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Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2006

2006 ULTIMATE LOS ANGELES RESTAURANTS

Two-year old Providence soared to the top of Chowhound’s Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants list for 2006, racking up more than 50% more votes than the runner-up, evergreen Spago. Chef Michael Cimarusti’s achievement is particularly notable since chowhounds are notoriously food obsessed and virulently anti-trendy. It's safe to say that even the most jaded New Yorker would delight in Providence’s Le Bernadin-class seafood.

Chowhounds were asked to list, in rank order, their top five restaurants in LA County where they would take houndly out-of-town visitors or would recommend for a special occasion. Evaluations were based 75% on food and 25% on everything else.

The votes were tabulated as follows. Restaurants were given 5 – 1 points (5 for top ranked, etc.) Restaurants with the same number of points are listed below by number of votes, then alphabetically. After each restaurant’s name are total points, followed by (# votes/ # "1st choice" votes) for restaurants receiving multiple votes or one "1st choice" vote.

Voter turnout by hounds was down a bit this year, with 95 ballots submitted compared to 104 last year. A total of 147 different restaurants (compared to a whopping 214 last year) received votes. Given the greatly increased participation on the new and improved chowhound.com board, the drop is a bit surprising. Perhaps the tacit understanding that voters should have dined at least three times (once recently) in a restaurant to vote for it dampened turnout. In addition, the trigger-happy moderators’ heavy-handed disclaimer of responsibility may have also dampened enthusiasm.

Newcomers scored impressively. Mozza, the Batali-Silverton nouveau pizzeria that opened softly in December, managed to impress those few hounds patient and persistent enough to get a table to enter the poll in the top 20. Cut, Puck’s cutting-edge steakery, blasted onto the list at #8. And Hatfield’s, chef Quinn and dessert maven Karen’s eponymous fresh French eclectic, hit the chart at #12 with a bullet.

Some favorites shuttered – sadly – this year, notably Bastide, Le Dome, Angelique Café, and Norman’s, which also became the first LA restaurant to receive Ultimate votes posthumously.

Turnover this year was staggering, with virtually the entire mid- to end-of-the-list changing over. Yet, the core of fine dining remains solidly along Third, Beverly and Melrose, and our very own treasure trove of Asian ethic joints of a phenomenal variety of sizes and specialties remains in the San Gabriel Valley.

Please print this so that when Uncle Chuck and Auntie Essie ask where the best upscale Mexican food is in the city, you can whip out your 2006 Ultimate Restaurants list and send them off to Babita. They’ll thank you.

