The Guide to "Top Chef" Restaurants in Los Angeles

Is watching Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 17 – All Stars LA making you hungry? Order takeout, delivery or a gift card for future dining from 11 LA restaurants helmed by former Bravo Top Chef contestants (noted with a * below).

Wontons in Chili Oil at Ms Chi Cafe
Wontons in Chili Oil at Ms Chi Cafe | Photo: Ms Chi Cafe

Top Chef, Bravo’s competitive cooking show that’s hosted by legendary judges like Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons and Emeril Lagasse, has built quite a legacy. L.A. alone has fielded a wealth of culinary talent in the show’s 16 seasons, including four champions: Ilan Hall, Michael Voltaggio, Mei Lin, and Brooke Williamson. In total, 14 Top Chef “cheftestants” currently run kitchens at 26 Los Angeles restaurants. Several other chefs are between gigs, successful caterers, moved on from L.A., or no longer cook. This accomplished crew doesn’t even include the 11 L.A. chefs who competed on sister shows Top Chef Masters and Top Chef: Just Desserts, further contributing to the impact. Discover where to find your favorite chefs from the high-drama show.

Meatballs with garlic crisp and basil at Black Market Liquor Bar
Meatballs with garlic crisp and basil at Black Market Liquor Bar | Photo: @blackmarketliquorbar, Instagram

Antonia Lofaso: Black Market Liquor Bar

Antonia Lofaso, Season 4 and Season 8 All-Stars competitor, has become a breakout star. The Cutthroat Kitchen judge now contributes mightily to LA’s culinary landscape along with Mario Guddemi and Sal Aurora. In 2011, they debuted Black Market Liquor Bar in the former Studio City home of the Victory Motorcycle Co., complete with an L-shaped bar, arched brick ceiling and reclaimed wood accents. Share-friendly plates might consist of meatballs with garlic crisp and basil, peel & eat lemon pepper shrimp, Sriracha-spiked shrimp toast, and deep-fried Fluffernutter sandwiches.

Lamb chops at DAMA
Lamb chops at DAMA | Photo: @damafashiondistrict, Instagram

*Antonio Lofaso: DAMA

In 2018, Lofaso teamed with Guddemi, Aurora and talented bartenders Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix on DAMA at City Market South in the DTLA Fashion District. The former industrial space now features exposed wood rafters, a quintessential SoCal patio, and incorporates fetching floral elements into the design. Lofaso’s cooking leans a bit more towards the Mediterranean and Mexico than her other projects. Some of DAMA’s most compelling share-friendly dishes consist of lamb chops slathered with olive salsa verde and an herbaceous bowl of clams and chorizo lavished with butter and Spanish cider. Go big with plates starring proteins like whole snapper and crispy pork shank.


*DAMA is offering delivery and takeout.

T-bone steak at Scopa Italian Roots
T-bone steak at Scopa Italian Roots  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

*Antonia Lofaso: Scopa Italian Roots

In 2013, Lofaso initially partnered with the same four people on Scopa Italian Roots, a perpetually mobbed Italian restaurant in Marina del Rey with brick walls, marble tables, communal wood tables, and a backlit bar. Favorite bites from Scopa’s sprawling menu include a meatball hero with orbs crafted from chuck and tenderloin, house-made pastas like linguini with clams, and a stupendous 24-ounce T-bone steak loaded with Katarina’s oil, garlic and parsley. Food-friendly cocktails like the Bullock’s Wilshire and Mezcal Watermelon Margarita are impeccable.


*Scopa is offering delivery and takeout.

Kale grit fritters at Hudson House
Kale grit fritters at Hudson House  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Brooke Williamson: Hudson House

Hudson House was the couple’s inaugural effort, a 10-year-old business they named for their son, who’s now depicted snorkeling on a mural out front, trident in hand. The interior underwent a light and bright refresh in 2018. Now guests at the L-shaped bar and tables will find market-driven, Asian-influenced small plates like ginger-brined chicken with colorful “unicorn” noodle salad; cheesy filled meatballs with black vinegar honey, quinoa crunchies, and hot sauce; Brussels sprouts with cashew creamed parsnips, candied cashews, and pickled Pink Lady apple vinaigrette. Old school favorites like brown sugar pork ribs and the Hudson pretzel burger are still available off-menu.

