Top California Chefs Name Favorite California Eating Cities

Chef San Francisco

Nancy Oakes just celebrated Boulevard's 20-year anniversary in San Francisco.


Nobu Matsuhisa (Matsuhisa + Nobu Restaurants)

For the last four or five years, I’ve traveled 10 months a year, so I stay in my home less than two months. If I stay in L.A., mostly, I have to stay in my restaurants. We have three restaurants in L.A. One’s Matsuhisa. One’s Nobu L.A. One’s Nobu Malibu. I have no time to go to other restaurants right now.

Matt Molina (Mozza)

San Francisco. It’s really diverse. It’s everything that Los Angeles isn’t. You have ethnicity, but you also have the European influence as well, up in San Francisco…You have really good European cuisine up there, but with places like Mission Chinese, it’s re-exposing the ethnicity we all love up there, the great Chinese, great Armenian. It’s definitely one of my favorite restaurant cities.

Nancy Oakes (Boulevard + Prospect)

Los Angeles is becoming one of my favorite food cities. It’s really changed in the last five years, and there’s some really exciting stuff going on. L.A. was a place where it mattered who was eating there, and not what you were eating. Now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now it’s an important place to come to.

Jon Shook (Animal, Son of a Gun + Trois Mec)

I love Yountville. There’s so much that has come out of there. The French Laundry and Chris [Kostow] up there at Meadowood. You have Bouchon. Michael Chiarello, my good friend, who has Bottega and just crushes it. That whole little atmosphere that goes on there, you have Mustards Grill, you had Ubuntu…In that such small area, to have that much density, talented chefs and cooks, that doesn’t even tap into the amount of wine that’s getting produced up here. To me, that would be my next. San Francisco’s right there too. There’s so much going on in San Francisco, but I would put Yountville over San Francisco.

Nancy Silverton (Mozza Restaurant Group)

San Francisco. There are so many restaurants there, because there have been so many institutions that have nurtured so many cooks that have gone on to open their own restaurants. It’s such a wide variety, and for me, as a diner, I prefer to have a little bit more of a casual experience than a three-star experience, and San Francisco is filled with those choices.

Hiro Sone (Ame + Terra)

Los Angeles. We used to live in Los Angeles. Ethnic food in Los Angeles is very good. Sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Leave a Comment