DINING BEAT\Serving romance.
As Valentine's Day approaches, romantically inclined diners are trying to top their 1995 choices, or trying to find something new.
Tables are in high demand. For example, the maitre d' at the Hotel Bel-Air, Fernand Poitras, began taking reservations last Valentine's Day for this Feb. 14.
Beyond the obvious romantic standbys, here are some restaurant possibilities:
The Wine Bistro, 11915 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 766-6233, has a prix-fixe $29.90 per-person dinner with a choice of eight appetizers, 10 entrees and several desserts, plus a special price on G.H. Mumm bubbly ($26).
L'Orangerie, 903 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 652-9770, recently upped to five stars by the Mobil Travel Guide, has an impressive menu of three-course dinners at $120 per person for deep-pocketed diners.
A five-course dinner (entree choices are grilled swordfish, rack of lamb and roast squab) with a glass of champagne, plus entertainment and dancing, is tabbed at $29.95 per person at L.A. Gourmet, 21830 Nordhoff St., Chatsworth, (818) 882-7600.
The trio of Papashons - in Encino at 15910 Ventura Blvd., (818) 783-6664; also in Beverly Hills and Pasadena - offers four-course prix-fixe dinners at $40 per person in Beverly Hills, $45 per person in Pasadena and $90 per couple in Encino.
A four-course dinner at fusion at pdc, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 659-6012, is priced at $50.
Twin Palms, 101 W. Green St., Pasadena, (818) 577-2567 (also in Newport Beach) has a special menu with such dishes as "escargots with a red dress on," "hey sugar, snap my shrimp" and "tunnel of love duck." Appetizers run from $5.50 to $9, entrees from $13 to $27 and desserts are $7 each.
Two seatings at Moonlight Tango Cafe, 13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 788-2000, at 6 and 8:30 p.m., and a $29, two-course menu of five starter and six entree choices, are boosted by dancing to the Palm Beach Trio and staff vocals.
Women patrons receive a Thai orchid at the engaging Chitra, 9634 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 247-8639, plus a four-course dinner costing $22.95 that includes a heart-shaped dessert.