There’s no doubt about it, we’re becoming a foodie nation. “Top Chef” and “Ace of Cakes” have become our must-see TV. And whether you’re a diehard fan of “Hell’s Kitchen” or “Iron Chef,” L.A. is the perfect place to delve into the world of celebrity chefs (or, at least, eat their food). Here’s a list of the top date spots ruled by TV personalities.
900 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90015
Chef Nona of “Hell’s Kitchen” Season 8 has been working here at Kerry Simon’s downtown delight. Contemporary California cuisine—some dishes with a Southern twist—is served, the prices are reasonable, the food artistically plated and delicious, with whimsical desserts—and best of all, it’s located right in the heart of downtown, just steps from hotspot L.A. Live. If your waiter offers you an appetizer with lump crab, just say yes.
1020 N. San Vicente Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069
If you really want to impress, take your date to this upscale Gordon Ramsay restaurant and hotel. The dinner menu will dazzle your taste buds, but if it’s out of your price range, breakfast and afternoon tea at Ramsay’s Boxwood Café are also on-site and offer more affordable (but still delicious) options, prepared in one of Ramsay’s famous spotless kitchens.
742 N. Highland Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038
Susan Feniger of “Top Chef” fame has brought foodies to their knees with her menu of tapas-style street foods from around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Peru, and more. The trendy indoor/outdoor ambiance is great for a casual date. It’s a bad omen if you don’t spring for the kaya toast (pictured). Your date will go wild for this sweet and salty treat.
641 N. Highland Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Brought to you through a partnership with Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, and Joe Bastianich (the haughty judge from “MasterChef”), this intimate Italian restaurant makes a great first date. Perhaps you’ll bond over your love for prosciutto. Or maybe your slices will connect by a single strand of cheese for that Lady and the Tramp moment. However it goes down, one thing’s for sure—you’re going to have an unforgettable meal.
SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, 465 S. La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048
Molecular gastronomy, agar agar and mixologists, oh my! For serious foodies, The Bazaar is an adventure all its own. This tapas restaurant from José Andrés (host of Spain’s “Vamos a Cocinar,” among other TV appearances) plays with food in the most unusual ways. How about a Philly cheesesteak with a thin layer of kobe beef on the outside and molten hot liquid cheese on the inside, or a cone of bagels and lox? The Bazaar is also open for afternoon tea on weekends and has a full dessert bar, so if your wallet can’t afford the real deal, you can still impress your date with your culinary find.
176 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210
This Wolfgang Puck restaurant focuses on seasonal menus with fresh ingredients procured from local farmer’s markets. And holy moly is it delicious. If dinner’s too steep, try the bar bites menu, which includes everything from crispy spot prawns to Chinese steamed bao and a bacon cheeseburger (drool).
7465 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Classy and romantic, The Foundry is brought to us by Chef Eric Greenspan (“The Next Iron Chef”). A bit of New Orleans is infused in the menu, with crawfish chicken tarts and cocoa beignets among some of the popular options. Request to sit on the elegant patio and keep warm with a little candlelight (and heat lamps).
Truck Schedule: http://www.ludotruck.com/
It’s all about the chicken when you wait in line for “Top Chef Masters” Ludo Lefebvre’s Los Angeles-based food truck. Perhaps the most affordable of our celebrity chef options, you can get a 2-piece meal for just $5.50, a 3-piece meal or sandwich for $8.25, and if you want a $1.50 honey lavender biscuit, well, according to the website, you’d better show up early.
435 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Open at 6 PM every night, this elusive restaurant from Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (“Iron Chef America”) is tough to spot from the street—there’s no sign out front, though it’s four doors up from Canter’s deli. For serious gastronomes only, Animal specializes in offal—the less-desired though no less delicious parts of the butchered animal. It goes without saying that vegetarians and vegans will want to avoid this experience. Be prepared for pig tails, chicken livers, veal brains, pig heads and more (check out an old menu at right)—and don’t worry, there are a few dishes that are slightly less adventurous.
445 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90071 OR 1445 4th St. Santa Monica, CA 90401
At Border Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of “Top Chef Masters” and “Too Hot Tamales” serve up gourmet Mexican fare. Your best value is on Small Plates Sundays – $19.99 for unlimited dishes! These celebrity chefs focus on “modern Mexican cuisine,” with lighter options such as quinoa fritters, wild mushroom quesadillas and winter vegetable chilaquiles. And just in case, gluten-free options are also available.
More L.A. date ideas:
L.A. Date Ideas: Top 10 Dog-Friendly Dates
L.A. Date Ideas: The Top 10 L.A. Dates for Spotting Celebrities
L.A. Date Ideas: The Top 10 Organic & Limited-Diet Dates
L.A. Date Ideas: The Top 10 Dates for Starving Artists
L.A. Date Ideas: Top 10 Dates for Your Hollywood Romance
L.A. Date Ideas: The Top 10 Adventure Dates