Reporting Regine Schlesinger
CHICAGO (WBBM) – Five Chicago restaurants make the cut among the nation’s best in the latest Zagat Survey.
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Among Zagat’s newest list of the top restaurants: Chicago’s Les Nomades in Streeterville, Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park’s Schwa, Arun’s Thai restaurant in the Irving Park neighborhood and Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo downtown.
Zagat’s 2011 America’s Top Restaurants guide reports the opinions and habits of more than 153,000 “avid diners”. The survey includes ratings and reviews of the 1,552 top restaurants countrywide.
CEO Tim Zagat says his annual survey also finds the recession has had an effect on fine dining. “They’re being much more price-sensitive and actually they’re eating out a little less frequently than before.”
At the same time, he says, people are leaving more generous tips. The average is now 19.2 percent, higher than ever before.
The main complaint among diners is others who are texting, tweeting or talking on their phones during the meal.
Here are some other findings of the survey:
Codes of Conduct: As more and more restaurants and public spaces offer free Wi-Fi to customers, 60% of those surveyed feel restaurants should restrict how long you can linger at a table during peak hours. When asked about texting, tweeting and talking at the table, 63% of those surveyed say it’s rude and inappropriate, but 85% feel it’s acceptable to take pictures of food and each other.
Sign of the Times: As expected during these tough economic times, those surveyed report eating out less (3.1 times per week down from 3.3 pre-recession).
Dollars and Sense: The national average price of a meal rose 2.2% in the past year to $35.37. New Orleans has the lowest average meal cost ($28.36), and the highest average percent tip at 19.7%.
More information at www.zagat.com