The Greek salad makes a perfect hot-weather entree. It's basically cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, olives and feta cheese--and, in this country, often lettuce too. Here are some classic Greeks, and a few variations:
* Blue Pyramid: The insalata Greca at this atmospheric Middle Eastern/Italian restaurant in Glendale is the usual tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, sweet peppers and Kalamata olives with red onions and a lemon-oregano vinaigrette. (Greek salad, $7.75.) Blue Pyramid, 1000 E. Broadway, Glendale, (818) 548-1000.
* Burger Continental: This Middle Eastern cafe, a favorite Pasadena hangout, has a pleasant patio and a good Greek salad of romaine, feta, Armenian string cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives. (Greek salad, $7,29.) Burger Continental, 535 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 792-6634.
* Cafe Santorini: Some warm summer evening, reserve a seat on the second-floor patio of this Mediterranean cafe overlooking a busy plaza in Old Town Pasadena. The Greek salad is made with romaine, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and Greek olives in a bright, lemony vinaigrette, with pita bread and the house focaccia. (Greek salad, $7.95.) Cafe Santorini, 64 W. Union St., Pasadena, (626) 564-4200.
* The Great Greek: A restaurant with this name has to have a Greek salad. This one is made with romaine, red onions, red and green bell peppers, feta, Greek black olives, cucumbers and the restaurant's own vinaigrette. (Greek salad, $6.95.) The Great Greek, 13362 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 905-5250.
* Le Petite Greek: This Larchmont cafe uses authentic Greek feta cheese, plus tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, Greek olives and green peppers, all dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and aromatic Greek oregano. Then there's the feta salad, which is the above ingredients with mixed greens (organic leaf lettuce, romaine and iceberg), in a dressing of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and oregano. Variations on the feta salad include the Mediterranean (with grilled chicken breast), the Ionian (grilled salmon), the Corinthian (grilled calamari) and the Odyssean (marinated shrimp). (Greek salads, $7.95 to $13.95.) Le Petite Greek, 127 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-5160; Beverly Connection, 631 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 657-5932.
* Jack Sprat's Grille: The Mediterranean salad at this health-conscious grill near the Westside Pavilion is an elaborated Greek: cucumbers, roasted peppers, Roma tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives and organic field greens in a balsamic dressing, topped with caramelized red onions, hummus and couscous. It's served with pita bread. (Mediterranean salad, $10.95.) Jack Sprat's Grille, 10668 W. Pico Blvd., Rancho Park, (310) 837-6662.