Broiled sardines at Playa Provisions
Broiled sardines at Playa Provisions  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

*Brooke Williamson: Playa Provisions

Playa Provisions houses four different concepts under one roof in Playa del Rey. Up front, King Beach Café and Small Batch Ice cream parlor sport sleek wood design, sea blue and bright green furniture. Dockside restaurant faces the water, and Grain whisky bar resides in back, complete with bourbon barrel shelving. King Beach primarily features breakfast and lunch, including biscuits with dulce de leche and sea salt; and a breakfast sandwich with turkey-bacon sausage, Gruyere, fried egg, vinegar cooked collards and avocado with house pickled habanero hot sauce on ciabatta. Lunch brings sandwiches like the patty melt and one with fried sand dabs. At dinner, the couple serves seasonal California fare like broiled sardines with melted lardo, sorrel chimichurri, and pomegranate seeds; or perhaps grilled pork porterhouse doused in sharp blue cheese garlic citrus butter. Kristin Feuer contributes fun desserts like choco tacos.


*Playa Provisions is offering delivery and takeout. Additionally, they're offering complimentary kids meals off the kids menu for children 10 or younger (call and ask for details). They can also run food out to your car, and will have a list of specials daily.

Chicken Waterzooi at The Tripel
Chicken Waterzooi at The Tripel  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Brooke Williamson: The Tripel

The Tripel is a Playa del Rey gastropub with exposed wood rafters, communal tables, and a wood wall inlaid with the recipe for the first beer from Sumeria’s “Hymn to Ninkasi.” Yes, the couple encourages social “Lubrication,” as proven by the sign above the bar and the healthy craft beer selection. The diverse menu includes red curry biscuits slathered with sesame honey butter and a classic Belgian stew called waterzooi starring chicken, fenugreek, gremolata and vegetables. You’ll also find comforting burgers and sandwiches, strawberry burrata salad with walnut pesto, and squid ink spaghetti with ground shrimp, chiles and bottarga. In back, Williamson and Roberts now run a culinary shop called Tripli-Kit, with a pastel green and white color scheme and views out back of adjacent Ballona Wetlands.

Yuzu Salmon Bowl at Sweetfin Poké
Yuzu Salmon Bowl | Photo: Sweetfin Poké, Facebook

*Dakota Weiss: Sweetfin Poke

Season 9 stalwart Dakota Weiss partnered with Seth Cohen, Brett Nestadt, and Alan Nathan on Sweetfin, a fast casual poké concept that now has nine SoCal outposts. The Santa Monica original touts spiral tabletops, geometric designs carved into counters, potted succulents, and a system of lights and piping that combine to resemble a circuit board. Build your own poké bowl or consider thoughtful Sweetfin prescriptions. For example, yuzu salmon features piquant yuzu kosho sauce, edamame, and lime. Spicy tuna incorporates creamy togarashi, hijiki, and avocado. Be sure to grab a container of Weiss’ signature matcha popcorn by the register.


*Sweetfin Poke is offering delivery and takeout.

Banana cream pie with dulce de leche at Cassell's Hamburgers in Koreatown
Banana cream pie with dulce de leche at Cassell's Hamburgers in Koreatown | Photo: @thediningdolls, Instagram

*Elia Aboumrad: Cassell’s Hamburgers

Elia Aboumrad appeared on Top Chef Season 2 and Season 8 Top Chef All-Stars, where she competed against Marcel Vigneron and other repeat participants. She previously focused on the savory side with Gorge on the Sunset Strip, particularly charcuterie. Now Aboumrad fills a rotating pie case at Cassell’s Hamburgers at the base of Hotel Normandie in Koreatown, at a new branch in DTLA, and at LAX, where she works alongside chef/husband Christian Page. Depending on the day, her sweet repertoire might include tangerine custard pie; banana cream pie with dulce de leche and whipped cream; and mixed berry pie with a classic double crust.


*Cassell’s Hamburgers is offering delivery and takeout.

Mapo Tofu Lasagna at Nightshade
Mapo Tofu Lasagna at Nightshade | Photo: @thepinoypanda, Instagram

*Mei Lin: Nightshade

Mei Lin left her post as Michael Voltaggio’s sous chef at ink. to compete on Top Chef Season 12, emerged as champion, and spent several years post-victory building her unique vision. Nightshade is a modern Chinese restaurant in the DTLA Arts District that debuted to start 2019. Her airy space features white brick walls, aqua cushioned banquettes, and 10 seats facing a bustling open kitchen. Lin has already minted signature dishes like mapo tofu “lasagna” blanketed with pork ragu, tofu cream, and prickly ash; a Thai play on Outback Steakhouse’s bloomin’ onion called tom yum onion, served with coconut dip; and Szechuan hot quail, a Nashville hot chicken riff served atop Japanese milk bread with house-made pickles.


