Would you rather your restaurant made it onto the list of America’s 100 best restaurants or the list of the country’s hottest 100 restaurants? Either would be good, of course, but only one restaurant made it onto both of these two just-released Top 100 compilations. It’s The Bazaar by José Andrés, located inside the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.
The Bazaar has won several honors since it opened in late 2008 and the James Beard Foundation named Andres the country’s outstanding chef in 2011. But this double listing is still quite a feat, because the organizations doing the rankings come at them from different angles.
The Top 100 U.S. Restaurants of 2012 comes from blogger deluxe Steve Plotnicki’s Opinionated About Dining website. He gathered submissions from more than 3,000 food-obsessed contributors who supplied the 70,000-plus restaurant reviews used to compile the list. It’s the fifth time the site has published a Top 100 U.S. Restaurants list.
Plotnicki claims “Opinionated About Dining is the only dining survey that factors experience into its rating system. Both restaurants and reviewers are assigned weights: Restaurants based on the ratings they have been awarded and reviewers based on the quantity and quality of the restaurants they have rated.”
The Bazaar finished in 82nd place in this year’s Top 100 U.S. Restaurants rankings, with its 40-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Saam at The Bazaar, coming in 14th.
Chef Andrés was one of seven chefs to have multiple restaurants in this Top 100. The others were Grant Achatz, Dan Barber, Sean Brock, David Chang, Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck.
An elite group indeed, but only Andrés had one of his Top 100 U.S. Restaurant winners, The Bazaar, chosen for restaurant reservation site OpenTable’s 2012 Diners’ Choice list of Top 100 Hot Spot restaurants.
The Top 100 Hot Spots doesn’t rank restaurants in any particular order, but inclusion does mean that customers are beating down the doors to get in.
Food bloggers drive the Top 100 U.S. Restaurant rankings, but paying customers provide the opinions used to compile the OpenTable list. “The Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Hot Spot restaurants are generated from nearly five million reviews collected from OpenTable diners between March 1, 2011 and February 29, 2012,” the company says.
What makes a hot spot hot?
“Going to any one of these dining hot spots feels like you’re at the hippest party in town, only you don’t need an invitation—just a reservation,” says OpenTable chief dining officer Caroline Potter. “Beyond the buzz of innovative food and cocktails, each restaurant has electricity in the air that creates communal excitement. Diners feel like they’re part of an exclusive experience.”
A second José Andrés restaurant, Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, also earned hot spot designation from OpenTable.
Inclusion on either list is an honor and achievement for any chef or restaurateur. Andrés and his Think Food Group partner Rob Wilder, winners of Restaurant Hospitality’s 2010 Richard Melman Award, are setting a high standard for the industry. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next.