Do You Tip Enough?

Zagat releases 2012 America’s Top Restaurants Survey

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The best restaurant in San Diego County is Market in Del Mar.

San Diego tippers are among the least generous in the nation.

And you probably eat out three times a week.

That is all according a new survey on the nation’s restaurant habits. On Tuesday Zagat released its 2012 America’s Top Restaurants Survey, covering 1,578 of the nation’s top restaurants.

Zagat found that West Coast diners (including San Diegans) are the least generous tippers. We West Coasters tip 18.9 percent on average, compared to a slightly more generous 19.7 percent in New Orleans.

The national average is 19.2 percent.

Service tops the list of irritants for the average diner. The survey also saw a rise in diners annoyed with noise and crowds. But 54 percent said they would ignore their noisy neighbors, while only four percent would ask them to quiet down.

San Diegans almost top the list for cities that expect transparency from their local haunts. 93 percent of San Diegans surveyed are in favor of restaurants being required to post their health department letter grades.

“Our surveyors’ support for the display of health department letter grades has grown as fast as support for the smoking bans a few years ago,” said Tim Zagat, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Zagat. “By requiring restaurants to maintain sanitary environments, these laws are benefitting the overall safety of the consumer.”

How long would you wait for a table? 67 percent of those surveyed would be willing to wait no more than 30 minutes. 12 percent said no longer than an hour.

The average cost of a meal is $35.65 nationwide. Unless you’re rolling the dice in Las Vegas, where the average meal cost is $47.53.

In 2011, 27 percent of diners nationwide reported spending more per meal compared to 2010. Only 14 percent reported spending less.

Most diners prefer Italian cuisine, followed by American, French, Japanese and Mexican, according to the survey.

Hungry yet?

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