Here we are, another summer gone by (how did that happen and why was it so chilly this year?), sweet corn and tomatoes falling into memories of seasons past, Halloween just around the corner (for real), and now the release of the Zagat 2011 Los Angeles and Southern California Restaurants guide. While it seems like the trend for restaurant recommendations/discoveries lends itself to blogs now more than ever, Zagat is still Zagat, once the whole grail for dining out. Regardless, it's always interesting to track trends and see who's on top, so what's cooking?
We don't have a book in our hands yet, so the press release and website will have to do for now, right off the bat we learn that Sushi Zo has reigned supreme over Urasawa (which fell to number 21, eek!), both omakase staples, Cicada and The Edison tie for top decor, Melisse wins for top service, and Pizzeria Mozza is the fan favorite, again. How did the economy impact dining out? The cost of a meal dropped from $34.95 last year to $34.85 this year, the first time that meal prices have decreased since Zagat launched in 1987. What a doozy. Overall diners reported eating out less frequently, paying more attention to price, and some skipping appetizers/or dessert.
1) Top Food: Palms hole-in-the-wall Sushi Zo takes the cake with a whopping 29 food rating out of a possible 30, in second place comes LA staple Matsuhisa, followed by Top Food vet Melisse, rounded out by Brandywine, and Shiro.
2) Top Decor: Two downtown haunts Cicada and The Edison tie for top interior, in third place comes Belevedere, with the chaotic Bazaar in fourth and finally Bistro Garden in fifth.
3) Top Service: Melisse returns again this year to claim top honors for service, beating out Belvedere, Providence, Sam's By The Beach, and Brandywine.
4) Most Popular: Also back again from last year by popular demand, the perpetually-packed Pizzeria Mozza is still a crowd pleaser, followed by The Bazaar, another no-shocker, Spago, expected, Mozza sibbling the Osteria, and finally Angelini Osteria.