Jonathan Gold may be an authority on ethnic dining in Los Angeles, but his “Counter Intelligence” guidebook is eight years old and in desperate need of an overhaul. Yelp is comprehensive, but with so many anonymous critics, it’s impossible to trust. Urban Spoon has an iPhone application where you literally shake the device into submission until it spits out a recommendation. Do you really want to leave your stomach to a culinary roll of the dice? For Eat: Los Angeles, Colleen Dunn Bates employed several of L.A.’s top food writers to deliver content, including Linda Burum, Jenn Garbee and Pat Saperstein. Finally, Los Angeles has a restaurant guide from professional food writers that truly spans the city. 1,100 listings means you’ll never go hungry or thirsty.
The book is easy to navigate, divided by Restaurants, Breakfast + Lunch, Coffee, Tea + Juice, Food That’s Fast, Gourmet To Go, Bakeries + Sweets, Wine + Spirits, Shops, Services + Events. Each category is sorted geographically: Central City, Eastside, San Gabriel Valley, East Valley, West Valley, Westside: Central, West of the 405 and South Bay to South L.A.
There’s no way to know who wrote each entry, but at the end of each category, you’ll find a GOOD FOOD NEIGHBORHOOD. Pat Saperstein takes on Silver Lake, Boyle Heights and South Pasadena. Jenn Garbee tackles Abbot Kinney. Jean T. Barrett covers 3rd Street and Ventura Boulevard (Studio City). Lennie LaGuire & Leah Keesun Park explore Koreatown. Linda Burum handles San Gabriel Valley and Artesia.
Of course, even a guide with six contributing editors and 1,100 listings is still bound to have omissions. That’s unavoidable. Hopefully volume two will include special spots like Elena’s Greek-Armenian Cuisine, Paulette Macarons, Pollos El Brasero, Mendocino Farms, Cook’s Tortas, Garo’s Basturma, Hamjipark, Luscious Dumplings, Inc., Meals by Genet, Chin-Go-Gae and Dutch Oven Bakery.
To stay current, Prospect Park Books just launched a companion website, which includes an EAT OF THE DAY, NEW EATS (listings that surfaced since publication), THE EAT BLOG, Jenn Garbee’s new GOOD FOOD NEIGHBORHOOD (Culver City) and Food Lover’s Links. Strangely, there’s no link to Food GPS.