To say Jimmy Kimmel has a healthy appetite would be an understatement. From diving into his Italian nonna’s marinara sauce as a kid to grilling up his special burger recipe (with teriyaki sauce) for hordes of TV critics at TCA, the latenight host spends a lot of time thinking about his next meal.
“I’m a natural-born glutton,” he says. And his foodie credentials are legit: Longtime buddy Chris Bianco (pictured) of Phoenix’s famed Pizzeria Bianco advised on building Kimmel’s backyard wood-burning pizza oven, while his wedding last year was catered by Animal, the L.A. restaurant known for its nose-to-tail menu. This summer, barbecue maestro Adam Perry Lang set up a pop-up bistro on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” backlot, with a pit smoker and Texas burn pit.
“If I hear about a good restaurant, I mark it on a list,” Kimmel says, “and if I have a good meal, I like to thank the chefs.”
But Kimmel’s diet isn’t all barbecue, pizza and pig tails. He’s also a fan of sushi and seafood-focused establishments like L.A.’s Hungry Cat and Manhattan Beach’s Fishing With Dynamite. “I’m like a bear,” he says. “I will eat berries or fish.”
For meatier fare, Kimmel loves Mozza offshoot Chi Spacca and West Hollywood’s Salt’s Cure. “They cure their own sausage!” he happily exclaims while running on his office treadmill.
When in New York, he heads to Mario Batali’s Babbo, but also makes sure to fit in local specialities like pizza, hot dogs and bagels. Like most enthusiastic home cooks, he has some signature dishes. Christmas Eve for the past decade or so has meant a giant Italian-style seafood feast for around 50 people. And as for those wood-fired pizzas, he likes them topped with truffles, truffle butter, parmesan and mozzarella.
Many of his favorite spots are part of L.A.’s recent food boom, and Kimmel’s omnivorous appetite may even have helped fuel the growth. “I like to think that’s a result of me eating a lot,” he jokes.
Kimmel’s fave L.A.-area restaurants:
- Chi Spacca
- Fishing With Dynamite
- Loteria Grill
- MB Post
- Salt’s Cure
- Trois Mec