(CNN) — Whether they get a charge out of lunching beside an Oscar-winning actress or are simply using her choice of venue like a glorified Yelp review, people love supping with celebrities.
Restaurants love them too. Problem is, publicizing "celebs eat here" information only ensures that the guests of honor never return.
So you have to do more these days than examine the walls of a dining establishment for autographed photos to find out what kind of personage it attracts.
That's what we've done, scouring gossip sheets, shaking down publicists and pushing the outer limits of local harassment laws in pursuit of the eateries favored by celebrities. And that term isn't limited simply to entertainers.
The word "celebrity" is a sliding one that shifts with changes in geography, subculture and industry. They'll be happy to welcome Chris Pratt at the TGI Fridays in Palo Alto, but in most of Silicon Valley it's Larry Ellison who really gets jalapenos popping.
Here's where to go:
You might end up waiting with Victoria's Secret models for a table at Shutters On The Beach.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Let's just get the Entertainment Capital of the World out of the way, since it plays host to the most readily recognizable celebrities.
You can get lucky with a celebrity sighting at virtually any restaurant or taco stand in this city, but there are some reliably hip haunts.
On the West Side, Shutters on the Beach -- a luxury hotel referred to as "Hollywood's Beach House" -- is a popular option among actors and actresses for its oceanfront views and private entrance for hotel guests.
Featured fare: Specialty cocktails, pan-seared calamari
Sightings: Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria, Zac Efron, Heidi Klum, Ben Affleck, Megan Fox, Dave Chappelle, Brad Pitt
Further inland, RockSugar -- a Southeast Asian restaurant located in a Westfield mall that was once the back lot for 20th Century Fox -- is actually a popular respite for shop-weary celebrities.
Featured fare: Claypot beef, warm coconut donuts
Sightings: Megan Fox, Selena Gomez, Tyra Banks, Demi Moore, Gigi Hadid, Robert Wagner
RockSugar, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd.; + 310 552 9988; expensive
The Big Apple is home to every type of celebrity, but none is more quintessentially Manhattan than The Mogul.
Famous for hosting deals over Dover sole, The Four Seasons is a time capsule of power lunching.
Featured fare: Steak, crab cakes
Sightings: David Koch, IAC Chairman Barry Diller, resort developer Steve Wynn, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Henry Kissinger and, of course, Patrick Bateman
According to The Daily Beast, 3 Guys Restaurant on the Upper East Side, is the most powerful diner in New York, playing unassuming host to billions of dollars in private equity, hedge fund and broadcasting deals.
Featured fare: Omelets, milkshakes
Sightings: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JP Morgan Chase President Jamie Dimon, former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer
3 Guys Restaurant, 960 Madison Ave.; +1 212 628 8108; moderate
Owen Wilson and designer Vera Wang have put up with photographers while eating at The Dutch in Miami.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Dom Perignon
The Magic City may exist for no other reason than to see and be seen, making it a free-for-all of fame and excess.
Billing itself as the first modern steakhouse in America, Prime 112 shucks dry-aged beef, lamb and burgers to a reliable roster of A-list clientele.
Featured fare: Chicken and waffles, fried Ho Hos
Sightings: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Tom Brady and Giselle Bundschen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alex Rodriguez , Dwayne Wade, NFL team owners Jeff Lurie and Jerry Jones
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's newly opened Matador Room, in the Edition hotel, has already begun attracting a throng of VIPs for modern takes on Latin food in its throwback oval dining room.
Featured fare: "Bespoke" cocktails, mariscos
Sightings: Vera Wang, Linda Evangelista, David Schwimmer, Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht, W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi, hotelier Andre Balazs
Prime 112, 112 Ocean Dr., South Beach; +1 305 532 8112; expensive Matador Room, 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; +1 786 257 4600; expensive
Bay Area, California
Once an incubator of counterculture poets and firebrands, the Bay Area has pioneered a new type of star over the past 20 years: the tech titan.
