As one of the most respected restaurateurs in California, chef Suzanne Goin has been involved with several of the Golden State's most influential eateries. There isn't enough room here to detail all her accolades, but suffice to say, her four consecutive James Beard noms for "Outstanding Chef of the Year" (2008-2011) should give you a taste of her success.
Some of the culinary classics in her hit parade? Lucques (her maiden effort in West Hollywood), Tavern (in L.A.'s prestigious Brentwood 'hood), and the venture she's probably most well known for, A.O.C., a critically acclaimed wine bar and small plates superstar that recently moved down West Third Street with a full bar and new menu. Here are Suzanne's five favorite restaurants:
Prune - New York, NY - "I love the smallness and intimacy of this restaurant in the middle of Manhattan by Gabrielle Hamilton. She cooks from the heart. I started a Lamb Roast feast at Lucques in tribute to her book and it's become a favorite of our guests."
Camino - Oakland, CA - "You have to love a chef that knows how to cook just about anything in a 9 ft. wide wood burning fireplace. Russell Moore does it and does it well. That's why we ask him to be part of our Culinary Cookout, L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade, every year."
Zuni - San Francisco, CA - "Judy Rogers is another woman who influenced me. Her food is simply delicious and the cocktails are just perfect. Everyone raves about the roast chicken at Zuni and it's all true."
Chez Panisse - Berkeley, CA - "Alice Waters helped pave the way for women chefs of my generation and taught us all a love of the garden and how to cook with the season. This restaurant stays true to its origin and philosophy and is wonderful each time I visit."
Pizzeria Bianco - Phoenix, AZ - "No one believes that the best pizza in the United States could possibly be in Phoenix. And then they have Chris Bianco's pizza. End of story."