It’s been three years, but that familiar maroon book is back. The 2020 Zagat survey of New York City restaurants will go on sale on Tuesday.
The new 352-page book retains the same cover and pocket-size dimensions of the original. The three most popular restaurants — that is, the places the surveyors named their favorites: Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern and Peter Luger Steak House — were also the same as in the 2017 guide.
Le Bernardin, Daniel and Bouley at Home led the list of top restaurants for food, followed by Sushi Nakazawa, Gabriel Kreuther, Decoy, Lucali, Eleven Madison Park, 4 Charles Prime Rib and Via Carota.
Majorelle displaced Asiate as No. 1 on the best décor list. Le Bernardin slipped to second place after Daniel on the best-service list. (Eleven Madison Park came in third.)
Tim and Nina Zagat, both lawyers and food lovers, began publishing the guide, with ratings based on the opinions of people who complete a questionnaire, 40 years ago. In 2011, after having expanded worldwide, they sold it to Google for $151 million. Google maintained it for several years, made some changes and then stopped publishing the guides in 2016. The Infatuation bought the brand last year.
“We heard from so many people pleading for us to bring back the printed guide,” said Chris Stang, a founder and the chief executive of the Infatuation, an online guide and ratings platform.
For this latest guide, the Infatuation consulted the Zagats, and restored the rating system, calculated on a total of 30, that they used for decades. Comments for the restaurants tend to be positive, with quotes like “it’s convenient” balancing terms like “merely decent” and “mediocre” for low-rated places like Sardi’s and Jue Lan Club. About 12,000 people participated in voting for this guide.
Only 10 vegetarian and vegan restaurants were listed in the index, compared with 23 in 2017. Hangawi and Kajitsu, both vegetarian, are included in the 2020 survey, yet in what appears to be an oversight, they are not listed as vegetarian in the index.
The new guide has omitted a Best Buys category (sometimes called Bang for the Buck) because it was felt that people’s views of good value varied too much. A Notable Closings category is also gone.
“Things change very quickly in the city, and there’s stuff in there that’s already out of date,” Mr. Stang said.
It remains to be seen whether print guides will be published for other cities, and an online version of the New York guide is not likely to happen before next summer.
“As it is, you could consider the guide to be like a paper app,” Mr. Stang said.
Zagat 2020 New York City Restaurants will be available Tuesday in bookstores and online for $17.95.