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Friends of Eater Name Their Single Best Meal of 2014

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From high to low, there were some fantastic meals in Los Angeles this year.

Ledlow, Downtown
Ledlow, Downtown
Elizabeth Daniels
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Kat Odell, Eater Editorial Producer: Sushi Sawada, a six seat sushi bar in Tokyo. In LA, Yamakase, which never ceases to amaze me.

Gary Baum, Senior Writer, The Hollywood Reporter: The tasting menu at Providence.

Pat The sopressata sandwich at Salumi in Seattle rated very high, but I feel like the one perfect dining experience continues to elude me.

Brigham Yen, Editor, Nice Time Cafe with its amazing and authentic Taiwanese dishes. My personal fave isn't like yours: small and large boiled intestines for appetizer, and pork liver over rice noodles for entree! YUM!

Nicole Iizuka, Producer, POPSUGAR: This probably isn't helpful, but my best meal was a foie-gras off that I did with my friend. 5 courses, all foie. That and surprisingly a meal at the Strand House... that caviar & wagyu tartar totally won me over.

Esther Tseng, e*starLA: Sushisho Masa in Tokyo, Japan. Seven seats. Half the price of that place a documentary was made about a couple years back, ten times the length of experience at the sushi bar. That was the best fish and rice I've ever had in my life, with different, successive parts of the same fish prepared in so many interesting ways.

In LA: Maude. Loved how attainable an imaginative tasting menu could be here in L.A. Maude is Curtis Stone's own challenge to himself, a sort of vertical Iron Chef. In a restaurant. In monthly installments. The way he has to go about one ingredient and have it refined and presented as a whole story is hard to imagine, but in my single experience not long after its open, I was inspired and impressed.

Euno Lee, Editor-in-Chief, Daily Trojan; Eater LA Contributor: Roast chicken, beer, and stealing big forkfuls of my girlfriend's truffled cavatelli at République last week.

Caroline on Crack, LA Magazine Contributor: I LOVE brunch at Republique and its brunch offerings are always stellar. But it's all about that time I enjoyed the Farinette with a glass of Vallin rose while sitting at the sidewalk table with my dog at my feet. The best.

Stacey Sun, dineLA Director: Asador Etxebarri in Spain for my honeymoon was unforgettable. The simplicity and quality of ingredients was impressive. In LA, it was brunch at Zoe Nathan's beautiful home in Santa Monica for the launch of her cookbook, Huckleberry.

Garrett Snyder, LA Magazine Contributor: Cofax's chorizo breakfast burrito (while hungover)

Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch and Food is the New Rock Founder: Toss up between chef's counter at Orsa & Winston and chef's counter at Maude. Nothing like being able to watch masters at work, from just a few feet away.

Jeff Miller, Thrillist LA Senior Editor: I had a pretty spectacular meal at Allumette right before it closed that very well may have been the best meal of the year. And any time I go to Dino's for chicken.

Crystal Coser, Eater LA Contributor: Saint Martha. Nearly every dish was a standout, but the octopus with Koshihikari rice and steak and oyster tartare with bone marrow beignets just took things to a whole new level.

Tony Chen, Eater LA Contributor: Contraband foie, whiskey mini bottles and tarte tartin inside an ER.

Joshua Lurie, Founder, FoodGPS: My favorite meal in L.A. was at Pete's (now Ledlow) but just as much for Josef Centeno's food, which was meat-forward and flavorful, as the company. It was a group of family and close friends who were in town for my wedding. We shared suckling pig, two types of steak, puntarelle hearts draped with sea urchin, and much, much more as we passed plates and bottles of beer and reminisced.

My favorite meal anywhere was with my wife at Asador Etxebarri, outside San Sebastian, on our honeymoon. The 25-year-old restaurant, where chef Victor Arguinzoniz cooks most ingredients over a magical wood grill, lived up to the hype. The cockles in borage broth, sweet prawns of Palamós and beef chop were particularly impressive. So was the setting, a tiny village on a rainy day with a mountain backdrop and a flock of sheep that ambled down the main street as the sun set and dessert arrived.

Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor: In Los Angeles, Xian Wei, an underground dinner in San Pedro, was stunning its in complexity and ambition. It's a few notches short of Benu in SF, but in a house instead of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Nothing beats the simplicity of bulgogi, beef tongue, and cold noodles at The Corner Place.

In Vegas, I had fantastic meals at Kabuto, Twist, and Yellowtail, but that last one wins for ambiance (who can beat a perfect view of the Bellagio fountains?)

In Chicago, the creative tasting menu Elizabeth was pretty extraordinary, though I feel like I always have a perfect time at Au Cheval (especially when Art Smith sits next to your table and buys everyone a round of drinks—such a classy guy).

It's difficult, however, to beat a nearly endless parade of super fresh seafood grilled over wood at a tiny spot in Istanbul called Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi. A true gem in the culinary world. Thanks to Katie Parla for pointing the way to this place.


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