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Oct 1, 2006 11:35 AM

Philadelphia Zagat Guide

For those of you that saw the Philly Zagat guide... what did you think? Were there any surprises?

Now, I know the Zagat guide is not the most chow-ish publication, but I do like it. The biggest surprise I saw this year was that they started rating FAST FOOD! Baja Fresh was rated, and actualy given top scores. Now, I agree Baja Fresh is good for what it is (fast food) but I was shocked to see it in the guide. Pretty soon when you go to Baja Fresh, you'll see the "Zagat Rated" sign in the window.

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  1. Just out of curiousity - what else in that category scored well? I think I remember seeing a Zagat rating on a chain restaurant not too long ago - not sure what it was - maybe Cheesecake Factory?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ace_Mclean

      They actually had reviews for quite a few chains... cheesecake factory, elephant & castle, etc. They actually had a seperate section in the book for popular chains that remain popular in spite of lackluster ratings.

    2. Restaurants I now know I want to try after reading the 2007 edition:

      Cucina Forte
      Roux 3 (a friend just had their $20 3 course menu and loved it)
      Pepper's Cafe

      Any opinions? Are the high ratings accurate?

      4 Replies
      1. re: saturninus

        Not for Serrano. Don't bother with that place unless you happen to be going to a show at the Tin Angel upstairs. It's not *bad*, but it doesn't belong in the same category as Lolita, which is great. I went to Next when it first opened and it was not good, but that was a long time ago and they're still in business, so they must have improved quite a bit since then.

        1. re: saturninus

          I just ate at Lolita for the 1st time last night and it was fabulous. We had the especiale guacamole to start and it was delicious. I had the carne asada and it was very tender and cooked perfectly. I would highly recommed it. It was a little noisy and we waited about 1 hour, but it was a busy Saturday night.

          1. re: saturninus

            I love Dahlak. I would not that the food is extremely great or anything of that caliber, but it's a fun place to go with a group of people. Dishes are served on a flat bread whose name I cannot recall, and you eat with your hands. It's really a restaurant for groups, not for individuals, so if you go, take a few friends. And have the cosmos - haven't had them in a while but they used to be good.

            1. re: saturninus

              I really love the food at Cucina Forte, but our last dining experience there was a bad one, and we haven't been back since. Although we had a reservation, we were made to wait nearly an hour for a table, and there's really no waiting place -- we just hung out at the front of the restaurant, way too close to a couple of tables. When we were finally seated and the waiter tried to open our first bottle of wine, he put the corkscrew in crooked and ended up breaking the neck of the bottle and grinding glass bits all over the table. What did he do then? He offered to pour the wine through a strainer into our glasses. NO offer to comp an appetizer or a dessert. NADA! When we complained to the manager, all he did was suggest we come back on a weekday night when things are less hectic.

            2. Had the pleasure of dining at Gibraltar in Lancaster after seeing their stellar rating (28 food) in the '07 edition. Living in the western burbs, we decided to make the 40 minute drive west instead of east. It may be the most pleastantly suprising dining experience we've had...ever. A big beatiful room with an incredibly well conceived and executed menu, world-class service, excellent ambiance, great wine list...(I could go on for a while!)

              1. Bitar's is one of the best sandwich shops in the city, as well as a great place to get hoummus, baba, feta, olives and pita to take home. Cedars has been providing quality food for at least thirty years at that location. L'Angolo is one of the better South Philly Italian byo's.

                1. I place less and less faith in the Zagat Guide. The ONE feature I used to rely on was the consistency rating (the circles that were either empty, half-filled, or filled in), and that was taken out a couple of years ago.