California Beach, 7656 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 655-0123. Style: Familiar Japanese dishes served at ear-splitting noise levels. Setting: Surf city with performing sushi chefs. Beach room available for private parties. Recommended: Fried dumplings; cucumber-octopus salad; deep-fried green tea ice cream. Cost per person: $12-$28.
El Mocambo, 8338 West 3rd St., Los Angeles. (213) 651-2113. Style: Ricky Ricardo’s kind of Cuba. Setting: Tutti-frutti. Waiters waltz around in tight uniforms serving drinks with names like “Bay of Pigs” and “Babaloo-Loo Loo.” Recommended: Corn chowder; tostones ; Americano Loco steak. Cost per person: $15-$30.
La Cave, 7070 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (213) 460-7070. Style: Five set menus (French, Aphrodisiac, Exotic, Spa and Italian) inside a rock nightclub. Setting: Cavelike. Recommended: The Exotic dinner (green salad laced with duck meat; shrimp curry with fresh pineapple and passion-fruit ice). Cost per person: $18-$28.
Mickey’s Kitchen, 5060 Montclair Plaza Lane, Space 5010, Montclair. (714) 624-8111. Style: Disney-owned restaurant inside a Disney-owned store, for kids of all ages. Setting: Many reminders of Mickey and his friends. Recommended: Goofy burger; piglet corkscrew fries; supercalifragi-chicken salad. Cost per person: $5-$8.
Stitches, 1927 1/2 Zonal Ave., Lincoln Heights. (213) 222-0221. Style: Sophisticated lunch counter with the right palate prescription. Setting: Across from USC Medical Center’s Emergency Admitting--waiters wear green operating theater tunics; beverages are dispensed from I.V. units. Recommended: Grilled chicken breast with garlic slivers; chicken Alfredo; barbecued chicken pizza. Cost per person: $7-$15.