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Half Star for Caffe Roma, Sunnin Shines in New Home

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1) Caffe Roma: First up SIV choses to dine at the revamped Caffe Roma in Beverly Hills but isn't loving the food or space, thus the restaurant receives a sad half star. Who eats at Caffe Roma? In SIV's mind "you could expect to find Fabio, the long-haired international model featured on the covers of paperback bodice-rippers, holding court," which is probably not a good thing. Anyway, proprietor Agostino Sciandri's "menu here is not particularly inspiring: It's very much in the usual Los Angeles Italian vein, i.e. composed of all-too-familiar dishes, nothing too regional or too rustic. That's no surprise...[though it is] well priced for Beverly Hills." Some of the food is "quite respectable," pizzas are "fine," and lamb chops are "skillfully cooked and very flavorful," though "other items can easily disappoint." All in all, "While Caffe Roma may not be the best Italian restaurant on the block, it's comfortable and serviceable." [LAT]

2) Sunnin: Switching over to Jonathan Gold land, another revamped eatery, Sunnin in its new home across the street on Westwood Blvd. "Sunnin is a loud, bustling, big-city restaurant in Westwood's Persian neighborhood, with crashing dishes in the open kitchen, jars of spicy green sauce on the tables of customers who know how to ask for it, and enormous platters of shawarma, chicken kebabs and falafel in constant motion around the big tables.

I'm not sure either restaurant would welcome the comparison, but Sunnin seems to be evolving into the Lebanese equivalent of Junior's Delicatessen, a mile or so down the street...I was less fond of the original Sunnin, although I may be in the minority...I think the noise, the elbows-in-the-labneh buzz, has made Sunnin better, and even the famous dishes, the hummus with crunchy nubs of extremely well-done beef filet, the cubed potatoes fried with citrus and garlic, and, of course, the kibbe makliyeh, seem a bit more vibrant." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: The Find discovers Creole heaven at Bayou Grill, Chanfles tries Las Cazuelas in Highland Park, Eating LA porks out at Don Dae Gam, Sinosoul slurps ramen at Shin Sen Gumi, Gastronomy drops by Petrossian, Exile Kiss dines at Tibet Nepal House, One More Bite tries the revamped Da Vinci in BH.

Caffe Roma

350 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210

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