Zagat Names Top Twin Cities Restaurants

La Belle Vie topped Zagat's annual list of the finest restaurants in the Twin Cities.

La Belle Vie serves up the best food in the Twin Cities, according to Zagat's 2011 guide to “America's Top Restaurants.”

La Belle Vie, which is located in the Loring Park neighborhood in Minneapolis, offers French and Mediterranean-style cuisine from executive chef Tim McKee.

The 112 Eatery in Minneapolis ranked second, followed by Vincent (Minneapolis), Restaurant Alma (Minneapolis), Bar La Grassa (Minneapolis), Meritage (St. Paul), Lucia's (Minneapolis), Manny's Steakhouse (Minneapolis), Heartland Restaurant (St. Paul), and Oceanaire Seafood Room (Minneapolis).

Zagat listed the following restaurants as “other noteworthy places” to eat in the metro area: Cafe Levain, Cosmos, D'Amico Kitchen, Kincaid's, FireLake, Modern Cafe, Punch, Saffron, Sea Change, and 20.21.

Of the 20 restaurants ranked highest for their cuisine, La Belle Vie scored highest with respect to service, and Cosmos and La Belle Vie were recognized for their decor. 112 Eatery was named the most popular restaurant in the Twin Cities.

Zagat spokesman Nicholas Sampogna said Thursday that the company ranks and rates many restaurants on its Web site that do not end up in the print edition, which includes those restaurants with the highest food ratings. Of all Twin Cities restaurants, he said that W.A. Frost ranked No. 1 for decor.

Meals at Punch carry the lowest price tag-$17-of the recognized Twin Cities restaurants, while a full meal at La Belle Vie costs the most on average, at $72.

The annual Zagat guide incorporates the opinions and habits of more than 153,000 diners from around the country, the company said in a press release. The national survey rates and reviews 1,552 restaurants across the United States.

Regarding national trends, Zagat said that those surveyed have reacted to difficult economic times by eating out less frequently, paying closer attention to prices, and cutting back on items such as alcohol, appetizers, and desserts.

Fifty-five percent of respondees report that they believe they are now getting better deals via discounts, 41 percent think that their patronage is more appreciated, and 33 percent said that reservations are easier to obtain.