Best Family Gathering Restaurant (2001)

Magic Island

This is not an illusion. That is your teenager being entertained, even enthralled, while dining out with (gasp!) the family. And yes, there are your own parents, chuckling at the comedian's risqué double entendres mingled with their polite dinner conversation. The reason for this harmony spanning the generation gap from seven to 70? A simple magic trick called dinner and a show. Much more than its continental cuisine, sleight of hand is the successful shtick of Magic Island, the delightfully schmaltzy tomb of wonders on the Southwest Freeway. Going for the grandiosity of ancient Egypt, it herds groups through several rooms, beginning with the Garden of Nefertiti for a fixed-price dinner of seafood, steak, chicken or lamb. Afterward, it's on to the Palace of Tutankhamun for a master illusionist and then into the Gallery of Ramses and Cheops' Sanctum for blackjack, fortune telling and more magic. Just be sure to bring plenty of cash; it's likely to disappear right before your eyes.


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