For our series, Where the Chefs Eat, we usually stick to local L.A. chefs. But this week, Roy Yamaguchi, the famed chef who started Roy's Hawaiian Fusion restaurants (of which there are quite a few in L.A.), is visiting Los Angeles, and we wondered where a professional food lover from out of town eats when he's here.
Yamaguchi is in L.A. to promote the Hawaii Food & Wine festival, which takes place from Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, and features a ton of Los Angeles chefs this year. So, between official duties, where does the chef sneak off to? Here are his five picks.
5. Guisados (in Boyle Heights)
"I always get the sampler plate that offers six of their best tacos. Whether it's the chicharron, mole or chuleta en salsa verde, every bite is full of spice to the last bite. I always go hungry and leave full. Too full!"
4. Drago Centro
"I look forward to having any type of pasta cooked by either Ian or Celestino. My favorite is the pappardelle al fagiano, which is a combination of roasted pheasant and morel mushrooms with my favorite type of pasta. I love the balance of flavor and texture, and the pasta is always cooked to perfection. I also like their beautiful, seasonal salads that are very California."
3. Kanpai (on Lincoln Boulevard)
"I love seeing the fresh products they bring in from Japan, whether it's sashimi, sushi or a noodle dish. There is so much exotic fish, I typically just order what's on the specials list. The food is so fresh and clean. After-hours, they serve savory tonsoku with pigs feet and spicy ramen that's so just comforting after a long day."
"This is the restaurant where Nobu's empire started, and you can still feel how passionate the chefs are here. I come back to Matsuhisa time and again because it feels like home for me, and all of the signature dishes - the black cod, new style sashimi and tiradito - are my go-tos."
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"They keep things creative and fresh by constantly changing their menu, but it's always packed with exciting flavors. My favorite (if they happen to have it) is the melted p'tit Basque, served with chorizo and grilled bread."