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Romantic Ambiance is Overrated This Valentine’s Day; Dinner Tabs are Higher Than Ever
February 6, 2017
Whether you're happily in love or waiting for cupid’s arrow to strike, February 14th is fast approaching. Zagat polled nearly 800 people nationwide to find out about their Valentine's Day plans and preferences, and how they will (53%) or won't (47%) be spending the holiday.
Of those celebrating, 40% say “it is a time to celebrate love!” while 8% say they’re only doing so because their partner would make them feel guilty otherwise. Among those who choose not to celebrate, 33% say it’s because Valentine’s Day is a made up holiday while 14% are boycotting because they are single.
If you haven't made a Valentine’s Day restaurant reservation yet, you can bet the hottest seats in town are taken, as the majority of surveyors (53%) say they’re going out to dinner. This year, diners report spending more than ever on a Valentine’s Day meal. The average expected tab is $170.53 which is up 16% from $146.52 in 2012.
Think romantic ambiance is most important for your Valentine?
. 51% of diners say they are most interested in how good the food is. So what’s on the menu? The most popular cuisine this year is Italian (17%) followed by French (13%), Seafood (13%), Steak (11%), American (10%), Sushi (7%), Mexican (3%) and Chinese (1%). One fifth (20%) of Valentine’s Day diners say they don’t care about the cuisine.
Unsurprisingly, more men prefer a steak dinner than women (16% vs. 8%). Aside from dining out, the most popular ways to celebrate love include exchanging gifts like chocolate or jewelry (27%), cooking a meal at home (16%) or ordering in (10%).
Not every Valentine’s Day has a perfect rom-com ending though. A minority 5% of surveyors admit they have dumped someone/been dumped on Valentine’s Day, or broken up with someone because Valentine’s Day was coming….Ouch!
Posted by: Tiffany Herklots, Zagat
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Zagat’s 2017 NYC Restaurants Results are in: Kingsley is Top Newcomer, Le Bernardin Sweeps Top Food, Service and Popularity, Asiate wins Top Decor
October 26, 2016
Carbs are Back and Food Halls on the Rise, while Obama is the most trusted source for a NYC Resto Reco and Momofuku Nishi is the most coveted reservation
Looking for the best places to eat in NYC? The scores have been tallied, and today, Zagat is unveiling its 2017 New York City Restaurants results, covering 2,171 eateries - from food halls to fine dining, tacos to trattorias - and everything in between. The results are based on the feedback of 30,961 local diners and curated by Zagat’s expert editors. Results are available today in the new Zagat iPhone App, on Zagat.com and in the 2017 Zagat NYC guide.
Known for its succinct reviews, Zagat proves that small things are easier to digest. To highlight this Zagat is opening a
at Astor Place serving up free tiny dishes inspired by some of the city’s best restaurants from Thursday, 10/27 to Saturday, 10/29.
Mini tacos from Los Tacos No. 1
This year, New Yorkers report eating 4.9 lunches and dinners per week and spending an average of $50.11 per person for dinner. In comparison, in 2014, the average meals out per week was 4.7 and the average cost was $48.15.
This year’s top rated newcomer is French-American restaurant
in the East Village which reviewers say is the “best-kept secret - but not for long”. Following behind are
High Street on Hudson
Le Coq Rico
Cafe Altro Paradiso
. Notable restaurants that are too new to have ratings but have had great word of mouth include
Kingsley (credit: Michael Altobello)
Eric Ripert’s “world class”, “transcendent” French Seafooder
wins Top Food for the 8th year in a row - an unprecedented achievement in the 38 year history of Zagat. Le Bernardin also swept Top Service, Most Popular, Top French and Top Seafood. Only one major category, Top Decor, was won by another restaurant,
, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Other contenders for the Top Food ratings are
Gotham Bar and Grill
. Relative newcomer,
broke onto the Top Food list coming in at No. 7.
A number of first-time category winners are shaking things up: these include
Los Tacos No. 1
Two Little Red Hens
With the influx of new pizza-pasta-focused places opening, such as
, it’s safe to say that carbs are back! And 55% of New Yorkers say they love this trend. To keep up with this demand, Zagat has added new lists this year for Donuts (winner:
Peter Pan Donut)
and Bagels (winner:
With election season in full swing, Zagat asked diners which past, current or future president they would trust for a restaurant recommendation. The winner: Barack Obama. If diners were owed a favor from the president in the form of a prized NYC dinner reservation at a hot new place, the top picks were
. When queried about their plans for the election night, (54%) said they would be watching tv at home over takeout.
Food halls, which were almost non-existent 10 years ago, have been expanding with more on the horizon. This year, newcomers include
The Great Northern Food Hall
, while Jean-Georges’ seafood-themed food hall and the Bourdain Market at Pier 57 on the Hudson are on tap.
