The big tent
This American eatery in Old Town Pasadena features a spacious patio anchored by two palm trees. At night, weather permitting, the sails get rolled up for true alfresco dining. To eat? You can’t go wrong with the moist half rotisserie chicken. Sunday brunch is a fine time to visit too. The price is right and the live Dixieland jazz puts everyone in a swell mood.
* Rotisserie chicken, $14.50; buffet brunch, $18.95 per person. 101 W. Green St., Pasadena; (626) 577-2567.
The tent over the enchanting sunken patio at this sexy spot is clear, which means you can always dine under the stars. The menu features something for everyone, from wood-fired pizzas and pastas to steak and seafood. Thursday nights, Brazilian dancers in full regalia heat up the scene.
* Pizzas, $11.50 to $13; entrees, $12 to $28. 7213 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 850-5350.
This oh so California spot, with its intimate patio surrounded by high walls painted a soothing, muted green, just celebrated its seventh anniversary. But the menu continues to be fresh and exciting, making it a foodie favorite. Where else can you find sweetbreads with grilled cornbread, white trumpet mushrooms and sherry glaze?
* Sweetbread starter, $16. 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 655-6277.
A grape vine-covered trellis serves as the entry to this pretty, tented eatery. We especially like visiting on Thursdays, when there’s a small farmers market just outside and, from 5 to 8 p.m., chefs Paul Rosenbluh and Monique King turn out an ever-changing array of reasonably priced tapas such as potato-chorizo croquettes.
* Croquettes, $5.50. 1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena; (626) 441-2443.
An overhead canopy gives one the feeling of dining in an exotic tent. Meals at this Moroccan favorite begin with a ritual tableside hand washing. Then it’s on to dinner: perhaps couscous royale for two with a side of homemade harissa (a bold-flavored chili sauce). Friday and Saturday nights the mood is especially festive thanks to the vavoom belly dancers.
* Couscous royale for two, $39. 2116 Westwood Blvd., Westwood; (310) 475-0729.
-- Leslee Komaiko