My LA to Z: Adam Richman

The former star of <em>Man V Food</em> and host of NBC’s <em>Food Fighters</em> (whose season finale airs September 9) knows where to get good grub in L.A. He shares his favorite spots for sexy Sichuan, top shelf sushi, and vegan Mexican eats

Melrose Athletic Supply

It’s a little sneaker shop, but it’s so well curated. These guys are young and hungry and knowledgeable and have the connections to get you the specific shoes you want. And they’re super passionate. I like learning the stories behind the shoes: the limited release, the amount of artistic craftsmanship that goes into each pair—all the little details. They’ve got really dope kicks. So fly.

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Gracias Madre

While training for soccer, my coach had me go almost completely vegan to get my weight light. Going from omnivore to vegan is really hard, but this place makes it feel easy. They don’t do the fake meat, which I do like, although many do not. It’s all vegetables. They do great fried cauliflower, taquitos, enchiladas de mole, and even vegan flan. The guac is really amazing. The drinks are amazing, too—their old-fashioned is incredible.

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The Egyptian Theater

This one is tough because it’s right in the middle of all the chaos of double decker buses and crazy tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. Even though it’s slap in the middle of the mayhem, the Egyptian feels so removed because it evokes an old viewing parlor or movie palace. When you go there, you’re witnessing one of the last vestiges of the stately grandeur of ‘Old Hollywood,’ and I absolutely love that.

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Chengdu Taste

I know people are a little bored of Sichuan cooking, but if done right it can be really sexy. The execution at Chengdu Taste is flawless. The only problem is its popularity—you can be left waiting there for hours, so get there early. There are other great places, but it’s so stellar; the lamb dishes, the mung bean noodles, this thing with Anaheim chili with sea bass and cabbage and broth. It just absolutely makes sense why it’s been voted one of the country’s best Chinese restaurants.

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The Roger Room

I just like it. It has a very cool crowd and good music. It’s almost like you walked into a scene from Moulin Rouge or a painting. It’s all bejeweled and feels like early 20th century Paris. They have great cocktails, and there’s not a lot pretense with the table service. It can get crowded, so I recommend getting a table. I’ve had a great time every time I’ve been there.

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This is a great Ethiopian place. I actually found it by accident when it turned out the vegan restaurant next door was closed. Every other Ethiopian restaurant around is usually empty, but this place was full of Ethiopians, so I knew we’d stumbled onto something good. I went with a chef, and our Uber driver, Yosef, actually turned out to be Ethiopian too! He started playing Ethiopian music to get us into the right mood, and he said that Messob was the best. We got the vegetarian platter for two, which was just amazing, and then honey wine and incredible coffee. We took an Uber back as well and had another Ethiopian driver, Dawit, who told us Messob was actually his cousin’s place. It’s groovy.

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The Beverly Wilshire Hotel

There’s a stateliness to the place; they program everything and remember everything. Even the architecture and elevators are beautiful. If you want to dip a toe into the ultra-luxe, Rodeo Drive is across the street. If you want to go to Rancho Park, it’s only a stone’s throw away. You always get an amazing cross section of people there. They have great room service, too; I’d recommend the club sandwich, the tomato soup, and the calamari. It’s a gem.

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I try to make it to the original one in the Valley, but when I’m filming I go to their Hollywood and Vine location. I get the spicy tuna with crispy rice, the spicy crab hand roll, or the striped bass, and they serve a great yellowtail with jalapeño. All the food is terrific, really, and the place has a cool vibe and pretty people.

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Beacher’s Madhouse

I like it because the show is oddly compelling, and it’s so hidden. It’s not exactly easy to get into, but if you do [manage to get in], it is outlandishly good. Taking oneself too damn seriously has become somewhat of an artform in L.A., and a visit to Beacher’s is a good way to let loose. It’s really kind of dope to see the bar, the airline bottles, little Kanye, and seven-foot tall strippers—when I was there, a guy in a kilt was fronting a band that covered everything from Calvin Harris to ASAP Rocky.

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I actually got a chance to film with chef Jazz Singsanong. I love that the menu is expansive—so many different spices. I’d recommend the Morning Glory salad, the crispy fish, the shrimp curry, and the crying tiger pork or beef. When you see people from the Royal Thai Consulate eating there, you know it’s legit, which is a great feeling.

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

It’s just one building, and yet one moment you’re in L.A. and then suddenly you’re in Japan or something. The exhibition they did on the World Cup was incredible, and the place is filled with interactive art, live music and fun. People focus on the entertainment industry in L.A., but there is real fine art that’s perhaps overlooked.

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I just ate there and it’s amazing. My mom and I went there for my birthday. Their cheese plate is stellar, they’ve got these artichoke oysters, soups, salads, a great wine list, and they kill it with the desserts. It’s all vegan, but it still feels like a true meal.

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Photographs courtesy