Trends

Zagat’s 2017 food trends: rainbow dishes, all-day dining and gourmet fast-casual

Zagat-LA-IGTable-2017-WendyGeorge-flipped.jpg

What have you been eating in 2017? Zagat is taking a look back at the top food trends of the past 12 months, based on data from Zagat reviews and insights from Zagat editors.


“Breakfast” is high on the list of most frequently used words in Zagat reviews this year, which aligns with the trend our editors saw in the popularity of all-day cafes. Restaurants like Atla (from Mexico City’s Enrique Olvera) and De Maria (from Top Chef’s Camille Becerra) in NYC, and City Mouse at the new Ace Hotel Chicago, focus on early morning and midday cuisine with brightly colored, (mostly) healthful dishes and interiors to match—perfect for Instagramming.


The boom of gourmet fast-casual continued this year. Chefs like Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm and Del Posto alum/pasta master Mark Ladner both opened concepts in NYC serving up affordable gourmet plates like salmon rosti or customizable pasta with homemade sauces. In Boston, chef Ming Tsai closed his beloved Blue Ginger to open a fast-casual spot called ChowStirs (coming soon). “Counter service” is the fourth most used term in Zagat reviews this year, which describes the style of service you’ll find at these spots (think Shake Shack or Chipotle).
Smoked salmon rosti at Made Nice NYC. Photo by Evan Sung

With more and more restaurants clamoring to create dishes to delight photo-happy social media addicts, rainbow-colored food had a watershed moment in 2017. This trend isn’t limited to Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino: NY-based spots like The Good Sort offered their take on the trend with a rainbow iced latte, and in LA, multi-colored pastries could be found at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

The Good Sort’s rainbow iced latte. Photo by Wendy George

We featured a handful of some of Los Angeles’ trending dishes in this year’s Zagat Instagram Table, which brings together 12 buzzworthy items on one table for the perfect shot. Each day this week, we unveiled a new section of our table to create a complete overhead shot on the Zagat Instagram feed.

Photo by Wendy George

In no particular order, the featured dishes are:


  1. Octopus taco from Holbox

  2. Assorted donuts from Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts (including the nacho donut)

  3. The French Nest from Smorgasburg’s Lobsterdamus

  4. Mozzarella sticks from Casa Buona

  5. Assorted flavors from The Loop Churros

  6. Rainbow-colored ice cream sandwiches from MILK

  7. Corbarina pizza pie (cherry tomatoes, squash blossom, burrata, gremolata) from Pizzana

  8. Blue smoothie bowl from Great White

  9. Matcha croissant from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

  10. Classic fried chicken sandwich from Fritzi Coop

  11. Bacon banh mi dog and Loco Moco dog from Sumo Dog

  12. Tokyo-style dan dan noodles from Killer Noodle


Speaking of the City of Angels, LA is our Most Exciting Food City of 2017, thanks to all the exciting openings worthy of national attention (like Vespertine and Felix), and chefs from cities like NY and Chicago (like David Chang and April Bloomfield) opening their own unique concepts. Plus, LA’s long history of diverse cuisine makes it inspiring for both chefs and diners—and it’s getting more varied every day!


Check out Zagat.com for more on the hottest restaurants and food trends.


Title photo by Wendy George