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July 28, 2010

The new Zagat books are here! The new Zagat books are here!

Zagat guideThe new Zagat dining guide came out today, and there's been a shake-up in the Most Popular list.

Quite a change from a year ago, when EL wrote: "For whatever reason, this year's Top 40 Most Popular list is almost identical with last year's. (That wasn't true the year before.) You have to get down to No. 34, Lemongrass, before it changes, and that's only because last year's No. 34, Brasserie Tatin, closed. The top five are once again 1) Charleston, 2) Prime Rib, 3) Helmand, 4) Petit Louis Bistro, 5) Ruth's Chris."

This year, the top five are 1) Woodberry Kitchen, 2) Charleston, 3) Volt, 4) Cinghiale, 5) Prime Rib.

Top Food honors went to Charleston and Volt, and Top Service to Charleston, Volt and Prime Rib. In the Top Decor category, it was Charleston, Pazo, Scossa, Milton Inn and Antrim 1844.


Newly listed Baltimore-area restaurants were: B&O American Brasserie, Bluegrass, Bon Fresco in Columbia, Centro in South Baltimore, Coal Fire Pizza in Ellicott City, Grano at Chestnut (aka Big Grano) and Grano Pasta Bar (aka Little Grano), Mr. Rain's Funhoue, in the American Visionary Art Museum, Pairings Bistro in Bel Air, Pappas in Glen Burnie, Regions in Catonsville, Sam's Kid in Fells Point, Soup'r Natural in Monkton, Stanford Grill in Columbia, Tapas Adela in Fells Point, 13.5 Wine Bar in Hampden, Umi Sake in Cockeysville, Vino Rosina.

One new Annapolis restaurant, Level, made the guide, as did several from the Eastern shore: Ava Pizza in St. Michaels, Bartlett Pear Inn in Easton and The Barbecue Joint in Easton.

You can get the full survey at Or you can buy the slender maroon-covered paper version for $14.95.

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 11:40 AM | | Comments (6)


Sorry, I just have to:

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.

Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

[the Sniper points to Navin's name in the phone book]
Sniper: Johnson, Navin R... sounds like a typical b@$!@%d.

What's interesting is Zagat rated Charleston #1 and Pazo #2 in decor. In her review Elizabeth Large went out of her way to pan Charleston's decor, giving it 2.5 out of 4 stars and gave Pazo 3 out of 4 stars. And ironically they got the two highest rankings. Very interesting.

Best as I can tell, the Zagat survey is only available on their website if you subscribe, or at least give them a credit card number. has a pretty good amount of free information on each restaurant , detailed location data with map, their website with link, menus, special features and uses, unofficial diner reviews and in some cases, photos and online reservation links. Scores and official reviews are pay features, but there's a two-week free trial that does use a credit-card for sign-up.

I wrote the link incorrectly above. The decor scores for Charleston and Pazo were the opinions of the survey participants; tastes vary...I miss EL's pithy observations.

Anyone know top 10 restaurants? Seems odd they only note 5.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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