Unlike the Michelin Guide, Zagat's reviews are generated not from secret inspectors driving around in shabby Citroëns and furtively eating alone in pricey restaurants (a stereotype certainly, but one we're attached to), but by the rest of us. Zagat compiles the comments and ratings from everyone who participates in their surveys (hence the use of Survey in the title) and creates from them their influential maroon restaurant guides. So guess what? You need to help them. Because if you don't, who will? That driver behind you in the Citroën maybe, maybe not. Check out the upshot of the 2011 Zagat Los Angeles Guide here.

So from now until April 10, you can go to Zagat's site and complete the survey by reviewing the Los Angeles restaurants that you've been to in the past year. If you have not already registered with Zagat, you have to do that first, afterwards you can search the site by name, neighborhood, cuisine or alphabetically. In order to sweeten the pot, so to speak, Zagat will award a $100 Visa gift cards to surveyors with the most witty and pithy comments. A dangerous game, that one. If you feel so inclined, you can vote for restaurants in other cities while you're at it. And if your favorite restaurant isn't yet on the list (among the 9 Zankou Chickens and the food at the Gold Class Cinema), you can write it in. Happy surveying.

LA Weekly