Seattle was at the bottom of the list of 12 major U.S. cities with an average tip of 18.0 percent.

New York is the best U.S. city to visit, restaurant lovers in Philadelphia are the biggest tippers and sunny climes seem to bring out the most diners, according to new national Zagat Surveys published on Monday.
Diners in the City of Brotherly Love are kindest to waiters, as Philadelphia topped the chart with an average tip of 19.2 percent of the bill, nipping Atlanta at 19.1 percent.

More than 110,000 avid restaurant-goers in 41 U.S. markets participated in the online survey for the 2005 “America’s Top Restaurants” guide, while 16,000 travelers, who stay an average of 36 nights a year in hotels, filled out surveys for the “Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas.”

Nearly 1,400 restaurants are covered in the guide, which lists the top eateries in each market and also groups them by category. The hotel guide covers 1,021 establishments.

When asked, “What is the best U.S. city to visit?” 38 percent in the hotel guide named New York. San Francisco was a strong second with 22 percent, while Las Vegas (6 percent), Chicago (6 percent) and New Orleans (4 percent) rounded out the top five.

Warm weather seemed to encourage restaurant business as Los Angeles topped the eat-out list with 3.8 restaurant visits per week among those filling out the survey there, followed by Miami (3.6) and Las Vegas (3.6).

Eastern seaboard cities Boston (3.0 per week), Washington D.C. (2.8) and Philadelphia (2.6) were at the bottom of the frequency list among the biggest cities.

More here.