Where Chefs Eat

February 21, 2013

Where Chefs Eat - A Guide to the Best Restaurants Around the World

By Raleigh-Elizabeth.

I spend the better part of any trip looking for places to eat. I pour through Zagat’s, Fodor’s, Chow Hound, Eater, and a disturbingly large number of food sites looking for the perfect place to experience local cuisine while also begging everyone for tips. And sometimes, I still come up empty handed.

Or worse, I start a trip thinking I have a perfect recommendation only to discover a mediocre food experience I could have done without. When this happens, I immediately start questioning exactly who tour book companies employ to rate local restaurants and just what commenter foodie321 actually knows about eating. And it’s at those moments that I throw my hands up in the air and bemoan all food listings in general, because all I want is for someone who really knows about food to tell me, really and truly, this is the one place where you need to go.

Joe Warwick must have felt the exact same way, because he spent the last 12 months compiling the 600+ page ultimate guide for where to eat: Where Chefs Eat.  Unlike the recommendations from foodie321 or a nebulous tourist book review board, Where Chefs Eat not only tells us who recommended the restaurant (the recommending chef is listed by name), it also guarantees us one thing better: a person who really knows and loves food vouches for this place.

The 2,000 recommendations span the globe and run the gammut. Two of my favorite restaurants in the world made the cut: McGrady’s in Charleston (where you could easily go bankrupt on the way to bloated bliss) and the 53rd and 6th Halal cart in Manhattan. That’s right. A food cart.

There are also recommendations for ramen restaurants in Boston, herring kiosks in Sweden, burger joints in Istanbul, and the best place for a hot pot if you ever find yourself hungry in a Kowloon office park.

To build the book, chefs were asked eight questions:

  • Which restaurant do you eat at most regularly?
  • What’s your favourite place to go for breakfast?
  • Late at night where do you like to eat?
  • Which restaurant best sums up your city or region, a restaurant you’d consider a local favourite?
  • Where serves your favourite bargain meal?
  • Where do you go to celebrate a special occasion?
  • Which restaurant do you admire the most and wish you’d opened yourself?
  • Which restaurant would you travel any distance to eat at?

With a breadth of questions like that, it’s no wonder the answers are so diverse, surprising, and full of adventure. I think we’ll never go hungry again. Find it on Amazon here.

If you had to answer all of those questions about your hometown, where would you tell us to eat?

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosemary February 21, 2013 at 7:16 am

I think that I need to own this book. And then get someone to pay me to travel and eat at each restaurant.


2 raleigh-elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 7:18 am

I feel the same way! And I just found out a friend from high school’s husband was one of the chefs they interviewed… clearly, I should pester them for details on how we break into the industry. “Have mouth, will eat and travel…”


3 Terry February 21, 2013 at 7:17 am

All of these questions would tell me to recommend Hunan at Coventry to you, if you’re ever in Cleveland, Ohio, but it’s now closed and I’ve been hungry since.


4 raleigh-elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 7:20 am

Terry, you are too funny. Hunan at Coventry is something close to legendary in my family. We ate there near-weekly when I was growing up, to the point that my little brother’s Bar Mitzvah lunch was actually THERE, of all places. I’m sure he’d have asked them to cater his wedding if only they were still around… still, the smell of Hunan wafting up the sled hill from its old location will be one of the strongest memories of my childhood. And all I can say is that I hope heaven smells like Hunan.


5 Heather February 21, 2013 at 7:46 am

Ooh, I love this and will definitely look into buying. My husband laughs at how the restaurants are the first thing I start reviewing as soon as we’ve selected a vacation spot! Plus, I spends hours (!) reading reviews on several sites (just like you describe yourself doing). It’s a huge time suck but I love it! (But don’t like it when a much anticipated meal falls flat!)


6 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 7:53 am

I warn you – the book makes you really hungry. And also really likely to be bitten by the travel bug : )


7 Laura @ Chaotic Domestic February 21, 2013 at 7:53 am

I love love love this recommendation. This is the perfect gift for my husband who is a total foodie and plans out his meals when travelling. He typically relies on Urbanspoon, but also loves watching the shows on the Food Network and Travel channel to find recommendations.