*Nightshade is offering curbside takeout.

Cheeseburger Potstickers at Ms Chi Cafe in Culver City
Cheeseburger Potstickers at Ms Chi Cafe | Photo: Pork Belly Studio, Ms Chi Cafe 

*Shirley Chung: Ms Chi Cafe

Shirley Chung was a finalist on Top Chef Season 14 in Seattle, and ran the kitchen at Twenty-Eight in Irvine before she headed north. Chung runs a full-service Ms Chi Cafe in Downtown Culver City on America’s shortest Main Street. Her menu features Chinese comfort food with a twist, including sizzling cheeseburger potstickers with crispy cheese and tomato bacon jam. Bao, steamed buns made with milk bread, also cradle atypical fillings. Yes, that’s a Kosher hot dog bao and a hedgehog-shaped bao filled with molten dark chocolate. Lunch showcases scallion pancake sandwiches like Mr. Chi, featuring Chinese-spiced pastrami, hazelnut pesto, and Beijing mustard vinaigrette. The ambitious restaurant also serves breakfast items like breakfast wontons with sage sausage, scrambled eggs, and chili ketchup; and mocha donuts sporting glazes like matcha and black sesame.


*Ms Chi Cafe is offering delivery.

Shrimp & Pork Wontons by Ms Chi at The Fields LA
Shrimp & Pork Wontons by Ms Chi at The Fields LA | Photo: @thefieldsla, Instagram

Shirley Chung: Ms Chi at The Fields LA

Shirley Chung also runs a fast casual stand at The Fields LA, a food hall next to Banc of California Stadium at Exposition Park. A much simpler menu includes a small selection of steamed dumplings, plus pan-fried beef and sweet carrot potstickers and rice plates piled with vegan mapo tofu or Hong Kong-style mixed beef gravy studded with corn. Cheese tea, featuring savory foam atop iced oolong tea, is a comforting finish.

Lobster tacos at Cascabel
Lobster tacos at Cascabel  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Alex Eusebio: Cascabel

Season 5 competitor Alex Eusebio situated his chile-inspired Mexican restaurant between a dentist's office and the 134 freeway. The Toluca Lake space features a rattlesnake mural and fenced-in back patio with strings of lights. Cascabel makes three types of guacamole, including O.G., Smoked Bacon, and Charred Pineapple. More ambitious dishes include hard-shell lobster tacos with crème fraiche and caviar; yellowtail tiradito spiked with tequila; and short rib mole with lime-accented black beans.

Shrimp Po' Boy at Sweetsalt Food Shop in Toluca Lake
Shrimp Po' Boy at Sweetsalt Food Shop  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

*Alex Eusebio: Sweetsalt Food Shop

Eusebio's sandwich shop, Sweetsalt, resides right down Riverside Drive. The chef’s first space features wood floors, picnic tables out front, and grey walls with framed drawings of vintage utensils. Sandwiches are especially popular, particularly lavender duck confit, braised short rib, or an untraditional - but still righteous - shrimp po’ boy with shrimp, chimichurri, crumbled potato chips and spicy aioli on ciabatta. Eusebio was smart to have customers order at the counter, since that plants them before a tempting pastry case.


*Sweetsalt is offering takeout.

Eggs & Grains Bowl at The Jeremy Hotel
Eggs & Grains Bowl at 1 Hotel West Hollywood | Photo: @caprilikethepants, Instagram

Chris Crary: 1 Hotel West Hollywood

Season 9 cheftestant Chris Crary participated in Top Chef at Sea ocean voyages with Celebrity Cruises and previously worked down the Sunset Strip at Hyde Sunset Kitchen + Cocktails. In his role with 1 Hotel West Hollywood, formerly the Jeremy Hotel, in West Hollywood, he constructed a seasonal, California inspired in-room dining menu that runs 24/7 and spans from breakfast through “all day” and beyond. Tempting early options include brioche French toast with spice-roasted apples and a breakfast burrito with bacon, scrambled eggs, potatoes, Oaxacan cheese, and tomatillo salsa. Crave-worthy bites later in the day involve a BLTA sandwich with herb aioli on sourdough, and a signature burger piled with avocado, Cheddar cheese, baby kale, tomato, and mustard seed on a toasted bun. Crary also developed food for poolgoers, banquets and events. 

