In 1979 Tim and Nina Zagat started asking friends to rate restaurants for fun. 33 years later, Zagat covers about two dozen restaurant-relevant cities worldwide including New York, London, San Francisco, and Miami/South Florida.
The Miami/South Florida guide is based on input from 6,671 local consumers who answered Zagat's annual survey. The guide is the tabulation of these results, not a review book as some people mistake it for. Nonetheless, it's an interesting annual state of the restaurant scene. Here are some highlights:
Best Food/Best Service
Kevin Cory's 17-seat Naoe won top honors for both food and service. The guide calls his omakase meals "outstanding even in Japan".
Most Popular Restaurant
No surprise that Joe's Stone Crab took the "most popular" title. The guide advises you to "rob a bank, sell the house, [do] whatever it takes" to afford the "succulent" stone crabs. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Prime One Twelve, and Michy's took the runner up positions.
DB Bistro Moderne was named top newcomer to the restaurant scene, with the advice to try the $32 sirloin, foie gras, and truffle burger.
Everyone loves brunch, and two restaurants tied for Miami favorite. Icebox Cafe in South Beach is a "cool place to chill at a nice price", and Perricone's Marketplace in Brickell is a "rustic old Vermont barn" plunked down in the middle of Miami.
Mango's Tropical Cafe, that outpost of taste and refinement (if you think hootchie girls dressed in neon are refined), got a miserly 13 out of 30 for its food. Go for the girls, skip the food at this "silly tourist trap" that can be "fun".
Best Restaurants (By Cuisine)
American (New) - Michy's
American (Trad.) - Burger & Beer Joint
Asian - Oishi (Thai)
Caribbean/Cuban - Ortanique
Chinese - Tropical Chinese
Delis/Sandwiches - Jimmy'z Kitchen
Eclectic - Jimmy'z Kitchen
French - Palme d-Or
French (Bistro) - Le Bouchon du Grove
Japanese - Naoe
Latin American - OLA
Mediterranean - Timo
Pizza - Frankie's Pizza
Seafood - Joe's Stone Crab
Spanish - La Dorada
Steakhouses - Palm
The guide isn't all about "best restaurant". The survey also asked some interesting questions about dining in general.
When asked about what's the most irritating part of dining out, 74% of respondents said service, followed by noise (10%), food (9%), prices (3%), and parking (2%).
When asked if a restaurant having a famous chef influences their decision to dine, 56% of respondents said no effect, 41% said more likely to dine there, and 3% said less likely to dine there.
Texting, Tweeting, and Talking
58% of respondents said it's rude and inappropriate to use a mobile phone, 37% said acceptable in moderation, and 3% of people though it perfectly acceptable.
Though it's a considered rude to text, most people seem to have no problem capturing the moment. 64% of people surveyed said it's acceptable in moderation to take pictures in a restaurant. 19% say it's perfectly acceptable, and 12% think it's rude and inappropriate.
Follow on Facebook?
though it seems every restaurant and food truck uses social media,
we're still not following. Only 20% say they follow a restaurant and/or
food truck via social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc). 80%
answered no, they don't follow.
Zagat responders don't seem to even care about food trucks. When asked "What do you think of gourmet food trucks?", 50% said I've never eaten food from one, but willing, 19% said I eat from them occasionally, 22% said I don't know/care. Only 4% considered themselves loval followers, with 5% saying I never would eat at one.
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