Zagat Releases 2011/12 New Jersey Restaurants Survey

The results of the Survey were released today. The guide is available online at, in bookstores and via Zagat’s suite of mobile apps. The Survey covers 1,050 restaurants rated and reviewed by 6,909 local diners. The Survey highlights are as follows:

  • Big Winner: Nicholas in Red Bank (Food, Service, Most Popular), rated 29 on Zagat’s 30-point scale for Food; Ninety Acres at Natirar in Peapack (Decor), first time winner.
  • Top Newcomer: Picnic, in Fair Lawn, rated 27 on Zagat’s 30-point scale for Food.
  • Other Key Newcomers: DelMonico (Cedar Grove), Martini 494 (Newark), Trinity & the Pope (Asbury Park), Fin (Atlantic City), Cara Mia (Millburn) and Luke Palladino (Northfield).
  • The average meal cost dropped for first the time in 15 years: $38.48 this year vs. $39.24 last year.
  • Also declining is the meal cost at the 20 most expensive restaurants – to $70.30 from $72.11 last year.
  • Meals out per week per surveyor: 3.0 pre-recession, 2.8 now.
  • Even in the last six months, 23% of diners report eating out less.
  • Percentage of lunches and dinners taken/eaten out: 47% (down from 52% pre-recession).
  • Average percent tip continues to increase; this year it’s 19.4% (compared to U.S. avg. 19.2%).

Surveyor Stats

  • Top complaints: Service (69%), Noise (13%), Food (7%) and Prices (5%).
  • No surprise, Internet reservations are up from 9% in 2007 to 28% this year.
  • Fifty-nine percent of diners consider locally sourced, organic or sustainably raised food items important.
  • Sixty-eight percent say it is “rude” to text, tweet, call or e-mail at the table.
  • Twenty-eight percent say the “formal fine-dining scene is dead” in New Jersey.
  • Twenty-seven percent say male diners are treated better; 6% say females; 67% say equal.

Known as the “burgundy bible,” Zagat Survey is the world’s most trusted source for consumer-generated survey information. With a worldwide network of surveyors, Zagat rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories and is lauded as the “most up-to-date,” “comprehensive” and “reliable” guide, published on all platforms. Zagat content is available to consumers wherever and whenever they need it: on,, ZAGAT TO GO for smartphones and in book form.