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The Restaurant Critic's Wife

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  5,132 ratings  ·  644 reviews

Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.

In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anon

Paperback, 313 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
2 swans stars

The one thing I strongly dislike about this book is Sam, the restaurant critic. And if he bares any resemblance to the author's husband (also a restaurant critic), I'm not a fan of him either.


"My mom basically took off," he finally said.
"She had some issues with being a wife and mother."

I'm sorry, that does not appease my contempt for him. He is self-centered and obsessed with his work. And blames his wife, Lila, when anything goes wrong. And of course it's Lila that has to comp
Megan Johnson
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This books wasn't what I was expecting. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was this wasn't it.

The book is the story of a young mother who is married to the city's most well known restaurant critic (dream job!) Not only does this mean their lives are constantly a balance of food and family, but it also means that the way they live their public lives is watched by those within the food community. As Sam, the husband, works his way through the restaurants, Lila goes about raising h
Dee Montoya
***3.5 Appetizing Stars***

(ARC Kindly provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)

Food critics are usually very enigmatic characters. We've seen them being portrayed in movies and books as temperamental and even eccentric people who are totally obsessed with food and fresh ingredients. I'm a bit of a foodie myself, so any time I come across a story that has any type of culinary aspects, I'm naturally drawn to it. The Restaurant Critic's Wife was a lovely read. I enjoyed reading the ta
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-releases, 2016
The Restaurant Critic's Wife - this book sounded absolutely just like my cup of tea, so I didn't hesitate to request it on NetGalley. There were restaurants and food involved, and I do like some good food in my books! I was also thinking, with one of the main character being a restaurant critic, we can expect some brilliant anecdotes.

I start reading every book full of hope that I'm just about to discover the next gem for my bookshelf. Unfortunately, in the course of reading this novel, I was loo
Judy D Collins
What a fabulous front cover design. Depicting the upscale white tablecloth dining experience, with the child’s eating utensil. A balance of two worlds into one, similar to the overall novel's theme.

Elizabeth LaBan delivers a witty and modern contemporary look at today’s domestic dual working career couples; parenting, their choice of friends, identity, and how sometimes careers can jeopardize our social, professional, and family life—life can be a major collision course. The bad with the good
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up, drama
Boring, blah, and blech. Got halfway through and realized I didn't like the characters or the plot. He was overbearing and paranoid. She was miserable and too reluctant to talk to him about it. And there wasn't near enough food discussion. On to something better. ...more
Olivia Ard
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sigh. I don't think I've ever been this disappointed by such a well-written book.

On a technical level, The Restaurant Critic's Wife is nearly flawless. Ms. LaBan's style flows nicely and her descriptions, while a bit heavy-handed at times, are effective. She even does a good job at piecing various elements of the story together. Unfortunately, though, there isn't much of a story for her to work wit
Please note that I gave this book 2.5 stars, but rounded it up to 3 stars on Goodreads.

Unfortunately there is no Denis Leary character to tell these two characters about themselves like there was in the movie, "The Ref."

Seriously though, there were parts of this book that were very good, but the main protagonist (Lila) is a martyr and just insufferable at times along with her husband (Sam) who gives a new meaning to the word self-absorbed.

I should be rooting for the character of Lila. A young
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is hard to review. I liked the writing but there wasn’t any story. Lila and Sam are married and have two kids, a three year old and a new born. I thought the fact it was very different to anything I’d read before (I have never read a book where someone is a Food Critic before) that I would love it, I didn’t. One of the waiters at a restaurant was my favorite character, he was sweet and helpful and just what Lila needed in a friend.

Sam annoyed the life out of me, if I could of threw th
Michelle Finkle
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a great book about a woman's struggle to balance career and motherhood. Lila was a very successful crisis manager. A career she continued even after getting married and giving birth to her daughter, Hazel. After her husband's job causes them to relocate to a new city and she becomes pregnant again, she leaves her job to be home with her young children. Soon she finds that her husband's job as Philly's much followed food critic is crippling her social life and desire to return to work. T ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction
It's fall, and Lila and her family have just moved to Philadelphia, so that her husband, Sam, can start his dream career as a restaurant critic. In order to make his dream possible, however, Lila has had to quit work and stay at home with their two young children. While she--of course--loves her babies, a part of her longs for her old life, the one in lively New Orleans with a blossoming, high-stakes career and fewer family responsibilities. To make matters worse, Sam has made her promise that s ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
I loved this book! I have always wondered what it would be to be a restaurant critic. After reading this delightful book, I don't think I'd be so good. The story is about a family who move to Philadelphia so that the husband, Sam, can take a job with the paper as a restaurant critic. Sam, to be honest, drove me crazy - in a good way. He was literally intent on remaining incognito. I'm sure he drove Lila, his wife, crazy too! Between the family - they have one toddler and one baby - and all the n ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book on an overnight flight, and if I hadn't been reading it then, I doubt I would have finished it. I picked the book out because I love food, eating and restaurants and thought it might be a nice change of pace. However, I have several problems with this book: the restaurant reviewing, the marriage, and the main character's own crisis of identity.

Apparently the author's husband really is a food critic in
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Writers are told to write what they know, and Elizabeth LaBan has taken that to heart in her novel The Restaurant Critic's Wife. Like her protagonist Lila, LaBan is married to the food critic for a large Philadelphia newspaper. (Luckily, LaBan says that the character of the critic is much crazier than her actual husband.)