Among Zagat reviewers, a record 41% say they approve of eliminating tipping. Newcomers such as
and b joined a growing number of established restaurants like
Eleven Madison Park
and Danny Meyer restaurants (
, b) in adopting the tip free practice, but raising prices to compensate.
Restaurant trends like farm-to-table dining resonate with diners with 70% of New Yorkers claiming they love it, while roughly 65% of respondents now dismiss gimmicky dishes such as the gold donut and rainbow bagel, and 58% say kale salad is a dish they are tired of seeing on menus.
While Zagat’s trusted guidance remains the same, we have updated the Zagat look and feel. See for yourself by downloading the Zagat iPhone app or getting the 2017 Zagat NYC guidebook to start planning your next great meal.
Posted by: Tiffany Herklots, Zagat
Hot trends and food photos: Zagat reveals all in latest dining survey
September 13, 2016
We all know social media has become an important part of the food world, and Zagat’s latest National Dining Trends survey shows just how influential it can be. According to the survey, 60% of avid diners across the U.S. say they browse food photos on social media, and among them, 75% say they have picked a place to eat based on these photos alone. From trendy foods to dining deal-breakers, the survey uncovers the habits and preferences of nearly 10,000 avid restaurant goers across the nation, highlighting 26 U.S. cities.
Not only are food-obsessed American diners scrolling through their feeds to check out the latest food shots, but they have no qualms about snapping their own photos while at restaurants. Almost half of diners nationally (44%) say that they take food photos when dining out to share on social media, with the most likely food photographers hailing from Charleston, San Diego (both 53%), Austin, Miami and Orlando (all 51%). In fact, 19% say they have picked a place to eat just so they can take their own food photos.
Once they’re at the restaurant, diners are so focused on getting the perfect shot that 60% admit to stopping dining companions from eating so they can take food photos. 50% say they have taken photos of every dish at the table and 5% have even asked another table if they can photograph their dish. It doesn’t come without consequence though as 8% of those who take food photos to share on social media say they have even dropped their phone on their meal trying to get the perfect shot. Check, please!
When it’s time to post those hard-earned pictures to social media, 41% of diners say they do so right at the table, 34% say they post later that night/from the comfort of their bed, 14% say they do it on the way home, 10% save them for #tbt or later, and 1% admit slipping into the restroom during the meal. Foodie photographers in Detroit and San Antonio (both 58%) are most likely to post photos at the table.
Which foods have been showing up the most in your social media feed? Trendy foods on the rise this year include avocado toast, according to 33% of respondents who say they “love it,” which is up from 24% last year. Other trendy foods feeling the love are ramen (31%, up from 26% last year), Sriracha, and pork belly (both 31%). Honolulu diners are the biggest fans of ramen (53% say they “love it”) while Angelenos are having a moment with avocado toast (41%). Orlando diners are hip to quinoa (34% “love it” vs. 28% nationally) and a quarter of New York respondents say they “love” cauliflower rice.
Other trendy foods are so yesterday. Food mashups (i.e. cronut, ramen burger) are on their way out according to the 38% of diners nationally who say they are “over it.” Those most fed up with the trend are respondents in Seattle (50%). The top pet peeve (or dining deal-breaker) that would stop people from dining at a particular restaurant is a cash-only policy (38%), followed closely by communal tables, no-substitution policy (both 33%), reservation-only policy (20%), no-reservation policy (19%), no photos allowed (13%) and none of the above (25%). Diners in Charlotte are the most annoyed by a cash-only policy (50%) and Houston diners detest no-substitutions (48%).
Knowing where your food comes from is still hugely important according to 73% of diners nationally who say Farm-to-table-dining is a much-loved restaurant practice. Those in Portland, OR are amongst the highest proponents in the nation (79%) and those in Charlotte are at the lower end of the spectrum (68%).
When it comes to trends in mixology, respondents are loving fresh juices in cocktails (63%), but the jury is split on fancy ice in cocktails; 25% say they “love it” and 25% say they are “over it.” The other half don’t mind it or have no opinion.
Additional findings: When asked if they would ever pay their restaurant bill with a mobile payment app, 66% of diners say “Yes, I’ve done it, or I would” while 34% say “No,” compared to 59% and 41% last year respectively. When it comes to asking to charge their phone in a bar or restaurant, 41% of diners nationally say “Yes, I’ve done it, or I would.” New Yorkers are the most likely to do this (56%) and those in Honolulu are the least (29%). Almost 1 in 5 respondents (17%) admit they have or would lie about it being a special occasion in order to get a freebie while 14% have or would fake a food allergy to get a dish modified to their liking. If it feels like everyone today is a foodie, well it should.
