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Zagat Releases New Atlanta Dining Survey

Zagat Celebrates 20 Years in Atlanta

NEW YORK, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Zagat released the results of its latest Atlanta Restaurants survey today, with ratings and reviews of 737 restaurants in Atlanta as voted on by 2,741 local, online surveyors. This marks the 20th year of Zagat in Atlanta. The survey results can be found at www.ZAGAT.com and on its award winning mobile site ZAGAT.mobi, and ZAGAT TO GO(SM).

Plugged-In: This year, 51% of Atlanta surveyors said they typically make their restaurant reservations online - a jump from 40% in 2008. Only San Francisco has a higher percentage of reservations made online (52%).

Economics: When asked how the economy has affected their dining habits, surveyors reported eating out less (35%), eating in less expensive places (34%), being more attentive to prices (38%) and cutting back on appetizers, dessert and alcohol. Despite this, Atlantans eat out 3.3 times a week, slightly above the national average of 3.2 and despite meal cost inflation that was a surprisingly high 6.9%. Still, the city remains a relative bargain with the average meal costing $31.35, well below the national average of $35.25 and the price in places such as New York ($41.81) and Miami ($39.86). When asked what positive effects the economy has had on their dining habits, surveyors said they are finding better deals at restaurants (66%), feel their patronage is more appreciated (46%), feel it's easier to get tables at popular places (41%) and are eating more healthfully as a result of cutting back on alcohol, desserts, etc (25%).

Winners: On top this year is Bacchanalia, winning both for Food with a rare 29 out of a possible 30, and for popularity. Bacchanalia's win is especially impressive since its sibling, Quinones Room at Bacchanalia, came into #2 for food, #3 for decor and #1 for service. This year's top five winners in the major categories are below:

        Top Food            Top Decor         Top Service      Most Popular
        --------            ---------         -----------      ------------

                              Nan Thai        Quinones Room 
    1)  Bacchanalia         Fine Dining       at Bacchanalia   Bacchanalia

        Quinones Room at
    2)  Bacchanalia         Nikolai's Roof    Bacchanalia      Bone's

                            Quinones Room 
    3)  Aria                at Bacchanalia    Bone's           Buckhead Diner

    4)  McKendrick's 
        Steak               Canoe             La Grotta        Rathbun's 

    5)                                       Chops Lobster 
        Bone's              Dogwood           Bar              Canoe 

Newcomers: Atlanta's Westside is home to a wealth of newcomers this year. As the following examples show, they vary in cuisine and price point:

  • Antico Pizza - Pizza; M
  • Bocado - American; M
  • Bone Garden Catina - Mexican; I
  • Evos - Burgers/Vegetarian; I
  • Leon's Full Service - American; I
  • Miller Union - American; M
  • Ormsby's - Pub Food; I
  • Ri Ra Irish Pub - Pub Food; M
  • The Counter - Burgers; I
  • Varazano's Pizzeria - Pizza; I

Recession Dining: With cost-conscious consumers in mind, "Sunday Suppers," prix-fixe menus, family-style menus and small plate service are expanding:

  • "Sunday Suppers" - JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Muss & Turner's, Restaurant Eugene
  • Prix-Fixe Menus - Fogo de Chao, Imperial Fez, Park 75
  • Family-Style - Muss & Turner's and Restaurant Eugene
  • Small Plate/Casual Service - Abattoir, Bakeshop, Iberian Pig, Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft
  • Other Good Values - Kyma, Shaun's, The Shed at Glenwood

Health: Atlantans, like their peers in other cities, are more and more health-conscious. For example, 90% of surveyors favor restaurants conspicuously posting the letter grade results of their health inspection, 55% favor the banning of trans fats from all food preparation, 77% think it is important to have low-carb, low-fat, heart healthy menu items, and finally 71% consider it important to eat green (i.e. locally sourced, organic, sustainably raised). These statistics have not been affected by the economic downturn; in fact, by a margin of 5%, people consider green dining more important than ever before.

Changes: The local dining scene has seen a fair share of changes this year. Grant Park's Stella is now the site of a new branch of Doc Chey's Asian Kitchen, while Lupe Taqueria has opened in place of the former restaurant, Cuerno. Lola Bellini Bar & Restaurant has been transformed into the casual Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar. In hotel dining, the St. Regis' Paces 88 is shifting to a more casual menu and decor, while longtime surveyor standout, Ritz Carlton Buckhead Dining Room, along with Roy's and AquaKnox, have all closed their doors.

Details: For information about the Survey and to find additional statistics, please visit our online press center at http://www.zagat.com/presscenter. And there's also Zagat via Facebook and Twitter @ZagatBuzz!

About Zagat Survey, LLC

Zagat Survey is the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality. Zagat Survey rates and reviews airlines, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, resorts, shopping, spas and a range of other entertainment categories in more than 100 countries. It has been lauded as the "most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published" and as "a necessity second only to a valid credit card." Zagat content is available in print, on the web, on the mobile web, iPhone, BlackBerry and on TV. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com.

SOURCE Zagat Survey

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