Jonathan Gold’s 99 Essential and 101 Best Restaurants, 2005-2017

My hero died this past weekend. It never was – and never will be – just about the food, but for now, I cannot find any words, so I’m expressing myself in data and figures. Here is a spreadsheet of all the restaurants Jonathan Gold listed from 2005 to 2017. Scroll down past the spreadsheet for instructions on how to read it.

Words about how I feel later. If ever.

Jonathan Gold’s Bestssential LA Restaurants, 2005 – 2017

HOW to READ THIS SPREADSHEET

Restaurants Listed Down the Side

Restaurants are listed down the side, and includes all restaurants that have appeared on any list in any year, including a list of Things to Eat in LA. This means that there are some restaurants that have never been listed for the restaurant itself, but do have some food that you’ve got to eat, e.g. Tito’s Tacos has never been on a restaurant list, but it is on this spreadsheet because Tito’s old-school hard shell tacos are something you should eat at least once.

I uploaded the spreadsheet so that the restaurants are listed in rank order by year. For 2005-2011, JGold did not rank the restaurants, so they are listed alphabetically.

Years and Other Across the Top of the Spreadsheet

Years 2017 to 2005 are listed backwards across the top. From 2005 to 2011, JGold’s list was 99 Essential Restaurants, in no particular order. So, if the restaurant was “essential” that year, it has that year’s number in the column. From 2013 to 2017, JGold’s List was 101 Best Restaurants, ranked in order from 1st Best to 101st. The restaurant’s ranking is in the column for that year.

Ignore the “TDL” column; that’s just a note to myself that I’ve eaten there. “C” is an indication that the restaurant has since permanently closed. “EBYD” is “Eat Before You Die.” A restaurant’s dish is listed there.

If you only want to see a certain year’s list, e.g you want to see what JGold thought was “essential” all the way back in 2005, use the filters at the top of the column, e.g. the filter at the “05” column and only “show 05.” That’s about as deep as this lesson in how to use a spreadsheet is going.

Some Initial Impressions

Ten restaurants have made JGold’s list every year since His lists came into existence in 2005. I wonder about some of these, but I will wonder them to myself because my Mama always told me if I have nothing nice to say, don’t say it unless it’s in a private message.

JGold’s Gold Standard

These are the restaurants that have been on his list in one for or another, every year.

  1. Providence
  2. Spago
  3. Lucques
  4. Vincenti
  5. Jar
  6. Meals by Genet
  7. Angelini Osteria
  8. Sapp Coffee Shop
  9. Marouch
  10. Langer’s Deli

There are a few that came close, with strange off years somewhere in the middle, like AOC which wasn’t included for two years in 2010 and 2011, which I thought was because it was closed before moving from 3rd Street to Beverly Blvd, but AOC didn’t actually close until 2013 or maybe even 2014. The other weird one-off year was for Guelaguetza, which was left off the 101 List in 2015. These are mysteries that only JGold knew.

JGold’s “101 Best” All-Stars (2013-2017)

These are the 39 restaurants that have been on His 101 Best list every year for the five years it’s been in existence (2013-2017)

  1. Providence
  2. Spago
  3. Lukshon
  4. Trois Mec
  5. Mozza
  6. Rustic Canyon
  7. n/naka
  8. Lucques
  9. Cut
  10. Bestia
  11. Animal
  12. Shunji
  13. Vincenti
  14. Melisse
  15. Gjelina
  16. Sqirl
  17. Tasting Kitchen
  18. Sea Harbour
  19. Jitlada
  20. Sotto
  21. Park’s BBQ
  22. Jar
  23. Meals by Genet
  24. Church & State
  25. La Casita Mexicana
  26. AOC
  27. Angelini Osteria
  28. Drago
  29. Coni Seafood
  30. Kogi Taqueria
  31. Guelaguetza
  32. MB Post
  33. Attari Sandwich
  34. Tsujita Ramen
  35. Mariscos Jalisco
  36. Sapp Coffee Shop
  37. Mayura
  38. Marouch
  39. Langer’s Deli
JGold’s “99 Essential” All-Stars (2005-2011)

These are the 22 restaurants that were on His 99 Essential list every year for the seven years it was in existence (2005-2011)

  1. Angelli Caffe (closed)
  2. Angelini Osteria
  3. Babita
  4. Border Grill
  5. Campanile (closed)
  6. Casa Bianca
  7. Chichen Itza
  8. Euro Pane
  9. Guelaguetza
  10. Hungry Cat
  11. Jar
  12. Kiriko
  13. Langer’s
  14. Lucques
  15. Marouch
  16. Meals by Genet
  17. Musso & Frank
  18. Providence
  19. Sapp Coffee Shop
  20. Spago
  21. Tacos Baja Ensenada
  22. Vincenti
Additional Notes About this Spreadsheet
  • This list of all of Jonathan Gold’s “best of” lists is public, shareable, and available for download directly from docs.google here: JGold_ListofLists. Feel free to share the link, download the spreadsheet and share the info. Credit to me for the tedious task of typing this all in would be nice, but you don’t have to. I’ve worked in corporate before. I’m used to people’s snatching credit for work I’ve done.
  • The information might have omissions and/or errors because I’m not perfect (despite the rumors). If you notice anything that’s missing, inaccurate, etc. just let me know. I’ll fix it.
  • If you scroll to the right, other information like address, telephone, hours, are listed, but not for everything. That’s the only good thing yelp is for.
  • I am currently working on cross-referencing this spreadsheet with a list of LA Restaurant CORKAGE FEES, which I started a few years ago, but haven’t updated since forever ago. If you have info (or want to help), hit me on email or in the comments.
  • OF COURSE there is a “deck” of pie charts and graphs that illustrate the percentage breakdowns by cuisine, geographic location, price points, and parking situations. Graphed over time. But I can’t share it because a girl’s gotta have some dignity, you know.
  • Thank Gold the Los Angeles Times already has a google map of the last list.
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  • jeankh

    This is incredible. Thank you for putting your time and analytical skills into constructing this loving tribute to Jonathan Gold’s work.

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