Sure, Hollywood has its movie stars, but thanks to the Food Network, Top Chef, an active foodie blogosphere, and good old-fashioned fine food, some of the biggest names in town belong to L.A.’s crop of celebrity chefs. Here are a few whose restaurants warrant their own Walk of Fame. – Katie Robbins
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
With a rotating menu famous for meat-centric dishes like foie gras with biscuits and gravy, “buffalo style” pig tails, crispy rabbit legs, and poutine with oxtail gravy and cheddar, Animal lives up to its feral name. Because of their scruffy appearances and unflagging commitment to serving hard-core decadent “dude food,” chefs John Shook and Vinny Dotolo have been called the Bill and Ted of the culinary world. It’s a contagious philosophy. After rounding out a meal in the unassuming Mid City hot-spot with the infamous bacon chocolate crunch bar, the only appropriate response is “Dude, that was awesome.”
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Renowned chef José Andrés has brought his signature Spanish-style molecular gastronomy to Los Angeles, courtesy of this slick, stylish restaurant in the upscale SLS Hotel. Whether sipping dirty martinis topped with briny olive scented “air” at the sleek long bar, tucking into foie gras cotton candy in the bustling main dining room, or feasting on a 20 course tasting menu in Saam, the hidden restaurant within a restaurant, diners at The Bazaar are in for a spectacular treat.
445 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
For the best celebrity chef bang for their buck, sleek downtown professionals flock to Top Chef Masters star Susan Feniger and partner Mary Sue Milliken’s pan-Latin Ciudad, which offers an assortment of wallet-friendly menus. For ten bucks, try the daily “Quick Lunch” special, then come back later for Border Grill Happy Hour, featuring the famed tacos from another acclaimed restaurant in their growing local empire.
7465 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Chef Eric Greenspan may not have not have dominated Kitchen Stadium to become the Next Iron Chef, but thanks to the open kitchen at this relaxed Hollywood favorite, fans can still watch the entertaining, affable chef in action. With an award-winning taleggio and short rib grilled cheese, luscious peanut butter and jelly bread pudding, and specially priced Bluesy Tuesdays featuring housemade fried chicken, Greenspan proves that his cuisine reigns supreme after all.
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Like any man who plays hard to get, part of chef Ludo Lefebvre’s charm is that you can’t indulge in his masterful, creative cuisine whenever you want – the heavily tattooed, playful Frenchmen has no permanent culinary home, preferring to operate “guerilla” style, hosting his periodic pop-up LudoBites in other restaurants around town. Snagging a reservation for these intermittent interludes, each with an almost entirely reinvented menu, is harder than getting into Harvard, but half the fun is in the hunt.
6602 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
The chance to sample the velvety, rich cheeses at Mozza’s mozzarella bar is worth a trip to the elegant osteria alone. But Nancy Silverton (along with partners Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich) don’t stop there – serving up sublime pastas like the ricotta and egg raviolo with brown butter and succulent meat and fish secondi. For a more casual experience, head next door to the team’s pizzeria for impeccably constructed thin crust pies with divine toppings (don’t miss the buratta and squash blossom.)
176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
As the forefather of celebrity chefs, Wolfgang Puck might be content to rest on the laurels of fame, but with dishes like roasted rack of young Sonoma lamb and sweet corn agnolotti served in the urbane Beverly Hills stalwart Spago, Puck and Executive Chef Lee Hefter continue to demonstrate how truly resplendent classic fine dining can be.