Elks Lodge 672, 400 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (818) 449-6010. Style: No-nonsense Midwestern. Setting: Time capsule for '50s revivalist. Recommended dishes: Corned beef with cabbage (Thursday only); Tomato Imperial (tomato filled with tuna salad); breaded veal cutlet. Cost per person: $6-$15.
Engine Co. No. 28, 644 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (213) 624-6996. Style: Landmark fire station now extinguishing hunger pangs instead of flames. Setting: Padded booths, 16-foot walls; ceramic Dalmatian dogs. Recommended dishes: Shrimp cocktail; New York steak; rice pudding. Cost per person: $15-$35.
5050 Sunset, 5050 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 913-1656. Style: Thai for a tuppence. Setting: Shoe box wrapped in pink neon. Recommended dishes: Mee krob; shrimp with green beans; hot and sour shrimp soup. Cost per person: $5-$15.
Mille (1000) Wilshire, 1000 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (213) 395-1000. Style: Eccentric California Italian. Setting: Palace plush. Recommended dishes: Caesar salad; tomato bisque; spaghettini puttanesca. Cost per person: $20-$40.
72 Market Street, 72 Market St., Venice. (213) 392-8720. Style: Quintessence of L.A. dining. Setting: Good food, good music, good art. Recommended dishes: Meat loaf; grilled lamb salad; kick ass chili. Cost per person: $15-$35.
12 Washington, 12 Washington St., Marina del Rey. (213) 822-5566. Style: French fare overlooking surf and sand. Setting: Hawaiian shirts and Reeboks. Recommended dishes: Menu changes biweekly but might include baby salmon with pesto sauce; linguine with scallops; prawns with garlicky lemon-butter sauce. Cost per person: $15-$30.