Quite a change from a year ago, when EL wrote: "For whatever reason, this year's Top 40 Most Popular list is almost identical with last year's. (That wasn't true the year before.) You have to get down to No. 34, Lemongrass, before it changes, and that's only because last year's No. 34, Brasserie Tatin, closed. The top five are once again 1) Charleston, 2) Prime Rib, 3) Helmand, 4) Petit Louis Bistro, 5) Ruth's Chris."
This year, the top five are 1) Woodberry Kitchen, 2) Charleston, 3) Volt, 4) Cinghiale, 5) Prime Rib.
Top Food honors went to Charleston and Volt, and Top Service to Charleston, Volt and Prime Rib. In the Top Decor category, it was Charleston, Pazo, Scossa, Milton Inn and Antrim 1844.
Newly listed Baltimore-area restaurants were: B&O American Brasserie, Bluegrass, Bon Fresco in Columbia, Centro in South Baltimore, Coal Fire Pizza in Ellicott City, Grano at Chestnut (aka Big Grano) and Grano Pasta Bar (aka Little Grano), Mr. Rain's Funhoue, in the American Visionary Art Museum, Pairings Bistro in Bel Air, Pappas in Glen Burnie, Regions in Catonsville, Sam's Kid in Fells Point, Soup'r Natural in Monkton, Stanford Grill in Columbia, Tapas Adela in Fells Point, 13.5 Wine Bar in Hampden, Umi Sake in Cockeysville, Vino Rosina.
One new Annapolis restaurant, Level, made the guide, as did several from the Eastern shore: Ava Pizza in St. Michaels, Bartlett Pear Inn in Easton and The Barbecue Joint in Easton.
You can get the full survey at Zagat.com. Or you can buy the slender maroon-covered paper version for $14.95.