Link's Awakening is the best implementation of the Zelda franchise, in my not-so-humble opinion. Call me a whipper-snapper but I find the original to be too archaic in comparison. The writing works pretty well and has a certain charm to it. The more linear structure is better paced than the wandering around of LoZ. The entire game has this whimsical feel to it that the series hasn't tapped into since (with the caveat being Minish Cap to a degree). This partially has to do with being on a handheld, which always seems to be a more personal experience than a television/computer.
The original title was probably your first experience with the series, as LoZ: LA is mine. This is all personal conjecture -- Link's Awakening is one of my top tier favorites -- but it could be argued at length that the design is a lot stronger and detail-oriented. You can steal from the shopkeeper at the expense of being called THIEF the remainder of the game. If that doesn't win you over... bomb-arrows!
tl;dr LINK'S AWAKENING BETTER
On that note, there is this Japanese only title that served as a prototype for LA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaeru_no_Tame_ni_Kane_wa_Naru
I'm waiting for the translation patch; has anybody tried this game out?