Zagat Survey released the results of its 2009 New Orleans travel survey recently. The guide, in its 20th edition, covers 704 of the city’s finest restaurants, nightspots, attractions and hotels, based on input from 3,877 local consumers.
‘The guide was created to help both visitors and locals rediscover the uniquely rich cultural and culinary assets of New Orleans,’ said Tim Zagat, Zagat Survey CEO. ‘In today’s economy, we’re anticipating an increase in domestic travel, and we encourage Americans to experience what this most distinctive city has to offer.’
In light of the economic storm battering the nation, tourists and locals alike appreciate the fact that New Orleans’ renowned restaurant industry offers one of the lowest average meal costs in the United States: $28.52 vs. the national average of $34.31. Despite the fact that 70% of respondents report spending more per meal compared to two years ago, 41% say they are eating out more often vs. only 17% who say they’re dining less often. New restaurants show the resurgent strength of the city’s dining scene.
Since 28% of surveyors in New Orleans named Creole and Cajun as their favorite cuisines, it is no surprise that Brigtsen’s (Contemp. Louisiana) won Top Food and Top Service, while Commander’s Palace (Creole) was voted Most Popular restaurant (as it has been every time it has been surveyed) and Top Decor to boot. Best Bets for a bite at top value are at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, Angelo Brocato and Morning Call.
In the three years since Hurricane Katrina, 97% of surveyors report their favorite restaurants are back in business. The French Quarter’s arty Cafe Sbisa and Uptown’s iconic Charlie’s Steak House finally reopened this year to the delight of loyal locals, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House returned to the city proper in fancy new digs at Harrah’s.
Showing the wide variety of cuisine available in New Orleans, there are a wealth of winners by food category, including American, Barbeque, Chinese, Cajun and nearly every region of the world.
Zagat New Orleans 2009 ($12.95), edited by Karen Hudes, Sharon Litwin, Todd A. Price and Mimi Read, is available wherever books are sold, and online at