Best 'Top Chef' Restaurants

Best Top Chef Restaurants: Suzy Wong's House of Yum; Nashville

Courtesy of Suzy Wong’s House of Yum

Since its 2006 debut, Top Chef has turned Tom Colicchio and former F&W special projects director Gail Simmons into food celebrities, introduced Americans to cooking with vending-machine food, and created a wave of chef-testants turned restaurateurs, who have become a large and profitable niche in the food industry. — Katherine Sacks

01 of 07

Girl & the Goat (Chicago)

Best Top Chef Restaurants: Girl & the Goat; Chicago

Courtesy of Girl & The Goat

Top Chef: Chicago victor Stephanie Izard kept in touch with fans via a blog, an enthusiastic Twitter account, and behind-the-scenes videos before opening Chicago’s Girl & the Goat in 2010 and earning her spot as a 2011 F&W Best New Chef. Izard emphasizes a bold mix of Mediterranean and Southeast Asian flavors in dishes like grilled octopus with guanciale and pistachio-lemon vinaigrette, and wood-oven-roasted pig’s face with tamarind and red wine–maple sauce. In 2021, she opened an L.A. outpost of the restaurant. Izard now helms three more Chicago establishments: the Chinese-American eatery Duck Duck Goat; Cabra, a Peruvian-inspired rooftop restaurant (also with a Los Angeles location); and Little Goat diner.

02 of 07

Sweet Cheeks Q (Boston)

Best Top Chef Restaurants : Sweet Cheeks Q; Boston

Courtesy of Sweet Cheeks

A finalist on the first season of Top Chef and on All-Stars, Tiffani Faison cooks her way through an impressive 1,500 pounds of meat a month for this Texas-style barbecue joint, working with sustainably raised Angus beef and Berkshire pork. (Faison is particularly proud of the pork belly, which she cures, brines, and smokes to achieve a meatier and less fatty texture.) Located near Fenway Park, Sweet Cheeks also has an expansive whiskey list and an outdoor beer garden. Faison's Big Heart Hospitality Group runs several other area restaurants as well: adult snack bar Fool's Errand, upscale Italian-American spot Orfano, Tenderoni's old-school pizza joint, Dive Bar raw bar, and the Champagne bar Bubble Bath.

03 of 07

610 Magnolia (Louisville)

Best Top Chef Restaurants : 610 Magnolia; Louisville, Kentucky

Courtesy of 610 Magnolia

Top Chef: Texas fan favorite Edward Lee opened 610 Magnolia inside a charming carriage house in the center of Old Louisville, offering a six-course prix fixe menu that combines Southern and Asian flavors, such as his edamame hummus served with parsnip root. The housemade charcuterie, including lamb-and-elk sausage, is also fantastic.

04 of 07

Good Stuff Eatery (Washington, D.C.)

Best Top Chef Restaurants : Good Stuff Eatery; Washington, DC

Courtesy of Good Stuff Eatery

Spike Mendelsohn’s Capitol Hill restaurant Good Stuff Eatery gets its name from the words his restaurateur grandfather used to say when biting into a cheeseburger. The former Top Chef: Chicago contestant also borrowed a few other tips: “We wrap our burgers in wax paper, just like my grandfather did.” The Prez Obama burger (bacon, red onion marmalade, blue cheese, and horseradish) was a clear neighborhood favorite, beating out the McCain burger during the restaurant’s 2008 election-inspired contest. Besides classic burgers, the restaurant specializes in herb-tossed fries and toasted marshmallow milkshakes. It has seven locations, including one in Egypt.

05 of 07

Catch (Wilmington, North Carolina)

Best Top Chef Restaurants: Catch; Wilmington, North Carolina

Courtesy of Catch

At Catch, Top Chef: Texas competitor Keith Rhodes uses Port City markets’ seafood and demonstrates a reverence for vegetables, something he acquired during his childhood. “My mother was a Seventh-day Adventist,” says the chef. “Growing up we practiced a vegetarian diet, so the organic, natural lifestyle is a lot of my soul.” His NC Sweet Potato Salad is an ode to those ideals, combining diced sweet potatoes with shelled hemp seeds, local goat cheese, baby spinach, and strawberries or macerated cranberries, depending on the season.

06 of 07

Suzy Wong's House of Yum (Nashville)

Best Top Chef Restaurants: Suzy Wong's House of Yum; Nashville

Courtesy of Suzy Wong’s House of Yum

Arnold Myint, a contestant on Top Chef: Washington D.C., has made a name for himself in Nashville with his bold approach to Asian-fusion cuisine. At Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, Asian classics are transformed into comfort foods like strawberry cream cheese egg rolls and katsu chicken and waffles, and can be enjoyed during the restaurant's Drag'N Brunch shows each weekend. Additionally, Myint serves up modern Thai at International Market, the restaurant he and his sister run in the legacy of their late mother, who was the eatery's original owner.

07 of 07

Gunshow (Atlanta)

Best Top Chef Restaurants: Gunshow; Atlanta

© Fredrik Brauer

After running the kitchen at Atlanta institution Woodfire Grill for four years, Top Chef: Las Vegas finalist Kevin Gillespie moved on to his next project, Gunshow, named in homage to his favorite childhood pastime. Opened in 2013, Gunshow has a more free-form style of service, with no set menu and a format that recalls traditional dim sum. Gillespie sends his rustic, Southern-inspired dishes out to the dining room, letting guests choose items as they come out. “If you want it, you take it; if you don’t want it, that's fine, too,” explains Gillespie. “You're the one in charge of your experience.”

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