Zagat Survey?s 2010 America?s Top Restaurants guidebook will be released on Wednesday, with ratings that cover thousands of eateries across 45 major markets in the U.S.

The national guidebook, which is written on the basis of consumer surveys, includes a chapter on the San Francisco Bay Area restaurants. That chapter condenses the findings of the Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants 2010 guide, which was released on Sept. 23.

The national guidebook includes 40 top restaurants from the San Francisco Bay Area: 20 that earned top rankings for food, plus 20 additional top restaurants.

As reported last month, Gary Danko restaurant of San Francisco reclaimed the Top Food title, scoring 29 out of a possible 30 points.

Two Wine Country restaurants also scored 29 for food: Cyrus of Healdsburg (which was No. 2 last year), followed by the French Laundry of Yountville (No. 1 last year.)

Zagat?s national guidebook touches on the economy?s effect on restaurant dining across the country, from surveys compiled by 145,000 regular diners.

While the national percentage of meals eaten out declined from 50 percent to 48 percent, 43 percent of surveyors say they are eating out less, 41 percent are more price-sensitive and 36 percent are eating in less pricey places.

Only 26 percent said the economy had no effect on their dining habits, while 44 percent are cooking more and enjoying it.

?There?s no doubt that the recession has seriously affected diners? habits across America,? said Tim Zagat, CEO and co-founder of Zagat Survey.

The national average meal cost this year is $34.62, up 1.2 percent from last years? $34.21. While Las Vegas remains the nation?s most expensive dining city at $44.44, Austin is a comparative bargain at $26.74.

Surveyors say Italian is their favorite cuisine (27 percent), followed by American food (16 percent), Japanese and French (both 11 percent), Mexican (10 percent) and Thai (8 percent).

The 2010 American?s Top Restaurants Guidebook costs $15.95 and is on sale at major bookstores or online at

You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or