Zagat Releases 2007/08 Boston Restaurants Survey
Dazzling Douzo Top Newcomer; Aujourd'hui Shows Off Top Service
L'Espalier Takes Back Top Food Spot, Followed By Oishii and Clio/Uni
Lumiere, La Campania and Saporito's leap into the Top Ten
New Ventures Bring Big Changes; Italian Favorite Cuisine; Service Still
BOSTON, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Zagat Survey today released its 2007/08 Boston Restaurants guide, with results also available online at ZAGAT.com. Over 6,100 avid diners weighed in on where to grab a bite in Beantown. And the winners are: Douzo for Top Newcomer (followed closely by Tresca and dante); L'Espalier for Top Food and Decor; Legal Sea Foods for Most Popular; and Aujourd'hui for Service. Covering 1,088 of the best restaurants in Boston and its surroundings as far away as Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, the redesigned guide reveals a great deal about the changing tastes, habits and preferences of Boston area diners. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070412/NYTH002 ) "Though our surveyors voted Italian as their favorite cuisine, Japanese themed Douzo edged out Italian eatery Tresca as the Top Newcomer, and French mainstay L'Espalier won for Top Food," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. "Diversity continues to keep the dining scene in Boston fresh, and these top ranking restaurants exemplify that." Restaurant Guide Renovation: The 2007/08 Boston Restaurants guide reveals the revamped look that Zagat has launched for 2007 and beyond. Though the cover still sports its signature burgundy color, new graphics show off a modern, sleek look. The guide contains several other new features, including a new list of icons, an introduction packed with information about trends and newcomers, handy indexes, and color maps focusing on the Most Popular and Top Rated eateries. Newcomers: Surveyors were seduced by the "fancy handrolls" at "New Age" sushi bar Douzo, which edged out the traditional Italian offerings at Tresca, and the Mediterranean menu at dante to score Top Newcomer honors. The Top Rated Newcomers are listed in order below in addition to our editors' picks for other noteworthy newcomers. Top Newcomers: Rated 23 -- Douzo Tresca 22 -- dante Beacon St. Tavern Avila Other Key Arrivals All Star Sandwich Bar flour bakery (Seaport Dist.) Pava Alta Strada Incontro Petit Robert Bistro (S. End) Bin 26 Enoteca La Brace POPS Bouchee LTK Rustic Kitchen (Park Sq.) Copia Masona Grill Sasso 51 Lincoln Oishii Boston (S. End) The Winners: The "transcendent" New French meals at L'Espalier pushed it to the top once again, as it edged out "shrine to sushi" Oishii to reclaim Top Food honors. "Swanky supernova" Clio/Uni rounded out the top three for Top Food, moving up from eleventh place since the last survey. The "surefire" Lumi�re, the "small blessing" La Campania, and the "little treasure" Saporito's, propelled upwards, to claim spots in this year's Top Ten Food rankings. "Smooth-as-silk" staffers secured Top Service honors for Aujourd'hui, while the "beloved" Legal Sea Foods was again named Boston's Most Popular Restaurant, and L'Espalier was first for D�cor. Top Food 1. L'Espalier 6. Lumiere 2. Oishii 7. La Campania 3. Clio/Uni 8. Blue Ginger 4. No. 9 Park 9. Saporito's 5. Aujourd'hui 10. Oleana Best Bets: For your best food bets broken down by cuisine, there are a countless choices depending upon your cravings. Whether you are dying for the Chinese "delicacies" at Sichuan Gourmet, or the "arty" Eclectic "feasts" at EVOO, the new guide can steer you in the right direction, as reflected by the following list: Top Restaurants By Cuisine: American (New) -- Sage Japanese -- Oishii American (Traditional) -- New Bridge Cafe Mediterranean -- Oleana Barbecue -- East Coast Grill Mexican -- Tacos Lupita Cambodian/Vietnamese -- Elephant Walk Middle Eastern -- Helmand Chinese -- Sichuan Gourmet New England -- Henrietta's Table Eclectic -- EVOO Pan-Asian -- Billy Tse French -- No. 9 Park Pizza -- Galleria Umberto French (Bistro) -- Coriander Bistro Pub Food -- Matt Murphy's French (New) -- L'Espalier Seafood (American) -- B&G Oysters Hamburgers -- Mr. Bartley's Seafood (Ethnic) -- Giacomo's Indian -- Punjab Spanish/Portuguese -- Dali Italian -- La Campania Steakhouses -- Abe & Louie's Italian (Northern) -- Saporito's Thai -- Brown Sugar/Similans Survey Says: Since poor service is surveyors' number one complaint nationally, it comes as no surprise that 72% singled out shoddy service as their primary irritant. Noise, food, prices, parking, overcrowding, etc. cumulatively scored just 28%. And don't keep Bostonians waiting -- 88% say they'll only stick around to be seated for 15 minutes or less with a reservation. While 27% of surveyors continue to favor Italian, with its hearty helpings of pasta and cheese, 74% say that low-carb, low-fat, heart healthy menu items are important to them and 58% support a ban on trans fat use in restaurants. Check Please: The average cost of a meal in Boston increased from $28.88 to $30.78 since our last survey, i.e., an annual inflation rate of a little over 3%. Still, Boston dining costs remain well below those of other cities in the U.S. and around the world, with a national mean of $32.94. The average meal costs in Tokyo, London and Paris are more than twice as high compared to Boston's; nearly 30% higher in New York, about 15% higher in San Francisco and Washington D.C. and nearly 10% more in Chicago. While 67% of surveyors report spending more to dine than they did two years ago, rising tabs aren't keeping diners at home, and they're not getting any stingier with tips either. On average, Bostonians dine out 2.7 times a week, and though they eat out less frequently than their counterparts in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, they are more generous when it comes to tipping, leaving an average of 19.1%, above Zagat's national average of 18.9%. New Ventures: This year select restaurateurs strayed from their signature styles when launching new eateries. For example, Chris Schlesinger debuted his "light-hearted" All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square, a switch from his East Coast Grill barbecue. The "bistro-like" Italian wine bar Bin 26 Enoteca bears little resemblance to its Persian partner, Lala Rokh, and finally, Michael Schlow's Italian offering, Alta Strada, is a casual departure from the dynamic destinations for which he has long been known. Charting New Courses: Several new restaurants are striving to redefine the traditional meal. Consider the menu at French brasserie Miel, organized around texture and temperature rather than the usual course sequence. Similarly, Legal Sea Foods' spin-off, LTK, categorizes its menu items by verbs (from "simmer" to "surrender"). Finally, Sauciety caters to the condiment obsessed with a selection of sauces, spreads, dips and chutneys to customize each course. The Survey: As with all Zagat guidebooks, the 2007/08 Boston Restaurants survey is made by consumers for consumers. Besides Top Lists for Popularity, Food, Decor, Service, and Good Values, the guide includes a list and map of Key Newcomers, and numerous neighborhood maps. Content from the survey is also available on ZAGAT.com, which now offers extensive free content, restaurant photos, menus and member reviews. The 2007/08 Boston Restaurants guide ($13.95) was edited by Bill Corsello with Ruth Tobias and coordinated by Maryanne Muller and is available at bookstores, online at www.ZAGAT.com, on the Palm and Windows Mobile operating systems, on BlackBerry, on mobile phones and by calling (888) 371-5440. About Zagat Survey, LLC Zagat Survey is the world's leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content. With more than 300,000 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 Windows Mobile operating systems, on BlackBerry, on mobile phones, and on TV. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com.
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