Celebrity restaurants in San Diego, California

Gordon Ramsay, is that really you? 🔱

SD Graze by Sam

Don’t miss the flatbreads at Graze by Sam in Little Italy.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

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Hollywood is where many celebrities live, work, and play. But sometimes, the stars look to San Diego to take on another role — in the restaurant world, that is.

We’ve rounded up nine local eateries powered by celebrity chefs and other names in showbiz. Lights. Camera. Action. Eat.

The wall of winners — fans of "Hell's Kitchen" will recognize these faces. | Photo via Zach Cordner

The wall of winners — fans of “Hell’s Kitchen” will recognize these faces.

Photo via Zach Cordner

Hell’s Kitchen | Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Seven-time Michelin-starred chef and reality television star Gordon Ramsay opened this hotspot at the resort in Valley Center last August, and fans were fired up. The 322-seat concept is based on (and named after) Ramsay’s popular TV cooking competition, and is the third and largest Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in the US.

Inside, diners can expect flame-themed decor, a photo wall highlighting the show’s winners, and the famous “HK” emblem everywhere. The menu boasts many of Ramsay’s signature dishes, including Beef Wellington. It gets busy here, so make a reservation.

By the way, this Hell’s Kitchen location made its TV debut in summer 2023: Ramsay filmed season 13 of his other popular show, “MasterChef,” at the restaurant.

SD Hells Kitchen Harrahs Resort

Inside Hell’s Kitchen: If you can’t stand the heat — well, you know the rest.

Photo via Zach Cordner

SD Monica and Sam the Cooking Guy

SDtoday City Editor Monica and her husband smiling with Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien.

Photo via Monica Garske

Graze by Sam | Little Italy

Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien — the author and laid-back chef with a whopping 3.62 million YouTube subscribers — opened this restaurant in early 2020. It’s across from the Little Italy Food Hall, where Sam runs two other concepts that anchor the food hall, Samburgers and Not Not Tacos.

As the eatery’s name suggests, the menu is made for grazing, with charcuterie boards, flatbreads, and small plates like Creamy Burrata, Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, and Roasted Cauliflower. The wine list is top-notch, too. Graze, Samburgers, and Not Not Tacos are run by Grain & Grit Collective and are Sam’s first-ever restaurants.

Malibu Farm

A spread at Malibu Farm.

Photo via Malibu Farm

Malibu Farm | Seaport Village

Part of the restaurant renaissance happening at Seaport Village is Malibu Farm, a California style concept founded by actor-turned-director John Stockwell and his wife, Swedish celebrity chef Helene Henderson.

Malibu Farm opened in late September 2023 at the former site of the landmark’s longtime Harbor House restaurant, which underwent a $7.5 million renovation. It’s the brand’s fourth location in Southern California, but first in San Diego.

The menu features dishes like salads, tacos, and cauliflower pizzas, and the site will also house an ice cream and espresso bar, and a home goods boutique.

SD Malibu Farm Seaport Village 2023

Malibu Farm has taken over the site of the former Harbor House restaurant in Seaport Village.

Photo via Alina Schessler

Ember & Rye + California English | Park Hyatt Aviara, Carlsbad + Sorrento Valley

“Top Chef” alum, TV personality, author, and restaurateur Richard Blais debuted his luxe steakhouse at Park Hyatt Aviara in 2021. Blais is known to whip up all kinds of playful and innovative dishes at his North County restaurant — plus one-of-a-kind bubbly cocktails. Make a reservation, this spot is hot.

SD California English Richard Blais San Diego

Inside Richard Blais’ California English in Sorrento Valley.

Photo via Haley Hill Photography

Blais also launched California English in Sorrento Valley, a fusion of California vibes-meets-English countryside. The menu includes Cheddar & Chive Scones with California citrus marmalade, the Wellington Burger, and the Yorkshire California Burrito.

VAGA Restaurant & Bar | Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas

San Diego native and “Top Chef” alumna Claudette Zepeda also took the resort restaurant route in 2021, helming VAGA, a restaurant that explores our region’s diverse culture and flavors. Zepeda once called the eatery her “love letter to San Diego.” Make a reservation.

Herb & Wood and ANIMAE | Little Italy and Downtown San Diego

“Top Chef” alum and restaurateur Brian Malarkey has opened several restaurants in San Diego over the years, including these two standouts. Herb & Wood — highlighted by USA Today’s 10Best in 2016 — specializes in elevated, seasonal, rustic Mediterranean cuisine with a modern California twist. Reservations are recommended.

ANIMAE is a swanky wagyu steakhouse focused on Asian fusion cuisine. The downtown spot is beloved for its city vibes, too — with a cool, gold-accented dining room and gorgeous art at its entrance. Make a reservation.

Actor Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa stand side by side laughing at a Nobu Restaurants event.

Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa began their Nobu Restaurants partnership in 1994.

Nobu | Gaslamp Quarter + Hotel del Coronado (coming in 2025)

This globally-known restaurant — also coming to Hotel del Coronado in early 2025 — is a partnership between namesake Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro, producer Meir Teper, and restaurateur Drew Nieporent. The local spot features the brand’s signature dishes like the Black Miso Cod and Tanoshi Hour — deals on select sake, beer, and specialty cocktails daily, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Another Wing | Barrio Logan

Another one? DJ Khaled’s ghost kitchen concept is available out of a commercial kitchen on National Avenue, for delivery only via apps like Postmates, GrubHub, and DoorDash. The menu is all about chicken wings and tenders, with an array of sauce options.

Chick & Hawk | Encinitas, (coming in Spring 2024)

This “fast-fine concept” from beloved skateboarding icon Tony Hawk has been waiting in the wings for a while — but the brand announced in September 2023 that they had gotten their permits to begin construction, and will open in Spring 2024.

When this eatery opens in, the menu will feature everything from fried chicken sandwiches to oysters, inspired the brand’s “roots in ‘90s skate and surf culture.”

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