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Barbecue Tops Burgers as Zagat Lists London Restaurants

"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) -- A barbecue restaurant with only 30 seats and no reservations is the best-value menu in London in the new Zagat Survey.

Pitt Cue Co. in Soho -- which often has long lines of customers waiting -- beats Honest Burgers, Pepper Tree and Spice Village for meals at 25 pounds ($39.30) or less, the New York-based guide says, citing reports from 10,271 diners.

The Wolseley remains the city’s most popular restaurant, followed by Hakkasan, according to an e-mailed release from Zagat today. The Hawksmoor steak house jumps to third place for popularity from 11th in last year’s guide, climbing over fish specialist J. Sheekey. Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner by Heston is in fifth place.

The Waterside Inn in Bray near London is judged to have the best service, beating the Ledbury.

The Waterside Inn also holds onto its No. 1 slot for top food, in front of Yashin Sushi (Japanese), Barrafina (Spanish), Gauthier Soho (French) and the Ledbury.

The guide, covering 1,290 restaurants, says Sketch Lecture Room & Library has the best decor and Masala Zone is the most popular chain.

On average, the London surveyors eat out 3.7 times a week and spend an average of 37.35 pounds per person. Poor service is the No. 1 dining irritant, followed by high prices.

The London survey says Italian remains the most popular cuisine, with 23 percent of votes, followed by Japanese (17 percent) and last year’s runner-up French (14 percent).

Google Inc. spent $151 million in Sept. 2011 to acquire Zagat Survey LLC. Mountain View, California-based Google, owner of the world’s largest search engine, is using acquisitions to add services and find new sources of advertising.

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

Most Popular: 1 Wolseley -- European (1) 2 Hakkasan -- Chinese (2) 3 Hawksmoor -- Steak (11) 4 J. Sheekey -- Seafood (8) 5 Dinner by Heston -- British (9) 6 L’Atelier/Robuchon -- French (14) 7 River Cafe -- Italian (5) 8 Alain Ducasse -- French (16) 9 Ivy -- British/European (4) 10 Ledbury -- French (6)

Best Buys (Top-rated places at 25 pounds or less): 1 Pitt Cue Co. -- BBQ 2 Honest Burgers -- Burgers 3 Pepper Tree -- Thai 4 Spice Village -- Indian 5 Morito -- African/Spanish 6 Satay House -- Malaysian 7 Atari-Ya Sushi Bar -- Japanese 8 Franco Manca -- Pizza 9 Nautilus Fish -- Seafood 10 Antepliler -- Turkish

Top Food: 1 Waterside Inn -- French (1) 2 Yashin Sushi -- Japanese (9) 3 Barrafina -- Spanish (4) 4 Gauthier Soho -- French (13) 5 Ledbury -- French (7) 6 Le Gavroche -- French (3) 7 Dinings -- Japanese (2) 8 Petrus -- French (6) 9 French Table -- French/Med. (19) 10 Square -- French (10)

Top Decor: 1 Sketch/Lecture (1) 2 Sketch/Parlour (2) 3 Ritz (4) 4 Mosimann’s (11) 5 Bob Bob Ricard (5) 6 Sketch/Gallery (9) 7 Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (7) 8 Clos Maggiore (8) 9 Waterside Inn (3) 10 SushiSamba (-)

Top Service: 1 Waterside Inn (3) 2 Ledbury (5) 3 Le Gavroche (4) 4 Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (6) 5 Mosimann’s (7) 6 Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (8) 7 Petrus (10) 8 Marcus Wareing (9) 9 Fat Duck (12) 10 Alain Ducasse (14)

Zagat’s “2014 London Restaurant Survey” costs 11.99 pounds. Zagat’s ratings and reviews are available free on http://www.zagat.com/.

(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on the art market, Hephzibah Anderson on books, Jeremy Gerard on theater, Martin Gayford on European art and Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night.

To contact the writer on the story: Mark Beech in London at mbeech@bloomberg.net or http://twitter.com/Mark_Beech.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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