Ramen Hood at Grand Central Market
Ramen Hood at Grand Central Market | Photo: Ramen Hood

Ilan Hall: Ramen Hood

Season 2 champion, Ilan Hall shifted The Gorbals to Brooklyn, and resurfaced in L.A. in 2015 with his vegan Ramen Hood at Downtown LA’s prestigious Grand Central Market. Instead of using eggs, Hall and his on-site chef, Rahul Khopkar, craft whites with GMO-free soymilk set with agar, and yolks starring spherified nutritional yeast and black salt. They’ve created a bold broth with sunflower seeds instead of pork tonkotsu, and char siu is reimagined as King oyster mushrooms. Sides include banh mi poutine with hoisin gravy, fried broccoli with soy chile glaze, and tofu al pastor.

Chef's Cut Tomahawk at The Nixon Steakhouse
Chef's Cut Tomahawk | Photo: The Nixon Steakhouse

Katsuji Tanabe: The Nixon Steakhouse

Chef Katsuji Tanabe grew up in Mexico City and was best known as a Chopped champion before competing on Top Chef Season 12 and Season 14, in addition to Top Chef Mexico. He previously helmed Mexikosher in Beverlywood and teamed with Inspired Dining Group in 2017 on The Nixon Steakhouse, a more upscale concept in Uptown Whittier. Richard Nixon lived in Whittier for many years, attended Whittier College, and practiced law there - thus the name. Meat is the main draw, which could mean a 32-ounce Chef’s Cut Tomahawk, 16-ounce New York strip, or confit pig’s head for two. Tanabe’s childhood flavors also factor into the menu with sides like corn esquites and seafood preparations like broiled lobster with chipotle butter and beans.

Blackened Salmon Sandwich at Voltaggio STRFSH
Blackened Salmon Sandwich at Voltaggio STRFSH  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

*Michael Voltaggio: Voltaggio STRFSH

Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio teamed with finalist brother Bryan on Voltaggio STRFSH, a fast casual fish sandwich shop on the second floor of Santa Monica’s Gallery Food Hall that demonstrates a strong distaste for vowels. The menu touts sustainably sourced swordfish and salmon that are rubbed with options like jerk and Old Bay, grilled, and teamed with condiments like cucumber mint yogurt and yuzu kosho mayo on toasted potato rolls, gluten-free tostadas, or mixed green salad. Build your own sandwich by selecting the spice (seasoning), smear (condiment), and stack (toppings). Each brother has a signature sandwich, but the experience is anything goes. STRFSH also serves thick-cut, skin-on French fries that cook in peanut oil and come dusted with sea salt.


*Voltaggio STRFSH is offering delivery and takeout.

Phillip Frankland Lee: Sushi | Bar

Phillip Frankland Lee and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee added sushi to the mix at their ever-evolving compound on Encino Place’s second floor. Sushi l Bar is an intimate eight-seat bar that resides behind Woodley Proper and showcases California ingredients in a 17-course, $110 menu. Don’t look for chopsticks and soy sauce, since they’re absent. Guests eat atypical dishes by hand. That could mean wild caught Russian king crab, caramelized with red beet mustard, served with lemon and puffed quinoa; or seared albacore cinched with a sake-soaked nori belt, served with wasabi, crispy onions, and scallions. Roasted bone marrow and aged sirloin are also in play. Sushi l Bar serves market supplements like wild jellyfish or Japanese mitten lobster if guests want to extend their experience. Kallas-Lee keeps pace for dessert with dishes like soy-soaked avocado rolled in puffed rice and served with uni and lemongrass marshmallow.

Firebird at The Crack Shack, Westfield Century City
Firebird at The Crack Shack, Westfield Century City | Photo: @cuisinewithdean, Instagram

*Richard Blais: The Crack Shack

San Diego based chef Richard Blais, who competed on Top Chef Season 4 and won Top Chef: All-Stars, initially partnered with Michael Rosen on The Crack Shack in their hometown. The duo expanded their chicken and egg concept to Westfield Century City and Old Pasadena in 2018. The sprawling Century City branch resides upstairs, overlooking mallgoers and surrounding office towers, and specializes in fried chicken sandwiches. Firebird features a spicy fried thigh, cool ranch, crispy onions, and pickles on a potato roll. Double Clucker isn’t fried, but does pack punch, piling two ground chicken patties on to a potato roll with Cheddar, bacon, smashed avocado, burger sauce, pickles, and fried onions. Fried chicken is also available on the bone or in a singular plate of fried oysters plated with “taco stand pickles,” cotija, and cilantro.


*The Crack Shack is offering delivery and takeout.