Opened in 2009 by Google's first executive chef, Calafia Cafe, in Palo Alto, has become a de facto Yalta for dot-com billionaires and tech sector hyper-capitalists in need of neutral negotiating ground.
Featured fare: Artisanal pizza, whole-garden salads
Sightings: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Buck's of Woodside has become the Valley's "first-date spot" for the formation of technology companies, from the early ideation of Hotmail to equity stakes in Tesla.
Featured fare: Eggs benedict, Chinese chicken salad
Sightings: Elon Musk, venture capitalists Marc Andreessen, Bill Draper and John Doerr and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang
Calafia Cafe, 855 El Camino Real, Suite 130, Palo Alto, California; +1 650 322 9200; moderate
King's of Leon Caleb Followill and wife and model Lily Aldridge make the rounds in Nashville.
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Music City Food + Wine Festival
It's not hard to guess the Music City's celebrity of choice; the town is filthy with strummers and hummers.
Located across from the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Hilton Nashville Downtown is just blocks from the honky tonks of Broadway.
Following a $32 million renovation, it houses four dining venues, headlined by The Palm Steakhouse for its star appeal.
Featured fare: Steak, martinis
Sightings: Kenny Loggins, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Roberta Flack, Harry Connick Jr., John Legend, Lady Antebellum
Farther down Broadway, Tavern is quickly gaining renown for not only its creative gastropub menu and growlers of local craft beer, but for its celebrity following.
Featured fare: Tacos, clever cocktails
Sightings: Jack White, Brian Mansfield, Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill
Tavern, 1904 Broadway; 615-320-8580; moderate
The Hollywood of the South is fast becoming as likely a place to spot a movie star as its nick-namesake.
Jennifer Lawrence is reported to love the brisket at Watershed, a Southern comfort food laboratory where the menu of luminary patrons is longer than its wine list.
Featured fare: Crispy pork belly, jambalaya
Sightings: Woody Harrelson, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Stevie Wonder, Colin Firth, Liam Hemsworth, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall
Widely regarded a top-10 steakhouse in the United States, Chops Lobster Bar is also one of America's top celebrity zoos, where diners can watch stars graze on 100 percent A5 authentic Wagyu kobe beef.
Featured fare: Dry-aged porterhouse, lump crab cake
Sightings: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Justin Bieber, Billy Bob Thornton, Zach Galafianakis, Vin Diesel, Larry David
Watershed, 1820 Peachtree Road NW; +1 404 809 3561; expensive
Charlie Palmer Steak is a reputed favorite among lobbyists and lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy Charlie Palmer Steak
They're the men and women Americans love to hate -- though, according to recent polls, it's mostly hate -- they're the stars of democracy!
Located within groveling distance of the Capitol, Charlie Palmer Steak is a reputed favorite among lobbyists and lawmakers seeking discretion (and only slightly more gutless cocktail shrimp).
Featured fare: Tuna tartare, hanger steak
Sightings: Bill Clinton, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Al Franken, James Carville and Mary Matalin
West End's Blue Duck Tavern wants you to know it's American, which is why it invokes the adjective twice in the first 50 words of its About page.
That makes it a safe choice for publicity-conscious politicos to gorge on freedom fries.
Featured fare: Wood oven-roasted bone marrow, lemon pepper tuna
Sightings: Barack and Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Brian Williams, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chelsea Clinton
Stumptown has recently become a refuge for celebrities of all stripes drawn by its verdant geography, progressive ethos and beards.
Jerry Seinfeld was recently spotted eating at the trendy food-cart pod on Southeast 28th Avenue near Ankeny Street.
In town for the premier of her new film "Wild," Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern made the scene at Tasty n Alder in Southwest Portland.
Despite chef shakeups in recent years, Bluehour has remained a fashionable destination, esteemed as much for its modish scene as its Mediterranean menu.
Featured fare: Halibut, signature cocktails
Sightings: Gus Van Sant, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, "Portlandia" stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, Portland Trail Blazers' Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews
Bluehour, 250 NW 13th Ave.; 503-226-3394; expensive