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Industry Experts on the Top Restaurant Standbys of 2012

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Top Newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.
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[Photo: Bäco Mercat, an oft mentioned 2012 standby.]

Q: What were your top standbys of 2012?

Eddie Lin, Deep End Dining: Waterloo & City, Plan Check, Sunny Spot, UMAMIcatessen, Hop Woo in Chinatown, Chego, Pho So 1 in Van Nuys, and, um, Souplantation.

Lesley Barger Suter, dine editor, LAmag: I don't get to revisit places as often as I'd like (damn this job!), but here were my "regular" spots: Baco Mercat, Musso & Frank (always), Ricky's Fish Tacos.

Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch: For lunch it was Oo-Kook in K-Town, Sapp in Thai Town, Tsujita in West L.A. and the 101 Noodle Express in the Fox Hills Mall. For dinner eating at a place twice would qualify as a lot for a guy with two kids who writes about lunch, so I guess...Baco Mercat, Animal & Son of A Gun, Night + Market, Ink, Spice Table and Picca.

Jeff Miller, LA editor, Thrillist: Robata Jinya and Doughboys are both walking distance from my apartment and are both delicious for different reasons. I go to each so much, they don't need to ask for my order (though both still do).

Maggie Nemser, founder, Blackboard Eats: As a Westsider, most of my regular joints are close by. I hit GTA early for the fried egg sandwich with homemade hot sauce or late in the afternoon for the bottarga with jalapeno pizza. Sunny Blue is a BlackboardEats hq go-to lunch spot for their homemade omusubi. Axe makes a mean and huge pancake that now comes in a smaller size and their superfood-packed composed bowl with quinoa does a body good. I am still hoping they will bring back the shrimp squid scallion pancake. Kiriko's lunch special is one of the best. The nearby and new ROC (aka where to get soup dumplings without driving to SGV) may soon become a more regular spot, if not just for the old-school scallion pancake that reminds me of a place I went to as a kid in New York called Pig Heaven. Irori has been my weekly sushi spot for 5 years. It changed ownership, but thankfully Masa is still there crafting the perfect bite of halibut with shiso leaf yuzu salt and lemon. YongSuSan is so special and I particularly love their silky Jap Chai (glass noodles dish). As a bonus they have adorable private rooms that double as efficient conference rooms. Picca is a standard. I am cuckoo for the locro de quinoa and pretty much any ceviche on the menu. Petros sees a lot of me enjoying the avgolemono and half chicken stuffed with feta. Santouka in the Mitsuwa market's for toroniku (aka salted ramen with special pork with heavenly broth) holds strong in the winter lineup.

Brigham Yen, DTLA RISING with Brigham Yen: Blossom Vietnamese and Shen Shin Gumi.

Jason Kessler, Bon Appetit contributor: Chego, K-Zo, Tender Greens, Langer's.

Esther Tseng, e*starLA: Sotto, Bäco Mercat, L&E Oyster Bar, Robata & Ramen Jinya, Eva Restaurant, The Hungry Cat.

Josh Lurie, Food GPS: One place that I'd definitely been sleeping on is Rodded, a family-run restaurant on Thai Town's western fringe, featuring really flavorful duck and beef noodle soups, atypical options like daikon cakes, and what might be the best fried bananas in the city.

Tony Chen, contributor, Eater LA: Pitfire Pizza, Blue Cow Kitchen, Darabar.

Matthew Kang, contributor, Eater LA: Definitely Picca. I went there more times than I can remember. Also Sotto, A Frame, Chego, Father's Office, Nong La, Tsujita.

Kat Odell, editor, Eater LA: sugarFISH, Picca, Milo & Olive, bar at Eveleigh, Cafe Gratitude Venice, Superba Snack Bar, Axe for brunch. I also spent a fair amount of time on Sawtelle this year. Of note, NongLa. Also Pa-Ord in Thai Town and Mama Lu's Dumpling House in the SGV.

Baco Mercat

408 South Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90013

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