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Jonathan Gold Reveals His 99 Essential LA Restaurants of 2011

Veronica Werhane |
November 10, 2011 | 2:52 p.m. PST

Food Editor

Cod Brandade Fritter at Lazy Ox Canteen. (CreativeCommons/Flickr)
Cod Brandade Fritter at Lazy Ox Canteen. (CreativeCommons/Flickr)
Just as the pre-holiday season begins, esteemed food critic Jonathan Gold delivers an early present to LA food lovers: Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential LA Restaurants of 2011. 

Regarded by many as the greatest gift of food a hungry Angeleno can ask for, Gold's highly-anticipated list features his top picks for restaurants that should not be missed in the City of Angels, accompanied by his review of each.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic has not only earned the respect and admiration of journalists, but has also become a culinary authority in the eyes of foodies and restaurant-goers alike.  Gold has become a source of epicurean wisdom, and is trusted by many to seek out the "best-of-the-best" in LA dining.

Himachi Tostada with herbs, fish sauce viniagrette, and crispy pork.  (CreativeCommons/Flickr)
Himachi Tostada with herbs, fish sauce viniagrette, and crispy pork. (CreativeCommons/Flickr)
So, what's on the list this year?  Gold highlights a few in his introduction—Providence, Spice Table, Mozza, Lazy Ox Canteen, Animal, and Cut.  He also explains what puts the "essence" in an essential Los Angeles restaurant, noting that the city itself has become "a street-food world." 

"LA's most exciting chefs are reimagining street food, from the ramen bowl to the cheeseburger," Gold says.

While many of the restaurants on Gold's list lend themselves to this street-food inspriation, some remain classic, fine-dining establishments serving complex and refined dishes.  Plus, not all of the places on Gold's list are new—some of the veterans include Jitlada and Chichén Itzá, as well as Mozza.  Needless to say these culinary gems have stayed on the list for a reason.

Gold spoke to students and faculty at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism last Tuesday, where he described what distinguishes a great food critic:

"Extrapolation and evaluation are where the real skill and experience of a critic has come in."

Gold has certainly done both with his signature list of hand-picked and tastebud-approved—not 98; not 100—but 99 Essential LA Restaurants of 2011.


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