Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.






  • pinitbutton We Invent the Future
graydavissophiegayot 300x173 We Invent the Future

James Hausberg (Board Member Concern), Frank Mottek, Governor Gray Davis; Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


This is what the 37th Governor of California, Gray Davis, said last night at the first Speaker Series event at the Carroll & Co store on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. The “we” he was referring to is the Golden State.



 The Speaker Series, hosted by Frank Mottek from the KNX AM1070 Business Hour, benefits the CONCERN Foundation for Cancer Research. Over the past 42 years, the foundation has raised over 42 million dollars to finance research to fight this deadly disease. Derek Alpert, the foundation’s president, was happy to report that 95 cents of every dollar collected actually goes back out. The highlight of the financing campaign is the Block Party held every year at the Paramount Studios back lot on Melrose, where more than 70 restaurants and wineries come together to showcase the best of what they have to offer. Derek’s goal this year is to raise about $2 million at the fundraiser, which will take place July 10.


Note: Carroll & Co., the elegant menswear store, will donate 10% of each sale when shoppers mention the CONCERN Foundation through Sunday. And Porta Via, the restaurant across the street that provided hors d’oeuvres and wine for the Series, will be giving 20%.

Wet and Wild

on May 12th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Wet and Wild
lego man waterpark 246x300 Wet and Wild

Currently under construction, the LEGOLAND Water Park in Carlsbad, CA is set to open May 28

By Jeff Hoyt


We recently visited LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad outside of San Diego for the very first time. Our two-year-old was impressed with the Fairy Tale Brook ride which took us over water through storybook characters like the Big Bad Wolf and Jack and the Beanstalk, as well as the 3-D Bob the Builder movie.


The indelible memory I have is of the Mexicali earthquake which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale. There was still plenty to do in the quake’s wake as the rides were shut down and inspected, including visiting MINILAND USA, which features notable buildings from New York City to San Francisco made entirely out of LEGOs.


Continue reading “Wet and Wild” »

So Long, Sona

on May 11th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton So Long, Sona
sophiegayotdavidmyerssonarestaurant 300x283 So Long, Sona

Chef de cuisine Kuniko Yagi, pastry chef Ramon Perez, chef David Myers with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

After many months of swirling rumors, David Myers’s fine dining restaurant Sona will be closing its doors after a last service this Saturday, May 15th.

We were impressed with the restaurant from its 2002 opening, and recognized the talents of the then-twenty-eight-year-old chef. At 17/20, it was one of our highest-rated restaurants in Los Angeles, and even made our Top 40 Restaurants in the US list in 2007. Even today, it graces many of our Top 10 lists, including: Top 10 Los Angeles Wine List Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles Business Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles Food Rating Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles Romantic Restaurants, Top 10 Los Angeles California Restaurants and Top 10 Los Angeles Special Occasion Restaurants.

Continue reading “So Long, Sona” »



  • pinitbutton Sad Ending for Happy Meals?
115057 mcdonalds Sad Ending for Happy Meals?

McDonald's Happy Meals may undergo a drastic change

By Jeff Hoyt


I admit to bribing my two-year-old daughter with television to get her to eat her dinner. Is it worse to use toys to get her to eat? Some legislators think so, when the meal in question is as bad for her as Sniper is to Dora.



County officials in Silicon Valley, California, have banned the inclusion of toys in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt, or high amounts of sugar or fat. This seems to put the ubiquitous McDonald’s Happy Meal squarely in their sights. But my precious Jemma can’t ride her Elmo tricycle by herself through the Golden Arches drive-through. Is this the government getting too involved in parental decisions, or an effective method to combat childhood obesity in kid-friendly restaurants? We want to hear from you. Weigh in on our community forum on this and other hot topics.


Continue reading “Sad Ending for Happy Meals?” »

  • pinitbutton Last Minute Mother’s Day Brunch Recommendations
mothersdaybrunchgayot 300x257 Last Minute Mother’s Day Brunch Recommendations

Find on the best place for Mother's Day Brunch

by Sophie Gayot


You still haven’t found a place for brunch tomorrow to honor your mother? Fear not! We’ve got you covered with our Top Mother’s Day Brunch Restaurants near You, as well as Top 10 Gifts and even Top 10 Wines for Mother’s Day. So now you have no excuses!


And, for our readers in the Chicago area, you can still listen to my radio interview which aired yesterday on Kiki Vale’s show on WJJG-AM 1530, where I let listeners know where to find these restaurants in Chi-town. We also discussed some of Chicago’s best restaurants, and other local discoveries.


