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For over 40 years Zagat has been the definitive restaurant pocket guide for those searching for the best in New York dining — now it’s coming back, but it’s digital and only for Miami!

Pre-pandemic, Zagat made a New York comeback in print. Photo: Emily Schindler/Zagat

Zagat was started by corporate lawyers Nina and Tim Zagat in 1979, bought by Google in 2011 for $150m and then sold on to The Infatuation in 2018.

In November 2019, after a break of 4 years, The Infatuation produced a 40th Anniversary Zagat guide that once again connected diners with the best city restaurants. Fast Company described Zagat as “the iconic burgundy guidebook that helped shape the modern consumer era.” When the print version came back with the 2020 edition, Steve Cuozzo at The New York Post said: “Zagat’s revival in the form of a 350-page, 2020 New York City Restaurants special 40th-anniversary edition reminds me how much I ― and the city’s dining zillions ― missed it.”

Although the relaunch is in Miami, Chris Stang, co-founder of The Infatuation and chief executive officer of Zagat plans to roll out the new app to more locations. “We could not be more excited for our first introduction to be happening in Miami, an incredible food city with a rich history and a bright future,” he said.

The new Zagat promises innovation. There are now options to rate takeout and delivery, and they are breaking from their traditional 30-point scoring and instead rating restaurants from 0-10. The company said: “We believe a 10-point scale is more easily understood by users, while also providing more nuance than the typical five-point or five-star scales.”

There will also be photo sharing, and they promise that “the new Zagat will be the only restaurant discovery platform in the world that consists entirely of post-pandemic content. This means you can expect the most accurate information and ratings, based on the way things are today — not last year.” Later in 2021, restaurants in Miami will be able to display the distinctive window stickers saying “ZAGAT RATED” if they hit consistently high ratings.

Restaurants big and small displayed their Zagat rating proudly — this at Azuri on W51st St in 2018. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

In the early 2000s, the Zagat Survey reviewed 70 cities around the world and was even the subject of an SNL skit in the late ’90s that featured Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and David Duchovny.

YouTube video

Miami has become for many a sign of post-pandemic restaurant recovery. Grub Street recently published a story checking out the Florida city’s credentials: “What Will NYC Restaurants Look Like After the Pandemic? Miami Offers a Preview.” However, writer Adam Platt noted: “The list of various and notable New York restaurants that have closed forever during the great plague year is longer than the list of notable restaurants that have ever opened in Miami.”

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