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Nifty Newcomers

If you’ve been to two or more of these recently opened restaurants, you are either a foodie or on your way to becoming one.

Border Grill, 1445 4th St., Santa Monica. (213) 451-1655. Style: Nouvelle Mexican by the duo who also own City Restaurant. Setting: Loud. Recommended: Anticuchos , skewers of marinated beef heart with avocado and corn relish; tongue stew; spicy baby back ribs. Cost per person: $15-$30.

Capri, 1616 W. Washington Blvd., Venice. (213) 392-8777. Style: Among the most distinctive Italian restaurants to come along in years. Setting: Brutally sparse. Recommended: Menu changes, but might include scaloppine con caprino e menta , veal scallops on braised leeks in a meat sauce with goat cheese and mint; gnocchi susine (filled with yellow plum). Cost per person: $15-$30.

Chaya Venice, 110 Navy St., Venice. (213) 396-1179. Style: Italian/Japanese/California for fish lovers. Setting: Spacious and sophisticated. Recommended: Seaweed salad; shrimp-stuffed jalapenos with guacamole; catfish in mustard sauce. Cost per person: $15-$30.

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Prado, 244 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 467-3871. Style: Caribbean cooking by the chef who made the food at Cha Cha Cha so exciting. Setting: Heavenly. Recommended: Tamales in tomatillo sauce topped with sour cream and caviar; vegetarian curried vegetables; tarte tatin. Cost per person: $15-$30.

Truffles, 11355 W. Olympic Blvd., W. Los Angeles. (213) 477-0999. Style: Contemporary French with personality. Setting: Light and soothing. Recommended: Vietnamese shrimp; warm salmon with caviar; roasted lobster. Cost per person: $28-$48.


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