Zagat’s 2012 survey picks Toronto’s best restos and settles that pesky average tipping question

Zagat’s 2012 survey picks Toronto’s best restos and settles that pesky average tipping question

Scaramouche’s Keith Froggett (Image: Renée Suen) 

Online restaurant review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon may have cut into the crowd-sourced territory that Zagat once owned, but the yearly survey still has some clout—and the power to get diners in the door. The 2,266 food-loving Torontonians who voted in this year’s survey were crazy for Keith Froggett, giving fine dining restaurant Scaramouche top honours for food and also placing Scaramouche’s pasta bar in the top 10. But the winners weren’t all about linen tablecloths and tasting menus: The Burger’s Priest, with its epically greasy Vatican City burger, broke the top three for best food, while pan-Asian chain Spring Rolls was voted most popular restaurant (proving that democracy isn’t foolproof).

The best food in Toronto, according to Zagat voters:

  1. Scaramouche
  2. Chiado
  3. Burger’s Priest
  4. George
  5. Campagnolo
  6. Scaramouche Pasta Bar
  7. Sushi Kaji
  8. North 44°
  9. Nota Bene
  10. Auberge du Pommier

The Zagat Survey always contains some juicy tidbits about dining culture in the city, like the fact that the average tip in Toronto—despite what you may have heard—is 17.1 per cent (0.6 percentage points more than those cheapskates out in Vancouver, but a lot less than the U.S. average of 19.2 per cent). On average, Toronto’s Zagat voters eat three meals out per week, about the same as New York but fewer than Los Angeles, Dallas and Tokyo. Finally, these Zagat types are impatient: a third avoid restaurants that don’t take reservations, while only six per cent would wait longer than 30 minutes to be seated, which clearly doesn’t explain the lineups at Grand Electric and Guu every night of the week. The annual Toronto Life list of this year’s best new restaurants will appear in our April issue—not being new, neither Scaramouche nor Spring Rolls are eligible, unfortunately.