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SMALL BITES THE OSCARS OF DINING.

Byline: - Larry Lipson

This year, the California Restaurant Writers Association has chosen the downtown Wilshire Grand Hotel, 930 Wilshire Blvd., for its annual awards dinner event.

The event, though open to the public, is usually attended by restaurant owners and their important management people (including chefs) hoping to receive an award.

Slated for the Pacific Room on Feb. 23, the dinner and awards ceremony, preceded by a champagne reception, brings attention to new and established restaurants of note throughout California - but emphasizing those located in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

In addition to the star ratings (one through five), awards are presented to restaurants that opened during the 2003 calendar year, along with special awards to the most promising new restaurant, the restaurateur of the year, the chef of the year, the maitre d' of the year, the service persons (male and female) of the year, the sommelier of the year and the pastry chef of the year.

There is also an award named after the late Mike Roy, a CRWA alumnus and onetime local radio and television food personality.

The Mike Roy Pioneer Award, as it's called, is presented to a veteran restaurant owner, usually one who's enjoyed decades of success and has been a major force in the community.

Tickets are $130. Information: (323) 650-2536.

CHIANTI OUT, CAFE MAURICE IN: Sorry to see the closing of one of the city's landmark restaurants.

Chianti, opened in 1938, at 7383 Melrose Ave., rose to fame under owner Romeo Salta.

In recent years it has been part of the Prego Ristorante group. And, in fact, if you call Chianti's old number, (323) 653-8333, you'll find out you're talking to Prego.

In its place, Cafe Maurice made its debut on Nov. 20.

Information and reservations: (323) 655-3331.

MORE NEW TASTES: Other recent replacements of note already up and running are the Drago brothers' Panzanella which took over the former Posto site at 14928 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 784-4400, and zingy new Minibar (323) 882-6965, which moved into the Roma Via Paris space at 3413 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Universal City.

HAGGIS FOR ALL: There'll be complimentary haggis on the table Tuesday through Thursday when attendees arrive for the annual Robbie Burns birthday celebration dinners at the Tam O'Shanter Inn, 2980 Los Feliz Blvd..

With regular menu offerings ($20 to $30 entrees, including soup or salad) the party (seatings at 6 and 8:15 p.m.) will feature Scottish-themed dishes, theatrics, bagpipers and step dancers.

Information and reservations: (323) 664-0228.

NAPKIN NOTES: Saturday night dinner (seatings at 6 and 9 p.m.) is now available at Bastide, 8475 Melrose Place, (323) 651-5960. ... Rapidly expanding Sharky's, founded in 1992 (then with signature shark tacos) across from Los Angeles Valley College and with 14 locations, mostly in Southern California, has opened a 15th in Newport Beach. ... Kung Pao Chinese Bistro in Studio City at 11838 Ventura Blvd., (818) 766-8686, which has gone through an interior remodeling without closing, will soon redo the outside.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 16, 2004
Words:499
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