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Zagat's 2013 Survey Results for Los Angeles

Top Food
1. Urasawa
2. Michael's/Naples
3. Asanebo
4. Sushi Zo
5. Mélisse

Most Popular
1. 101 Coffee Shop
2. Spago
3. 101 Noodle Express
4. Angelini Osteria
5. Brent's Deli

Top Decor
1. Sir Winston's
2. Mar'sel
3. Cicada
4. Saddle Peak
5. Bazaar/José Andrés

Top Service
1. Providence
2. Shiro
3. Mélisse
4. Belvedere
5. Patina

Best Newcomers
1. Ink
2. Bouchon Bakery
3. Baco Mercat
4. Milo & Olive
5. 800 Degrees

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  1. Thanks for the compiled data. Having said that, I feel that Zagat's ratings system is inherently flawed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      It's all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

      The Top 100 Chowhound List compiled by maxzook in the opinion of most Chowhounds is probably much better, but from the perspective of the hoi polloi it is undoubtedly "inherently flawed".

      1. re: ipsedixit

        People with different tastes...who'd a thunk it? ;-D>

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Beware the hoi polloi. They elect unwanted candidates and eat at Denny's, or apparently Urasawa. And I saw some at Target last week.

          There were also some at the car wash yesterday, and when the guy was done with their cars and raised his hand, they didn't go over to get their keys. So the guy had to move on to the next car without the last car driving off. It caused quite a backup.

          If you ever need one, you can usually find them at Starbucks, ceaselessly adding to the lines and making you wait for your coffee.

          But to really understand them, you need to read the letters to the editor section of the newspaper, or the comments on the bottom of news articles. It's there that you'll find pearls of wisdom that are otherwise unavailable to us.

      2. Here are Zagat's favorites by food type from the 2013 guide;

        American (New) – Melisse, Santa Monica
        American (Traditional) – Farmshop, Santa Monica
        Asian/Fusion – Chinois on Main, Santa Monica
        Barbecue – Bludso's BBQ, Compton
        Burgers – Golden State, Fairfax
        Californian – Lucques, West Hollywood
        Caribbean – Porto's Bakery,
        Chinese – Newport Seafood,
        Continental – Brandywine, Woodland Hills
        Delis – Brent's Deli,
        Dim Sum – Sea Harbour, Rosemead
        Diners – Original Pancake House, Redondo Bch.
        Eclectic – Saam/The Bazaar, Beverly Hills
        French – Melisse, Santa Monica
        Greek – Petros, Manhattan Beach
        Indian – Addi's Tandoor, Redondo Beach
        Italian – Michael's on Naples, Long Beach
        Japanese – Urasawa, Beverly Hills
        Korean – Park's Barbeque, Koreatown
        Mediterranean – Lucques, West Hollywood
        Mexican – Babita Mexicuisine, San Gabriel
        Middle Eastern – Raffi's Place, Glendale
        Pizza – Michael's Pizzeria, Long Beach
        Seafood – Providence, Hollywood
        Small Plates – M.B. Post, Manhattan Beach
        Soul Food/Southern – Johnny Rebs',
        South American – Mario's Peruvian, Hollywood
        Steakhouses – Cut, Beverly Hills
        Thai – Jitlada, East Hollywood
        Vegetarian – Native Foods,
        Vietnamese – Pho So 1, Gardena,

        13 Replies
        1. re: wienermobile

          and here is their list of the 9 best restaurants in LA from their 2013 survey:

          1. Urasawa
          3. Asanebo
          4. Sushi Zo
          5. Melisse
          6. Piccolo
          7. Matsushisa
          8. Echigo
          9. Providence
          10. Angelini Osteria

          1. re: wienermobile

            Yes. Why does this list never change?

            1. re: dvsndvs

              Self-Reinforcing. Those who read Zagat's also write reviews for Zagat's.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  True that. Of course, I also think the chowhound ethos tends to be more adventurous so there is more likely to be novelty in a list of "best" restaurants.

                  1. re: Savour

                    But as I stated before, having Noodle Express 101 on the "most popular" list is evidence that the Chowhound consciousness is seeping, ever so slowly, into the mainstream.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      pretty sure Perceptor was harping about Spice Table before the major pubs as well.

                      (in reference to the below link)

                      http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                      1. re: ns1

                        pretty sure Perceptor was harping about Spice Table before the major pubs as well.
                        ____________________

                        And I'm pretty sure the major pubs were harping about Spago, Urasawa, et al., before there even was a Chowhound Board.

                      2. re: Mr Taster

                        But as I stated before, having Noodle Express 101 on the "most popular" list is evidence that the Chowhound consciousness is seeping, ever so slowly, into the mainstream.
                        ________________________

                        Or, god forbid, the mainstream consciousness is seeping into the Chowhound collective ...

            2. re: wienermobile

              Very curious about Addi's Tandoor in RB. Anyone been since this 2010 post?

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320964

              1. re: PaulF

                yes, it's good, but not as good as al noor and al watan. they're just not in a "nice part of town." i think they just trying to be nice to the south bay. pho so 1 and johhny rebs' anyone?

                1. re: raizans

                  I go to Al Noor sometimes, nothing wrong with that part of town.

                  I would be interested in trying something new -- I'll have to give Addi's a try.

                  I'm more surprised that some Indian spot in Artesia wasn't chosen.

              2. re: wienermobile

                "Zagat's favorites by food type"

                You know, I actually don't hate this list.

              3. In my pre-Chowhound days of the late 90s, each year I would always fill out the Zagat survey and get my guide to keep in the glovebox. I think it's quite an interesting statement on the changing tastes and broadening horizons of Angelenos that 101 Noodle Express is now on the "most popular" list. It never would have happened 15 years ago.

