They might not have a decades-long pedigree in the food community, and they might not have an army of anonymous diners silently critiquing restaurants, but, dammit, if you believe in democracy the OpenTable 100 Hottest Restaurants list should still mean something to you. According to the online reservation service’s Web site: “We determined the list of honorees after analyzing more than five million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the country—all submitted by verified diners.”
This is a list created by diners, for diners, without any ulterior motive of steering and tailoring the course of food culture. It’s purely meritocratic: These are the restaurants in America where the most people had the best experience.
Do I particularly like that Pump—of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules fame—is now officially canonized as one of L.A.’s best institutions? No, no I do not. But that’s the whole point—it isn’t up to me. The people have spoken, and if Toca Madera and Sur are what they want, then that information absolutely deserves to be immortalized in a list.
Also, as Angelenos, we should all start backing the OpenTable 100 Hottest list because our city took home 15 of the top spots. Aside from the WeHo socialite spots mentioned above, there’s also Ink, M.B. Post, Republique, Bestia, Perch, Cassia, E.P. & L.P., High Rooftop Lounge, Gjelina, The Ivy, The Nice Guy, and Ysabel.
Congrats to all the L.A. nominees, and if I have to throw down with an eight-hour filibuster defending this list and restaurant democratism as a whole, I’m more than willing to.