This was the scene last night at Park Tavern in North Beach for the launch of the 2012 ZAGAT Survey. Read all about it at ZAGATBUZZ San Francisco.
As you can see Gary Danko was the big winner, shown here with Nina and Tim Zagat:
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Inside Scoop’s Paolo Lucchesi has already leafed through our new “burgundy bible,” so check that out.
And it’s now the “Google Era” for Zagat, owing to a recent nine-figure purchase by Big G. How will things change?
“All of these are users wondering where they should go, where they should spend their time, so to be able to offer accurate information is important, and that’s why we’ve been getting focused on reviews,” Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for local, maps and location services, said in an interview. Ms. Mayer said that Zagat’s reviews would supplement Google’s Places reviews, but that the publisher’s Web home would remain a paid site for now.”
All the deets:
“SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 20, 2011 — This morning, Zagat released the results of its 2012 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants Survey covering 1,448 restaurants in the greater Bay Area. The all-new Survey is based on the shared opinions of 10,672 avid local diners who voted online at ZAGAT.com and on Zagat for iPhone. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the guide also covers restaurants in the Wine Country, Silicon Valley and Monterey Peninsula. The guide is available on ZAGAT.com, via Zagat’s mobile apps and in bookstores.
Holding and Gaining Ground: According to the Survey, the local restaurant industry is holding steady this year with diners continuing to eat out an average of 2.8 times per week and with the average meal cost increasing by only 10 cents, from $38.78 to $38.88. Most importantly, 31% of respondents report that the dining scene is better than last year; a mere 4% say it’s worse. From an industry standpoint, another indication of economic importance is that 28% of diners say they are spending more per meal, while only 15% say less. It is also notable that complaints about service have consistently declined, from 68% pre-recession to 56% this year.
Winners: Hailed as “brilliant” and “perfect for any occasion,” Gary Danko takes home top honors this year for Service, Popularity and Food, with a near-perfect 29 out of 30 rating. Gary Danko has topped the Food list nine times in ten years. Big Sur’s Sierra Mar wins top Decor boasting “stellar views” and “walls of windows,” while the “brilliant rebirth” of Michael Mina debuts this year as Top Newcomer featuring a brand-new concept, location and more affordable New American menu. The full list of winners includes:
Tim Zagat, Co-Chair of Zagat Survey said, “After 25 years in San Francisco, we’re glad to report that the local dining scene continues to improve, thanks to a host of first-class restaurants and affordable newcomers.”
Techies Unite: When asked about the best development to ever hit the Bay Area dining scene, surveyors picked “online reservations,” a feature that 63% admit they utilize when making reservations. San Francisco surveyors continue to be among the most tech-savvy with 39% using restaurant-related mobile applications and 28% following restaurants/food trucks via social media. However, nearly two-thirds think it is “rude and inappropriate” to text, talk, tweet, or e-mail when dining out, though a full 87% say it’s ok to photograph their food or dining companions.
New and Trendy: While fine dining is not dead, this year’s crop of newcomers offers some less expensive options. The zero-zero flour trend is heating up brick ovens with upstart pizzerias such as Cupola Pizzeria, Ragazza and Una Pizza Napoletana in the city, and Addie’s Pizza Pie and Bar Bocce to the east and north. Izakayas like Chotto in the Marina and Ki in Temple Nightclub are offering affordably priced Japanese cuisine matched with sake and cocktails, while Cyrus chef Douglas Keane has opened Shimo Modern Steak in Healdsburg, a downscaled Japanese modern steakhouse with a customizable noodle bar.
On a Roll: Following this year’s expanded survey of Bay Area food trucks, ratings and reviews for 37 trucks are available on ZAGAT.com. This year’s Top Food Truck, Spencer on the Go!, from the Chez Spencer team, offers “imaginative French” fare from Wednesday to Saturday in SoMa. Other trucks offer a variety of cuisines including Mexican (El Tonayense), Middle Eastern (Liba Falafel), Italian/Pan-Latin (Mama’s Empanadas) and Chinese (Chairman Bao Bun).
Big Names, Not Price Tags: Many of San Francisco’s big-ticket chefs are scaling back and opening moderately priced offshoots. In the Mission (named SF’s best restaurant neighborhood), the team from Delfina has opened the moderately priced osteria Locanda, while James Syhabout (Commis) debuted his Asian street food newcomer, Hawker Fare, in Oakland. Up in Napa, Todd Humphries opened the eclectic Kitchen Door.
Green and Local: Eighty percent of surveyors say that locally sourced, organic or sustainably raised food is important and 68% say they would actually pay more for it.
Quarter-Century Club: The new Survey takes a look at major changes in dining trends in San Francisco over the past quarter-century:
Survey Details: The 2012 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants Survey ($15.95) was edited by Cynthia Kilian and local editor Meesha Halm. The Survey is available now in bookstores, online at ZAGAT.com and via ZAGAT for mobile. Follow Zagat on Facebook and Twitter @Zagat for news & updates.
About Zagat Survey, LLC – Known as the “burgundy bible,” Zagat Survey is the world’s most trusted source for consumer-generated survey information. With a worldwide network of surveyors, Zagat rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories and is lauded as the “most up-to-date,” “comprehensive” and “reliable” guide, published on all platforms. Zagat content is available to consumers wherever and whenever they need it on ZAGAT.com, Zagat for Mobile and in book form.”