Versatile in Venice

If you find yourself in Century City you must check out Din Tai Fung. The dim sum is to die for, and so is everything else. Despite the 45 minute wait, the rest is A plus in my book. Walk around the mall to kill time, then check back in for an amazing meal. Service is excellent and the decor beautiful. We had so many delicious dishes that I don't even know where to begin. Dumplings! You must try as many as you can! The Soup Dumplings are a burst of soup in your mouth. You have to eat these in one bite, and don't say I didn't warn you. If you don't, you're sure to have a soupy mess all ver your shirt. The Shrimp and Pork Potstickers, Shrimp and Pork Dumplings, and Chicken Dumplings were my favorites. We also enjoyed the House Chicken Soup, Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai, Sauteed String Beans with Garlic, and the Chicken Fried Noodles. Everything was perfectly prepared and piping hot. We'll definitely be back for more!

Din Thai Fung 10250 Santa Monica Blvd Los Angeles (424) 382-1118. Hours: M-F 11am-9:30pm Sat: 10am-9:30pm Sun: 10am-9pm

Chaya has been a Venice staple for over 20 years. Executive Chef Shigefumi Tachibe and Chef de Cuisine Yuichi Natori cook up some serious Asian-French eats here. Tachibe infuses exotic and traditional Japanese ingredients to make outstanding dishes. He also uses local sustainable ingredients from the Farmer's Market for the seasonally- changing menu. Whether you want to eat in the bar for Happy Hour, or dine in the lovely dining room; Chaya will accommodate you! Start off with a cocktail or sake from the full bar. The Lychee Martini ($12) is vodka, lychee juice, lemon, and lychee fruit. It is both refreshing and exotic. For thoses more conservative, try the Pomegranate Martini ($12). For Sake lovers the Kikusui Mandarin Orange beats out all the others ($12) with its clean spicy finish. My favorite Chaya cocktail is the Pineapple-infused vodka- it's house-made. Fish is delivered daily to Chaya which makes the sushi incredible. Salmon Avocado Cucumber rolls ($8), Shrimp Tempura ($15), and Yellowtail ($8) are outstanding. Starters are a must. House Cured Smoked Salmon ($14) is accompanied by Lebanese garlic spread and garlic herb crostini. Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($12) are filled with shrimp, Alaskan snow crab and come with spicy peanut sauce. Spicy Tuna Tartare ($18) is served with crispy wontons. The tuna's flavor is so fresh and well-defined. For salad starters the Premium Asian Pear, Prosciutto, and Burrata ($15) served with Balsamic and arugula is devine. I love a good Chinese Chicken Salad. The Java Chicken ($14) is full of organic greens, shredded chicken, cilantro, crispy wontons, served with a sweet soy dressing and spicy peanut sauce. Meat lovers will enjoy the Chaya Black Angus Burger ($19). Grilled onions, white cheddar, chutney, and spicy mayo round out this huge burger. Grilled Scottish Salmon ($29) with Farmer's Market steamed vegetables is my husband's favorite dish. He claims Chaya has the best salmon in the city! For sides, try the Fontina Mac and Cheese with Truffle oil. ($9). If you still have room the Flourless Chocolate Cake is a showstopper! Served with Salted Caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce this dessert seals the deal! Chaya Venice (310) 396-1179 110 Navy Street, Venice. Locations also in Beverly Hills, DTLA, and San Francisco.    

Reservations Recommended

Recommended Dishes: Spicy Tuna Tartare, House Cured Smoked Salmon, Grilled Scottish Salmon, Fontina Mac and Cheese.

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