part of it.” Somehow, Beau’s tattoos just make you want to hug him even […]

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Best Thai/Southeast Asian Restaurant: Phuket Thai

Phuket is a resort town in the South of Thailand, and if you go to this restaurant and ask for a specialty of the region they will suggest chicken with spicy mint. That’s a good representative of the cuisine served at this restaurant – hot and spicy but more than just hot – it’s fragrant […]

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Best Crepes: Crème de la Crepe

As amazing as it may seem to those who remember the early days in their small Hermosa Beach shop, there are now six locations of Crème de la Crepe. After conquering Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo, they’ve spread to Culver City, Long Beach, and Pasadena. The formula of traditional food expertly prepared has been a hit, […]

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Best Yogurt: Yogurtland

Yogurtland’s slogan is “Keep it Real,” and they like to remind people that they use as many natural, organic ingredients as possible. There are real fruits and nuts rather than flavorings in their soft, slightly tart frozen yogurt, and those who prize pure foods have a variety of options – not just in flavors of […]

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Best Waitress: Teri Lee at Charlie’s Italian

Customers say Teri is special because she is able to order by matching the menu with a customer’s preference. Teri says she is proud of her ability to recognize regular customers and make everyone feel like family. Though relatively new to Charlie’s, she earned many fans during her eight at Cantina Real. Charlie’s Italian : 601 […]

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Best Restaurant View: Strand House

A restaurant’s view is more than just a matter of the real estate they occupy –it’s about the environment that is created by the design, and about the meals that are really the center of attention at every visit. Strand House has a panoramic view of the beach and a balcony that gives an unparalleled […]

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Best Tapas / Appetizers: Mediterraneo

More than one person has stopped in to Mediterraneo their way somewhere else and never made it to their original destination. You sit outside watching the activity on the plaza, thinking you’ll just stay for a few minutes, and the sunsets over the beach while you snack on Spanish-style bruschetta, or perhaps some cheese and […]

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Best Steak over $20: Fleming‘s

The specialists have won this award again! Fleming’s is the standard that all other steakhouses compare themselves to, a rare instance of a chain restaurant that is also a benchmark for quality. It’s not just that they serve prime meat that is grilled by people who devote themselves to that task, it’s that every aspect […]

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Best Steak under $20: Brewco

The menu at Brewco has a gold star near the bottom of the list with the words “Best Steak – Easy Reader 2008” in the middle. They can update that now, because they won again for their filet mignon topped with garlic-herb butter, a delicious piece of meat that comes with your choice of side […]

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Best Specialty Salad: Rock’N Fish

We have to admit that we’re not quite sure which specialty salad our readers are referring to when they award the laurel to Rock’N Fish. Their blue cheese wedge is by most accounts the one ordered most often, and it is head and shoulders above most renditions of this popular salad, but their shrimp and […]

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Best Special Occasion Dinner: Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

They haven’t even been in existence for a full year, but Palmilla has won one of the most coveted awards. We can only assume that the people you are sharing a special occasion with appreciate a boisterous atmosphere, very fine Mexican food made with top quality ingredients, and perhaps a common interest in premium tequilas […]

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Best Sliders: Hot’s Kitchen

We would tell you what variants of burgers and sliders they serve at Hot’s, but between the time we write it down and you read it things could change a few times. It’s not that we’re on a deadline that far in advance, it’s that they change what they do constantly and unpredictably. There is […]

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Best Seafood Soup: Fishbar

They make a pretty fantastic clam chowder (winning this year’s Clam Chowder award) and have specials like cioppino, but we’re betting the reason that Fishbar won this category is their salmon chowder. This is not the clam chowder made using salmon, but a completely different chowder with overtones of dill, thyme, and pepper. Those herbs […]