"A guide from the real experts!" shouts the cover of "Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs' Favourite Restaurants." It's a more-than-700-page compendium of restaurants in locales all over the world recommended by luminary chefs who work in or travel frequently to those cities.
More than 400 chefs contributed to the project, whipped out by Phaidon Press -- which seems to be able to publish a cookbook faster than you can say "Martin Berasategui."
"Over the years the Phaidon food team ... could count on Ferran Adrià to recommend the best tapas bars in Barcelona; René Redzepi always directed us towards Copenhagen’s finest places for breakfast; and Daniel Patterson never let us down when it came to finding a bargain bite in San Francisco. ... [We] hatched a plan to create something with what we realized was very privileged information," the publisher says.
Chefs including Gaston Acurio in Lima, Peru; Massimo Bottura in Modena, Italy; Fergus Henderson in London and many more marquee names were asked questions such as where they eat most regularly, what is their favorite place for breakfast, what is their favorite bargain meal, and where do they celebrate a special occasion. The book is Europe-heavy but also covers Asia, Africa, Australia and North and South America.
Most entries, which are divided by city but are listed in no particular categories, are fairly basic, detailing who recommended the restaurant; its hours, price range, cuisine; and what it's recommended for -- late night, bargain, breakfast, worth the travel, etc. Some entries have lengthier descriptions from the editor, Joe Warwick, and others include quotes from the recommending chefs.
In Barcelona, Spain; Albert Adria says Cafe Viena "serves the best Iberian ham sandwich." And if you go to l'Indret de Semon, "order any dish that features" the Benfumat salmon, guides the book. At O Magazine in Genoa, Itay, "try the tiny anchovies, the very best spaghetti vongole, and the incredible salt-baked whole sea bass with new potatoes and Ligurian olives," says Robert Marchetti. The restaurants recommended by the greatest number of chefs in Paris? L'Ami Louis and Le Comptoir du Relais.
And among the recommended restaurants in Los Angeles: Angelini Osteria, Park's BBQ, Urasawa, Asanebo, Manhattan Beach Post, Jitlada, Loteria Grill, Pollo a la Brasa -- more than 50 in all.
"Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs' Favourite Restaurants," Phaidon Press, $19.95.