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

Weak Link

Apr 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from Zagat

    BOSTON, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Zagat Survey today released its
 2007/08 Boston Restaurants guide, with results also available online at 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: )
     "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:
     23 -- Douzo
     22 -- dante
           Beacon St. Tavern
     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
     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
     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, 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, on the Palm and Windows
 Mobile operating systems, on BlackBerry, on mobile phones and by calling
 (888) 371-5440.
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