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Zagat's Best New York Restaurants

The Hottest Restaurants and Best Food in Manhattan for 2012

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Zagat Survey, publisher of the top New York restaurant and nightlife directories, recently released their 2012 guide to New York City restaurants. The new Zagat guide is based on the opinions of more than 41,000 locals and covers 2,111 restaurants. The rating for the typical restaurant in the survey was based on 1,485 surveyor meals.

The 2012 Zagat survey shows that the restaurant industry is recovering, with many high-profile openings over the past year. The cost of the average meal has gone up 4.1% to $43.64 and the average cost of dining at a pricey New York restaurant (top 20 by price) has gone up to $163.34, making New York the most expensive U.S. city for high-end dining. However, New Yorkers are still dining out an average of 3 times per week..

The introduction of health letter grades has been embraced by New York City diners and 35% say they will only dine in A-rated restaurants while a total of 53% say that they will consider both A and B options. Only 1% would dine out at a C-rated restaurant.

The survey also noted other restaurant industry trends -- including the continuing popularity of food trucks and the rise of Williamsburg as a dining destination.

But what you really want to know is which restaurants were rated as the best in Manhattan.

And the big Zagat winners are....

The top-rated restaurants for 2012 include plenty of old favorites and some hot newcomers.
  • Most Popular: Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin was rated most popular overall -- beating out Danny Meyer, whose restaurants (Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe) have dominated the Most Popular title for the last 15 years. Gramercy Tavern remains firmly at #2, followed by Peter Luger in Brooklyn and then Union Square Cafe.


  • Best Food: Le Bernardin was also rated #1 for Best Food. Daniel was rated #2 and Per Se #3.


  • Best Newcomer: Ai Fiori, located in midtown's Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel, was rated the best new restaurant in New York City.


  • Best Service: Thomas Keller's Per Se at Time Warner Center earned top honors for service for the third year running.


  • Best Decor: Asiate got the nod for best restaurant decor.


  • Best Food Trucks: The Zagat experts rated New York City's best food trucks again this year and the top three are Nauti, Taïm Mobile, and Wafels & Dinges.


  • Best Burger: burger joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel won the Best Burger in New York title once again. Check out our Best Burgers picks for more tasty options.


  • Best Japanese/Sushi:Sushi Sasabune took the title for best New York sushi.


  • Best Pizza: Totonno's in Brooklyn won the pizza prize. Check out our Best Pizza picks for delicious slices in Manhattan.


  • Best Steak: Brooklyn's Peter Luger was the pick for best New York steaks for the 28th consecutive year.

The 2012 Zagat New York City Restaurant Guide is available online and at bookstores and other retail outlets.

Get the latest Zagat New York City restaurant reviews online right now.
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