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You have to salute Mike and Elizabeth Bober over at Capital Spice. They know how to take one for the team.

The husband-and-wife food bloggers have compiled a Google map featuring the places that made the Washington Post, Washingtonian, and the Washington City Paper‘s annual best restaurants lists. Just as helpful, they’ve also included the highest-rated eateries from the 2009 Zagat guide and have plans to add the 50 restaurants on Northern Virginia‘s list once it becomes available online.

In a post today on their blog, the couple explained why they invested so much of their free time in providing this public service:

With the announcement of Tom Sietsema’s annual Fall Dining Guide in the Washington Post last month, we found ourselves comparing it to similar lists like Tim Carman’s 50 Best Restaurants list in the Washington City Paper and Washingtonian magazine’s annual 100 Best Restaurants list. We were eager to see which restaurants were universally celebrated and which ones were personal favorites for each critic. As we were looking at the lists side by side, inspiration struck.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if all of these lists were available in one place? We could check out everything that Tom, Tim and Todd (Kliman at Washingtonian) had to say about an establishment all at once.

Y&H e-mailed the couple this morning to gauge exactly how much time they invested in this project, which must have been as work-intensive as the inauguration after-hours booze map they compiled earlier this year. Here’s what Mike Bober wrote back:

I’ve been working on this off and on for a few weeks – adding 10 or 20 restaurants at a time and working my way through each list. On Saturday I got called into work during the healthcare debate and finished it off during some downtime mid-debate. All told, I’d say there’s probably a good 7 or 8 hours’ worth of work in this…bringing up each review in turn, copying the URL, adding it into the tab for each restaurant.

Somebody needs to buy these folks a drink.