Food & Drink

Zagat Guides

Zagat's has become a very useful online reference guide.

The hugely popular American restaurant guides in which readers rate each venue have extended their remit to include London and Paris, Tokyo and Canada all of which are included in the online search facility. The site is low on images, but nevertheless makes a big impact, and is very easy to read. To begin your search, choose a city on the splash page. You will then be taken through to that city guide's homepage and offered several methods of searching and several summary lists, such as the most popular restaurants as rated by various age groups, best buys, best for service, best for food and so on.

Special Features

London Guide This section would be best described as a guide to England, as it includes several leading country house hotel restaurants - indeed, among the restaurants listed in the top 15 for food, four are way outside London. The suburbs also make their mark amongst the best with highly rated venues in Wandsworth Common, Golders Green and Hampton, Middlesex. Overall, this year Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford seems to be the most highly rated establishment, ranking alongside Gordon Ramsay for food but beating him on decor and service. The best place to eat outdoors is apparently Belair House in Dulwich, and the most romantic venue is Andrew Edmunds. Noteworthy Newcomers include Smiths of Smithfield and 1 Blossom Street, both in the City. The restaurants that achieved a low number of votes are, unsurprisingly, places you haven't heard of and don't intend going to.

Paris Guide Don't worry, it's in English, and although it doesn't extend to France's other great gastronomic capital, Lyons, the guide does include several areas some distance from Paris. Top scorers for food, décor, and service are Taillevant, Le Grand Véfour and Alain Ducasse au Plaza-Athenee.

New York Guide According to Zagat's readers, the best places for food in New York are primarily French and Japanese with Le Bernardin, Chanterelle and Nobu coming in top. It's interesting to note that the venues most popular amongst thirtysomethings are trendy Angelo and Maxie's Steakhouse, Asia de Cuba, the Atlantic Grill and Balthazar, whereas, when the same question is asked of British respondents, the answers are All Bar One and Ask Pizza.

Other Features

Shop for guides and gift certificates, trade and corporate sales, a history of the company, site feedback survey, weekly quick vote, and several online guides to American cities which are very useful if you're planning a trip.