According to the survey, 77% of respondents consider themselves to be foodies -- 41% say they are secretly foodies, but hate the term while the other 36% say “yes, with my fork on my sleeve!” For more information on the latest National Dining Trends survey, check out
Posted By: Tiffany Herklots, Zagat
Do You Have #HangryEyes?
August 24, 2016
Hanger, the physiological love child of hunger and anger, is something that most of us have experienced. The effects of hanger can manifest in some entertaining ways, so naturally, the topic piqued our curiosity. Is this a real phenomenon? And how do diners feel about it?
Doing what Zagat does best, we polled the people and learned that 62% of Americans say they have experienced hanger. Of the 1,434 hangry respondents, common feelings include Irritability (60%), Impatience (50%), Light-headedness (31%), Whininess (20%), and Listlessness (12%). However, the tell-tale symptom of someone who is hangry is a term we’ve affectionately coined Hangry Eyes. We made a video inspired by this frustrating emotion — and by the music of the 1980’s.
When hangry, diners admit to having eaten too fast (58%), made a dining decision they regretted (45%), alienated a loved one (20%) and even been rude to a restaurant employee (12%). When the feeling arises, 61% say they are only somewhat or not at all in control of their bad behavior, with 30% in total control and 9% who aren’t even aware they are hungry until after they eat. If someone you know is hangry, respondents say the best thing to do is encourage them to eat/get them something to eat (63%).
To find the best places to eat nearby and to prevent yourself or a loved one from hanger, download the
Zagat iOS app
Posted by Tiffany Herklots, Zagat
New Zagat iOS app: Tap into tailored, trustworthy dining recommendations -- wherever you may be
July 26, 2016
When it comes to advice on finding a great meal, everyone’s an expert (with a food pic to prove it). For more than 35 years, people who love to eat have looked to Zagat for trustworthy guidance on everything from the best food to the right decor to the quality of service. Zagat’s recipe is simple: we look at lots of opinions from other diners, so you don’t have to. Then our editors carefully craft reliable restaurant reviews, helping you discover the newest openings in your area, share your own experiences and get inspired by the tastiest trends nationwide.
While the Zagat brand has evolved over time, we thought it was time to cook up an update to our iOS app to provide our foodie fans with the freshest, most relevant content -- while on the go. Beyond giving our logo a fresh coat of paint and new look, we redesigned the app so that it’s centered around you. You know where you are and what you’re hungry for, and your dining app should too -- so based on your location and the time of day, our app serves up recommended places nearby.
And the next time you need an izakaya for your friend’s 30th birthday or want to find the newest downtown hot spot, you can search by cuisine or by tapping into our interactive neighborhood maps. Then, sort by rating, price or proximity -- or filter by new places.
While the new iOS app is bursting with upgrades, Zagat still works the way it always has: by gathering the wisdom of avid diners and distilling the consensus view into that one crystalline review you need. We continue to collect separate ratings for Food, Decor and Service so you can get granular on a restaurant’s virtues, but we’ve simplified them in a new, easy-to-read and rate
The new Zagat iPhone app is available today in the
. Take it out for lunch and share your dining experience with the rest of the Zagat community.
Posted by Laura Slabin, Director, Local Content & Community
Food Tripping is Back!
May 26, 2016
Today Zagat announces 10 new episodes of its popular YouTube series, “Food Tripping with Molly”. This season, Moker heads south to bust her preconceptions of the region and experience some of the country's most authentic eats. The season 2 trailer is available on
with new episodes posted every Thursday starting June 2nd.
On the “road trip” style show, Molly wrestles a 60-pound catfish with famous New Orleans chef, Brian Landry and takes viewers along for a rare peek inside the Tabasco Factory. The proper Wisconsin lady crashes a bachelorette party in the Big Easy and spends a day boozin’ on Bourbon Street to try native delicacies like Brandy Milk Punch, the Sazerac and Purple Drank.
On this journey throughout Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, Molly meets up with world-champion pitmaster and Food Network star, Chris Lilly, to try his super-secret family white sauce. She pits it against Mississippi’s famous Comeback Sauce for a state border-crossing taste test. Molly goes behind the scenes at the Waffle House, visits a top-secret moonshine distillery in the Appalachian Mountains, tries some Hot Chicken in Nashville with the legendary Prince family, and goes oyster picking in Charleston.
Grab your pimento cheese, and tune-in on Thursdays starting June 2nd to see what Molly’s fixin’ to do next. Be sure to check out season 1 of “Food Tripping With Molly” on
Posted by Tiffany Herklots, Zagat
Zagat Reveals 2016 National Dining Trends
January 26, 2016
If “foodie” was a political party it would win in a landslide. At least according to the Zagat 2016 National Dining Trends survey, in which a whopping 79% of diners declared themselves to be a foodie. The survey uncovers the habits and preferences of 9,248 avid diners in 26 major U.S. cities.
