Food & Drink

The ultimate guide to eating in Top Chef-helmed restaurants around LA

Los Angeles 'Cause you have both a TV and a stomach, you've seen Top Chef -- the most well-known series for making you hungry, in the history of TV. And since we live in LA, where anyone who's ever been on TV also lives, there're a ton of restaurants where you can see your favorite Top Cheftestants. Here're 12:

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The Chef: Brian Malarkey
Season: 3
Came in: 4th
Known on the show for: Using, like, every single ingredient in the kitchen. Twice.

The Restaurant: Now open in the former Asia De Cuba space at the Mondrian on Sunset, Herringbone is a San Diego-born-and-beloved, date-friendly seafoodery.

The Move: Definitely snag an outdoor seat, then order 1) the shareable (hahahaha, right), whole-fish ceviche, and 2) pork belly w/ wood-roasted sunchokes.

The Chef: CJ Jacobson
Seasons: 3 and 10
Came in: 6th and 13th
Known on the show for: Broccolini, and being SUPER TALL.


Girasol

The Restaurant: Located on an unlikely stretch of Moorpark in Studio City, Girasol has become a critically acclaimed must-visit for fans of approachable tweezer cuisine.

Girasol

The Move: Jacobson -- who did a stint at internationally revered Copenhagen restaurant Noma -- is almost always around. Ask him what's good, or just go right for the Wagyu steak grilled in pine needles.

The Chef: Alex Reznik
Season: 7
Came in: 7th
Known on the show for: Possibly stealing pea puree (but probably not) (but maybe) (editing is everything).

The Restaurant: Ditmas is a just-opened ode to Jewish eats in West LA that's heavy on communal tables and Brooklyn-y interior details.

The Move: Grab a seat at the communal, talk to Alex, and realize there's no way he'd ever steal pea anything! Then order up duck confit matzo ball soup and salmon pastrami on an everything bagel. L'Chaim!

ink.

The Chef: Michael Voltaggio
Season: 6
Came in: 1st
Known on the show for: Beating his brother. HIS OWN BROTHER!

Thrillist

The Restaurants: Voltaggio's ink. is basically a molecular gastronomy dinner powerhouse, while his far-more-casual ink.sack drops sandwich science, hard.

ink.

The Move: During the day, grab two sandos: The Jose Andres & The Tuna, and save half of each for later. At night, hit the bar if you don't have a res, and dig into the entire, weekly changing menu there.

The Chef: Kuniko Yagi
Season: 10
Came in: 17th
Known on the show for: She came in 17th. She was known for being... oh, now she's gone.

The Restaurant: Don't hold her early elimination against her: at Hinoki & The Bird, she's heading the kitchen every night, helping David Myers execute insanely great Asian-influenced dishes.


The Move: The patio's the place to sit (even in the rain -- it's covered!), and this hinoki-scented black cod -- which literally smokes right in front of you -- is the dish to not miss.

The Chef: Ilan Hall
Season: 2
Came in: 1st 
Known on the show for: Playing Harry Potter to #2-placing-Marcel's Voldemort.

The Restaurant: Hall got Downtown just before the neighborhood's renaissance, and his ironically Jewish-influenced Gorbals is on the downstairs level of a shady, long-stay hotel.

The Move: Ironically bacon-wrapped matzo balls and Manischewitz-braised pork ribs. Also: hit their awesomely late half-off-bar-items Happy Hour from 10p-midnight on Mon/Tues/Wed.

The Chef: Antonia Lofaso
Seasons: 4 and 8
Came in: 4th and 3rd
Known on the show for: Wanting to be a REALLY GOOD example for her daughter/ being "The Black Hammer".


The Restaurants: Lofaso's behind the Italian menu at the stunning Venice osteria Scoppa, and the pub-grub at the Valley's standby Black Market.

The Move: You can't go wrong with any of the food at either spot, but you gotta make sure to get cocktails, too. Crazy-acclaimed bar-dudes Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix are her business partners/drink-makers at both spots.

The Chef: Brooke Williamson
Season: 10
Came in: 2nd
Known on the show for: Straight-up killing it all season, and then freezing in the finale.

The Restaurant: We totally knew her before she got famous! Check out this old Thrillist interview from her still-great Playa Del Rey gastropub, Tripel.

The Move: That burger. And then that burger. And then beer. And then that burger. And also that burger. Burger.

The Chef: Fabio Viviani 
Seasons: 5 and 8
Came in: 4th and 5th
Known on the show for: Needing subtitles, even when he was speaking English.

The Restaurants: Viviani splits his time between NoHo's Firenze Osteria and Moorpark's Cafe Firenze, both of which focus on -- SURPRISE!! -- classic, home-style Italian food.

The Move: Viviani's as likeable in person as he was on TV. He'll kiss your Mama on the cheek, he'll pour your date's olive oil for her, and he'll talk you into ordering extra burrata, which makes total sense because, burrata.

Gorge

The Chef: Elia Aboumrad (on right)
Seasons: 2 and 8
Came in: 4th and 18th
Known on the show for: Shaving her head... and then watching Ilan/Cliff shave Marcel's head.

Gorge

The Restaurant: Smack-dab in the heart of the Sunset Strip is Aboumrad and Co.'s meat-centric Gorge, which bills itself as a resto and (eyebrow-raise!) charcuterie bar.


The Move: Aboumrad went home twice for the same dish, which's why you won't find any red snapper on the menu, but will (or immediately should) find hearty plates of charcuterie.

The Chef: Betty Fraser
Season: 2
Came in: 7th
Known on the show for: Being super pushy. Like, awkwardly pushy. And screaming at Marcel.

The Restaurant: Hollywood's Grub is one of those great neighborhood spots, except with award-winning breakfasts, and stellar sandwiches.

The Move: Get literally any egg dish and you're good to go; for lunch, the tuna melt's ridiculous; and at dinner, they've got a drippy poutine and a secret-ingredient-filled bacon burger.

The Chef: Stefan Richter
Seasons: 5 and 10
Came in: 2nd and 6th
Known on the show for: Being ruthless. And making lots of... lollipops.


The Restaurant: There's no mistaking who's behind West LA's Stefan's at LA Farm, where both the interior & menu scream Finnish-German, which is apparently a thing that an interior/menu can scream.

The Move: If you sit outside by one of their fire pits, Richter's almost guaranteed to stop by to say hello/tell you you should order the pretzel dumplings (you should) and the smoked pork belly (yep, that too).