It's no surprise that celebrity chef Curtis Stone has settled down in the City of Angels — it's a modern day haven for people who love from around the globe. While some may not be privy to the city's fabulous eats, Stone led TODAY Food to the best spots for fine (and really fun!) dining.
Venice Beach's gritty Dogtown roots have given way to shiny new restaurants serving everything from epic burgers to garden-grown vegan fare. Culver City isn't just for jazz lovers, but today you can also find exquisite Southeast Asian dishes. And Brentwood houses plenty of celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow, but it also has some of the country's best pizza. You heard that right, New Yorkers!
Here are the three restaurants Stone worships within Los Angeles' diverse and eclectic food scene.
Larry's, Venice Beach
Nestled between the boardwalk and the iconic Venice Beach sign on Windward Circle, Larry's is a hotspot for those who want a good beer and a great burger. It's chef Brandon Collins' (a personal friend of Stone) aim to keep his menu true to Venice's simpler origins.
Away from the $10 smoothies a few blocks inland, Collins offers twists on American classics (along with ahi tuna, salads, pizza and rosé) at reasonable prices. But he doesn't skimp on experimenting with bold flavors.
"For me, it's the softness of the bun — and you still get that beautiful caramelization on the outside of the meat..." Stone said of Collins' signature Larry's burger. "All those caramelized onions bring that sweetness into the crunchiness of the arugula that brings a bit of pepperiness. It's like the perfect little mouthful."
Lukshon, Culver City
Sang Yoon, a celebrated chef and Los Angeles native, set up shop at Lukshon in 2011, which has since become one of the city's most popular spots for Southeast Asian cuisine.
"The noodles here are unbelievable. I always craved Southeast Asian food when I got to the States. And this joint is the answer," Stone said while salivating over a Taiwanese-style tea leaf salad and dumplings.
Stone regards Lukshon as one of the first establishments to help really put the Los Angeles food scene on the map in recent years.
Pizzana's chef Daniele Uditi originally hails from Naples, Italy, and his "slow-dough" pizza recipe keeps crowds coming back again and again and again. Stone included.
Uditi and his team strive to change the way people perceive pizza in California, which, needless to say, isn't often regarded as highly as the pizza from New York or even Chicago. But Uditi's dough is high in protein and cooks on an actual volcanic stone before it's topped with ingredients like pulverized basil and caramelized tomato.
"Clearly, you guys have some real intelligent thought behind what makes a good pizza," Stone said to the chef. "Here we are in L.A., eating as good a pizza as I think I've ever eaten."