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Houston's still the undisputed champion in eating out: No. 1 city in country for meals out per week

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Le Mistral Photo by Shannon O'Hara
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Zagat released its 2012 America's Top Restaurants survey, and results reveal that the recession still isn't affecting the eating patterns of Houston diners.

Data collected from 156,000 respondents show that food lovers nationwide eat out an average of 3.1 meals per week. But Texans are eating out more than anyone else in the country and Houston ranks No. 1, with an average of four meals out per week. Being No. 1 is nothing new for Houston — it ranked first in meals out per week last year as well.

Austin/Hill Country (3.8 meals per week), Dallas/Fort Worth (3.6) and San Antonio (3.5) round out the top four of the 2012 list. East Coast eaters in Boston and Philadelphia fall at the bottom, each with an average of just 2.5 meals out per week.

It could be Rick Perry's "Texas Miracle" that contributes to Houstonians' spendthrift ways, but it's more likely just the relatively low price of eating out. The average meal in Houston costs $32.53, compared to the Zagat U.S. average of $35.65. The average most expensive meal in Houston, $63.05, falls significantly below the national average of $79.39.

Le Mistral was again voted Houston's best restaurant, followed by Kanomwan, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Mark's American Cuisine and Da Marco.

Survey results show that 46 percent of Texans are more likely to dine if a restaurant boasts a famous chef. A staggering 80 percent of respondents in Texas would like to see health department letter grades posted on the window of eating establishments, in line with the 81 percent of health-concerned foodies nationwide.

How do Zagat's statistics compare to your own observations?

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