For many people, eating out is far more than simply satisfying our innate need to feed; it is a thoroughly social experience that gives us the opportunity to savor delectable cuisine while fostering our relationships and perhaps even experiencing a new culture. As such, finding new places to eat can be a convivial and enjoyable experience. But every individual has his or her own personal opinions on what makes a great place to eat. So how do you find the latest and greatest eatery in your town?
Restaurant review websites offer candid ratings and reviews on a variety of different types of restaurants and allow savvy foodies and casual diners alike to discover the best all-around eateries in a particular area.
Each restaurant review website has an entirely unique method of rating, posting reviews, and website design. In addition, while some sites exclusively post reviews by actual restaurant customers, others offer both consumer and professional reviews. Thus, no two restaurant review websites are the same but some are more exceptional than others. The following are the criteria we used to determine just what makes a good restaurant review website.
First and foremost are the reviews themselves. Although each site has their own unique rating system, we took this, along with what types of reviews the site offers (e.g. consumer and/or professional reviews) into consideration. Furthermore, the best sites we reviewed offer a wide range of “restaurant stats,” or additional information about the restaurant provided in each review, such as what type of alcohol service the restaurant has or if reservations are accepted.
As the title indicates, this refers to how users can search for a restaurant. Although location seems to be the most popular search criteria, many restaurant review websites allow you to also search by address, neighborhood, price, type of cuisine, and/or type of restaurant. In addition, some sites even offer searches by ratings, which enables you to search the highest rated or most viewed reviews. Generally speaking, the more ways to search for tasty chow, the better!
From discussion boards to social networking widgets, additional information refers to any beneficial features a site may boast other than the reviews themselves. While you’ll find standard features such as FAQs and a feedback or contact form on most review sites, the best ones offer features far superior. For example, discussion boards give members a platform to share their favorite eateries and discuss all things food and restaurants. Social networking widgets allow users to connect with the review site on popular websites such as Facebook and Twitter. And furthermore, some sites offer mobile applications for handheld devices – after all, who has access to a computer when they’re on the road searching for some good grub?
Ease of Use
Lastly, what good is an informative reviews site if it’s difficult and confusing to navigate? Our top-ranked restaurant review sites have intuitive navigation, consistent design and a polished look. Such factors are important because they ensure a quality, enjoyable user experience and increase usability of the site.
Whether you are an amateur food connoisseur or just a casual diner, a restaurant review website can help you discover amazing fare when you’re far from home or in your own hometown. Our top-ranked websites – Zagat, Yelp, and Urbanspoon – can do just that.
You'll also find some great articles on dining etiquette and more in our Learning Center. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™