Zagat New York City restaurant guide returns to print after three years

November 12, 2019

Photo by Emily Schindler for Zagat

The iconic pocket-sized guide to New York City restaurants has released its first print edition since 2016. Zagat’s 2020 New York City Restaurants guidebook, available on Tuesday, includes more than 1,400 new reviews and a compilation of reports from the past 40 years of the beloved “burgundy bibles.” Google purchased Zagat, which first launched in 1980, from its founders in 2011, expanded its digital presence over the next seven years, and then sold it last year to The Infatuation, which plans to rebuild the guide’s online platform.

“From the moment we acquired Zagat we knew we wanted to bring the book back to print,” Chris Stang, co-founder of The Infatuation, said in a statement. “The brand’s 40th anniversary seemed like a perfect opportunity to celebrate Zagat’s rich history, while also looking forward to the future.”

Tim and Nina Zagat developed the guidebook as a way to create helpful restaurant reviews across the city. In 1979, they asked 200 friends to complete a survey that sought opinions about restaurants in New York. With its easy to understand rating system and remarks, the Zagat guide took off and eventually spread to other cities.

Google purchased it in 2011 for $150 million but stopped publishing a printed guide in 2016. After The Infatuation purchased the company from Google two years later, Stang told the New York Times that they “heard from so many people pleading for us to bring back the printed guide.”

The Zagat 2020 guide features more than 1,400 restaurant reviews across 105 neighborhoods. According to the company, the reviews were based on more than 200,000 ratings, with more than 190 restaurant rating indexes.

Modeled after the original style of the guidebook, the new Zagat restores the 30-point rating system that evaluates food, service, atmosphere, and price. For its first printed paperback in three years, Zagat crowns Le Bernardin for the best food, Daniel for best service, and Majorelle for best decor.

As part of the guidebook’s revival, The Infatuation will incorporate user-generated restaurant reviews online with a new digital platform expected to launch next summer. Books are available for purchase for about $18 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, and other bookstores.


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