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NYC Restaurant Prices Down For First Time Since 2002

Zagat: People Who Do Go Out Are Being Economical
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Old Town Bar Restaurant

The easily recognized iconic sign of the Old Town Bar

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — New Yorkers have a reputation of eating out all the time.

But this year, as CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports, a new trend is developing with diners and restaurant owners.

City residents love their food.

“You have Spanish, you have Asian, Japanese…,” said Magaly Dudley of Brooklyn.

And when it comes to dining out they don’t mince words.

“Expensive,” said Jeff Cartolano of Brooklyn.

“When I go out I assume it starts at a hundred,” added Greg Berger of the Upper East Side.

But according to the 2011 Zagat’s Restaurant Guide prices are actually falling for the first time since 2002.

The average meal now costs $41.76 — down 5 cents from last year.

“You could go down to Chinatown and get an incredible Vietnamese meal for $7 and you could go to Le Bernadine and get food that is like no other,” said Barbara Horowitz of the Upper East Side.

Still, 1 in 4 say they are dining out less often now than they did a year ago.

“I really try and be very careful about spending money,” said Judy Haskin of the Upper East Side.

Those who do go out frequently are being more careful about what they order.

Tim and Nina Zagat compile the numbers every year.

“So people try to be more economical even when they go to the very best places. They try to eat reasonably, cut dessert, cut drinks, have an inexpensive wine if any,” Nina Zagat said.

The guide finds the boroughs are booming and Brooklyn leads the charge with an unprecedented number of top-ranked restaurants.

“It’s really much more affordable to open up a place here,” said Laureen Callo of Boerum Hill.

And these days diners are eating up all the deals they can get.

As far as tipping goes, New Yorkers aren’t cheap. On average, they tip just above 19 percent.

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