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Mike Filigenzi

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Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:41 am

The people at Yelp have gone through their data to determine the top 100 restaurants in the US based on their user's reviews. It's a pretty interesting list, with The French Laundry coming in well behind places like Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs (in Denver) and Joe's Falafel (in L.A.). It's, of course, reflective of Yelp's demographics - younger people who are going to evaluate restaurant based on value as well as overall quality. There's an article in Slate today that discusses some of the ins and outs of it that I thought was worth a read.
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Fred Sipe

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Fred Sipe » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:26 pm

I read that list and was surprised at the number of CA restaurants on the list. Not to detract from those restaurants but it made me wonder if the preponderance of Yelp users live in CA.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Carl Eppig » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:17 pm

I'm surprised by the number of Hawaiian entries. None of them existed when we lived there; albeit thirty seven years ago. To say that Fisherman's Grill is the best in Portland, ME and by default best in Northern New England is ridiculous.
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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Robin Garr » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:42 pm

Carl Eppig wrote: To say that Fisherman's Grill is the best in Portland, ME and by default best in Northern New England is ridiculous.

Bear in mind that this is Yelp we are talking about here. :roll:

If ever there was evidence that we made the correct decision in limiting this forum to real names, real people, sites like Yelp make the case.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:00 pm

I think it's worth reading the Slate article on this for some perspective. Yelp users are a different crowd than restaurant critics and well-heeled foodies. In particular, they will be a much younger group than the people who usually put out "best restaurants" lists. They look more for value and stuff that tastes good than an elegant experience (although high-end places like Alinea obviously do well, too). They also tend to rate places based on whether or not they're delivering on what's expected, so a great barbecue joint will tend to rank as high as a great French restaurant.

Based on my own experience in using Yelp to help pick out restaurants when I'm traveling, I am guessing that these are all very good places.
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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Jenise » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:01 pm

I once took on the exercise of trying to determine the value Bellingham social-media reviewers place on white tablecloth restaurants vs. other places. I also compared the Top Fifty or so on Yelp, Trip Advisor and Urban Spoon. I don't recall the results now except that they were very, very disappointing. Donut shops and ice cream parlors, basically, ranked at the top of all three lists, and one had to dive pretty deep to find a restaurant you could order a decent bottle of wine at (not talking great here, just merely 'decent' would do). Cheap eats of any kind outranked fine dining--and yes, we have a university and younger people are more likely to commit their thoughts to social media than otherwise--but it's nonetheless true that this town is sadly the kind of place where people only go out for $20+ entrees on birthdays and anniversaries. That was obvious to me, which is why I was doing the exercise! And the value of that entree might be closer to $15--in spite of the fact that there's some real wealth here, and wealthy people have to eat, too, the average Hamster just isn't that sophisticated.

I recall that I also did a reality-check comparison, just to make sure I wasn't being unfair, and I'm not sure but I may have chosen Kansas City which I had recently been to. Much different results. Of course, they have more fine dining options to begin with, but their top ten and top fifties were pretty well loaded with 'better' restaurants where the few we have hardly ranked at all.

If I'd known it was this bad, I honestly would have reconsidered moving here. Thank god for Vancouver.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Mark Lipton » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:43 pm

At the risk of sounding a tad spammish, this is the reason that a wino/foodie friend of mine is developing an app of "curated food reviews" with an international focus. Basically, he reached out to a lot of food bloggers and others (like me) to write reviews of restaurants, pubs and other food-related venues that would function as "a recommendation from a trusted friend." It hasn't gone live yet, but if you're interested, you can keep an eye on the website.

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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:51 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:At the risk of sounding a tad spammish, this is the reason that a wino/foodie friend of mine is developing an app of "curated food reviews" with an international focus. Basically, he reached out to a lot of food bloggers and others (like me) to write reviews of restaurants, pubs and other food-related venues that would function as "a recommendation from a trusted friend." It hasn't gone live yet, but if you're interested, you can keep an eye on the website.

Mark Lipton


That sounds like something more oriented towards the demographic here, Mark.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:42 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:At the risk of sounding a tad spammish, this is the reason that a wino/foodie friend of mine is developing an app of "curated food reviews" with an international focus. Basically, he reached out to a lot of food bloggers and others (like me) to write reviews of restaurants, pubs and other food-related venues that would function as "a recommendation from a trusted friend." It hasn't gone live yet, but if you're interested, you can keep an eye on the website.

Mark Lipton


That sounds like something more oriented towards the demographic here, Mark.


Don't let Plotnicki hear about it! :lol:
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:44 am

Not to sound overly arch but I'm with Robin here: Yelp is useless. I can tell more about a place by reading its menu than I can from the hare-brained commentary on almost all food sites. Life is too short.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Mark Lipton » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:27 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:
That sounds like something more oriented towards the demographic here, Mark.


It was born out of his frustration with the restaurant reviews he saw on Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc. -- so the answer is yes.

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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by wnissen » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:14 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Mike Filigenzi wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:At the risk of sounding a tad spammish, this is the reason that a wino/foodie friend of mine is developing an app of "curated food reviews" with an international focus. Basically, he reached out to a lot of food bloggers and others (like me) to write reviews of restaurants, pubs and other food-related venues that would function as "a recommendation from a trusted friend." It hasn't gone live yet, but if you're interested, you can keep an eye on the website.

Mark Lipton


That sounds like something more oriented towards the demographic here, Mark.


Don't let Plotnicki hear about it! :lol:

Yep, Plotnicki has been doing something similar for years. He has a big spreadsheet that assigns weights to diners based on how many places and countries they've dined at. Too far weighted to the very high end, in my opinion, but a much better guide to what the involved eater will enjoy.
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Re: Interesting "best restaurants" list

by Mark Lipton » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:56 pm

wnissen wrote:Yep, Plotnicki has been doing something similar for years. He has a big spreadsheet that assigns weights to diners based on how many places and countries they've dined at. Too far weighted to the very high end, in my opinion, but a much better guide to what the involved eater will enjoy.


The last timed I looked at the OA list, it seemed geared to the jaded diner for whom money is no object. If you want to find out where to get the best bowl of ramen in SF, his list isn't for you. The app that my friend is designing is also not a rating scheme; rather, it just provides information and lets the reader decide whether they want to eat at the place. Numerical ratings make no more sense for restaurants than they do for wines IMO.

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