New York-based Zagat, which rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and other entertainment categories around the world, teamed with the Prince Edward Island Culinary Alliance for the inaugural guide. It is based on the opinions of 623 diners who rated and reviewed 75 restaurants and markets in the province.
A near-unanimous 96 per cent of survey participants consider it important that restaurants use locally sourced ingredients. When asked which food items they most associate with the Island, surveyors said lobster, followed in order by potatoes, mussels, oysters and blueberries.
Just over half of the surveyors agreed that the usage of locally sourced ingredients in restaurants should be certified by a third party, and almost 90 per cent said the certification should be displayed.
“The local consumers and diners on Prince Edward Island celebrate the ingredients that are indigenous to their area and make the Island a culinary destination,” said Tim Zagat, co-founder and co-chair of Zagat.
Prince Edward Island’s top restaurants represent a variety of cuisines and price points. Top food winner Lot 30 boasts high-end, eclectic cuisine, while Sirenella, winner for service, serves less expensive Italian fare and offers service that “makes you feel at home.” Top decor goes to North Rustico’s fine-dining restaurant Pearl Cafe, which showcases paintings from local artists. The most popular restaurant is Charlottetown’s moderately priced microbrewery and pub Gahan House.
The weekly Charlottetown Farmers Market, which has vendors selling everything from organic meats and cheeses to locally sourced salmon and prepared dishes, won for popularity. The Summerside Farmers Market was recognized for quality and service, while Charlottetown’s Riverview Country Market won for display.
Here are the top 10 restaurants for food and popularity as ranked by the Zagat survey:
1. Lot 30 (Eclectic)
2. Sirenella (Italian)
3. Pearl Cafe (Eclectic)
4. Shipwright’s (Canadian)
5. Selkirk (Continental)
6. Malpeque Oyster (Seafood)
7. Inn at Bay Fortune (American/Seafood)
8. Cafe Maplethorpe (Canadian)
9. PEI Preserve Co. (American/Canadian)
10. Home Place (Canadian)
1. Gahan House (Pub Food)
2. PEI Preserve Co. (American/Canadian)
3. Fisherman’s Wharf (Seafood)
4. Lot 30 (Eclectic)
5. New Glasgow Lobster (Seafood)
6. Pearl Cafe (Eclectic)
7. Pilot House (Eclectic/Pub Food)
8. Dalvay by the Sea (European)
9. Claddagh Oyster (Seafood)
10. Sims Corner (Seafood/Steak)
The 2012 survey, which was edited by Bill Corsello with local editor Andy Walker, will be distributed through the Prince Edward Island Visitor Center, online at zagat.com and via Zagat’s mobile products.