In Mission Hills, Philippe Beltran (of Bleu Boheme in Kensington) gave up on a place next door to Lefty’s Pizza.  The building will now be a beauty salon: Cut.  Instead, Beltran will focus on redoing a former flower shop on Adams Avenue where he will then turn out pizzas.

At the corner of Rosecrans and Talbot in Point Loma, the nearly finished box of a building (certain to be nominated for an Onion award in design) will house La Playa Bistro due to open this June or July.  Expect traffic congestion–it’s a very busy intersection as the entrance to La Playa and the sub base.

Also in Point Loma, according to workers on the construction site next to the Dolphin Motel, the buzz is that the restaurant will be a coffee shop, not a steakhouse.  Stay tuned.

The Arrivederci restaurant group has been busy.  Along with their Ristorante Arrivederci and Arrivederci Pizza on Fourth Avenue, the group also owns the soon-to-open Au Revoir Bistro in the former La Vache location at Fourth Avenue and Robinson. They’ve just about made Monopoly on those few blocks of Fourth. The long awaited Il Postino by Arrivederci opened in North Park.  Haven’t been, but will as it is next door to Buzz favorite, Caffe Calabria.

East Village Asian Diner just opened in Encinitas.  With a chef trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York, the casual menu looks good and well priced.  Open for lunch and dinner. 628 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760-753-8700.

Luna Grill Neighborhood Kabobery opens its second location in Mission Valley—in the same complex as IKEA and Costco. The 65-seat restaurant features modern fast casual Near East/Mediterranean food, including the freshest kabobs, salads, wraps and sandwiches.  2245 Fenton Parkway, Suite 105, 619-516-5862.  Their first location is in the Albertson’s shopping center at the 56 Freeway and Torrey Highlands. Haven’t been, but Buzz loves their well-designed website.

Worth getting on the email list for the Hotel del Coronado for specials and coupons such as one that takes $25 off a the dinner bill (over $100) at 1500 Ocean, that Sheerwater now has a $30 tasting menu with lots of choices or that Eno has bubbly Thursdays and $5 Fridays.

In Bankers HIll, Hexagone French Cuisine now occupies the corner of Fifth and Laurel in the old Gemelli spot.  Hexagone is the newest addition to French Market Grille up in Rancho Bernardo.  The new place  features everything from salad niçoise ($13.75) and onion soup grantinée ($6.50) to traditional coq au vin ($17.50) and sea bass with corn risotto and fennel-vanilla sauce ($22.50).  I haven’t eaten at either spot yet.  And if you’re wondering (as I did) what a hexagon has to do with French cuisine, it’s the term the French use  when talking about the shape of their country.  Hexagone French Cuisine, 495 Laurel Street, Bankers Hill, 619-236-0467.  Open daily from 11am.

For fabulous and very French desserts and chocolates,  Mille Feuille is your place at the corner of University and Fifth.   Executive pastry chef Thomas Gèrard,  comes from  La Valencia in La Jolla, and being French knows his pastries.  I’ve tasted a few:  Opera (light coffee sponge cake, chocolate ganache and coffee butter cream, $6.50), apricot summer (coconut-pineapple and carrot sponge cake layered with orange-apricot cream cheese filling, $5.50) and lots more including a caramelized onion and cheese quiche ($5.50) and  macaroons almost as ethereal as those found in Pierre Hermé’s Paris shop.  For lunch there are sandwiches and from 2 pm to 4pm there’s high tea for $20.  Mille Feuille, 3896 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest, 619-295-5232.

Barely two years old, Rannoosh the Middle Eastern restaurant next door to Mille Feuille, is closed.

Ibis Food Mart in Mission Hills is a neighborhood market with homemade hummus laced with sesame seeds. The lunch crowd gets sandwiches or my favorite, a garlic-laden tabbouleh. I found their baba ganoosh a thicker version with lots of tahini. The store also stocks ingredients for Middle Eastern cuisine. 1112 Fort Stockton Drive, 298-5081. Open daily from 9 a.m.

Smack in the middle of Hillcrest is Rannoosh. Not your homespun hole in the wall, like Mama’s in University Heights, this place is designed to give the feeling of being in an exotic place. Cleverly decorated with fabric on the ceiling and walls, it’s what I might imagine a Beirut cafe to look like. There are hookahs prominently displayed and should you need a smoke, you can do so with one on the patio.

The food: Hummus made from scratch is silky and light. The finely pureed, smoky flavored baba ganoosh is mostly eggplant with a hint of tahini (sesame paste) and is one of the best I’ve encountered outside of my kitchen. Tabbouleh is, as it should be, mostly green with parsley with a bit of bulgur wheat. Homemade beef and lamb spicy sausages about the size of baby cigars come with a bit of lettuce salad, are dense and tasty, perhaps an acquired taste as my dinner pal found them a bit dry. Hummus with diced lamb is simple—the crisp lamb bits chewy to counter the soft hummus. We loved the mjadara, a toothsome mix of spiced rice, lentils and sautéed onions with a yogurt side that is definitely comfort food as well as a popular Lenten dish in Lebanon. Skip dessert as the baklava was dry and uninteresting. Prices range from $5.95 for most appetizers to $7.95 for hummus with toppings and entrees from $9.95 to $21.95 for mixed grill of various kebabs. There are pita sandwiches from $4.95 to $8.95 and $14.95 for that hookah smoke. 3890 Fifth Avenue (at University), Hillcrest, 619-325-1360. Open daily from 11 a.m.

Tucked a half a block off El Cajon Boulevard on a quiet residential street, the popular Mama’s Bakery & Lebanese Deli features two unique things: a sajj (picture a large inverted wok) and made–while-you-watch cornmeal specked flatbread (a mix of whole wheat and white flour) that cooks on the sajj. Here you eat on a small unadorned patio, or as many do, take-out. You order at the tiny counter and your food is delivered from the window on the patio. The flatbread wraps include everything from fried eggplant to turkey and cheese. Baba ganoosh is heavy on tahini, so not my favorite. A spinach pie is the flatbread wrapped in a triangle with sautéed onions, spinach and ground sumac (a dark wine colored, slightly sour flavored spice) and the makanek wrap melds spicy Lebanese sausage, pickles, hummus, tomato and lettuce in the flatbread—both filling and satisfying. Prices range from $3.49 for the pies to $4.99 for many of the wraps. There are also plates of meats, stuffed grape leaves and falafels from $7.49. 4237 Alabama St., San Diego, 619-688-0717. Open daily from 10 a.m.