As Seen on TV: 10 Restaurants by Bay Area Food-Show Stars

By Tamara Palmer  |  July 26, 2013

Sure, you watched the Top Chef Masters season debut. Now, here's your opportunity to get so close to the action, you can (literally) taste it.

The Bay Area has long been a fertile breeding ground for food-television talent. Our chefs host cooking shows and smash reality competitions but still seem most excited to be in the kitchen at their own restaurants. These 10 spots are home to such champions and educators, and you can often catch them there despite a busy life on the TV screen.

  • Coqueta

    Food Network vet Michael Chiarello currently appears on the network's Supermarket Superstar, which premiered on July 22. He opened this waterfront restaurant geared toward Spanish small plates and cocktails in April, adding to his restaurant collection, which also includes Bottega Ristorante in Yountville.

    Pier 5, The Embarcadero; 415-704-8866

  • Incanto

    Chef and co-owner Chris Cosentino is the reigning winner of Top Chef Masters, from which he won $282,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. He previously co-starred in the Food Network adventure series Chefs vs. City. Even with a super-busy schedule, you'll still almost always find him here, creating innovative odds and ends utilizing fresh produce and whole animals.

    1550 Church St.; 415-641-4500

  • Copita Tequileria y Comida 

    This year-old Marin County Mexican is co-owned by Joanne Weir, PBS personality (Joanne Weir's Cooking Class, Weir Cooking in the City) and cookbook author. While the day-to-day operations are led by executive chef Gonzalo Rivera, Weir is there every night she possibly can be, ready to jump on the line at a moment's notice.

    739 Bridgeway, Sausalito; 415-331-7400

  • M.Y. China

    Martin Yan is one of the Bay Area's original food-TV stars, and his '80s series Yan Can Cook still elicits great nostalgia around here among people of a certain age. His collaboration with the team behind Daly City's Koi Palace features elegant interpretations of dim sum and banquet dishes, almost too elegant to be in the mall.

    845 Market St.; 415-580-3001

  • Wayfare Tavern

    Food Network titan Tyler Florence currently hosts Food Court Wars, which we love, and will follow that up with the fourth season of The Great Food Truck Race. His San Francisco showpiece provides a warm respite from the pressures of the surrounding Financial District and comforts with classics like fried chicken and lobster rolls.

    558 Sacramento St.; 415-772-9060

  • Atelier Crenn

    Dominique Crenn cut her teeth on television via The Next Iron Chef and was rumored to have taken part in a BBC America reality show, but her role never aired. She is happy to keep her main focus on her own restaurant, which serves "poetic culinaria" in the form of artfully composed tasting menus.

    3127 Fillmore St.; 415-440-0460

  • Jardinière

    Owner Traci Des Jardins was the runner-up on the third season of Top Chef Masters, winning more than $30,000 for La Cocina, the San Francisco-based incubator for minority-women-owned food businesses. Her classically elegant space is a hot spot for pre-theater dinner action.

    300 Grove St.; 415-861-5555

  • Fleur De Lys

    Hubert Keller is the effusive star of PBS series Secrets of a Chef, a culinary author and an occasional dance music DJ. He runs one of San Francisco's most classic French restaurants, still one of the city's most romantic offerings.

    777 Sutter St.; 415-673-7779

  • Credit: Juhu Beach Club

    Juhu Beach Club

    Top Chef Season 6 contestant and former Google chef Preeti Mistry has taken a nontraditional and totally contemporary route to being a restaurateur after her take on TV. She's evolved her Indian street food concept from a pop-up to this young permanent East Bay space.

    5179 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; 510-652-7350

  • Tout Sweet Patisserie

    Top Chef Just Desserts champion Yigit Pura started the first of what will eventually be a nationwide chain of sweet shops on the third floor of Macy's in Union Square. Since opening, he's evolved it into more of a cafe, with substantial lunch offerings, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to escape it without having dessert.

    170 O'Farrell St.; 415-385-2679