Lila is a high-powered executive for a large hotel chain. She specializes in crisis management and public relations, traveling the globe and solving problems with aplomb. After
Arlena Dean

Title: The Restaurant Critic's Wife
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: 4

"The Restaurant Critic's Wife" by Elizabeth LaBan

My Thoughts...

I liked the cover design very tasteful for this story that this author gives the readers. This novel gives the reader a little bit of it all from humor, to motherhood, marriage, to some restaurant reviews, wonderful culinary skills to some interesting foods. This author gives the reader a intriguing story of her life [Lila] bef
I received a digital copy of this book from Lake Union publishers through Net Galley for an honest review.

The restaurant critic’s wife was a sumptuous read flavored with comedy, suspense, drama, indecision and of course, good food.

The book was, in a way, much like a well prepared four course meal. Right from the look and feel of the cover art to the depths of emotional yet funny drama, each chapter felt like peeling a different layer, keeping the taste buds alive.

The restaurant critic’s wife is
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars* RTC!
Reeves Honey
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Restaurant Critic's Wife was a well written book where you seamlessly slip right
into the main character's life.
One day,as I have often written myself,I woke up n a strange state with a strange man
and a strange baby!
Yes,all those pre internet ,cell phone years ago I was home alone every day with
an infant. I had married and become a mother in my mid 30's. So for the first time
in my life I was all alone without my peer group for eight plus hours a day.
I clearly identified on some levels(not t
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Sam Soto is a restaurant critic for the Philadelphia Herald and takes his job very seriously. He has been known to root around in dumpsters, in search of the whole truth about the restaurant he is reviewing. Sam's wife Lila, along with their daughter Hazel, are just mere window dressing when consuming half of the menu during a review tasting. Although Sam tries to stay anonymous
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2016
I devoured this book within 24 hours of starting.

Lila's life as The Restaurant Critic's Wife is perfect on paper. She's married to a man who brings his work home in the form of meals from the restaurants he's reviewing. When her mom is in town they take her to a lovely restaurant on the newspaper's tab. She and her husband have a beautiful little girl and a sweet baby boy.

There is a lot more to life than what can be seen on the surface. This is what LaBan creates in her delicious novel about on
Babus Ahmed
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm not sure why I picked this book, but it was definitely a departure from my usual reading fare for me. Surprised that I wasn't reading a thriller I ascertained that the book was about a family the patriarch of which is a food critic, who takes his job rather (too) seriously. Going to paranoid extremes to hide his identity in the pursuit of an authentic experience at the restaurants he reviews.

His long suffering wife has moved and dramatically changed her lifestyle, leaving behind friends and
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-reads
The Restaurant Critic's Wife was a book I had hopes for.

I adore any novel related to food, about food, or with references to food. I anticipated this novel presenting a male version of Ruth Reichl and I delved into it over Thanksgiving break.

While I wanted to like the narrator, Lila, I became more and more annoyed and totally unsympathetic to her position. Lila once held a high powered corporate job in the hotel industry. She marries a wanna-be food critic (but initially just a reporter). Sam, h
Helen Dunn
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars
I picked this up after seeing a photo of the author with Jennifer Weiner, who I enjoy. Elizabeth LaBan is the wife of a well known restaurant critic here in Philadelphia and I bought this book as a nod to supporting the local community. Honestly, I wasn't expecting it to be good and I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed it!

The book is about Lila, an executive turned mother of two who is living in a new city with her slightly paranoid restaurant critic husband. She's struggling to adjust
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm drawn to books by authors who live and set their novels in Philadelphia. As someone who has lived the majority of her life in the Philly suburbs, I delight in "seeing" familiar places in the books I read. This book's author is married to the real life restaurant critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer. I also enjoyed this book because I could identify with so much of how the main character, Lila felt about her life as a mother of small children, about making friends and about her marriage. Eliz ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was given this book by Net Galley in return for an honest review. I enjoyed the book considering it's not a normal read for me. The title does fit the book since the book is geared more about what Lila does day to day after giving up her career for her husband. It was an enjoyable story even more so since I do work in and around the location that the characters are based. It was fun trying to figure out which restaurants the author was talking about. What I really liked about this book is that ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received an ARC from NetGalley.

This was a quick read that was just ok. Nothing much happens in the book, the characters aren't particularly compelling and Sam is a self centered jerk, That said, it was still an interesting glimpse into the life of a restaurant critic it's just that there could have been more.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Awful. I stopped reading it at 29%. Sorry. But the husband sounded like a self centered ass. And how many times must we be told that she has to be careful who she is friends with? I could care less about either character. And ps: a woman so successful in her job and so independent prior to marriage? Wouldn't likely put up with a man like him. Sorry. Not believable. ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Three stars might be too much. I did not realize that this was actually written by the wife of a restaurant critic until the end. The author claims her husband is not like Sam. I certainly hope so. I would have kicked him into the next county for starters. What an unlikeable character! The book was somewhat saved by the fact the I could kind of understand Lila's rationale for putting up with him. Kind of. ...more
Nice but Not Earth-Shattering Read

This is a story that starts on a low simmer and stays there. While the protagonist has some revelations, I wouldn't say there's amazing growth and development. The end also feels hastily written. This is solid mind candy, if that's what you're looking for.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I couldn’t finish this book. I was so disappointed because I really thought I would love it. What did it for the was the narcissist husband. I kept waiting for him to get better. He didn’t so I put the book down half way through.
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