Trader Vic’s

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sommelier_p Photograph courtesy Flickr/mil8

It was with mixed emotions that we learned Trader Vic’s was coming to L.A. Live. We feared some corporate-feeling redo, but walking into the new torch-lit, thatched-hut-style dining room plastered with original Vic’s paraphernalia, you feel an ocean and decades away from the Nokia buzz. Pupus such as the cream-cheese-stuffed crab Rangoon and beef Cho Cho cooked over a mini hibachi are the classics you remember (take that as you will), and entrées like the crispy duck and a Hawaiian pork chop are still a bit too salty or sweet. But with the rum cocktails as mouth-numbing as ever, we could use the flavor overload. The prices seem exorbitant, but what you get is hands down the best fake island experience around. Polynesian dancers, flaming communal drinks, and an appreciation of the chain’s kitschy history—ah, Vic, you would have loved it. » 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. A120 (213-785-3330). L Mon.-Fri.; D nightly. Full bar. Polynesian        $$$ 

Photograph courtesy Flickr/mil8