After earning a place in the hearts of American food obsessives through her run on Top Chef, Antonia Lofaso is back at the television game. Now in the middle of its second season, CNBC's Restaurant Startup has Lofaso acting as culinary consultant to contestants vying for the approval (and money) of the show's hosts, Joe Bastianich and Tim Love.
Of course, Lofaso does more in L.A. than just dance the showbiz dance. She's the chef/owner of two restaurants, Scopa Italian Roots in Venice and Black Market in Studio City. So when she's not cooking or smiling for the cameras, where does she eat? She gave us six of her favorite picks in six categories.
Favorite Saturday brunch: Lunasia in Alhambra
"Quite the trek, because I live in Venice, but definitely worth it. Classic Chinese dim sum. Har gow, sautéed eggplant, pork shui mai, pork boa. These are just a fraction of what I usually order there, which is enough to take home and eat for the rest of the day. I go over and over again."
Favorite Jewish deli: Brent’s Deli in Northridge
"Best corned beef on rye, homemade pickles, coleslaw and steak fries! Yes yes! When I'm super hungry, I always order a matzo ball soup to start."
Favorite pizza: Mozza
"Classic, consistent and always perfect. Says a lot about the restaurant world. Their salami pizza needs to be eaten at least once a month."
Favorite Drink Spot: Chestnut Club in Santa Monica
"And not because I'm biased, but I am a little. Pablo Moix, my partner, is amazing and I love his ability to just make delicious cocktails."
Favorite Mexican: Oscar’s Cervateca in Venice
"Yes, I'm a Venice local and I love to support my neighborhood places! But this place seriously has the best Baja fish tacos."
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Favorite raw bar: Connie and Ted’s
"Perfect for oysters, uni, shrimp, awesome chowder. Classic fish and chips. When in need of a glass of rosé and a lobster roll, this is the place."
Restaurant Startup airs Tuesdays at 10 PM ET/PT on CNBC.