The era of the celebrity chef is in full swing, and Los Angeles is brimming with restaurants opened by chefs who have been featured on Food Network, Top Chef, or some other outlet that brings them to stardom. When the hankering for any particular type of food strikes, there’s a celebrity chef waiting to serve you. Here’s a sampling:
Tapas: The Bazaar by José Andrés
Chef José Andrés’ innovative restaurant at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills features more than 90 Spanish tapas-style plates spread out through several dining lounges in one "indoor piazza." At Rojo y Blanca, diners can choose to sit in the tranquil Blanca room with cool white chairs and soft sofas or in the livelier Rojo room with deep red velvet chairs and an open kitchen. Eating at The Bazaar’s many restaurants is a culinary adventure, featuring menu items including king crab with raspberries, a wide range of imported ham plates, chicken béchamel fritters, and their famous "Philly cheesesteaks." The delightful desert bar offers a variety of bonbons, candy, cookies and tarts.
Fancy: Gordon Ramsay at The London
Located in the ultra-modern The London West Hollywood hotel, Gordon Ramsay at The London is perched just south of the Sunset Strip. The hotel oozes Regent Street sophistication, with its English bulldogs and wrought-iron balconies. The restaurant is glamorous with distressed white wood gold blinds, tooled leather seats, and velvet circular banquettes. The hillside dining room has stellar city views and the tranquil lounge showcases small plates. The menu is features excellent seafood dishes, offering seared hamachi, miso-glazed sablefish, John Dory, scallops, and lobster with coconut froth. Carnivores can indulge in lamb rib-eye and spiced duck breast as well as the Hell’s Kitchen chef’s signature toffee pudding dessert.
Contemporary Mexican: RED O
Restaurateur, TV personality, and Top Chef Masters winner chef Rick Bayless brings his contemporary spin on Mexican fare to LA with RED O on Melrose. Housed in an open and romantic indoor-outdoor setting, diners can indulge in south-of-the-border flavors while admiring the gigantic fireplace, Mexican glass chandeliers, and the winding glass tequila tunnel showcasing a selection of premium spirits. Guests can choose from a wide variety of ceviches, tostaditas, sopes, tacos, and tamales. Standouts are the pork belly sopes, the tuna ceviche plate, chicken in mole, fresh corn and goat cheese tamales, and the chochinta pibil (suckling pig).
California Cuisine: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
Legendary chef Wolfgang Puck brings his signature California cuisine to The Hotel Bel-Air in his modern indoor-outdoor restaurant. Inside, diners can relax by the huge marble fireplace and glass wine cellar, or they can venture onto the Spanish-inspired courtyard to romantic private booths overlooking the miniature Swan Lake. The service is outstanding and menu highlights include the kabocha squash tortellini, Sonoma lamb saddle, and Kobe short ribs. The restaurant now offers a 60-minute power lunch for only $39.
Italian: Firenze Osteria
Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani’s Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake specializes in regional Italian comfort cuisine. The restaurant is divided into three warm-toned eating areas — diners can enjoy specialty cocktails and appetizers at the long bar, get a glimpse of the celebrity chef cooking in the open kitchen from the main dining room, or share an intimate meal in the back dining area. The extensive menu includes a variety of choices, including duck sausage and fennel pasta, spinach ricotta dumplings, and lamb with braised pistachios.