Gregg Hunter’s Newspace

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The charming Far Niente Italian Ristorante has been luring particular palates to North Brand Boulevard in Glendale since 1987 with its white linen dining room and the sports bar next door.

On show nites at the nearby Alex Theatre, the place is packed pre-curtain… The menu goes on for several pages with an emphasis on authentic Italian cuisine… The service staff is skillful and friendly and the specialties — prepared to order — taste as good as they look.

The place exacts steep tabs but there is one fun way to cut the tab by half. It’s the Happy Hour, from 4 until 5:30 p.m. in the big bar. The discounts apply to all food orders and to “house well” beverages and beers. A friend and I hit the Happy Hour on a recent Wednesday and enjoyed orders of Fried Zucchini, $4, one half-order of Penne Pasta, $7, Casa Pasta, $6, and a tasty Margarita Pizza, $5.50. This plus two bar drinks, $11, for a grand total of $32 — a sophisticated bar room booth dinner for two plus tax and tip.

The lounge was quiet on a rainy afternoon, so bartender Tony doubled efficiently as our server. He also poured a great martini. I filled up and took home a doggie bag. There’s street and multi deck parking. It was all worth twice the price and that’s pretty much what you’ll pay for the same meal in the dining room at Far Niente. You still can’t eat a table cloth.

Lancers, long the most popular family restaurant in Burbank, has a remarkable menu. There’s something for everybody and hearty breakfasts anytime. It seems everybody is looking for price cuts, and Lancers answers the call with its Lunch Express Specials. Seven items are served weekdays only from 11 a.m. til 3. Express items range from $5.99 for a BLT Sandwich including soup or salad and golden French fries to a Tuna or Turkey Platter with potato salad and Cole slaw, $7.99. A New York Steak Sandwich with soup or salad and fries goes for a tidy $9.49.

Their special entree discounts are every day. The Friday only dinner special is a hearty cut of Prime Ribs of Beef with soup or salad, the choice of potatoes plus veggies, fresh baked bread and a dessert of Jell-O or ice cream — all for $11.99. That’s a real meal deal at Lancers located at 697 N. Victory Blvd. in busy downtown Burbank.

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The Curious Palate

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