New Yorkers hate noise but love going out to restaurants

When you factor in take-out food, New Yorkers eat out more often than anyone else in the country, according to a new Zagat survey. About 58% of lunches and dinners are prepared outside our NYC kitchens, compared to 47% of such meals nationally.

We spend handsomely for all those prepared-elsewhere suppers. NYC Zagateers reported paying an average of $48.56 per person for dinner (vs. $40.53 nationally) and tipping slightly less (18.8%) than the national average of 19%.

Yet, New Yorkers tied with Dallas and Miami residents for second place in the number of meals they ate outside the home. While we dined out an average of 4.9 times a week, Houston folks average a hefty 5.5 times a week.

Perhaps high dinner prices and late nights at the office explain why New Yorkers are such brunch fiends: The data showed that New Yorkers were the biggest fans in the nation of that mid-morning meal, with 14% reporting that they go to brunch "nearly every weekend" and another 44% saying they go "sometimes."

Noise was the top beef of New York diners, with 72% saying they avoided restaurants that were too loud. "Restaurants tend to adjust their noise level to appeal to their clientele. For the younger, up- and-coming demographic, a place without noise has no ‘buzz,’" Tim Zagat explained in a statement.

The number two irritant was slow, inattentive or rude service, what Zagat called "the weak link" in an industry where belonging to the dining room staff is too often not perceived as a viable career path. "We’ve been bringing the ‘service deficit’ to the attention of restaurants for many years,’" said Zagat, noting taht there has been recent improvement.

Italian reigns as the Big Apple’s favorite cuisine, though many diners said they’d like to see more seafood and French food on area menus.