There's so much buzz around food in the West, it can be tough to decide what to eat first. To help, we're partnering with Chefs Feed, a new app that enlists top chefs to share not only their favorite restaurants—but also exactly what they eat there.
We've pulled together the most delectable dishes from their recommendations. Their picks come from all corners of the West, spanning Seattle to Santa Fe, and classic old restaurants to strip-mall joints you might walk right by if a chef hadn't told you: "Go there—now."
Restaurant: Cafe Aion, Boulder
Recommended by: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Caffe, Frasca Food and Wine, and Pizzeria Locale
"A fun meal meant to be shared," says Mackinnon-Patterson of this tapas bar's star dish. "The flavor combination is amazing and well-balanced—sausage, tomato, chicken, and mussels work beautifully with the saffron rice." $$; 1235 Pennsylvania Ave.
Restaurant: Oak at Fourteenth, Boulder
Recommended by: Jennifer Jasinski of Denver's Bistro Vendôme and Rioja
At this sleek open-kitchen restaurant, the kale salad served with togarashi chile and candied almonds "blew me away," says Jasinski. "My chef-husband Max and I fought over it" $$$; 1400 Pearl St.
Restaurant: Choice Health Bar, Maui
Recommended by: Sheldon Simeon of Aloha Mixed Plate, Leoda's, and Star Noodle
This simple counter's spoon-worthy smoothie "gives you a super-focused boost of energy," says Simeon, thanks to açaí, berries, spirulina, coconut water, and toppings that include bee pollen and goji berries. $$; 1087 Limahana Place, Lahaina, Maui; 808/661-7711.
Restaurant: Wurstküche, Los Angeles
Recommended by: Michael Cimarusti of Connie & Ted's and Providence
At this neo–beer hall known for its exotic sausages, the fries are "perfectly crisp, fluffy, well-salted, and come with brats," says Cimarusti. $; 800 E. Third St.; wurstkuche.com.
Restaurant: Din Tai Fung, Los Angeles
Recommended by: Roy Choi of A-Frame, Chego, KogiBBQ Truck, and Sunny Spot
The faithful spend hours awaiting a seat at this strip-mall dumpling mecca. "I could eat 40 of these in one sitting," says Choi. "Juicy morsels of pork ... melt away in little bags of goodness." $$; 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia; dintaifungusa.com.
Restaurant: Bay Cities Italian Deli, Los Angeles
Recommended by: Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Susan Feniger's Street
"Italian cold cuts, mustard, mayo, something acidic, and spicy sauce" make the Godmother a sandwich "you can't miss," Feniger says. Fans wolf it down at the 1925 deli's picnic tables. $; 1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; bcdeli.com.
Restaurant: Toro Bravo, Portland
Recommended by: Chris Israel of Cask and Grüner
At an always-bustling tapas bar, "this Spanish-style pasta dish has the unusual but delicious combination of wild boar sausage and Dungeness crab," says Israel. "Smoky and salty with just the right chew." $$; 120 N.E. Russel St.; torobravopdx.com.
Restaurant: Olympia Provisions, Portland
Recommended by: Vitaly Paley of Imperial, Paley's Place, and Portland Penny Diner
"This yard bird is moist and crispy," Paley says. "Chicken churning on a rotisserie—it's totally worth the anticipation when you're rewarded with it carved on your plate." $$$; 1632 N.W. Thurman St.
Restaurant: Oui Presse, Portland
Recommended by: Ken Forkish of Ken's Artisan Bakery and Ken's Artisan Pizza
"A thick slice of country bread, toasted, slathered with good butter and jam" in flavors like Oregon marionberry and strawberry "satisfies that midmorning, didn't-have-breakfast, need-something-good-with-coffee urge," says Forkish. $; 1740 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Restaurant: The Garage, Salt Lake City
Recommended by: Ryan Lowder of Copper Onion and Plum Alley
Traditionally served as a post-memorial casserole, this dish is an outrageous take—deep-fried nuggets of cheese, hash browns, and more—that's "a fun play on a classic," says Lowder. "It's kind of fatty, comforting food that goes well with a cold beer." $; 1199 N. Beck St.; garageonbeck.com.
Recipe: Fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes
Restaurant: La Taqueria, San Francisco
Recommended by: Michael Mina of Bourbon Steak, Michael Mina, and RN74
Leave it to a Michelin-starred chef to settle the taco wars: "I love the balance of juicy meat, both crisp and soft shell, and spicy salsa," Mina says of the tacos de carnitas served at this humbly appointed 40-year-old Mission District spot. $; 2889 Mission St.; 415/285-7117.
