L.A. abounds in hot spots for spring eating

As the end of the spring semester approaches, students often fall victim to a sense of wanderlust as they stare out at the L.A. sunshine. Hungry for a taste of the famed California summer romanticized in ’60s surfer movies, Beach Boys songs and old travel posters, students search out quintessential Californian fare wherever they can find it. Here are, in no particular order, some of the most “California” places to grab a bite – and perhaps, play a little hooky.

1. Neptune’s Net

42505 Pacific Coast Hwy

Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 457-3095

This biker bar-cum-tourist trap is minutes away from Malibu’s coursing waves and is right off the main rode. Come to munch on onion rings and sip a beer next to packs of large, ruddy men with muttonchops and leather vests. An added bonus: Their fancy flushable portable potties are surprisingly clean.

2. Beach House Restaurant

619 Sleepy Hollow Lane

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

(949) 494-9707

Once the home of silent actor Slim Summerville, this charmingly quaint beach house is famous for its weekend brunch. With a sun-exposed patio right next to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, it’s a perfect spot to enjoy lavish meals of crabcakes benedict with watermelon mint salads, watered down with pitcher-sized Bloody Marys — complete with cocktail shrimp.

3. Hot Dog On A Stick

1633 Ocean Front Walk

Santa Monica, CA 90401

If you’ve never had the pleasure of looking bemusedly at a teenager make lemonade by jumping up and down, in between dunking racks of battered cheese and beef into deep fryers, then roll on over to the original stand of this summer favorite. Go ahead, soak in the sunshine and the saturated fat. And add extra mustard!

4. The Apple Pan

10801 West Pico Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 475-3585

Definitely don some cardinal and gold before walking into this Westwood-area restaurant, which just celebrated its 63rd anniversary. With big burgers, generous slices of pie and a menu that puts “Everything” in parentheses, it’s the picture of retro California charm.

5. Bob’s Big Boy

4211 W Riverside Dr.

Burbank, CA 91505

(818) 843-9334

With its large, neon sign and still-standing statue of Bob’s eerie big boy, complete with moussed-up brown hair, suspenders and Pleasantville grill, this landmark embodies the quintessential California coffee shop style: large, open kitchen, Formica countertops and asymmetrical shape. So go ahead motorist, pull over and park. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see the ghost of an original waitress, roller skates and all.

6. Clifton’s Cafeteria

648 South Broadway

Los Angeles, CA 90014

(213) 627-1673

This Yosemite-themed blast from the past hidden in between old theaters and jewelry marts features colored lights, a waterfall and a giant wooden bear snarling in front of a forest of fake trees. The food isn’t so bad, either – and there is a lot of it. Choose from a dizzying array of Jell-o salads, assorted meat-and-potatoes dishes, pies, salads, yams and other treats served by friendly ladies in hairnets who may have been there since the location’s opening more than 60 years ago.