In the Zagat Survey's 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants survey, Gary Danko restaurant of San Francisco reclaimed the Top Food title, scoring 29 out of a possible 30 points.
Nipping at Danko's heels are two Wine Country stalwarts that also scored 29 for food: Cyrus of Healdsburg (No. 2 last year), followed by the French Laundry of Yountville (No. 1 last year).
Zagat's 2010 guidebook, which hits bookstores today, provides reviews of 1,308 restaurants, bistros, cafes and casual eateries throughout the Bay Area, from San Francisco and Sonoma to Lake Tahoe and Carmel.
Now celebrating its 30th year, the guide is based on surveys from 9,763 diners -- about 1,000 more than last year's edition -- who eat out regularly but are not professional critics.
Many other Wine Country restaurants also earned high scores for food, with some rising in status and others falling slightly.
Those earning a 27 for food include Terra in St. Helena, the Applewood Inn of Guerneville and Redd in Yountville; those earning a 26 (and a spot in the Top 40 for food) include Etoile in Yountville, The Farmhouse Inn in Forestville and La Toque in Napa.
Other Wine Country restaurants earning a 26 for food include Ad Hoc and Bouchon in Yountville, Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Cafe La Haye in Sonoma, JoLe in Calistoga, Madrona Manor in Healdsburg, the Martini House in St. Helena, the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, Mirepoix in Windsor, Mosaic Restaurant &amp; Wine Lounge in Forestville, Ubuntu in Napa and Willi's Wine Bar in Santa Rosa.
Although the economy has taken its toll on the restaurant scene this past year, with 52 percent of the surveyors saying they eat out less, Zagat discovered a silver lining to the dining scene.
These days, many high-end restaurants offer prix fixe choices and a la carte bar menus, the guide reports. Also, 62 percent of its surveyors say they take advantage of discounted and prix fixe meals, 36 percent find it easier to get a reservation and 40 percent feel their patronage is more appreciated.
Other trends cited in the "What's New" section of the guidebook include a new wave of gourmet watering holes in Oakland, such as Sidebar, and "dressed-down" gastropubs like the Tipsy Pig in San Francisco's Marina district.
Zagat reported that the average cost of a Bay Area meal rose 1.8 percent since last year, to $39.40. Last year, the average cost rose 4.4 percent.
The guide costs $14.95 and is available at major bookstores or through zagat.com.
Meanwhile, food lovers will be looking ahead to the Michelin Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area &amp; Wine Country 2010, due out Oct. 20.
You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or email@example.com.