Providence 156 (36/18)
Spago 98 (26/10)
A.O.C. 91 (28/4)
Angelini Osteria 69 (29/5)
Lucques 59 (17/5)
Grace 45 (12/5)
Urasawa 41 (109/3)
Cut 37 (11/4)
Jar 35 (15/1)
Sona 32 (9/5)
Langer’s Deli 31 (11/2)
Hatfield’s 29 (8/3)
La Buca 29 (12/1)
Babita 27 (10)
Opus 24 (7)
Mako (BH) 22 (7)
Mozza 22 (8/1)
Mastro’s 21 (7/2)
Hungry Cat 20 (10)
Sushi Zo 19 (5/1)
Josie 18 (6/1)
Bistro K 16 (4/1)
Melisse 16 (6)
Matsuhisa 15 (5)
JiRaffe 14 (6)
Chung King 13 (5)
Asenabo 11 (4)
La Cachette 11 (3)
Saddle Pk Ldge 11 (4)
Frankie’s Melrose 9 (3)
La Terza 9 (4)
Kiriko 8 (4)
Monte Alban 8 (3)
BLD 7 (2)
Campanile 7 (2/1)
Canele 7 (2)
Din Tai Fung 7 (3)
Literati II 7 (2)
Max 7 (2)
Ortolan 7 (3)
Ruth’s Chris 7 (2/1)
Sushi 4 on 6 7 (2/1)
Bay Cities Deli 6 (2)
New Concept 6 (3)
Orris 6 (3)
Sushi Nozawa 6 (2)
Boa 5 (1)
Christy’s 5 (1/1)
El Parian 5 (1/1)
Golden Triangle 5 (1)
Grill on Alley 5 (1)
Krua Thai 5 (1)
Lawry’s Prime Rib 5(1)
Meals by Genet 5 (2)
Sushi Ike 5 (1/1)
Swan 5 (1)
Water Grill 5 (3)
Whist 5 (1)
Alejandro’s 4
Bistro 561 4
Blair’s 4
Brent’s Deli 4
Dan Tana’s 4 (2)
Full House 4
Go Mart 4
J & J Shanghai 4
La Paz 4
Lu Din Gee 4
Sanamluang Café 4 (2)
Sea Harbor 4
Sushi 101 4
Sushi Gen 4 (2)
R-23 4 (2)
Violet 4 (2)
Vivoli 4 (2)
Cuban Bistro 3
Guelaguetza 3
Harvest Inn 3
Il Grano 3 (2)
Jay Bharat 3
Jitlada 3
Katsu-Ya 3
Kazu 3
King Taco 3
La Casita Mexicana 3 (2)
La Fonda Antequeno 3
Metro Café 3
Mi Indio Bonito 3
Nook Bistro 3
Peppone 3
Restaurant Christine 3
Shaab 3
Shensengumi Yakatori 3 (2)
Shibuya 3
Table 8 3
Tender Greens 3
Valentino 3 (2)
Wat Thai Temple 3
Azimi Sushi 2
Angeli Caffé 2 (1)
Beechwood 2
China Islamic 2
Chinois on Main 2
El Tapatio 2
Engine Co 28 2
Enoteca Drago 2
Ham Ji Park 2
Honey Pig 2
Huarache 2
King’s Fish Hse 2 (1)
Las Fuentes 2
Lee Kum Kee 2
Locanda Veneta 2
Patina 2
Phong Dinh 2
Pupuseria del Valle 2
Rahal 2
Sa Rit Gol 2
Secret Japanese Beef 2
Taco Baja Ensenada 2 (2)
Tama Sushi 2
Vincenti 2
Yakatori-Ya 2
Zankou 2
Z Sushi 2 (2)
Attari Sandwiches 1
Carlito’s Gardel 1
Chaya Brasserie 1
Clementine 1
Dai Ho 1
Daikokuya 1
Giorgio Baldi 1
Izayoi 1
Joe’s 1
Mike & Ann’s 1
Mulberry St Pizza 1
My Secret Recipe 1
Nazam 1
Oinkster 1
Phillippe’s 1
Red, White 7 Bluezz 1
Roy’s 1
Summit House 1
Sushi Sasabune 1
Trattoria Tre Venezia 1
Yong Su San 1

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  1. Thanks for another outstanding effort, Mr. Grub!

    1. Terrific work! You are well-named, Mr. Grub. There does appear to be a slight glitch on the Urasawa parenthetical info.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mc michael

        Thx, Mc. Urusawa rec'd 10 votes, 3 of which were 1st choices.

      2. The most Accurate Restaurant Ultimate List ever. The Hounds have spoken. Great Job! Grasshopper is pleased.

        1. Looks pretty good to me, no surprises really. Thanks for putting in the work to tabulate all of it.

          1. Thanks Mr Grub for all your hard work! It's a great list and it's terrific you're willing to compile it.

            Just a note though, Angelique Cafe is still open. I ate there last week. The menu is the same and the former owners are still making the charcuterie. The staff said the change happened a couple months ago and the new owners were planning some renovations to the upstairs.

            I thought perhaps the variety of the charcuterie plate wasn't exactly the same as I remembered it, but some old favorites are definitely still on it. We didn't try a huge variety of stuff (salad and charcuterie is the perfect lunch in my opinion), so I can't speak to any possible decline in quality in other items.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ks in la

              Perhaps there should have been an asterisk.... Angelique Cafe run by its new owners is like Urusawa run by Cheesecake Factory. Somehow it's just not the same.

              Thank heaven you can still purchase Herve Commereuc's amazing pates here: http://oalabouche.com/default.aspx

              1. re: Mr Grub

                Excellent! Thank you for that info!

                Now if I could only figure out where the croissant guy who used to run National Bakery in Palms ended up, I'd have all my favorite LA French treats.

                1. re: ks in la

                  I've been looking for him too. The last I heard is that he tried opening a place downtown, but it didn't work out. The owners of Cafe Laurent, the French place on Overland, near Culver, may know where he is as I think they did some business together (either that or its some ex-pat French thing I will never understand).

                  1. re: scottyp

                    I heard about the downtown thing as well from the women who run Simpang Asia, I'm sorry it didn't work out. Please post if you hear anything else! I really miss his perfect croissants - I have not found their equal and I've been looking hard.

                    1. re: ks in la

                      Yum, those croissants! Calico Forrest