America’s Top Restaurants Survey: DC Dining Trends

By Rina Rapuano  |  December 3, 2013
Credit: Robert Miller/Rasika West End

DC is a city by no means lacking in strong opinions. Unsurprisingly, that extends to the ever-burgeoning food scene - and the annual Zagat survey of America’s Top Restaurants and dining trends sheds some light on the habits and preferences of local diners.

Tech-savvy Washington beat all other cities surveyed in the number of people who report that the internet is the way they most often make restaurant reservations. DC came in at 69% claiming to favor online reservation systems, while Boston registered at 66% and San Francisco at 68%.

Our restaurant pet peeves include noisy dining rooms (27%) and poor service (24%), with high prices (16%) also making the list. And while DC has never been known for having an ingrained Italian culture like Boston or Philadelphia, Italian food gets the top vote from 18% of us for favorite cuisine. American, French and seafood weren’t far behind.

It turns out that we’re only a tiny bit below the national average of eating out 4.4 meals per week (we come in at 4.3) and of average spend per dinner - $40.53, versus the $39.73 claimed by DC folks. We do our city proud by coming in slightly above average in the tipping department: the national average for gratuities is 19%, and DC residents report tipping an average of 19.2%.