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20/20 Vision: Most NYers Think Dining Scene Has Improved In Last Two Decades

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When it comes to the local restaurant scene, what makes a New York foodie's mouth water in 2012 likely would not even have been on the menu 20 years ago. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the latest report in the "20/20 Vision" series on exclusive NY1-Marist College polls.

When it comes to dining options, New York has a plateful. There are now nearly 25,000thousand restaurants in the city. And they're not just getting more plentiful.

"Anybody who doesn't know that restaurant quality has improved over the last 20 years has not been in New York," says Zagat Survey co-founder Tim Zagat.

Most New Yorkers agree.

"Some restaurants take orders from iPads, it's become very technologically savvy," says one New Yorker.

"I'm a vegetarian and I can actually say that living in New York City I have a variety of choices," says another

An exclusive NY1/Marist College poll finds 63 percent of New Yorkers believe the quality of restaurants has gotten better over the past 20 years.

The trend holds true across the city, but varies considerably by borough...

Those in Manhattan give restaurants the highest marks for improvement, with 68 percent saying restaurants are better than 20 years ago. That is followed by Brooklyn, where 65 percent agree, and Queens and Staten Island, with 64 percent in both boroughs thinking so.

Only 53 percent in the Bronx have found an improvement in restaurants.

"There are a lot of wonderful restaurants in the Bronx," says New York Restaurant Association spokesman Andrew Moesel. "We haven't seen the migration of hospitality there that we've seen in other neighborhoods, but you know we've had Bronx Restaurant Week for the first time. There's a lot of people moving into the South Bronx and we hope that very soon it'll experience that kind of resurgence."

Young and high-income New Yorkers are most likely to say restaurant quality has improved, but that does not mean restaurants are necessarily getting fancier.

"That’s not what younger people want today. And what they're getting is good, better and better food with simpler circumstances, more casual," says Zagat.

The emphasis on food quality is one of the biggest trends to hit the city over the past 20 years.

"'Foodies' has become a term that we all know about and it makes sense that it's mostly these young, upwardly mobile people in New York that are defining themselves by where they go to eat, what they are having to eat and it's become part of who they are," says Moesel.

This current trend brings to mind the old adage "You are what you eat."

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