Lists are amusing, what do you think of this one?

Besha Rodell’s top 20 LA restaurants…

  1. Maude
  2. Trois Mec
  3. Providence
  4. AOC
  5. Petit Trois
  6. Lukshon
  7. Q
  8. Melisse
  9. n/naka
  10. Animal
  11. Spago
  12. Sqirl
  13. Night + Market
  14. Mozza Group
  15. Bestia
  16. Rustic Canyon
  17. Guisados
  18. Baco Mercat
  19. Tsujita
  20. Republique

It’s not the worst list I’ve ever seen.

guisados at 16? really?

Haha that was my biggest complaint, but notice she didn’t list one restaurant that is not hip/trendy/elegant. Even Guisado’s has art on its walls.

There are no places like Sapp’s or Chichen Itza or anything like that.

trois mec sucks and is the biggest fucking rip off ever. I guess they can afford PR…ok i feel better now.


I think it’s mostly a good list. I’m also surprised by Guisados (which I like but think is overrated) and Lukshon (which I also really like, though not as much as, say, Rustic Canyon). As ‘Best of’ lists go, though, I think it’s pretty appropriate.

I wish she had included at least a token SGV place (maybe Chengdu Taste or w/e) or something, but that’s not really Besha’s scene, is it? And come to think of it, Guisados kind of feels like a token taqueria for this type of thing…

Tell us how you really feel :wink:

It’s definitely an incredibly boring fucking list.

A snooze fest if you will.

Goin’s publicists are second only to Ludo’s.

How they both keep topping lists is a testament to good PR being more important than skill in the kitchen for these things.


Baco Mercat? seriously?

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Solid point.

Where’s Shunji or fucking Mori ???

It’s like she read a couple of horrendous top 20 lists for LA and then arrived at her own list.

But who fucking cares ??? I’ve never found her writing to be interesting, elucidating fun or informative. JGold is a decent to good writer even if you disagree with his taste in grub in my utterly worthless opinion.

Then again these comments are stemming from a horrendous writer himself.

Just my beyond worthless 2.5 cents.

Haha true true. This “writer” doesn’t even list a restaurant and instead puts Mozza Group. That’s a tell. Also listing Quinn Emmanuel’s pet sushi restaurant.

These lists are doomed from the beginning - when dealing with different cuisines (and at different price points) there’s too many factors and you have to account for how one judges the criteria for what makes a restaurant “top.” Is it how delicious the food is? Is it the restaurant’s cultural significance? What role does value play? How do you judge a sushi restaurant like Q vs. an allegedly casual bistro like Petit Trois? Mozza Group vs. Tsujita? How about service, the restaurant’s tenure in the industry, ambiance, environment, etc.? Originality of its dishes, uniqueness of the restaurant’s ethos? All these are likely to be factors, but the list’s manifesto of saying that it provides a list “straight up” for those “christened as LA’s best,” “places that shine the brightest,” “not to be missed under any circumstances” only begs the question. Such an attempt to define “best” across such a stretch of different cuisines, price-points, and aims is self-defeating.

Here, you get a smattering of what’s popular, with a democratic view of having something “luxury,” something “hip/trendy/PR darling” something “simple, fresh Californian,” something “exotic/ethnic,” and something “traditional.”

BUT, the public loves this kind of stuff so people can blabber to their less initiated friends about how much of a foodie insider they are when it comes to the hip, hot new joint in town. Of course, every one of these self-proclaiming foodies love to sound authoritative when they declare “this is the best. LA Weekly said so.” Are these lists useful to someone as a starting point about whether he/she stands a fairly good chance of getting at least a pretty good meal for the restaurant’s category (as long as he/she has the right expectations and a fair understanding of the cuisine)? Sure. Are they good for business? Absolutely. But make no mistake - these lists are by no means dispositive or authoritative on the actual question of what’s “best.” Rather, this list would be more appropriately named "20 highly regarded LA places to try". But that headline doesn’t have quite the same catchiness, does it?

The bigger the claim (“these are the best”), the more evidence one must provide, the more definitional groundwork and disclaimers one must lay, the more accurate one must be.

I don’t blame Besha; the hoi polloi eats this stuff up so as long as people want it, restaurant media will keep on feeding it to them. It’s the internet age, people love lists of “bests” and immediate gratification so they can claim to know it all even though they just peeped the wiki (or LA Weekly list on their newsfeed) 3 minutes ago.

Note: I would have absolutely no problem if this list simply declared itself to be the author’s favorites or like I said “20 highly regarded places to try.” I also would have no problem if the list were attempting to nail down “best” across restaurants in the same echelon/niche/price-point/aims.


Hmm, I find her a good read. I loved her piece about Hatchet Hall’s ridiculous wine list.

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To be fair, Gold does the exact same thing regarding Mozza. LA will never rid ourselves of the Mozza acclaim. We started it, so its our own burden that we must bear.

i guess that’s why i get my restaurant recommendations from fucking kevin

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In my opinion, the best publicists in the city are the the Mozza group’s!

but at least mozza is decent food unlike trois mec which is a fucking joke on you if u ever go…2 oz of protein for a fortune…

I agree with almost all of your points, it’s almost impossible to define best, especially in a city like LA, where a taco from a food truck can be as transcendent as something at Providence.

With that being said, I’ll forever be partial to lists, because an old school J Gold list introduced me to some of the better ethnic spots in the city. From there, I discovered chowhound, rest is history, etc…

At the same time, I just moved to NYC and I’m dying for a list similar to Gold’s. In a city with thousands and thousands of restaurants, there is something so easy about finding a list and being like, all right, this Isaan place will be good, though it may not be revelatory.

So long live lists, as long as we remember to take each of them with a grain of salt.


You can’t convince me that in this city, that pizza is decent.

compared to trois mec their pizza is fucking ambrosia.

but it’s not in my top 10 pizza or restaurant list

but the caramel coppetta with spanish peanuts and marshmallow sauce is