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POLL RESULTS: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2011: The Top 25 [Post #1 of 2]

Here -- with less fanfare than usual -- are the results of the 2011 Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants Poll. This poll was started in 2002 by Mr. Grub with the dictum: "The concept is simple: everyone is asked to list, in rank order, your five top restaurants in Los Angeles County that you would recommend to houndly out-of-town visitors or to Chowfriends for a special occasion. Since we worship at the altar of deliciousness, your ranking should be based 75% on food and 25% on everything else."

Normally this poll is published in December. This time it's late because maxzook -- the poll compiler for the previous four polls -- was unavailable. There was sufficient interest in continuing the poll, so I volunteered to compile it this year.

This year there were 32 voters total, down from 61 last year. Participation was lower this year in part because of the lateness of the polling period. If I assume the duties of "pollmaster general" again next year I will start it much earlier, and promote it more vigorously.

Here's an overview of the participation this year:

Voters in the Over $25 poll: 30
Voters in the $25 and Under poll: 32
Total voters: 32

Restaurants cited - Over $25 poll: 73
Restaurants cited - $25 and Under poll: 99
Total restaurants cited: 166, including the 6 that were cited in both polls

THE OVERALL TOP 25 (both polls):

For the ranking below, the number immediately after the colon is the total points assigned by voters who scaled their choices from five to one.

The first number in square brackets is the total voters, and the number after the slash is the total voters, if any, who made it their first choice with five points.

The numbers in curly brackets are the 2010 overall rankings, if any. (Note: the 2010 rankings differ slightly from the previously published ones, as some minor errors were found in the 2010 results.)

An an example, Melisse received 32 points from 7 voters, of whom 5 gave it five points, and was rated #12 in 2010.

>>> Ranking <<<

1. Langer's: 53 [12/8] {2}
2. Melisse: 32 [7/5] {12}
3. Providence: 24 [7/1] {1}
4. Animal: 23 [8/2] {3}
5. Bay Cities: 21 [6/3] {4}
6. Father's Office: 18 [5/2] {9}
7. FIG: 16 [5] {134}
8. Pizzeria Mozza: 15 [6/1] {5}
9. ink.: 15 [5] NEW
10. Mariscos Chente's/Coni'Seafood: 15 [4/1] {63}
---. Sea Harbour: 15 [4/1] {31}
12. Gjelina: 14 [4/1] {16}
---. Sotto: 14 [4/1] NEW
14. Newport Tan Cang Seafood: 12 [5] {134}
15. Jitlada: 12 [4/1] {7}
16. Mendocino Farms: 11 [4] {25}
17. LQ@SK: 11 [3/1] NEW
---. Red Medicine: 11 [3/1]
---. Son of a Gun: 11 [3/1] NEW
---. Urasawa: 11 [3/1] {10}
21. Brent's: 11 [3] {35}
22. Hungry Cat: 10 [4/1] {29}
23. Park's BBQ: 10 [4] {32}
24. Mo-Chica: 10 [3/1] {19}
---. Monte Alban: 10 [3/1] {129}
---. Picca: 10 [3/1] NEW

The top new restaurants this year are ink. at #9, Sotto at #12 and LQ@SK (Laurent Quenioux's limited-run pop-up) at #17.

This post contains the complete results for the over and under categories: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/839272

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  1. Thanks for your hard work!

    1. FYI, here are results from previous years:

      2010: 61 total voters, 236 restaurants
      Part 1: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755965
      Part 2: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755966

      2009: 100 total voters, 343 restaurants
      Part 1: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673604
      Part 2: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673605

      2008: 79 total voters, 300 restaurants

      2007: 76 voters, 135 restaurants

      2006: 95 voters, 147 restaurants

      2005: 104 voters, 214 restaurants

      2004: 64 voters, 128 restaurants

      1 Reply
      1. Trivia:

        1. More than 1/3 of everyone voting included Langer's.

        2. SAAM split the vote for The Bazaar: two people voted for SAAM, two voted for The Bazaar. These were tallied separately.

