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Digital Dining

Want to find a cigar-friendly steakhouse on Manhattan's upper east side? You could reach for your trusty Zagat New York City Restaurant Survey and start flipping furiously through the pages. Or you could just flip on your computer. The New York City ZagatDisc, available on CD-ROM for Windows 3.1 or higher, lets your computer do the searching for you.

The $19.95 ZagatDisc's handy search feature lets you key in the kind of food you're craving--Brazilian food at 2 a.m. in Greenwich Village or a romantic spot in the theater district--and voilĂ ! The program lists every eatery that meets your requirements. You can search by cuisine, neighborhood, prices and ratings. You can even hunt by "special features" such as Brunch, Old New York and Winning Wine Lists.

Just like its more conventional paper version, the ZagatDisc is sold in bookstores and on newsstands and gives you all the essentials: addresses, phone numbers, credit card acceptance and hours of operation. For now, diners in the Big Apple are the only ones who can test the digital dining experience, but Zagat will be serving up disks for more than 40 metro areas starting in 1998. Now if only it would pick up your check.

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