Andrew Zimmern Tells Us His Favorite Los Angeles Restaurants - Exclusive

Andrew Zimmern has eaten all over the world. Even though there are a few foods the award-winning chef can't stand, he's enjoyed every kind of delicacy on earth, from meat to vegetables and even the occasional bug. He's found these tidbits in Michelin Star restaurants, tiny hole-in-the-walls, and even the odd street vendor. So, it's safe to say the celebrity chef knows a thing or two about where to go to find a delicious meal, and which cities in the U.S. have the best restaurants.

While he's more than willing to test out a new place based on a recommendation, Zimmern, like all of us, definitely has his favorites. From London to Paris and Seattle to Boston, these are the places he makes a point of hitting whenever he's in town. But we were curious about his go-tos in La-La Land, especially since he told us at the recent opening of the Netflix Pop-up Restaurant, Netflix Bites, that "LA is an incredible, incredible food town. A global, top 20 food town." Once we heard that, we just had to know what his top picks were, and he was nice enough to share.

Sichuan Impression

The brilliant minds behind Sichuan Impression may have started their journey in Chengdu, but once they moved to the US, they couldn't leave their culture or its food behind. So, rather than create another nondescript Chinese food restaurant, they chose to create an eatery that would introduce Americans to the most traditional and authentic Sichuan cuisine possible, which is why we consider one of the best restaurants for Chinese takeout.

Even though Los Angeles has a huge footprint, it's easy to find a Sichuan Impression since it has not one but three different locations across Los Angeles County. So, if you're looking for something other than sweet & sour pork or chicken chow mein, this is the restaurant for you. Zimmern, a self-proclaimed "Chinese food geek," didn't even hesitate when he thought about the LA Chinese food scene. Impression was the first restaurant he mentioned. With specialties like tea-smoked pork ribs and sliced kidneys with peppercorn sauce, we can understand why.


Located at Melrose and Highland, the Mozzaplex (Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, and Chi Spacca) is a little restaurant monopoly created by renowned chef Nancy Silverton. This corner of Hollywood is not the home of just one restaurant but three that all specialize in Italian cooking. "I love Nancy Silverton's restaurants," says Zimmern. "I love Mozza, right? And Chi Spacca is great."

Even though all three restaurants are lined up next to each other like dominoes, each restaurant has a specific focus. If you're in the mood for wood-fired pizza, Pizzeria Mozza, the first of the Mozza trilogy, is where you want to be. Osteria Mozza, which opened only four months later, is Silverton's Italian fine dining experience, while Chi Spacca, the third member of the trio, is all about proteins and what a butcher might prepare for dinner.

Inside each eatery is an Italian experience that goes way beyond spaghetti and meatballs. Osteria Mozza not only has a Michelin star, but it also features a marble mozzarella bar where Silverton can sometimes be spotted putting the finishing touches on a spectacular dish. With noteworthy touches like these, it's no surprise Zimmern stops by when he's in town.

Park's BBQ

"Park's BBQ is a big one for me," chef Andrew Zimmern tells us emphatically, and with a setup like this, we can see why. Right in the heart of LA's historic Koreatown, Park's BBQ is where celebrities, native Angelenos, and tourists go when looking for classic Korean barbecue. But unlike other restaurants out there where you simply order your food and have it served to you, at Park's, it's prepared right in front of you.

Created by Jenee Kim in 2003, Park's, as it's affectionately called by locals, is an award-winning restaurant that focuses on traditional Korean cuisine but also adds new twists to numerous classic dishes. While there are several cuts of meat to choose from, including Gal-bi, short rib, and bulgogi, it's the variety of ban chan or sides that make this eatery one of the best Korean BBQ spots in LA. Of course, there's the Korean classic kimchee, but also eggs, marinated crab, squash, spinach, and even peanuts, all to be enjoyed with the meat once it's grilled at the table.

Petit Trois

With two locations in Los Angeles, Petit Trois is one of the best French restaurants in Los Angeles. The original restaurant, located in a nondescript strip mall on Highland, was inspired by those cute little French bistros that line the streets of Paris. Complete with a long marble bar and an open kitchen, diners can experience classic French cuisine for lunch or dinner.

Craving some French onion soup? It's decadence in a bowl, thanks to that thick layer of Gruyere on top. Want something a little heartier? The Croque Monsieur is the perfect sandwich for lunch. But if you're in the mood for dinner, the filet aux poivres will definitely fill your stomach. No matter what dish you choose, every bite will transport you to the cobblestone streets of France, which is no surprise since the restaurant is the brainchild of the classically trained French chef Ludo Lefebvre.

