By Richard Vines
Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Paris and Tokyo have overtaken London
as the most expensive cities for eating out as the pound's decline
makes the U.K. more affordable for visitors, according to Zagat
Survey, whose ``2009 London Restaurants'' is published today.
The average cost of a meal in the U.K. capital rose 3.7
percent from a year earlier to 40.55 pounds ($71.02), compared
with 45.09 pounds in Paris and 41.75 pounds in Tokyo, Zagat said.
Next come the Japanese cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe (39.65
pounds), followed by New York (22.10 pounds), Miami (21.77
pounds) San Francisco (20.77 pounds) and Chicago (19.70 pounds.)
``The general view of visitors a year ago was, `Wow, it's
expensive to eat out,''' Tim Zagat, chief executive officer of
Zagat Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. The pound
has lost 13 percent against the dollar in a year. ``That brings in
more tourists and makes it more expensive for Londoners abroad.''
Among other findings in the survey: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
was named best for food, reclaiming the position it had held
since 2001 before being overtaken by Chez Bruce last year. Chez
Bruce fell to second. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, whose
prices and food have come under critical fire, was named best
Ramsay regains his Zagat crown less than two weeks after he
was toppled for best food by his former protege Marcus Wareing in
Harden's, a rival guide. Wareing's Petrus was part of Gordon
Ramsay Holdings until Sept. 5, when it closed for a name change.
Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley is scheduled to open on Sept. 15
and Ramsay aims to reopen Petrus at an unspecified new location.
``Someone else -- I'm not going to name names -- made a huge
stink about Petrus beating Gordon Ramsay and Ramsay being in
trouble,'' Zagat said. ``But Petrus was owned by Ramsay. It's
ridiculous and the press should have said so. Ramsay is a great
chef and he's doing great things.'' Zagat rated Petrus No. 6.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay held onto first place for service.
Not surprisingly, the chef welcomed Zagat's new ratings.
``I am delighted to have regained the top spot for food and
maintained the No. 1 for service in this year's Zagat guide,''
Ramsay said. ``Zagat is the best of the London restaurant guides
and truly reflects the voice of the people. This recognition will
also give a great boost to my team at Royal Hospital Road.
``We are very excited about the future of Petrus, which will
be reopening in a wonderful new location in April 2009,'' Ramsay
said. His comments were e-mailed yesterday by his spokeswoman, Jo
Barnes, in response to questions put by Bloomberg.
``2009 London Restaurants'' (8.99 pounds) is published by
Zagat Survey. The guide includes ratings and reviews of 1,173
capital eateries as voted on by more than 5,300 diners. For more
information, click on http://www.zagat.com/.
Most Popular (with last year in parentheses):
1. Wagamama (1)
2. The Ivy (3)
3. J. Sheekey (5)
4. Nobu (2)
5. The Wolseley (6)
6. Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road (4)
7. Hakkasan (11)
8. Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's (7)
9. Le Gavroche (8)
10. The Square (12)
Top Food Rankings:
1. Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road (2)
2. Chez Bruce (1)
3. La Trompette (8)
4. River Cafe (10)
5. The Ledbury (-)
6. Petrus (6)
7. Gravetye Manor, West Sussex (-)
8. New Tayyabs (-)
9. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons (4)
10. Jin Kichi (32)
Best by Cuisine:
American: Sophie's Steak
British (Modern): Chez Bruce
British (Traditional): Sweetings
Eclectic: Michael Moore
European (Modern): La Trompette
Fish `n' Chips: Sweetings
French (Bistro): Le Vacherin
French (Classic): Le Gavroche
French (New): Gordon Ramsay
Indian: Rasoi Vineet Bhatia
Italian: River Cafe
Japanese: Jin Kichi
Lebanese: Al Sultan
Mediterranean: La Petite Maison
Pizza: Il Bordello
Seafood: J. Sheekey