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Zagat: Philly diners tip well, love bacon, steal a lot

Philadelphians dine out less frequently than the national average but when they do, they tip well. They also tend not to send a dish back to the kitchen, are unlikely to stiff a bad waiter, and don't mind pilfering forks and salt shakers.

Philadelphians dine out less frequently than the national average but when they do, they tip well. They also love bacon, tend not to send a dish back to the kitchen, are unlikely to stiff a bad server, and don't mind pilfering forks and salt shakers.

Zagat Survey, the restaurant pollsters, has again sliced and diced data gathered from the dining public.

It is served up in chart form in the 2015 Dining Trends Survey, released Jan. 20.

While the national average number of lunches and dinners eaten out is 4.5 per week, the most frequent diners are in Atlanta (5.2) followed by those in Austin, Los Angeles and Miami (each at 4.9 meals per week). The least frequent diners are in Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis (both at 3.4) and Philadelphia (3.7)

By the same token, Philadelphians are homebodies. The national average of meals cooked at home was 7.5 a week - #3 nationally behind Portland and Minneapolis.

Zagat founder Tim Zagat, in a phone chat, suggested that Southern cities were more conducive than Northern cities to restaurant dining because of climate. This trends survey was conducted July 29 to Aug. 27, 2014.

Here are some snippets from the report, which you can see here:

The national average spend per person for dinner out is $39.40 - incidentally, a drop of $1.13 over the 2014 survey.

New York City is the most expensive U.S. dining city ($48.15) followed by Boston ($42.20), Miami ($41.35), San Francisco ($41) and Minneapolis ($40.61). Philadelphia was #9 out of 17 with an average spend of $37.07 per person. Austin ($25.81) was the least expensive.

Austinites are also the most generous, leaving 20% tips on average. Not that these self-reported tips varied much - the national average is 19.3% and Philadelphians say they leave 19.8% on average. America's biggest tightwads are in Portland (18.3%).

Zagat says the biggest dining-out irritants are service (26%), noise (24%), prices (17%), crowds (13%), food (7%), parking (7%) and traffic (3%) with all other complaints adding up to 3%.

Philly diners have the biggest issue with service (28% of vote), followed by noise and prices (20%).

When asked about service pet peeves, the top complaints among Philly diners were inattentive waitstaff (24%), slow service (17%), rude staff and inadequate training (10%), and early plate-clearing (9%).

Zagat asked respondents if they had ever not left a tip for bad service, and Philadelphians were the kindest - 41% said they had stiffed a waiter. San Diegans and Houstonians were crankiest; 58% copped to walking away.

The national average of folks who love bacon anything was 28%. Philadelphians were #4 out of the 17 cities with a 30% approval. Top city was Austin, where 49% of respondents professed their love of pig.

Philly was near the bottom of the list of Brussels sprouts fans. Boston was tops there.

Philadelphians, New Yorkers and Bostonians are also less likely than the average American to send a dish back to the kitchen; 81% said they had. Atlantans, at 80%, were the kindest to the kitchen, while 93% of San Diegans were the cruelest.

Philadelphians were #15 out of the 17 cities in the likelihood that they'd slip cash to a maitre d' for a table.

Italian is the favorite cuisine among diners in all cities except for Austin and Minneapolis where diners say they favor American.

To all of those who thought the Internet was just a passing fad, note that Zagat found that 61% of restaurant reservations nationally were made via the Internet. The 2014 survey put this percentage as 52%. Philadelphians seem fairly comfortable going online - 67% of rezzes were digital.

Austinites are twice as likely than Philadelphians to take photos often and to use social media at restaurants.

Philadelphians are at the bottom of the list of people who say they use their cell phones "often" at the table.

Philadelphians said a cash-only policy does not dissuade them from going to a restaurant. The city was second to New York in that category.

Asked if they had ever stolen something from a restaurant, 23% of Philadelphians conceded that they had, tying them with Denverites. The most larcenous cities, with 24% reporting petty theft, were Houston and Chicago. The most honest city was Portland (9%).

See the report here.