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London Restaurants Emerging From Slowdown, Zagat Says

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The Pitt Cue Crew
"The Pitt Cue Crew." Co-owner Jamie Berger with (from left) Violet Alvarez, Thea Cumming and Fran Astbury. They are standing behind the London restaurant's tiny bar. The restaurant is rated by Zagat. Photographer: Richard Vines/Bloomberg

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- London restaurants are showing signs of recovering from the impact of the economic slowdown, with 40 percent of respondents saying the dining scene has improved from a year ago, Zagat Survey said.

People are spending more on eating out and there has been a dramatic increase in openings as chefs and restaurateurs from the U.K. and overseas invest in new establishments, the New York-based guide said, citing reports from 9,583 diners.

Yet Londoners are still only eating out an average 2.2 times a week, well below the rates in New York, Paris and Tokyo, which range between three and four times, Zagat said today in an e-mailed release to mark the publication of its 2013 survey.

Google Inc. spent $151 million last September to acquire Zagat Survey LLC. Mountain View, California-based Google, the world’s largest Internet-search provider, is using acquisitions to add services and find new sources of advertising.

Zagat’s London survey found Italian is the most popular cuisine, with 25 percent of votes, followed by French (17 percent) and Japanese (14 percent). Only one in 10 diners said British food was their favorite.

Here’s how Zagat respondents rate London restaurants, with last year’s placing in parentheses:

1 Wolseley (1)
2 Hakkasan (7)
3 Le Gavroche (9)
4 Ivy (5)
5 River Cafe (11)
6 Ledbury (10)
7 Gordon Ramsay (2)
8 J Sheekey (3)
9 Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (-)
10 Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s (6)

Top Food
1 Waterside Inn (6)
2 Dinings (3)
3 Le Gavroche (5)
4 Barrafina (48)
5 Roganic (-)
6 Petrus (-)
7 Ledbury (1)
8 Gordon Ramsay (8)
9 Yashin Sushi (-)
10 The Square (9)

Best by Cuisine
American: Burger & Lobster
BBQ (Int’l): Pitt Cue Co.
British (Modern): Roganic
British (Trad.): Wilton’s
Chinese: Hunan
Chophouses: Hawksmoor
Eclectic: Viajante
European (Modern): La Trompette
Fish ’n’ Chips: North Sea
French (Bistro): Brula
French (Brasserie): Angelus
French (Classic): Waterside Inn
French (New): Petrus
Indian: Babur
Italian: River Cafe
Japanese: Dinings
Lebanese: Ishbilia
Mediterranean: French Table
Mexican: Tortilla
Pizza: Portobello Rist
Seafood: Wilton’s
Spanish: Barrafina
Thai: Pepper Tree
Vegetarian: Chutneys

Zagat’s “2013 London Restaurant Survey” costs 10.99 pounds. Zagat’s ratings and reviews are available free on

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Mark Beech on music and Elin McCoy on wine.

To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in London at or

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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