8 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 7:54 am

Terrific! I’m so happy it’ll find a home in your house, too! I have to admit, I’m already planning our trips based on the recommendations from this book -and I take SUCH comfort in knowing that real foodies are behind the recommendations. I hope your husband likes as much as mine (the hungry hungry husband) does!


9 Lauren February 21, 2013 at 7:56 am

This sounds perfect. As far as I’m concerned, eating delicious food is the best part of any trip and it is so terribly disappointing when you end up with a meal that is only “passable” in an exciting new place.


10 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

Amen to that!


11 Andrea February 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

this book has been on my radar for awhile now, i’m so glad to hear that you liked it! i’ll have to pick it up.

thanks for the recommendation.


12 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

my copy is dog-eared already. let us know what you try out and what’s good!


13 Mary Ann Gray February 21, 2013 at 10:28 am

Thanks for letting me know about this. I’m going to get it right away. I wish it was available on Kindle, but an app is coming.


14 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 10:38 am



15 Brandy February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

Oh man, what a fantastic resource! I’m definitely going to have to check that out before our next trip. Thanks for sharing Raleigh-Elizabeth.


16 Karyl February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Thanks! I have a friend who’s going to live in London soon, and she loves good food and travel. Will have to pick this up for her, and hope she doesn’t have one yet :-)


17 Zoe February 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm

So glad to know about this book!

If you find yourself in Baltimore, Woodberry Kitchen is at the top of my list — a farm-to-table restaurant, and super creative. Everything about it is terrific.


18 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I couldn’t agree more! We ate there two weekends ago. Completely delish.


19 alexis_gentry February 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Heard an interview on the Splendid Table podcast with him (I think). Pretty sure. Anyway, sounds so interesting! :)


20 Marille February 22, 2013 at 5:44 am

Here in Vienna, I would say to eat at Cafe Sperl; they are quintessentially Viennese (Biedermeier interior, slightly grumpy waitstaff, the restaurant doesn’t serve meat on Ash Wednesday), and the food–especially the Vollkornschnitzel or the truffle risotto–is absolutely amazing. Also, why go to a restaurant when you could just go down to the Naschmarkt? It’s name comes from the Viennese term for ‘snack’ (naschen), and you can pick up all sorts of amazing fruit, sausage, and farm-fresh cheese and have picnic in the Stadtpark (when the weather’s a little nicer; it’s snowing today!)


21 Christine February 24, 2013 at 4:20 am

completely agree. traveled to Vienna twice. ate at cafe sperl both times. delish…


22 Carol F. February 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I just went to the most amazing restaurant in Tzaneen, South Africa called YumYum. I didn’t think I would have a chance to recommend it to anyone because not many people go to the Limpopo area and they are not on Yelp.com, but here you are asking so I will tell you! YumYum is run by the most amazing people at a farming commune (the Alon Farm) in the mountains above Tzaneen. The best word I could use after visiting the restaurant was: TRIUMPH! The food was extraordinary, fresh, impeccably prepared and delicious. We had seviche, lamb, and pork dishes, with delicious drinks and desserts. Here is a picture of the restaurant: http://www.alon.org.za/Pictures/Photos/YumYum/09.jpg. I highly recommend it!


23 raleigh-elizabeth February 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

That looks wonderful! So South Africa folks, there you have it! Clearly, it’s time to make a food trip!


24 Carol F. February 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Oops! Here’s a better link for other readers: http://www.alon.org.za/Departments_YumYum.html


25 Michael Kristen aviles February 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

We live in Boston and love Masa Restaurant in south end of Boston . Big beautiful copper bar with marguitas with fresh ingredients. The brunch menu is a steal at 7.95 for huevos rancheros, texas style French toast etc…Delicious! Its a southwestern restaurant. Yum!


26 hannah March 12, 2013 at 6:47 am

i’m so happy you posted this book! i picked it up last week as a gift for chef friends of mine who hosted me for a weekend in boston + were beyond accommodating of my gluten allergy. a wonderful gift for wonderful hosts! i will be giving it to them with a set of post-its so they can mark where to journey next. thank you!


27 Raleigh-Elizabeth March 12, 2013 at 6:50 am

how brilliant! i love the post-its!


28 Florida adventures March 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

I read this paragraph completely concerning the resemblance of most up-to-date and previous technologies, it’s remarkable article.|


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