Many of us have a favorite little spot for a go-to bite to eat—one we don't want anyone to find out about. But keeping it a secret poses a challenge: while we'd hate for it to get 'discovered,' we also feel guilty keeping these great spots to ourselves. After all, so much of the art of dining is sharing the experience with good company.
Well, get ready: in the spirits of sharing, we got 15 celebrity chefs to 'fess up about their favorite little-known food joints, the ones they frequent over and over. From Connecticut to Singapore, Italy to Mexico, these top chefs told us the places they keep returning to for that special, local—and usually affordable—experience they can't get anywhere else.
Some of their answers might surprise you; these are globetrotting culinary masters, after all. For Kristen Kish, co-host of 36 Hours, her secret spot is all about the atmosphere. "Most hole-in-the-wall joints I go to, I typically get drunk and things become blurry—ha!," she says. "So anywhere with cheap High Lifes or PBRs. Also, Christmas lights all year round score major points."
For Katie Button, a North Carolina native and chef of Curate, her favorite spot keeps her coming back to Asheville for delectable sweet and savory crepes, while Marcus Samuelson stays close to Harlem, scooping up a street seafood discovery that's sure to set copy-cats in motion.
On the other side of the world, Jamie Bissonnette of Toro, both in New York and Boston, goes all the way to Hong Kong for an unforgettable beef brisket and curry noodles. Whether it's cheap beer and good mood lighting, comfort food, or a killer pastry, these are the spots they weren't sure they wanted us to know. Now that you do, consider making a trek to these little-known gems. They've been vetted by industry experts and the crowds are likely sparse—though you never know who you might see when you get there.