Which trendy food was most-loved this year? That would be Sriracha, according to 31% of respondents, who “love it.” The hot chili sauce was followed closely by quinoa (27%), ramen (26%), and avocado toast (24%). Less love was given to bone broth (13%) and uni (sea urchin), at 12%. Green juice was the ugly duckling (11%).
American diners eat out quite a bit – okay, a
: 4.5 meals (lunch and dinner) per week on average. Dining out most frequently are Angelenos (5.2), followed by diners in Austin and Miami (both at 5.1), and New York City, San Antonio, and Honolulu (all at 4.9). At the bottom of the list is Boston (3.8), followed by Portland, OR, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis (each at 3.9 meals out per week).
And what is all this restaurant enthusiasm costing us? The average national spend per person for dinner out is $36.30. It will shock no one to learn, New York City is the most expensive dining city in the US ($48.44), followed by Boston ($42.83), San Francisco ($40.94), Miami ($40.58) and Los Angeles ($38.21). The best value, relatively, can be had in Detroit ($28.77), followed by Minneapolis ($29.67), Atlanta ($30.46), Austin ($30.48), and Charlotte ($30.50).
When it comes to tipping, Americans leave an average gratuity of 18.9% on their restaurant bill. Diners in Boston, who splurge on the second-highest average meal spend, are the most generous tippers, leaving 20% on average. Following right behind Bostonians are diners in Philadelphia (19.9%), Chicago (19.6%), Denver (19.4%), and Washington DC (19.3%). The nation’s stingiest tippers can be found in San Antonio (17.1%), followed by Orlando (18.1%), Minneapolis and Nashville (both 18.2%); Honolulu and Los Angeles (both at 18.5%).
Among the list of things that rub diners the wrong way, Service is the leading irritant, followed by Noise, Crowds, Prices, Food, Parking, and Traffic. Diners in Austin take the biggest issue with service (41% of the vote) while Portland, OR diners cite noise (33%) as their chief complaint. Noise complaints also outweigh complaints about Service in New York City (32%), Boston (30%), and San Francisco (26%).
Once again, American diners declare their amore for pasta – Italian is the top cuisine pick overall and in most cities. Bucking the trend are Atlanta, Austin, and Chicago, where Italian and American cuisine are tied; Charlotte, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Nashville, San Diego, and Seattle, which all favor American cuisine; Dallas - Fort Worth, where diners prefer Mexican; Honolulu, where people have a strong preference for Japanese; and New Orleans, where nothing beats Seafood.
How about feelings on tech at the table? When it comes to fellow diners whipping out their smartphones mid-meal, 54% of respondents nationally feel it’s “OK in moderation,” 40% say it’s “completely unacceptable, unless it’s an emergency,” 4% say “perfectly acceptable” and 2% had no opinion. Honolulu is the most accepting of mobile phone usage, with 67% of diners agreeing it’s “OK in moderation” and 7% saying it’s “perfectly acceptable.” Portland, OR condemns phone usage the most, with 51% of respondents saying “completely unacceptable, unless it’s an emergency.”
The top “dining deal-breaker” is a cash-only policy, followed closely by communal tables, jacket required, pre-fixe or tasting menu only/no a-la-carte options, a no-reservation policy, and live music.
More findings: When diners were asked whether they’d ever pay for a hard-to-get reservation, the majority of diners (71%) say “No.” And when it comes to paying the bill using a mobile app, 59% of surveyors say “Yes, I’ve done it, or I would.” As for planning a getaway to eat at a specific restaurant, the strong majority of diners (85%) say “Yes, I’ve done it, or I would.” Diners in Houston (92%) are most adventurous on this front, while New York City dwellers are less likely to plan a getaway around eating at a particular establishment (though 78% have done it or would). 52% of avid diners nationally say they make restaurant reservations via the internet. As for restaurant trends, surveyors love veggie-centric menus most (20% love them) and gluten-free dishes least (11%). The majority of respondents (51%) say they had their best meal ever at a high-end restaurant. Conversely, the least-likely locale for a best-ever meal is a local dive restaurant.
Which old-timey dish would you like to see make a comeback? Beef Wellington was the most popular pick amongst surveyors at 44%, followed by Bananas Foster (40%) and Baked Alaska, Lobster Thermidor, and Waldorf Salad, all with 26%. The least-popular old-fashioned item was Cherries Jubilee at 23%.
to learn more about this year’s results.
Posted by Charlotte Ames, Zagat
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