Recipe: Tacos de Carnitas
Restaurant: Bar Crudo, San Francisco
Recommended by: Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food
The secret to this tiny oyster bar's cream-based chowder, says Bowien, is that "they drop the fish left over from making crudo [raw fish] in the chowder at the last minute." $$$; 655 Divisadero St.
Restaurant: House of Prime Rib
Recommended by: Hiro Sone of Ame in S.F. and Terra in St. Helena
At this low-lit steakhouse, Sone asks "for a slice close to the neck, which has a larger deckle," he says (deckle is a band of fat). "Add a baked potato and a Napa Valley Cab, and you don't need anything else." $$$$; 1906 Van Ness Ave.
Restaurant: Bi-Rite Creamery
Recommended by: Melissa Perello of Frances and Octavia
Few ice creams inspire as much fervor as this top seller at small-batch purveyor Bi-Rite. "I love the creamy consistency and depth of flavor that the salt adds," says Perello. 3692 18th St.
Restaurant: Tartine Bakery
Recommended by: Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
"Basically a rolled-up croissant with cinnamon and orange" is how Godby describes this bun served at the always-packed bakery. "This would be my last meal. Enough said." $; 600 Guerrero St.
Restaurant: Yank Sing, San Francisco
Recommended by: Chris Cosentino of Boccalone Salumeria and Incanto
A classic dim sum dish is realized here as warm, fluffy buns stuffed with nuggets of honey-glazed barbecued pork. "Remember the to-go window at the Rincon location for a quick in-and-out during their busy times," says Cosentino. $; 101 Spear St.
Restaurant: Pizzetta 211, San Francisco
Recommended by: Mourad Lahlou of Aziza and Mourad
This pizza at the Richmond neighborhood hideaway is "all about balance," says Lahlou. "Sweet and acidic tomatoes, bitter wild arugula, and creamy cheese. Ask them to add anchovies." $$; 211 23rd Ave.
Restaurant: Bar Agricole
Recommended by: Jennifer Puccio of Marlowe and Park Tavern
Of all the drinks that somtimes appear on the James Beard award-nominated cocktail list, start here: "Paired with grapefruit, lemon, honey, and bitters, this drink made me discover my inner bourbon lover," says Puccio. 355 11th St.
Restaurant: Zuni Cafe, San Francisco
Recommended by: Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn
The gold standard for roast chicken for 25 years, this dish reminds Crenn "of my mother's chicken," she says. "The crispy skin from the wood-fired oven is so comforting, and I love the bread salad that soaks up all the juices." $$$; 1658 Market St.
Restaurant: 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Santa Fe
Recommended by: Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin
Rios loves "going to 315 when the squash blossom beignets are being served" with a tomato sauce and goat-cheese fondue. (Available in summer, usually Jun-Jul.) $$$; 315 Old Santa Fe Trail.
Restaurant: Cafe Pasqual's, Santa Fe
Recommended by: James Campbell Caruso of La Boca and Taberna La Boca
At this brightly decorated bistro, eggs, potatoes, cheese, chives, and "trout that always tastes nice and fresh" combine in a "hearty but light breakfast," says Caruso. "I top my order with some authentic New Mexican chiles." $$; 121 Don Gaspar Ave.
Restaurant: Dahlia Lounge, Seattle
Recommended by: Bill Morris of the Rainier Club
Doughnuts are "light and slightly sweetened, served warm and fresh from the fryer" to your cozy booth at this upscale spot, says Morris. "These are awesome!" Vanilla mascarpone and a "fun and tasty" seasonal jam are served alongside. $$$; 2001 Fourth Ave.
Restaurant: Serious Pie, Seattle
Recommended by: Mark Fuller of Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whisky
"Flavorful, crispy, light, and slightly charred," is how Fuller describes this pie's crust. "It's smoky from the burning applewood, with delcious handcrafted toppings such as sweet fennel sausage." $$; 316 Virginia St.
Restaurant: Maenam, Vancouver
Recommended by: Nico Schuermans of Cafe Medina, Chambar, and the Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen
"Crispy lingcod, served in a caramelized tamarind and palm sugar sauce, is topped with eight different fried herbs and spices" at this sleek Thai restaurant, says Schuermans. $$ U.S.; 1938 W. Fourth Ave.
Restaurant: La Buca, Vancouver
Recommended by: Rob Feenie of Cactus Club Cafe
"If you love Italian food, chef Andrey Durbach takes you there without having to get on a plane," Feenie says of this rich pasta dish that appears on the menu seasonally. "He uses the finest local ingredients available." $$$ U.S.; 4025 MacDonald St.