Zagat Ranks Austin #2 No. City Where People Eat Out Most

Jennifer Berke

Austin residents dine out more often than most city residents, according to Zagat’s 2012 America’s Top Restaurants Guide.

Austin ranked second on the survey, distributed by referral and rating organization Zagat, which followed how many times per week residents dined out. The top four spots were also taken by Texas cities, with Houston taking the No. 1 spot, while the DFW metroplex and San Antonio took third and fourth place. The survey asked 156,000 people who dined out an estimated 25 million times during the last year.

Each Texas city is actually below its usual dining average, according to the survey. Houston is down from 4.2 to 4.0 times per week, DFW is down from 4.0 to 3.6 times per week and San Antonio is down from 4.0 to 3.5 times per week. Still, the survey reported Texas diners eat out more often than people in any other state in the U.S.

Austin residents averaged eating 3.8 meals out each week, passing the national average of eating 3.1 meals out per week. On the whole, the number of meals Americans consume at restaurants per week is still down from 3.3 meals per week, the national average prior to the recession.

“I usually eat out every day, so I try to spend about $25.00 a week on eating out,” said business junior Alfredo Maderal. “But that usually means giving up eating healthy.”

The survey found American diners spend about $35.65 per meal, much higher than the amount of money students usually spend on eating out.

“As a student in Austin, eating out is also about convenience,” said sociology senior Falcon Johnson. “I will usually go somewhere along the drag, or wherever is closest.”

The survey mentioned sushi restaurant Uchi, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Driskill Grill at the downtown hotel as the top three restaurants in Austin.

“We strive to serve diners the best food and experience possible,” said Kyra Coots, spokeswoman for the Driskill Hotel. “Austin has a lot of highly acclaimed restaurants, and we’re thrilled we’ve been able to maintain that status.”

Austin’s rating as the No. 2 city in the U.S. where people eat out is a testament to the both the variety of restaurants and the variety of price points, Coots said.

“Austin’s unique dining choices have really created that casual dining atmosphere — no matter what day of the week it is or what price point you’re aiming for, you can always find somewhere great to eat,” Coots said. 

Printed on Thursday, October 27, 2011 as: Austin locals more likely to eat out