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Formosa Cafe

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After several long years of restoration, this LA landmark is back open and the results are glorious. Walking inside this bar/restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. feels like you’ve stepped back into the golden age of Hollywood, when Ava Gardner was slithering around the bar and John Wayne was trying to stay awake in one of the booths. While you can certainly make a reservation and have a full dinner here, our recommendation is to just walk in, head to the back bar (no one knows about it and you can always find a seat), drink too many well-made tiki drinks, and order food when your body needs nourishment. The Chinese-leaning menu has everything from dim sum to dan dan noodles, and you can’t really go wrong with anything. That said, make sure you get the chile wontons.

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