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Dec 15, 2009 08:10 PM

Los Angeles Ultimate Restaurant Poll (2009) ... How accurate?

Our fellow 'hound, maxzook, has once again graciously taken up the task of compiling the Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurant Poll, the results of which you can find in the links below: Post 1 of 2 Post 2 of 2

My question is, how accurate do you think those results are?

I don't mean "accurate" in whether maxzook can add and organize the results, as if a hanging chad might have been counted twice, or not at all.

Rather, my question is how accurate is the poll of the relative qualities of Los Angeles restaurants.

For example, the "Over $25" category has Pizzeria Mozza as the 3rd best resaurant, behind only Providence and The Bazaar. Really? Are there only 2 other restaurants in all of LA County that are better than Pizzeria Mozza?

Or that Urasawa, coming in at No. 6, actually has 5 other restaurants that are better than it??? Really? Have those people dined at Urasawa? How many vodka martinis would you have to have to think that Pizzeria Mozza is "better" than Urasawa?

In other words, how much credibility do you put in the poll?

Just curious about your thoughts.

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  1. I put credibility in the poll in that it's a snapshot of what posters here currently think. People here seem to love Mozza. I wouldn't put it in my top 20, but that's interesting nonetheless. I think any "top restaurants" list is going to be really subjective, so even thought I don't think that list-by-committee will be any less subjective, it's interesting to see.

    The fun of the poll for me isn't about the tallies, but reading through the individual posts. If someone posts places I really like plus a place or two I haven't tried, a good sign I should try them.

    1. You make good points.

      I just am too lazy to read through a 100+ reply thread, so I simply ignore the ultimate poll every year.

      1. Zagat at least had Urasawa listed as #1...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Porthos

          In a previous life, as a former Zagat contributor, I've had the opportunity to meet many fellow Zagat contributors / raters.

          ...Which was exactly why I stopped trusting Zagat for anything.

        2. Being in marketing, l have to rely on my own cliches.... "It's the best data available " and should be considered 'directional' not gospel...

          For that reason, I LOVE the Ultimate Poll because it condenses down what people think are tops out there... I don't follow it #1 vs #10, instead I scan the list and happily remember those places I tend to forget in the rush to try something new (Last week I went to Mozza and it was great as I remember, although seeing how WORN the bar looks was a bit of a trip as I still think of it as a 'new' restaurant) and also allows to me to look over new places that for some reason haven't fallen into my radar (I LOVE the Yelp App's bookmark function for that reason. :))

          Anyway, I know how hard it can be to not only gather, but validate all the day (As I get ready to enslave... ah-HEM... hire my 25th intern in 5 years) and I appreciate the work that goes into the poll both by the voters and the compiler... :)


          1 Reply
          1. Unless every CH'er who votes has eaten at every restaurant "ultimate-worthy" then the results aren't exactly valid in that you can't consider Urasawa (6) to be worse than PM (3.)

            I just use the Ultimate results to put places I haven't been to on my to-eat list.

            4 Replies
            1. re: jaykayen

              I agree Jaykayen. I have never been to Urasawa, and probably never will. So I vote for the best of those I've tried. I like to see how specific people vote. Especially, if I've really enjoyed their recommendations...I will add theirs to my list of "next to try."

              1. re: jaykayen

                What's good about the poll results is that they include more information than the straight ranking. Urasawa only had 15 voters, compared to Pizzeria Mozza's 29. However, 11 of those 15 voters placed Urasawa at #1 (73.3%), while only 4 of 29 did for PM (13.8%). The only restaurant with more #1 votes in the Over-$25 category is Providence with 12, but Providence also had more than double the total number of votes (12/31 = 37%). Taking all of that into consideration, and also with price being a major factor in Urasawa receiving fewer total votes, Urasawa seems to fare much better in the standings than its #6 position suggests.

                The straight ranking represents popularity more than actual quality.

                1. re: mrhooks

                  that's some good statistical analysis. The ratio of #1 votes to the number of people who have been to a particular restaurant would be more accurate but this is the closer estimate of who really is #1 or one vs another.

                  1. re: mrhooks

                    "The straight ranking represents popularity more than actual quality."

                    With totally subjective areas such as taste I don't think "actual" quality is something that enters into the process. ;-D>

                    I don't even think the rankings matter all that much in terms of who is number 1 and who is number 25. What this poll is good for is developing a list of interesting places that one can sample in a quest for new experiences and tastes.

                    Raw data like this needs a lot more analysis to be useful, and that's where combing though the archives on CH comes into play. If we are interested in a certain place that we haven't been to yet we can read much more thoughtful, detailed and insightful comments that help build a picture of a restaurant. Not just the food, but individual dishes, ambiance, service and location can all be considered before we finally decide to give it a go.