Average Check Now at $37.45,
Only Four Restaurants Left Requiring Jackets and Ties,
Gramercy Tavern Rated Most Popular Restaurant in NYC
|NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2004 - It's Zagat time of year -- the Zagat Survey
2005 New York City Restaurant Guide has just been released. The results
of the guide show the New York dining scene in its most revolutionary year
since the Survey began in 1979. Despite the demise of many of the city's
oldest and most renowned classic French restaurants, the industry has greatly
improved and diversified. This year, 226 restaurants opened compared to
only 93 closings, representing a 30% increase over last year's openings.
Forty-five percent of surveyors say they are spending more on dining out
than last year. This is reinforced by the fact that 59% of all meals
are now eaten, or prepared, outside the home.
"This is undoubtedly the single most important year in dining since the Survey began in 1979," said Zagat Survey co-publisher Tim Zagat. "With the closing of old-guard and once indomitable French restaurants like La Caravelle, La Cote Basque and Lutece, New York City is embracing a new generation of eateries. It's fair to say that many of the new entrants, particularly the Asian eateries, are more interesting, innovative and beautiful, while also more fun, than the established places that preceded them."
The 26th edition of the guide covers 1,945 restaurants in New York City including 236 in the surrounding boroughs. These restaurants were tested and tasted by a record 30,277 avid local restaurant-goers who used Zagat Survey's signature 30-point scale to rate Food, Decor and Service. The guide also reflects the estimated cost for a meal including beverage and tip.
Key Findings and Trends:
Restaurants making impressive moves in popularity this year include Bouley, jumping four spots to #8, and Tom Colicchio's Craft, up eight to #15. Among new faces in the Top 50: Fiamma Osteria (#50), Pastis (#48), Saigon Grill (#45), L'Impero (#35) and 'Cesca (#33). Among those losing their hold among diners: Nobu, slipped five notches to #10, Picholine, down 11 to #29, and Le Cirque 2000, fell from #28 to #37.
1. Gramercy Tavern 
Lest anyone think that the sun has set on French food, consider that five of this year's Top 10 are French, including the three frontrunners sharing power 28's for cuisine. Returning as #1 is Le Bernardin, the "transcendent seafood" temple in the hands of chef Eric Ripert and co-owner Maguy LeCoze. Meanwhile, Bouley, which dominated Zagat Survey's Food ratings from 1991 to 1996, has charged back to #2. Although too new to qualify for Zagat Survey's Top lists, per se earned 29 ratings for Food, Decor and Service, the only restaurant to receive a triple 29 in the history of the NYC Survey.
1. Le Bernardin (28)
Curiously, as New York dining continues to trend more informal, the restaurants themselves are dressing up. Three newcomers made the Survey's Top 10 for Decor: Asiate, Matsuri and Spice Market (overtaking Four Seasons). Had they opened earlier, two other rookies would surely have muscled into the Top 10: per se, featuring the $15 million handiwork of Adam Tihany, and Megu, a multi-level Japanese in TriBeCa centered around a five-foot Buddha ice sculpture that is replaced daily. In contrast to the past, there are only four restaurants left that require jackets and ties (Alain Ducasse, La Grenouille, Rainbow Room and 21 Club).
1. River Cafe (28)
A new name ascended to #1 for Service - Alain Ducasse, the "sumptuous" French showplace in the Essex House Hotel. Surveyors describe its wait staff as meticulous but "unpretentious," and like knowing that the table they get is "yours for the night."
1. Alain Ducasse (28)
After dipping in the wake of 9/11, restaurant openings are significantly up. In contrast to last year's count of 174 noteworthy newcomers, this year's 226 marks a dynamic 30% gain.
1. Biltmore Room (25)
Lest anyone think that NYC is only made up of pricey, high-end restaurants, the 2005 guide lists 100 of the best values and over 100 prix fixe deals. There are a number of top places where you can enjoy a three-course lunch for $20, including Aureole, Jean-Georges, L'Ecole, San Domenico, Sushi Yasuda and Vice Versa among others.
1. Mama's Food
The Zagat Survey 2005 New York City Restaurant Guide was edited by Curt Gathje and Carol Diuguid and coordinated by Larry Cohn. The 286-page book ($13.95) is available at bookstores and other retail outlets, through zagat.com or by calling toll free at 888-371-5440.
About Zagat Survey, LLC
Zagat Survey is the world's leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content. With more than 250,000 surveyors, Zagat Survey rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories. Zagat content is available in print, on the Web, on the Palm and Pocket PC operating systems, on mobile phones, and on TV and radio. For more information, visit zagat.com.
Zagat Survey, LLC
Web Site: http://www.zagatsurvey.com
|Also See:||Zagat's Consumer Survey Rates Amanresorts and Four Seasons Best Hotel Chains in the World; Surveyors Found Hospitality in Hotels, Resorts Outside the United States Better than Those Within the U.S. / April 2004|
|Brooklyn's 30 seat Restaurant, 'The Grocery', Voted New York City's Best American Restaurant / October 2003|
|Eight A-list Restaurants and Bars Opening Almost at Once in New York's Time Warner Center; Reinforces New York as Capital of Gastronomy / January 2004|
|Four Seasons a Runaway Favorite - Wins seven of the eleven top hotel rankings in 2001 Zagat Survey / Nov 2000|