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With leanings toward continental cuisine, Le Diplomate Café serves a good variety of dishes from Mediterranean to California bistro style, all created by the Café chef in a nontraditional fashion. Popular and enticing are the Greek and Caesar salads; also, the roasted egg plant is an excellent appetizer with fresh tomatoes topped with fete cheese, basil and fresh garlic. Or try the scrumptious angel hair pasta with tiger shrimp. The wine list changes almost weekly, keeping up with the latest products, and features over 100 bottles to choose from. Located inside Brea Mall, Le Diplomate recreates a Parisian street café with tables on an upper level overlooking a fountain.

Services: Takeout and delivery available. Beer and wine only. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (seating stops 1/2 hour before closing); Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. Parking available. Lido Lounge & Café3636 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 723-9240

This Café is a haven for the non-clubbing crowd who want to sidestep barflies and pickup lines, preferring the casual vibe of a coffeehouse. And because it stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends, the Café attracts a lounge-by-night following of subterraneans who play poker or billiards, or hide in the video game room (high scorers receive a gift certificate) to fend off reality. The menu includes sandwiches, bagels, bottled water and, of course, gourmet coffee, espressos and mochas. There's also a chessboard and an internet-ready computer terminal, perfect for those of you who like to get introverted in public.

Services: Takeout available. Hours: Tues.-Thurs., 6-2 a.m.; Fri.-Sat., 6-3 a.m.; Sun.-Mon., 6-1 a.m. All major credit cards accepted. Parking available. Lima City Fast Food & Catering2540 Main St., Ste. J, Irvine, (949) 553-1401

Wow! Peruvian fast food at its finest—because speed doesn't have to mean compromise in quality cuisine. The recipes are all contemporary Peruvian, made with fresh ingredients, and they are well-described on the menu, so you know exactly what pleasure awaits you. Try the delicious combo plate or the scrumptious Beef Saltado. The spicy chicken, ceviche or Peruvian paella are also must-tasteitems. Proprietors Charo and Saul Haraguchi will be delighted to take your order. A daily buffet is offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lima City is conveniently located in the Main Plaza Food Court.

Services: Takeout and catering available. Open Mon.-Fri., 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. Longboards217 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-1896

Just steps away from the beach, Longboards is a bitchen pub that offers a full menu, 14 drafts on tap and 12 sports monitors. The California cuisine is prepared by executive chef Ron McClin, formerly of the Rusty Pelican and JC McClin Restaurant, and features everything from pub style sandwiches—try the resplendent corned beef—to clam chowder or Maine lobster. Have a brew on the new patio and order up some long neck or Manila clams to eat under the sky. The buffalo wings and the garlic bread also make excellent appetizers that go perfectly with a cold one. If there isn't a game on you can watch the wacked out surf videos that showcase vintage longboard jamming.

Services: Beer and wine only. Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-midnight; Fri., 11-1 a.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9:30-1 a.m. All major credit cards accepted. Parking available. Mark's Restaurant858 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-6711

Light California cuisine is what's on the menu at Mark's, where you'll find a beachy, naturally lit setting with palm trees, crisp-linened tables and a pleasant outdoor patio graced with ocean air. The filet mignon is a delectable mouthful, topped with a roqueforte chalet sauce and served on a bed of mashed potatoes. Another fine meat repast is the roasted pork chops served in cranberry sauce. Going seafood? Try the wondrous salmon, black-peppered and corn crusted on a bed of red wine chalet sauce. The chocolate soufflé for dessert adds a finishing touch to a perfect evening.

Services: Takeout and catering available. Full bar. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 5-10:30 p.m.; Sat., 5-11 p.m.; Sun., (starting July 11th) 5-10 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. Parking available. Memphis Soul Café & Bar2920 Bristol, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-7685

Just when you thought there wasn't a hipafied, West Coast-cool restaurant around, this café opened. Microbrewed beers, soul music, and a '50s vibe are what await inside. The menu offers an excellent choice of Southern, Southwestern and Midwestern dishes. The grilled pork chop with a cherry glace and an okra gumbo is a brilliantly prepared delicacy. A seafood special is offered daily. On the lunch menu, try the turkey-breast-and-pesto sandwich, with the house salad, the Memphis greens. Memphis also has an extensive wine list and offers live entertainment. Check out the Todd Oliver Quartet on Thursday nights for some smoldering hard bop jazz Services: Takeout available. Beer and wine only. Open Sat.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5-10:30 p.m.; Sun., 5-9:30p.m. All major credit cards accepted. Reservations accepted.

Merlin's Magic Dinner Theatre2710 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 633-8760
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