Where to Eat in L.A. According to a Top Chef Alum

Marcel Vigneron knows California cooking.

By: Laurel Pantin
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

When in L.A. there are a few things you should (at least try to) do: stay at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and have your own personal Pretty Woman moment, hit the beach, and eat delicious healthy-ish food—something with flowers on it, and maybe even a little foam. And Wolf, the new restaurant from Top Chef alum Marcel Vigneron is the ideal place to tick that last box.

Everything is fresh, seasonal, and sprinkled with flowers. We had the chef show us how he makes his signature spring dish, and it. was. incredible. “The black cod is one of our more popular fish dishes that we have on the menu right now,” says Vigneron. “It was inspired by spring and summer, and also a concept between masculine and feminine. A little yin and yang sort of thing.” Also on the menu: a starter called the ‘Uni-Corn,’ which is a combination of baby corn, uni, and heaven. “Uni is one of my favorites,” he adds.

 

While the food is pretty much the platonic ideal of L.A. healthy, modern fare (what Vigneron himself describes as “seasonal Los Angeles cuisine,” which is appropriately vague—it is a beach town, after all), the setting is super comfortable. “The general vibe is elegant, but yet still comfortable and warm,” he says of the space, which is lined with wood beams, which Vigneron stained himself. “There are a lot of natural and rustic elements mixed with more modern, refined attributes.”

 

But possibly the best part of the restaurant is one you wouldn’t see from your corner four-top: the chef cooks in women’s yoga pants. “It started at Coachella, where I was doing a pop-up. I was wearing jeans, and it was super hot. I had hired a yoga guru to help keep us all in alignment, and I was dying in that heat,” he explains. “I was going to run back to my tent and throw on some shorts but the yogi handed me this pair of yoga pants, and they were so comfortable!” It wasn’t until he got home and tried to find another pair that he realized they were meant for women. “[I went online] and I’m searching for the men’s section saying, ‘there’s gotta be a men’s section somewhere!’ Nope, nope, couldn’t find the men’s section, but I did find the pants, and they were definitely under the women’s section—but ya know, it didn’t deter me. I bought another pair.”

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