2004_10_food_zagatguide.jpgThe 2005 edition of the Zagat New York City Restaurant Guide is out today, and no, per se didn't blow everyone else out of the water -- at least not yet. Although it earned 29 out of 30 points in all three categories -- food, decor, and service -- it was too new to qualify for this year's guide.

This year's most popular restaurants were Gramercy Tavern, which swapped spots with Union Square Cafe, followed by Daniel.

Interesting trends this year included the closing of some of the city's most formal French restaurants -- Lutece, La Caravelle, and La Cote Basque -- to make way for a rise in popularity of more casual spots. Don't be fooled into thinking that Frech cuisine is on the outs; five out of the ten highest food ratings went to Le Bernadin, Bouley, and Daniel, all receiving 28's. Peter Luger and Sparks made huge jumps in popularity this year, possibly due to 17% of survey respondents who reported that they're currently following low-carb diets.

With over 1,900 restaurants surveyed, would anyone follow in Grocery's footsteps? Last year, the neighborhood Brooklyn eatery rocked the culinary world by earning a food rating of 28, placing it among the ranks of the city's top restaurants. This year, The Tasting Room in the East Village earned a food rating of 27, which puts it ahead of old guard favorites like Cafe Boulud and Aureole. Top newcomers this year included the Biltmore Room, David Burke & Donatella, Hearth, Casa Mono (which Gothamist checked out not too long ago), and Sumile.

The 2005 Guide is available in stores in hard copy and online (by subscription) at www.zagat.com. And Manhattan User's Guide goes a little meta with a really interesting interview with himself about the new Zagat's - Gothamist highly recommends reading it, because Charlie has some very salient points about the Zagat survey process, plus links to good restaurant information websites.