        3. One imposter from the OC snuck in: Marche Modern.

        4. For some reason, all four people who voted for Stella Rossa Pizzeria misspelled it as "Stella Rosa"!

        1. You are awesome for all the work you put into this! Would it be possible for the mods to sticky a post that compiles the links to these lists?

          1. Peripatetic thanks so much for doing all this work!

            1. I'm not sure how to use this poll to any value. Langer's is the best restaurant in L.A. followed by Melisse and then Providence? Really?

              I enjoy Langer's. A lot, but to compare a place that has one great item - pastrami sandwich, with other restaurants that go out of their way to be creative, source excellent material and really know how to cook - just doesn't make any sense at all.

              Keep in mind that Langer's doesn't even cook their own pastrami! They buy it from R.C Provisions. It comes cryovac sealed and they steam it to 209 degrees and hand cut it. Then they put it on bread they also don't bake themselves. Let's just not lets this pastrami-fetishing thing get out of hand. Which is already has.

              4 Replies
              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                "I'm not sure how to use this poll to any value. Langer's is the best restaurant in L.A. followed by Melisse and then Providence?"

                This may help you (the lists separated into the over and under $25 pp categories) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/839272

                As far as Langer's and the fact that they don't "...even cook their own pastrami...or bake..." their own bread. Funny how no one else seems to be able to duplicate their results isn't it?

                1. re: Servorg

                  It is interesting, yes. Others cut their pastrami on a slicer, Langer's by hand (trimming fat along the way) and providing a thicker slice. But you'd think someone would just jump in there and do it "Langer's" style.

                  I had a party recently. And bought a lot of pastrami from R.C. - and steamed it for four hours. Was it the same as Langer's? I honestly can't say. I really need to have them side by side. But I did get a lot of raves for the pastrami. (I also took it out a little early - over 200 degree, but under 209, so it wasn't apples for apples, but awful close. Still, a few extra degrees would have made it a little more tender ) I also bought six or seven of the correct rye loaves from Fred's. And I'm telling you - you could use one of those suckers as weapon. And despite having slices out for people to make a sandwich - 45 people didn't even use up one loaf. Low carb thing. The bread worked out find - heated up in the oven so it gets crispy on the outside and soft (temporarily) on the inside.

                  There is rumor Langer's does something extra - like coat their briskets with something sweet. Not sure that would have much effect since they steam it for hours.

                  I did save the steaming water (for next time perhaps, or I might trying braising a brisket in it - it smells delicious.)

                2. re: foodiemahoodie

                  > I'm not sure how to use this poll to any value. Langer's is the best restaurant
                  > in L.A. followed by Melisse and then Providence? Really?

                  This is an artifact of a change made to the poll in 2008: maxzook split the poll into to parts -- an over $25 part and an $25 and under part:


                  Specifically, he said:


                  After the last poll, several people complained that deciding between, say, Urasawa and The Oinkster was an impossible apples-and-oranges choice. So this year, I’m going to try a new twist: we’re going to vote for up to TEN restaurants – five restaurants in the category of over $25 per person for food, and five in the category of $25 or less for food.


                  The effect of this was to deliberately distort the combined list so that cheaper places are on an equal footing with more expensive ones.

                  One way to fix this is to go back to the old system of just voting for the top restaurant. Looking at the 2007 poll results, I'm not sure it was all that bad:


                  The $25 and under places in the top 40 were:

                  17. Father's Office: 15 (5)
                  26. Vito's Pizza: 10 (4)
                  30. Clementine: 7 (4) [48]
                  33. Oinkster: 6 (4) [48]
                  34. Table 8: 6 (3) [45]
                  38. Nook Bistro: 5 (2) [45]

                  Sure, these places weren't near the top of the list, but then that's where voters thought they should be overall.

                  Another way would be to not produce a merged list, and just present the two lists in the second part of the results on their own. That way there's no artificial ordering going on.

                  Another option would be to have the first poll be ALL places (i.e., both over-$25 and $25-and-under places), and the second poll be $25-and-under alone. Personally, I think that might be the best way to go.


                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    I think the poll works. Anyone that takes the time to read it should understand it. If it makes it easier for some just don't merge the results of over $25 and under $25.