Jonathan Kidder, puppeteer
“I love L.A. The people who call it shallow have probably never been to my neighborhood, Silver Lake. Stop by Berlin Currywurst (3827 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323/663-1989) for the best sausage ever, served with wide Fritten, or fries.”
Malia Grace Mau, jewelry designer; Jeffrey Vincent Parise, actor and painter (pictured)
Mau: “We’re regulars at Cru (1521 Griffith Park Blvd.; 323/667-1551), a BYOB vegan restaurant in Silver Lake where we had our first date.” Parise: “Waiters in this town are very plugged-in; be sure to ask yours for local entertainment tips.”
Keri Pegram, physical therapist
“The Abbot Kinney area used to be equal amounts hippie and yuppie, but now it’s very chic. Grab a cup of salted-caramel gelato at N’ice Cream (1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310/396-7161) and hit Venice Beach.”
Spencer Aaronson, “professional enigma”; Mijo, pit bull
“It’s no small feat driving to East L.A., but any distance is worth it for Teresitas Restaurant (3826 E. First St.; 323/266-6045), a Mexican spot near Boyle Heights. Get the costillas de puerco en chile negro (only available on Wednesdays).”
Photo by Jessica Sample
Innovator Gil Harel
Who He Is: Though he got his start working in the marketing department of Israel’s Isrotel hotel chain and at Expedia, the 39-year-old Cornell MBA now focuses on the restaurant and bar industry with his new website, Bitehunter.
His Big Idea: The Bitehunter site and its iPhone app scour more than 500 online sources including Gilt City, OpenTable, restaurant.com, and even Twitter to locate the best deals in any given area. It’s a Kayak-style approach for dining deals, which Harel acknowledges as inspiration for his food-focused search engine: “Historically, airlines adopt cutting-edge technology first, followed by hotels, then restaurants.” And as foodie deal services such as Groupon and BlackboardEats continue to proliferate, his simple aggregator is a welcome resource.
Photo courtesy of Hila Harel
With three dining spots—Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, and North End Grill—anchoring the new Conrad Hotel (102 North End Ave.; 212/945-0100; doubles from $369), Danny Meyer is making his mark on New York’s Battery Park City. (His company Union Square Events also has an exclusive food and beverage partnership with the Conrad.) Here, he reveals his top hotel-restaurant picks.
“The winsome art collection, happening bar, and Michael Paley’s gutsy cooking make Proof on Main at 21c Museum Hotel a restaurant you don’t want to miss. Try the charcuterie plate, and anything Chef Paley does with pork is outstanding.” Dinner for two $75.
“Choose a window table with a view of the whole room at Adour Alain Ducasse in the St. Regis, and tuck in to some of New York’s most refined cooking, such as a tiny, roseate pork chop along with a lovely Aloxe-Corton—a surprisingly good value on the list.” 2 E. 55th St.; 212/710-2277; dinner for two $300.
“The formerly bohemian Hôtel Pont Royal is now a swank setting. The menu at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon changes frequently, but I once savored langoustines and thyme-roasted lamb chops with a glass of Château de Fonsalette.” 5 Rue de Montalembert, Seventh Arr.; 33-1/42-22-56-56; dinner for two $270.
“David Linley’s Dining Room at the Goring is stunningly lit by Swarovski chandeliers at night. The menu is a winning cross between modern and classic British. The lobster omelette alone is worth the trip.” 15 Beeston Place; 44-20/7396-9000; dinner for two $160.
Photo by Ellen Silverman
A handful of on-mountain restaurants are reinventing the cafeteria concept.
California: Tamarack Lodge
Peak Pick: Seared peppercorn-encrusted ahi sandwich and house-made peach cobbler.
Getting There: California Trail, a blue run offering views of Lake Tahoe from 3,000
Top of the
gondola; 775/586-7000; lunch for two $32–$40.
Village, Japan: Goshiki
Peak Pick: Hokkaido-crab miso soup and local lily bulb tempura.
Getting There: Misoshiru (which means miso soup), a black diamond featuring Niseko’s
Leaf; 81-136/443-311; lunch for two $52.
Sydney draws its culinary
influences from a variety of areas, as evidenced by the meat pie stands sandwiched
between Turkish kebab joints and dumpling shacks. American fare, however, has
largely been left off the table until recently. It’s actually the southern
staples more than anything else anchoring the menus at these new
You’ll find offbeat fashion boutiques, live music venues, and more on this off-the-beaten-path strip in Melbourne's Northcote neighborhood, a new hub for the city’s creative-cool crowd.
