Phoenix area restaurant rankings leave some wanting more

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The 2013 list of "Most Popular Restaurants" in the Valley, ranked by the folks at Zagat, is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of some Phoenix foodies.

Half the list consists of national chains, instead of local restaurants.

"The list was a disappointment," food blogger and publicist Ty Largo said, "It's an incomplete list."

Largo said the list is based on traffic and other factors in the restaurants.

"You don't see who we are in terms of Southwest flair. I think everyone is looking at the list with suspicion and a raised eyebrow," Largo said.

"You gotta take lists with a grain of salt," Marco Bianco told 3TV. His family operates several Valley restaurants, including the number eight on the Zagat survey, Pizzeria Bianco.

"I'd say to people, 'Use the Zagat list, but dig deeper to see other restaurants in Phoenix which are independently owned, where they use local products," Bianco added.

Off the top of Bianco's head, he named Tarbell's, FnB, and Nobu as glaring omissions from the restaurant list."

"There seems to be a lot of good, new Mexican restaurants, and they're lacking on the list," said Cory Lattuca, the Executive Chef of Grimaldi's Pizzeria.

Grimaldi's ranked 9th on the list, and is a chain based in New York with several Valley locations.   Lattuca infuses southwest flavor into his menu, including a new green chili pizza coming out in September.
"I think the list represents who we were in the past, really heavy on chains. But it doesn't represent who we are as an emerging dining city. It doesn't show local culinary flair. We're missing a lot there," said Largo.

The Zagat company did not return 3TV's request for comment on how its rankings are compiled.

According to Zagat, these are the most popular restaurants in Phoenix:

10. Barrio Cafe
9.  Grimaldi's
8.  Pizzeria Bianco
7.  Ruth's Chris
6.  Capital Grille
5.  Fleming's
4.  Lon's
3.  T Cook's
2.  Binkley's
1.  PF Chang's