By Travel + Leisure and Travel + Leisure Staff
September 14, 2014
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Where do culinary celebrities go on their night off? Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, asked three star chefs—all of whom contributed to her new cookbook, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen (Ecco)—​ to dish up their go-to spots.

Suzanne Goin
Los Angeles (Lucques; A.O.C.)

“It’s pretty cool to see downtown’s Grand Central Market revived in such a wonderful way, with a new selection of modern food shops, such as Belcampo Meat Co., Valerie Confections, Eggslut, Wexler’s Deli, and McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

Niki Nakayama, who spent three years cooking in Japan, has opened her latest venture, N/naka ($$$$), a kaiseki restaurant in West L.A. My husband and I go there on our nights off.

My kids are obsessed with the ice cream at Mashti Malone’s, on North La Brea Avenue. Two Iranian brothers have been making their flavors (orange blossom with pistachios; rose sorbet with sour cherry) in-house for more than 30 years.”

Mario Batali
New York City (Babbo; Del Posto)

Pearl Oyster Bar ($$) is a Greenwich Village standby that’s often forgotten on the 2014 map of hip and delicious restaurants. But if you’re in the market for fried oysters and a skate sandwich, there is simply no better place.

Chinatown remains an island of cultural and culinary delights. Nom Wah Tea Parlor ($) has long been a favorite for bean-curd-skin rolls, chicken feet in black-​bean sauce, and turnip cake with XO sauce.

Joe & Misses Doe ($$), in the East Village, is where we go for brunch when the only thing on my mind is corned-​duck hash and a stinging-cold michelada.”

Paul Qui
Austin, Texas (Qui; East Side King)

“Las Trancas (1210 E. Cesar Chavez St.; $) taco truck has the best street tacos in Austin. I usually order the offal and the cabeza, extra crispy, with extra onion and cilantro.

Salt & Time ($$) is a standout butcher shop that also makes great sandwiches for lunch and has fair-trade Cuvée cold-brew coffee on tap. My pick: the Grinder (mortadella, cotto salame, peperone, and provolone on a challah roll).

I love mezcal, and the Mezcalería Tobalá (1816 E. Sixth St.) has a fantastic selection and a relaxed vibe. I like anything made with the Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal.”

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150