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D.C.'s top restaurant and the area's dining trends

Tuesday - 12/3/2013, 8:37am  ET

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When it comes to eating out, D.C. diners fall right in line with others around the country on many of the top dining trends. (AP Images)

WASHINGTON - Those hoping to get a taste of D.C.'s best restaurant should head to Penn Quarter -- that's according to Zagat's 2014 America's Top Restaurants Survey.

Rasika, known for its modern Indian cuisine, landed a spot on Zagat's annual list of the 20 top rated restaurants across America. The D Street NW restaurant earned its honors for high marks in food, service and the modern eatery's overall environment.

According to Chris Walsh, managing editor of Zagat.com, another top pick for the Washington area from the survey -- which polled 224,000 people in 36 markets -- is the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va.

However, Walsh says Rasika was chosen for its proximity to the city.

D.C.'s Dining Trends

To complement the top-rated restaurants survey, Zagat also conducted a dining trends survey.

"We really dug into questions like, ‘What irritates people when they go out? Is it OK to use phones in restaurants?'" Walsh says.

It turns out, 27 percent of respondents in the D.C. market are bothered by the noise in restaurants.

"That's exactly what we're finding across the country," says Wash, who says noise is the number one complaint when it comes down to what annoys diners the most.

And don't even think of Instgraming your beautiful bowl of ramen. Fifty-seven percent of dining survey respondents find it inappropriate to text, talk or tweet at the table.

Also studied in the survey is how frequently Washingtonians go out to eat.

"Compared to the national average, people in D.C. are right in the middle there. They're going out to eat about 4.3 times a week. And the national average is about 4.4," Walsh says.

Cities that eat out most frequently include Houston at 5.5 times a week, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami and New York, all of which average around 4.9 times a week.

It turns out Washingtonians aren't necessarily breaking the bank to enjoy a night out -- even if it may feel that way. Local diners spend right around the national average at the area's restaurants -- $40.53 per person.

"That tells me that the D.C. restaurant industry is kind of alive and well," Walsh says.

D.C. diners scored the highest on the survey when it comes to making plans to eat out. Sixty-nine percent of Washington diners make their reservations online (the national average for those who make online reservations is 52 percent), with San Francisco and Boston trailing close behind at 68 and 66 percent, respectively.

"I think that's incredibly high … People aren't using the phone anymore to make reservations," Walsh says.

But when it comes to what Washingtonians like to eat, diners' palates fall right in line with others across the country. The favorite is, hands down, Italian.

Other national favorites include American, French and Seafood. Quite surprisingly, Spanish, Korean, Vegetarian, Greek and Vietnamese cuisines received low ratings from the survey.

Walsh says the survey shows the trends in D.C.'s booming restaurant scene are parallel to other major cities.

"I think the D.C. market is really representative of what's going on around the country, in terms of dining trends and the health of the restaurant industry, overall," Walsh says.

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