Palme d'Or Sweeps Zagat 2010

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Courtesy of Zagat
The Biltmore Hotel's Palme d'Or swept the Top Food, Decor and Service honors in this year's just released Zagat 2010 Miami/So. Florida Restaurants guidebook ($14.95). That's the Triple Crown baby -- and a well-deserved accolade. We like the way chef Philippe Ruiz cooks too.

Hakkasan nabbed the nod as top newcomer and again we don't disagree. Joe's. Stone Crab rated most popular for the umpteenth year in a row, and we are on board here too. Joe's really is popular.

The new guide codifies the opinions of over 6,100 local diners about the restaurant scene in South Florida. It also delves into how the past year's economy has affected our dining habits, and duly notes that the average cost of a meal in southern Florida is $39.86 - not only above the national average of $34.62, but also among the most expensive in the nation (behind only Las Vegas, New York City and Long Island). There are plenty of interesting findings to chew over. For today, we'll look at the restaurant rankings, each category followed by a pithy comment or two.

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Photo by Lee Klein
Berries at Palme d'Or
Cuisine

28-
Palme d'Or
Yes.

27-
Romeo's Cafe
Pascal's on Ponce
Michy's
Nobu
Hy-Vong
OLA
Matsuri
Joe's Stone Crab
Azul
We would move Michael's and Red Light into the 27 grouping and drop Joe's and Romeo's a few notches. Joe's and Romeo's are cool, but don't think their cuisine should be rated this high (although both always score well with Zagat).

26-
Il Gabbiano
Francesco
Osteria del Teatro
Prime One Twelve
MIchael's Genuine
Spiga
Red Light
Ortanique
Graziano's
Palm
We would have kept some of the places that scored 26 last year, such as Hiro's Yakko San, Oceanaire, and Escopazzo -- and gently dropped Graziano's and Palm.

Newcomers
Hakkasan
Alta Cocina tied with Scarpetta and Red the Steakhouse
BLT Steak
Alta Cocina is less than new; we reviewed the place in December of '07.
Scarpetta and BLT are solid choices. Meat Market snuck into last year's survey, Sra. Martinez opened late '08, and Naoe is a bit eclectic to score with the masses, but we would definitely add Area 31 and Eos to this list in lieu of Red.

Best Bang for the Buck
S&S Diner
Dogma Grill                   
La Sandwicherie
Baja Fresh
Lime Mexican Grill
We'll agree with S & S and Sandwicherie. But better bangs can be found in ethnic joints all over town -- too many to begin to list here.

Service
Palme d'Or
Romeo's Cafe
Christy's
Capital Grille
Osteria del Teatro
Haven't eaten in the latter four lately, so no comment.

Popular
Joe's Stone Crab
Prime One Twelve
Michael's Genuine
Michy's
Barton G.
These are all popular.

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