                Mr Taster

                1. Gotta agree with J.L.'s comment, we have always felt Zagat's ratings were inherently flawed, even though I used to participate in them as well. Seems they have become a bit irrelevant in the past few years, I haven't owned a Z guide since 2008.....

                  26 Replies
                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    @ Dirtywextraolives and J.L.

                    Aren't all surveys of this type inherently flawed?

                    Even maxzook's survey of Chowhound is equally inherently flawed because of the selection and response biases, which is probably the same thing that infects Zagat's efforts.

                    Let me ask it another way -- what would *not* be an inherently flawed survey?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I don't think any subjective survey can possibly be flawed if you are talking about accurately reflecting the choices for and against the taste of food (unless you're talking about someone not adding up the votes right perhaps).

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          When talking about objective points like numbers, as in prices, and the reviews are consistently way off, that appears to be a flaw in my mind, inherent or not.

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            Can you point out the ones you have the most disagreement with (and do you know what people have actually eaten at these places so you have an accurate measurement of what they spent on their meals?)

                            1. re: Servorg

                              As I stated up thread, I haven't used a Zagat's in a few years now.... And as a mom of small kids, to ask me to recall something as esoteric as "where did you go to dinner in 2007 & how much did you spend at the time," seems a bit over the top, as I can barely remember what I did last week. So, that would be a no.... I just know that my husband would consistently complain about that one factor every time we used the guide. Hence the reason to no longer bother.....

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Maybe your husband is the outlier, and not Zagat.

                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  Just now running through the top 10 list http://blog.zagat.com/2012/10/the-10-... and looking at the per person costs for each of the places I really don't notice any obviously flawed numbers.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          My point, or rather my husband's, was that their price point average was always waaaayyyyy off, no matter where we went. Cannot just be coincidence. Therefore, it just could not be trusted as any type of accurate guide, no matter what category we were looking at. When you are off by so much so many times, how can one trust any of the other criteria??

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            But that doesn't make it "inherently flawed" does it?

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            Perhaps I should rephrase it as more of a quantitative rather than a qualitative issue.

                            Zagat's data methodology is a lot more flawed when compared to Chowhound's, which I feel is less flawed when it comes to helping the everyday person select an eatery which should result in a statistically higher chance of a favorable outcome for the diner.

                            I agree: There is always gonna be some degree of subjectivity built into the whole business of restaurant reviews. And thus, the perfect method doesn't exist.

                            1. re: J.L.

                              Zagat's data methodology is a lot more flawed when compared to Chowhound's, which I feel is less flawed when it comes to helping the everyday person select an eatery which should result in a statistically higher chance of a favorable outcome for the diner.
                              ___________________________

                              This is not true.

                              The average diner's preferences are very different -- sometimes drastically so -- from the average Chowhound's.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                "The average diner's preferences are very different -- sometimes drastically so -- from the average Chowhound's."

                                Now there's an assertion I can agree with. And like any group that believes its "way" is the only way, we have a general ethos that smacks of knocking on the doors of the unbelievers and saying "Have you heard the good news?" ;-D>

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  "The average diner's preferences are very different -- sometimes drastically so -- from the average Chowhound's."

                                  100% agree here.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    I look at it this way, both Zagat and Chowhound have their purposes but serve different targeted audiences.

                                    To take an analogy.

                                    People who buy cars based on recommendations from Consumer Reports aren't necessarily the same people who buy based on recommendations from Motor Trend.

                                    The former is *generally* for the average consumer; the latter more for the enthusiast.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I would just add that I think there is some value in Zagat if it is taken for what it is, flaws and all. Presumably most people on this board know better than to take it (or yelp for that matter which I find totally useless for food) as gospel.
                                      Having said that, if I need to quickly find a restaurant in a neighborhood I am not familiar with, I find the Zagat app quite useful. If I am trying to determine the best new restaurant in the SGV at any given moment, of course it's useless.

                                      1. re: ronsilverado

                                        So if you 'hounds had to use the zagat app or the yelp app which app do you pick?

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          So if you 'hounds had to use the zagat app or the yelp app which app do you pick?
                                          ____________

                                          Probably Yelp.

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            While we're on the subject, looks like Zagat is ditching the old rating system. Evidently people were confused by all the numbers?
                                            http://gizmodo.com/5951023/zagat-rati...

                                          2. re: ronsilverado

                                            I think there is value in Zagat, just a different value than Chowhound.

                                            I find both valuable. Just like I read both Consumer Reports and Motor Trend, but for different reasons.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              And I had you pegged as a Car & Driver gal.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        All I'm saying is this...

                                        If a friend from out-of-town calls me up, says he'll be in town for a business trip, and asks me for specific restaurant recommendations in L.A., I'd much rather refer to the Chowboard than Zagat in forming my recommendations.

                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          But that's because he's *your* friend.

                                          I trust that you would have much better sense to associate with anyone but a fellow 'Hound. LOL.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Especially Hounds who don't like mooncakes!

                                            :-)

                                          2. re: J.L.

                                            If a friend from out-of-town calls me up, says he'll be in town for a business trip, and asks me for specific restaurant recommendations in L.A., I'd much rather refer to the Chowboard than Zagat in forming my recommendations.
                                            ___________________________________________________________________

                                            Exactly.

                                  2. Actually, particularly when out of state, I have found Zagat a useful resource. Not perfect, but neither is CH, Yelp or any other site. That said, I find CH the best source so tread easy.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: BSW6490

                                        I too find Zagat's mobile apps to be pretty useful, especially when I'm traveling. I'm curious to see what happens now that they've been acquired by Google. Evidently a new (and free) version is being introduced for iOS next week.

                                      2. the service at Urasawa tops all - and if Providence is the tops, LA is hurting.