While Petit is Lefebvre's current focus, it wasn't his first. The French-born chef won the Mobil Travel Guide Five Star Award at both L'Orangerie and Bastide and is credited with creating the very popular pop-up model thanks to his Ludo Bites tour around LA. With a pedigree like that, it's no surprise that Zimmern says, "I like anything that Ludo Lefebvre is associated with." And with dishes like escargot, steak tartare, and trout almondine, we're pretty sure we'll feel the same way.


If you're looking for smaller plates that you can share with friends, then Kismet might be your cup of tea. Considered to be one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in LA, Kismet is where you go when you're looking for marinated feta, spicy olives, lamb ribs, and labneh; all layered with plenty of Mediterranean spices and sauces. And Zimmern heartily concurs: "I'm a big Kismet person," says the chef. "I happen to be a huge fan of what Sara and Sarah do." By Sarah and Sara, Zimmern means Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer, the two minds behind the small Los Feliz restaurant.

Created back in 2017 after the two Brooklyn chefs closed up their Grand Central Market falafel shop, Kismet became an instant hit thanks to Jonathan Gold. The restaurant critic not only gave Kismet high praise when he reviewed it shortly after it opened, the restaurant also ranked 21st on his 101 Best Restaurants list. But unlike so many restaurants Zimmern told us about, it isn't the proteins that are the star of the show here. It's the vegetables.

Now, that doesn't mean that this is a vegetarian restaurant. There's plenty of chicken and steak to satisfy even the most critical carnivore. But each protein is accented with stunning green, and there are even several dishes where the veg is the centerpiece of the plate.


Just a stone's throw away from downtown LA's Music Center and The Broad sits the lovely Otium. With an open floorplan, outdoor seating flows easily into indoor where every seat in the house has the perfect view into the kitchen. The brainchild of Timothy Hollingsworth, Otium is an eatery that's both elegant and rustic. From the wood-burning fire where most of the dishes are cooked to the ingredients from the garden upstairs in the restaurant's mezzanine, this is a true fine dining experience where the atmosphere is just as exciting as the dishes being served.

Open for both lunch and dinner, Otium serves everything from sandwiches and salads at lunch to duck breast and dry-aged ribeyes at dinner. But nothing on the menu is basic lunch or dinner fare. Each dish is handcrafted and thought up by Hollingsworth, who spent 13 years at Napa Valley's French Laundry before he moved to Southern California. With a pedigree light that, it's no wonder Andrew Zimmern listed it among his go-tos when he visited Los Angeles.


If you're someone who loves seafood, Zimmern says Providence in Hollywood is "one of the best restaurants in America." But you don't just have to take Zimmern's word for it; all you have to do is look at its long list of accolades. Providence has earned not one but two Michelin stars, was ranked number one on Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in the LA Times four years in a row, and received the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef: West in 2019.

Open for 17 years, Providence may be a fine dining establishment that focuses on seafood, but what makes this high-end eatery different from the many others in town is the fact that owner and chef Michael Cimarusti is more interested in what's sustainable than what's in season or the most popular. He tries to use only local ingredients from sources he trusts, and with climate change being such a concern these days, that's a definite plus. Those local ingredients include Santa Barbara spot prawns, halibut, duck, or wagyu beef, all of which can be sampled in one sitting thanks to the chef's tasting menu. Currently only open for dinner, this is one seafood house that's worth the reservation.

Spago Beverly Hills

Then there's Spago of Beverly Hills. You just can't talk about the Los Angeles restaurant scene without mentioning Wolfgang Puck's high-end eatery. Restaurants come and go in a city as big as LA. (And with the pandemic, a lot more disappeared than remained.) But Spago has stood the test of time. "Even a restaurant like Spago," chef Zimmern explains, "which has been a place to go for 30 plus years, is maybe better now than it ever was," he exclaims. "I mean, it's pretty crazy."

But when a chef has three Michelin stars (Spago claims two of them) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it really doesn't seem all that crazy. Sure, Puck may be known for his smoked salmon pizza, but the celebrity chef continues to create new and exciting dishes worthy of the Spago name, including a Sichuan-style branzino and a veal chop. As for that smoked salmon pizza, while it may no longer be on the menu, if you really want to taste it, all you have to do is ask.