Hand-printed totes and knit hats—plus other crafty accessories such as earrings made from comic book pages—are the stock-in-trade at I Dream a Highway. 259 High St.; 61-3/9481-8858.
Northcote Social Club showcases indie musicians from near and far. Don’t miss the upscale pub grub served in the outdoor beer garden. 301 High St.; 61-3/9489-3917; dinner for two $50.
Resident big-screen tough guy Chazz Palminteri—of A Bronx
Tale and The Usual Suspects fame—recently added restaurateur to his
resume, bringing a slice of his New York neighborhood to Baltimore’s Harbor East area. Aptly named Chazz:
A Bronx Original, the family-friendly Italian spot is a partnership between the
Oscar-nominated actor and the local Vitale family. Palminteri paid a visit to the
Travel + Leisure offices to talk about his latest venture.
Q: What inspired you to open a restaurant?
A: “I always wanted to open a restaurant. But we all know
the story: Hollywood actor partners up with aspirational childhood friends,
opens to media attention, and the restaurant fails because of management or
food issues. I always knew I had to find the right partners—serious restaurateurs who knew how to
put out great food consistently, but also manage the restaurant professionally.
And I finally found that in the Vitale brothers, Sergio and Alessandro. They grew
up in the restaurant business and run one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve
ever been to, bar none—Aldo’s in Baltimore—and they shared my vision. Also,
food has played an important role in my life since I was young and living in
the Bronx. I would wake up and smell the sausage and peppers coming through the
windows and wanted to share that experience with everyone else. When you walk
into Chazz, you walk into a little piece of my life—the sights, the smells, the
tastes—and I’m so happy to share that.
Italy’s top chefs seem to agree that all roads lead to you-know-where, with a clutch of new restaurants relocating to the Eternal City.
Chef Oliver Glowig was the first to make the move to Rome with his namesake restaurant at Aldrovandi Villa Borghese (dinner for two $250), serving inventive Mediterranean dishes, including spaghetti all’amatriciana with prawns and tomato sorbet.
Chef Lucio Sforza relocated his renowned L’Asino d’Oro (73 Via del Boschetto; 39-06/4891-3832; dinner for two $160) from the historic Umbrian town of Orvieto. Tables at the 40-seat restaurant—known for rustic regional specialties such as wild boar—have become the most requested in town.
Up-and-comer Giuseppe De Rosa made a shorter journey—just across the city—to open the sleek Brò Porta Portese (2-3 Largo Alessandro Toja; 39-06/581-3500; dinner for two $140), which showcases his distinctive takes on local favorites such as smoked eggplant with roasted octopus and crisp Parmesan chips.
Gastón Acurio dishes on his favorite places to enjoy the big blue’s bounty.
With 30 restaurants worldwide, 20 books, and a weekly TV show to his name, celeb chef Gastón Acurio has become something of a seafood hero. Fresh off the opening of New York’s La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (11 Madison Ave.; 212/612-3388; dinner for two $100)—the seventh outpost of his hit Lima restaurant—he filled us in on his favorite seafood spots around the globe.
“At Chez Wong, a tiny ten-table dining room by the side of his own house, chef Javier Wong uses just two ingredients, flounder and octopus, and one knife and one wok.”
Don’t Miss: “Everyone gets a flounder ceviche starter; then he will talk to you about your life, and prepare the main course especially for you. He never repeats a recipe.”
New York City
“Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin is a reference point when you talk about excellence in fish. He’s about elegant simplicity and coaxing out different flavors within the same ingredient.”
Don’t Miss: “The fluke ceviche sampler, which moves from light to complex flavors. It was such an experience to have one kind of fish presented in a variety of ways.”
“At Elkano, a family-run place on the Basque coast about an hour’s boat ride from San Sebastián, they work with the catch of the day and respect it so much they serve every part of the fish, from the muscles in the mouth to the belly.”
Don’t Miss: “The specialty is turbot. You might get the head in white wine, then the tail grilled.”
Photo by Ines Menacho
You won’t find McDonald’s
Sydney is joining the ranks
of various Asian cities by giving the bland, cafeteria-style food court some
high-end treatment. Think classy food bars and chic décor inviting shoppers to
actually linger over lunch instead of wolf it down.