Did you ever wonder where the pro chefs chow down on their days off — assuming they ever have any? We asked some of the top chefs in Los Angeles what their favorite restaurants were and here’s what we found out. — Liz Laing
Josiah Citrin ♦ Chef/Owner
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
“My favorite restaurant is Mori Sushi and my favorite dish is Mori’s Omakase menu, a sampling of what he thinks is best. I always look forward to the Duo of Sea Urchins, Hokkaido and Santa Barbara and the Sayori.”
Two Star Michelin Chef Josiah Citrin is the Chef/Owner of Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica. Currently in its 12th year, Melisse has earned consistently rave reviews from the public and critics alike. A Los Angeles native, Citrin’s laser focus is on finding the highest quality ingredients from local farmers to produce his French cuisine with California influences.
Raphael Lunetta ♦ Executive Chef
501 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Chef Raphael Lunetta is owner of famed restaurant JiRaffe in Santa Monica, now celebrating its 15th year in business, as well as co-owner of Lemon Moon in West Los Angeles. Known as the ‘surfing chef’, he grew up in Venice and Santa Monica and has worked in many famous kitchens in Paris and Los Angeles. Chef Raphael has also been a guest judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and been featured appearances in many television cooking shows.
Alex Reznik ♦ Executive Chef
14 North La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills
“My favorite restaurant is Akasha in Culver City and my favorite dish there is the Punjabi Mung Beans and Rice.”
La Seine, the latest edition to LA’s famed Restaurant Row, is a modern steakhouse that reinterprets Old World Jewish dishes and presents them in a unique way. Executive Chef Alex Reznik, most well-known for his time on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” has created an extensive California contemporary menu, all in line with its certified Kehillah kosher status. He wants to change the way people feel about kosher food –- when well-executed, it’s delicious.
Ray Garcia ♦ Executive Chef
101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
“When I want some great comfort food, my favorite thing in LA is the suicide wings at Ye Rustic Inn. You need to get them extra crispy and with extra sauce–outrageously good!”
Chef Ray Garcia believes that flavors are at their best when not overcomplicated or manipulated. He loves walking around the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and tasting all the fresh picks. The menu at FIG is based on what produce is in peak season, which Chef Ray turns into the most fresh and flavorful food that you’ve ever had.
Sally Camacho ♦ Pastry Chef
900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
“My favorite restaurant in LA is Providence. I had the chef’s 14 course tasting menu. Everything was so great. I loved the Bacon Brioche, Salmon Tartar Amuse with crispy rice, and a lovely pork belly dish.”
A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Sally Camacho brings extensive knowledge and experience as the Pastry Chef of WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, located downtown in The Ritz-Carlton. It was recently awarded one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants of 2010”. Chef Camacho recently won the U.S. semifinals of the Valrhona C3 2011 Culinary Competition and will be headed to Madrid to represent the U.S. in the finals in 2012.
Jorge Chicas ♦ Executive Chef
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
“My favorite restaurant is Matsuhisa on La Cienega. I love just sitting in the sushi bar and having the chef tasting menu. I always get something new and exciting!”
Jorge Chicas is the Executive Chef at SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. Chef Chicas has been working for Chef José Andrés for approximately 10 years now, allowing him to direct and oversee José’s vision on all food and beverage components at the hotel.
Joshua Whigham ♦ Chef de Cuisine
The Bazaar by José Andrés
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
“My favorite restaurant is Raku in the Honda Plaza in downtown. I always get the beef liver sashimi, clams with udon and squid omelet.”
Joshua Whigham is the Chef de Cuisine for The Bazaar by José Andrés. Working for Chef José for nearly 10 years, Chef Joshua is able to oversee the vibrant mix of sophisticated cuisine crafted by José Andrés. In 2009, The Bazaar was a finalist for “Best New Restaurant” in the James Beard Foundation Awards and named Esquire’s “Restaurant of the Year.”
Albert Aviles ♦ Executive Chef
403 W 12th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
“My top three places to eat in LA—in no order—are Larry’s Chili Dog in Burbank, a small stand, prices are just right for the amount of food you get. Their breakfast burrito is amazing! Soo Won Galbi in K-Town, no matter what day of the week it is, this place is always packed to the gills. Order the seafood cake and half the meats. The meat is top notch and the condiments take up half the table. Add a beer in the mix and all that’s left is to gorge your face off. Also, Langer’s — there’s nothing like a really good deli in the hood. Order #19…that’s all you should get.”
Corkbar is an award-winning, California-centric wine bar, serving an array of favorite wines, including boutique vintages from artisan vintners, accompanied by fresh market, seasonal cuisine. Be sure and check out the weekly Test Kitchen Tuesday event, where Executive Chef Albert Aviles showcases a rotating off-the-menu small plate for just $2.
Harutaka Kishi ♦ Executive Chef
“Mo-chica is my favorite restaurant in South LA, at the Mercado La Paloma food court. The Ceviche is always delicious and addictive. Ricardo Zarate is so passionate about food, I could spend days with him and just talk about food. He has also been working with many Japanese people, learning their discipline and philosophy.”
CHAYA Brasserie has remained one of the city’s best loved neighborhood restaurants for over 25 years. Executive Chef Harutaka Kishi creates a modern Euro Asian menu with American influences by infusing new techniques, exotic ingredients and combinations, and honored culinary traditions from his native French and Japanese roots.
Robert Biebrich ♦ Executive Chef
Silver Trumpet Restaurant
Wyndham Orange County
3350 Avenue of the Arts
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
“My favorite restaurant in LA is Hatfield’s and my favorite dish there is the foie gras with pineapple. The presentation is a “toad in the hole,” combining the creamy foie gras, the toasted brioche and the sweet stickiness of the pineapple. Plus, they have great, personable service.”
Executive Chef Robert Biebrich features seasonal California farm-to-table cuisine at the newly redesigned Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, located at the Wyndham Orange County in Costa Mesa. Daily tasting menus, complimentary amuse bouche, and beverage carts offering made-to-order organic cocktails are served on the stylish outdoor dining terrace offering lakeside views.