  • pinitbutton More Ideas for Mothers Day in New York
oakroom 300x203 More Ideas for Mothers Day in New York
The Oak Room will be offering a special three-course brunch menu

by Meryl Pearlstein



While everyone can take advantage of our Top 10 Mother’s Day Brunch Restaurants Near You, we’ve got some Mother’s Day Brunch and Dinner specials in New York City.  Don’t forget to check out our list of the Top 10 Restaurants for Mother’s Day Brunch in the U.S.




Marea: Chef Michael White, one of our personal favorites, takes Italian-style seafood to a whole new level at Marea on Central Park South. The restaurant will be serving brunch from 11:30am–2:30pm, and moms can enjoy a complimentary glass of Prosecco. Try any of the wonderful crudo choices.


Maze by Gordon Ramsay at The London: Gordon Ramsay’s New York location offers French-based cuisine with Asian influences and a special Mother’s Day brunch menu. Enjoy classic fish and chips or something more inventive such as the pressed octopus terrine. Mothers will receive a rose with their meal.


Continue reading “More Ideas for Mother’s Day in New York” »

  • pinitbutton Mothers Day Brunch in New York
harrison for real Mothers Day Brunch in New York

The Harrison will be offering a special prix fixe menu

by Meryl Pearlstein 



No matter where you live, we offer recommendations for Mother’s Day Brunch Restaurants Near You, and Top 10 Mother’s Day Brunch Restaurants in the U.S. Here are restaurants where you can celebrate with Mom in New York:




Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York: Executive Chef Joel Dennis will create a memorable three-course French brunch inside this elegant restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel. The prix fixe menu is $95 with such specialties as lobster benedict.

Anthos: Just because you can’t take Mom to the Greek islands doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some fabulous Greek cuisine. Anthos means “blossoming” in Greek, and you will love the cherry blossoms featured throughout the restaurant while partaking of a three-course special menu for $60/person and $25/child.

  Continue reading “Mother’s Day Brunch in New York” »



  • pinitbutton The 2010 James Beard Awards
redcarpet1 300x225 The 2010 James Beard Awards

Restaurant impresario Pat Kuleto arrives on the red carpet

Monday night’s James Beard Foundation Awards at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center brought a lot of glory to a lot of very deserving chefs, restaurateurs and restaurants. 


Our newest favorite restaurant in Manhattan (overseen by one of our favorite chefs), Marea, took home the glory as Best New Restaurant. Congratulations, Michael White, you and your team definitely deserve kudos for opening a high-end seafood emporium during a recession and maintaining the highest level of service and cuisine in a consistently welcoming environment. We also love Marea’s sommelier Sophie Leibowitz, who introduced us to a fabulous wine, the 2005 Argiolas
Korem from Sardegna.


  Continue reading “The 2010 James Beard Awards” »



  • pinitbutton Your Private Chef for a Cause
sophiegayotflavors 300x231 Your Private Chef for a Cause
2010 Flavors of Los Angeles Culinary Gala

by Sophie Gayot



I attend fundraising dinners quite often, but the one being held on May 23rd, outdoors at City National Plaza in downtown Los Angeles, is my favorite. Not because I am the Honorary Chair, nor that it will be the fifth GAYOT Dinner Series, but because of its unusual format.


Continue reading “Your Private Chef for a Cause” »

Goodbye to Grace

on May 01st, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Goodbye to Grace
riverakevinluzande 212x300 Goodbye to Grace

Rivera chef de cuisine Kevin Luzande & general manager Matthew Washton

by Sophie Gayot


Last night, I heard some important restaurant news while attending the 15th annual fundraiser for UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Pretty Woman’s favorite hotel. There was a lot of good food from, Church & State, Lazy Ox Canteen, Patina, Rivera and Bottega Louie and fine wines from the Stags Leap District, a non-profit organization of Cabernet Sauvignon vintners and growers from Napa.



I arrived too late to try Patina’s Tony Esnault’s foie gras, but I still enjoyed some from Bottega Louie. I got to meet Church & State’s new chef, Joshua Smith, and reconnected with Lazy Ox Canteen’s Josef Centeno (who was kind enough to appear at my first radio show on KNX with Frank Mottek back in 2005). The breaking news came from Matthew Washton, the general manager of Rivera: the restaurant has taken over Grace restaurant and will open sometime this October as a more casual and less expensive version of Rivera.

  Continue reading “Goodbye to Grace” »

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