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The Year in Eater LA Part 1: Top Newcomers

Mozza, from Chotda in the Eater LA Flickr Pool

Sure, we're only six weeks old, but to close out 2006, Eater LA invited some of our favorite digital food correspondents to join us in assessing the year's best eats, biggest surprises, and favorite neighborhoods for dining out. For those not on vacation and willing to share, we thank you for participating. Next up: Fave standbys, fave meal, biggest surprise, and a headline for 2007.

(1) TOP NEWCOMERS TO THE LA RESTAURANT SCENE IN '06?

Lonny Pugh, editor in chief and dining guru, LA.com: Opus, Hatfield's, BIN 8945, the one whose owners' names rhyme with Schmatali and Schmilverton.

Anne Alderete, Tuna Toast, or as some might know her, Tokyoastrogirl: Mozza, hands down. Definitely the biggest hype, but well-deserved since they actually delivered. I love that L.A. finally has a "real" pizza place.

Dana Harris, Variety film editor and editrix of The Knife: Cut, but it's become the Hyde for millionaires. Hatfield’s was probably the most interesting restaurant to open last year. And Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point—why does OC have this restaurant and we don't?

Rosie O'Neill, Colleen Cuisine: This was a pathetic year for new restaurants in L.A. Choosing the top newcomers is like voting in the 2004 elections... you can't win. I've only tried one of the newbies this year - BLD - and I found it disappointing. Of the rest, I'm curious to try Cut, but haven't made it out there yet.

Pat Saperstein, Eating L.A.: Mozza, BLD, Cut, Lou, Square One, and no doubt Hatfield's, except I still haven't eaten there.

Lesley Balla, yours truly: While plenty of interesting places opened this year, nothing could touch the buzz around Mozza, warranted or not, and even Cut to some degree. Other notables: Hatfield's, which I have't tried yet, and the Culver City explosion (BottleRock, Wilson, K-Zo, Tender Greens, etc.).

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