The Daily Meal's 101 Best Restaurants Panel

The industry experts who helped to craft our list.

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When it came time to begin the vast and complex task of identifying the country's best restaurants, we decided to field our distinguished peers for their opinions. Thirty panelists completed the survey based on our master list, however, some preferred to remain anonymous. Here are the illustrious members of our expert panel. 

Kelly Alexander, Freelance writer

Brett Anderson, Restaurant Critic, The Times-Picayune

Tim Carman, Staff Writer, The Washington Post

Carolynn Carreño, Freelance writer

Leslie Cole, FOODday Staff Writer, The Oregonian

Camas Davis, Freelance writer

Dave Eckert, Host, Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert (PBS)

John T. Edge, Author and Freelance writer

J.J. Goode, Contributing Editor, Details Magazine

Ronald Holden, Contributor, Seattlest

Kat Kinsman, Managing Editor, Eatocracy

Phil Lempert, Editor and CEO, Supermarket Guru

Ben Leventhal, Co-Founder, Eater and The Feast (NBC)

Jordan Levy, Food Insider

John Mariani, Columnist, Esquire, and writer

Nycci Nellis, Co-Anchor, Foodie & The Beast (WFED-AM)

Penny Pollack, Dining Editor, Chicago Magazine

Julia Rappaport, Assistant Arts and Lifestyle EditorBoston Herald

Bruce Schoenfeld, Freelance writer

Pat Sharpe, Executive Editor, Texas Monthly

Ryan Sutton, Food Critic, Bloomberg News

Hadley Tomicki, Editor, Grub Street Los Angeles

Patricia Unterman, Contributor San Francisco Examiner

S. Irene Virbila, Restaurant Critic, Los Angeles Times

Tanya Wenman Steel, Editor-in-Chief, Epicurious

Laurie Werner, Contributing Editor, ForbesLife

Melanie West, General Assignment Reporter, Wall Street Journal

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What happened to the middle of the country? We don't live by the "coasts" alone. CA and NY are great places to visit, but not to live for those of us who enjoy a more varied livestyle. Get a clue.


The panel of "experts" seems way too heavily east coast oriented, especially New York. There are at least 12 on the panel from NYC and environs vs 3 from the Los Angeles area and only 4 from all of CA. Is it any wonder NY had so many choices?

How is it possible that not a single California Mexican restaurant makes the list, but something in Chicago does? And no restaurants in Hawaii despite innovative places like Chef Mavro and Alan Wong's? Do the panelists even know Hawaii is in America?

Go back to the drawing board and get a truly representative group of panelists.

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