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Eva Restaurant, a 40-seat eatery in the Mid-City West neighbourhood of Los Angeles, is bribing diners with 5% off their bill if they turn in their mobile phones before being seated.

The offer, which was added to the bottom of the menu around two months ago, put the restaurant in the global spotlight thanks to a recent National Public Radio interview that struck a chord with diners and other restaurants dealing with an age of distracted dining via Facebook status updates and tweeting.

While upscale restaurants around the world struggle with how to handle the growing popularity of mobile phones at dining tables, Eva leaves it up to its customers to hand in their phones to the hostess who will then store them in baskets with their name on them and return them on the customers way out.

Eva Restaurant owner and chef Mark Gold came up with the incentive in an effort to improve the ambiance of his restaurant.

“Everyone had cell phones on the table and they’re texting and talking throughout their dinner and we wanted people to connect again,” said Gold. About 50% of his patrons love the idea, and so far no one has broken the rules and asked for the phone back during the meal.

The restaurant has no plans to increase the discount. “We don't think they are coming for the actual discount as I think they like the idea of connecting over dinner,” said Gold.

Eva Restaurant’s mobile phone policy will be in effect indefinitely.

Caroline Pardilla is the Los Angeles Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes Carolineoncrack.com.

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