Nobu Matsuhisa is the chef/ proprietor of 26 Nobu restaurants, which he co-owns with actor Robert De Niro. Born in Japan, Matsuhisa spends 10 months a year travelling between his restaurants but has been based in Los Angeles since 1977.
My secret tip ... is Totoraku, a restaurant on Pico Boulevard that doesn’t publicise its phone number and won’t let anyone in without a reservation – no walk-ins, ever! It doesn’t even say Totoraku on the sign above the door, it says something like Teriyaki House instead. All of which means there is a bit of a buzz around it – people really want to get in. The chef is Japanese but the food is Korean barbecue. They go to market every day to select the different cuts they need and they serve the beef or other meats raw for you to grill over charcoal yourself at the table – which can be a surprise for Europeans and Americans who aren’t used to cooking for themselves in a restaurant. You can bring your own wine as well. It’s fantastic.
10610 W Pico Boulevard
For a business meeting ... I usually choose table 21 on the patio of my LA restaurant, but I did discover a nice place recently called Valentino, a really comfortable Italian restaurant. Since the staff there know who I am, we just order wine and the chef decides what we’re going to eat. That quite often happens when I go out and sometimes it can be a bit much – occasionally I want to choose myself and keep it simple, but the chef wants me to try lots of different things.
3115 Pico Boulevard, www.valentinorestaurant.com
My favourite food shop ... is the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. Every year I do a New Year’s day party at my home. I invite my staff and my friends and their kids. Around 40-50 people come by and I do a barbecue and salads, steak and sushi, and also lots of cheese. So every New Year’s eve, we go to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, which has been going for more than 40 years, and buy enough cheese to cover a whole table. They sell every kind of cheese you can think of from all over the world.
419 N Beverly Drive, www.cheesestorebh.com
The best market ... is Fairfax Farmers Market. I go once in a while with my wife and it’s extremely good for vegetables, but they sell all sorts of foods there. It’s been going since the 1930s.
6333 W 3rd St, www.farmersmarketla.com
My guilty pleasure ... is chocolate eclairs! Some of my restaurants are in hotels which do afternoon teas, and even if I’ve already eaten a proper lunch, I only have to pass in front of the cake stands and I can’t help eating them. Everyone I work with knows I love them. When I’m home in LA, I go to La Brea, a bakery which does artisan breads, excellent sourdoughs primarily, but also patisserie and cakes.
624 S La Brea Ave, www.labreabakery.com
Two new Nobu restaurants open this year, in Budapest and Beijing, see www.noburestaurants.com