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MessHall: A fire pit on the patio is glassed in. Alas, no campfire s'mores.

Counter Intelligence: At MessHall in Los Feliz, fall in for fun

Great outdoor dining: A fire pit warms the patio and lends a camp-out atmosphere to MessHall in Los Feliz.

The Pikey in Hollywood isn't a gastropub. It's a pub, just with better food. (Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times / July 7, 2012)

Counter Intelligence: The Pikey, simply a pub with better food

The Pikey in Hollywood isn't a gastropub. It's a pub, just with better food. (Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times / July

The interior of Bestia in downtown LA is stripped down with exposed ceilings and rough brick.

Counter Intelligence: The just-right cooking at Bestia

The interior of Bestia in downtown LA is stripped down with exposed ceilings and rough brick.

A look inside Paiche. ( Christina House / For the Times )

A look inside Paiche. ( Christina House / For the Times )

Inside the kitchen at Terroni ( Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times ) Chef Antonio Giordano prepares a dish in the kitchen. All the pastas ...

Inside the kitchen at Terroni ( Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times ) Chef Antonio Giordano prepares a dish in the kitchen. All the pastas .

Connie and Teds: Fresh oysters are featured on the menu, such as Sweet Petites, Naked Cowboys, Kumamotos and a dozen other kinds. ( Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times )

Connie and Teds: Fresh oysters are featured on the menu, such as Sweet Petites, Naked Cowboys, Kumamotos and a dozen other kinds.

The 10 Commandments to Cooking With a Wok

The 10 Commandments to Cooking With a Wok

Upstairs there is a dining room with a feel of old Spain, replete with large tables and wooden wine cases.

Counter Intelligence

Upstairs there is a dining room with a feel of old Spain, replete with large tables and wooden wine cases.

Wine ( Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / July 3, 2013 ) Barnyard, blocks from the beach in Venice, serves beer and wine.

Wine ( Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / July 2013 ) Barnyard, blocks from the beach in Venice, serves beer and wine.

Little Sister in Manhattan Beach ( Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times ) Eddie Kim, left, prepares an appetizer.

Little Sister in Manhattan Beach ( Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times ) Eddie Kim, left, prepares an appetizer.

Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times uniform

Counter Intelligence: Mo-Chica

Inside Barnyard ( Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / July 3, 2013 ) The menu at Barnyard includes a lot of comfort-food favorites, such as burgers and fries, along with fresh vegetable dishes.

Inside Barnyard ( Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / July 2013 ) The menu at Barnyard includes a lot of comfort-food favorites, such as burgers and fries, along with fresh vegetable dishes.

A long day on life's menu for chef Josef Centeno - latimes.com

A long day on life's menu for chef Josef Centeno

Chef Josef Centeno, owner of Baco Mercat, Bar Ama and Orsa & Winston in L., is constantly astir on a typical day.

Dining room ( Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times ) The tables at Terroni are, fittingly, numbered in Italian.

Dining room ( Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times ) The tables at Terroni are, fittingly, numbered in Italian.

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