Reviewers ranked The Ritz in Newport Beach as their "most popular" restaurant in Orange County as well as the one with the best service, according to the 2000 edition of the Zagat Survey, a respected guide that ranks restaurants nationwide.
In the survey's three main categories of food, decor and service, The Ritz narrowly edged out the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in overall score. The Ritz-Carlton earned first-place honors for its decor.
Pascal in Newport Beach led the "top food" category, as it has for much of the decade. Only four restaurants ranked in the top five in the three main categories: Pavilion at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, Pinot Provence at the Westin South Coast Plaza, Ritz-Carlton and The Ritz.
More than 7,000 volunteer diners participated in the Southern California portion of the annual survey, critiquing the restaurants they have frequented.
The survey ranks more than high-end restaurants. It singled out the following eateries for their reasonable prices: Taco Mesa in Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo and Orange; Taco Loco in Laguna Beach; Ruby's, which has 10 diners in Orange County; Zinc Cafe & Market in Laguna Beach; Cafe El Cholo in La Habra; Ramos House Cafe in San Juan Capistrano; Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner in Buena Park; Angelo & Vinchi's in Fullerton; Harbor House Cafe in Sunset Beach, and Mother's Market & Kitchen in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Irvine.