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New Survey Results: LA's Best Restaurants

By Gillian Ferguson
October 8, 2013

Results are in for the 2014 Zagat Los Angeles Restaurant Survey, in which 19,694 surveyors voted on 1,499 restaurants to determine which spots are the cream of the crop. Angelenos revealed that on average they eat out 2.4 times a week for dinner and spend an average of $38.62 per person, just below the national average of $40.53. We don't like waiting for a table, and 49% report making reservations online, whereas 46% score their spot by phoning the restaurant - about even. We prize our sushi (four of the five Top Food winners are Japanese restaurants) and love a killer cocktail program, while raw bars and small plates have captured our hearts. 

There are new lists in the Survey for every occasion, like where to linger over a boozy brunch, have lunch with your agent or plan a dinner to pop the question. Big names still top our lists, but there are a lot of newcomers to get excited about as well. Read on to find out who takes tops in key categories, and stay tuned for more Survey coverage throughout the week.

  • Top Food in LA

    Only in Los Angeles can you find the city’s best food served from a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it facade. Asanebo, hidden in a strip mall in Studio City, earned top honors for their impeccable sushi and “top-tier omakase.” Rounding out the top five in the category are Sushi Zo, Hamasaku, Mélisse (the only non-Japanese in the top five) and Matsuhisa.

  • Top Decor in LA

    Two restaurants share top honors in this category. The Belvedere, the power-lunching mainstay at the “stunning” Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, is regarded as the Cadillac of dining rooms - Angelenos just can't get enough of its spacious elegance. Meanwhile, Mar'sel also gets the nod, thanks to breathtaking ocean views from Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.

  • Top Service in LA

    Surveyors say that the service at chef Josiah Citrin’s Mélisse is still “impeccable.” The French-American crown jewel of Santa Monica edged out Providence for the top service award in this year’s guide.

  • Most Popular in LA

    “Trust me,” says the menu at Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa, and across Los Angeles a majority of diners say they do. The most popular restaurant in this year’s guide serves a simplified sushi menu designed by Kazunori Nozawa - the master behind the legendary and now-closed Sushi Nozawa - at a price that won’t break the bank.

    The top five most popular restaurants are Japanese (Sugarfish), Italian (Angelini Osteria), American-French (Mélisse), Spanish (The Bazaar by José Andrés) and Californian (Spago), proving that LA diners prefer an eclectic offering.

  • Key Newcomers in LA

    There is always a fashionable crowd spilling out of Bestia’s cavernous, warehouselike space in Downtown’s Arts District. Chef Ori Menashe continues to dazzle Los Angeles with his flawless charcuterie, handmade pastas and sourdough wood-fired pizzas. Other notable newcomers include The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse in Pasadena, Chinatown's Chego!, Hinoki & the Bird in Century City and Santa Monica burger joint Hole in the Wall.

  • Best Buys in LA

    Pull up a milk crate - the best buy in this year’s guide has no chairs, and judging from the line at Gjelina Take Away, no one seems to mind. A beautiful crowd of Ray Ban-clad hipsters can be found noshing on house-cured smoked salmon tartines in the morning, farmer's market salad trios at lunch and Gjelina’s signature pizzas (think: combos like bottarga and jalapeño) come dinnertime.  

  • Top Craft Cocktails in LA

    MB Post reigns supreme as LA’s haute watering hole, landing first place on both the craft cocktails and boozy brunch lists in this year’s guide. Maybe it’s the ocean air wafting through the floor-to-ceiling windows, but cocktails just seem to taste better on this corner of Manhattan Beach. For a surprising twist on a classic, try the Avila’s Heir margarita with a hint of yuzu, or nurse your hangover at brunch with a Coughlin’s Law, a meal in a glass that mixes Tito’s vodka, Belgian Pilsner, tomato, dill, bacon and a quail egg.

  • Top Vegetarian Restaurants in LA

    Open-hearted, bright-eyed and free - those aren’t descriptions, but menu items at LA’s beloved vegetarian hangout Cafe Gratitude. Both the Hancock Park and Venice locales cater to a well-heeled crowd of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians who enjoy the occasional macrobiotic bowl of sea vegetables and adzuki beans. Even the most cynical omnivore will be “energized” from the alkalizing green smoothie of the same name.

  • Best Small Plates in LA

    They may have no more cotton candy and foie gras lollipops, but Bazaar by José Andrés continues to lead the small-plates trend with playful molecular tapas like the liquid olives and oozy “Philly cheesesteaks” (pictured above). But it’s not all smoke and mirrors here - try the delicate platter of dry cured Spanish jamón or the steamed uni buns for a taste of old-fashioned culinary artistry.

  • Best Pizza in LA

    If you want the best pizza in Los Angeles, you’ll have to travel to Long Beach. Michael’s Pizzeria, an offshoot of Michael’s on Naples, once again takes the crown. Dedicated to traditional Neapolitan-style pies, the restaurant makes everything from the dough to the cheese in-house daily. If it’s late-night pizza you crave, try Pizzeria Mozza and Gjelina - both made the list and are open until midnight.

  • Best Burgers in LA

    For the second year in a row, surveyors voted the burger at Golden State as the “hands down best” hamburger in Los Angeles. The prized patty made of Harris Ranch beef and topped with Fiscalini cheddar, glazed applewood smoked bacon, arugula, aïoli and ketchup edged out other notables including Tommy’s, In-N-Out, Hole in the Wall and 25 Degrees.

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