New Google Local Search Offering Lacks One Big Thing
You should be able to limit the geography in which you're looking
If you use Google to find places out there in the real world a lot, you'll be happy to note that the company has made some small changes to the way that they present local searches.
Now, searches for "Ethiopian food, Washington, D.C." actually return a list of restaurants with single, definite pages. In the past, the results were a little sloppier. Some suggest this could hurt the local review site, Yelp.
But here's the thing about place-based searching: I want to be able to limit the geography in which I'm looking. If I search for Ethiopian food in D.C., there are dozens of places. I want to zoom the map in to just my neighborhood (Shaw near Howard University, FWIW). This is what Yelp.com does -- and it's the only thing that keeps me going back to that site.
Update: My oversight is your good news! As Jackie Bavaro, Google Place Search's Product Manager points out below, you can get that Yelp-like functionality by clicking on the map. So, it's just on the Places page itself that the map is static.