The Zagat released its 2012 America’s Top Restaurants Survey, covering 1,578 of the nation’s top restaurants across 45 U.S. markets, including Baltimore, which is joined together in most, but not all, of the survey questions with Washington.
Restaurant owners in Baltimore/D.C. area may have their work cut out for them. Diners in our market say they eat out an average of 2.6 times a week, which ranks 43rd among the 45 markets surveyed and far below the national average of 3.1 times a week. The four top markets are all in Texas – Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
Service, as it has been for year after year, is the number one irritant to survey responders nationwide — 66 percent say it’s what most irritates them about restaurants, followed by noise/crowds at 16%.
Baltimore and Washington were considered separately in the survey’s meal-cost comparison. The national average meal cost was $35.65, and average meal in Baltimore was $34.29, just a dollar and a half less than the $35.99 average D.C. meal. Las Vegas, at $47.53, was the highest.
The survey included only the 20 most expensive restaurants in each city, the average in Baltimore was $62.02, well below the national average of $79.39 and staggeringly below the average very expensive meal in New York City, which was $163.34.
63 percent of diners in the Baltimore-D.C. market say they’d pay more for food that is locally sourced, organic or sustainably raised. That’s above the national average of 57 percent. The city where diners care most about “green” food was Portland, OR. The city where the diners don’t seem to care so much where there food comes from was Las Vegas, which makes perfect sense.
Diners in Baltimore-D.C. tip 19.2 percent, right at the national avverage of 19.3.
Top Restaurants: The list as top restaurants in Zagat’s major markets includes the following:
Baltimore/Annapolis – Charleston
Washington, D.C. – Marcel’s
Source: Richard Gorelick, the Baltimore Sun, 10-25-11