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Food in the Media

Five L.A. Restaurant Websites From Which We Hope Other Restaurants Will Learn a Thing or Two

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Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Rustic Canyon: an example of a great restaurant website.
  • Rustic Canyon: an example of a great restaurant website.

A few months ago, we highlighted a few truisms from our new favorite Tumblr page, "Never Said About Restaurant Websites." "Wow, how did you even create a 9MB PDF of a menu. That is impressive. Congrats" pretty much captures exactly how we feel when a site forces us to clutter our hard drive with PDFs of its menu(s). The only thing that irks us more is when the restaurant clearly hasn't bothered to update all its pages ("The lorem ipsum looks good"), or when basic information about the eatery - location, hours of operation, contact information - inexplicably is not found anywhere on the site.

To us, a great restaurant website includes its basic information, displays its menu (with prices) online, and is updated regularly. Ideally, the site's aesthetic captures its personality and atmosphere, though we'd gladly trade a gorgeous site with no useful information for a simple site with just the basics. LA Weekly bestowed "Best Restaurant Site" Best of the Web awards to Chego and Starry Kitchen earlier this year and, because you never can have too many good examples, we give you five more local eateries with websites that are shining examples of form and function.

5. Square One Dining

Often, minimalist websites, like postmodern furniture, are cool to look at but uncomfortable to actually use. Square One Dining, though, makes ample use of negative (white) space and keeps its aesthetic exceedingly simple. This works for a restaurant that focuses on serving classic breakfast and lunch dishes with an emphasis on local and organic ingredients. The online menu pretty much is a mirror image of the menu waiting for you at restaurant.

click to enlarge Screenshot of Square One Dining's homepage
  • Screenshot of Square One Dining's homepage

4. Tony's Darts Away

Tony's Darts Away takes craft beer seriously, and no where is that more immediately clear than on its website. The glossary of Beer Styles, for example, is quite helpful and, even if you only remember a tenth of the information, is enough to arm you with the knowledge you need the next time you find yourself staring at a beer menu. The bar's food menu is easily accessible, though possibly the best menu on the site is the beer list. The quality of the beers on tap is stellar, natch, but the fact that it is updated almost daily is impressive.

click to enlarge Screenshot of Tony's Darts Away's homepage
  • Screenshot of Tony's Darts Away's homepage

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