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NEW ORLEANS New Orleans diners got more than good food last year, they also got a price break.

According to the latest Zagat Survey, the average cost of a meal in New Orleans has dropped for the first time in a decade, from $28.52 in the last survey to $28.36 this year.

Not a huge drop, but enough to rank the Crescent City as the nation's most affordable dining out locale, well below cities like New York at $42, Chicago at $37, and Los Angeles at $35.

New Orleans is also below the national average of $35.37.

Zagat surveys customers and rates restaurants on a 30-point scale, covering food, decor, service, and cost.

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Online: http://www.zagat.com

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