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Yelpers: Fair and balanced?

hate yelp

Credit: Eater.com

While reading Josh Ozersky’s column in Time this week on the 10 best apps for foodies, something jumped out at me that I couldn’t really get past. Granted, his app recommendations are all pretty spot on, his explanation for the inclusion of the Yelp app caught my eye.

The line that includes “The reviews are generally accurate and unbiased” made me do a double take. I wasn’t sure if he was being serious. Maybe I’m just jaded, but is your impression of Yelp – or any crowd-sourced reviewing website such as Kudzu or Urbanspoon – that it contains accurate and unbiased opinions?

Considering that the website in question has long been mired in controversy over not only their unbalanced opinions – both from reactionary diners to restaurant employees spamming 5-star reviews – but also the questionable practices of their internal sales team, “unbiased” isn’t a word that I’d use.

Without a doubt, sites like these are filled with well thought-out and articulate reviews from members that take their responsibility seriously. I know more than one writer that began as a Yelper, learned that they enjoyed reviewing restaurants, and have moved on to writing either a well-respected blog or for a paid position with a legitimate publication. But for every one of those, it feels like there are five reviews that aren’t worth the time it takes to read them.

That hostess was rude to you when she couldn’t acquiesce to your unreasonable demand for five high chairs for your party of twelve with no reservation on a busy Friday night? Well, then they definitely deserve a scathing 1-star review, even though you only pitched a fit and left without actually eating anything.

For an entertaining compilation of such posts, check out this tumblr feed. WARNING: Contains adult language, NSFW, etc. (Translation: There are curse words.)

Sites like Yelp are the Gyges Ring of reviewing – it provides complete anonymity and tends to bring out the worst in people. While there are dedicated Yelpers that strive for elite status, with their profile pictures and believably real screen names, I tend to look only at the average ratings rather pouring over the individual reviews. Many non-avid users only post when they have an extreme opinion on a restaurant. They loved or hated it, and they are fired up and want their voice heard. But there are so many biased opinions that much of it becomes white noise. It has gone so far that Cornell University has been developing software to weed out fake online reviews for these kind sites.

Everyone is now a critic, and the problem is that not everyone should be. The things that people post have a very real impact on the businesses they review. I completely understand this responsibility as someone charged with evaluating restaurants and publishing my opinions on them. But even though Gene, Jenny, and I enjoy a degree of anonymity, we still have plenty of accountability. We can’t just pop off at the mouth about a restaurant without knowing that unfounded or unreasonable opinions will be swiftly called out. Just ask our editors.

Before I am slaughtered by offended Yelp advocates in the comment section, I should point out that I fully recognize that the thin line between a blogger and a Yelper is only $15 a year and a Godaddy.com account wide. And there are plenty of forgettable blogs out there guilty of the same offenses as all of the faceless John Doe accounts on Yelp. But there are only so many times I can log onto a website and read a one star review of a restaurant because the bathroom stocked scratchy toilet paper before I stop taking it seriously.

How do you approach sites like Yelp? Do you use them as a guide for where you should and shouldn’t eat, or do you take them with a huge grain of salt?

Jon Watson, Popular Eats

Jon Watson, Popular Eats

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

62 comments Add your comment

Laura M. Cheifetz

September 2nd, 2011
6:45 am

It depends. I follow a couple of serious Yelpers (Addy Choi is a fantastic Atlanta reviewer). I do use Yelp, and tend to check the dates of previous postings, since management can change over time and improve the place. I also look at the number of posts and the average star rating to get some perspective. I’ll be honest, though. I am a food snob who has lived in three fantastic foodie cities before coming here (New York, Chicago, San Francisco). I mean I lived in the actual cities, not in the burbs. I also judge who is doing the reviewing pretty harshly. If a few reviews say the sushi at a Thai restaurant was terrible, I ignore them. I know better than to ask for great sushi at a restaurant where I should be ordering the Thai food. I feel like this is a basic principle of eating out.

Mr. Ed

September 2nd, 2011
7:17 am

“Everyone is now a critic, and the problem is that not everyone should be”

Thank you. That about sums it up for me. Just because you have an electronic device and eat, it hardly qualifies you as a food critic.

BroccoliRob

September 2nd, 2011
7:20 am

I use it mostly when I am on the road to find “decent” nearby eateries. If a restauant has a lot of reviews, even if they are a mixed bag, it’s probably a safe bet.

Katz

September 2nd, 2011
7:36 am

The biggest problem is that many of the reviewers ave no idea that they are being served crap and so mediocre food gets good reviews. Then there are the restauranteurs who have friends or family working at AJC. They get written up as being much better than they actually are… Yelp, AJC food editors… at least the yelpers don’t claim integrity

Rodney

September 2nd, 2011
7:54 am

Never use it – speaking from experience (I wrote a food column for a local rag back in the mid-2000s), it takes more than one “hey let’s go here Friday night it’s supposed to be cool” visit to truly determine a resto’s best, and worst, side.

Every joint has issues from time to time, be they service or cuisine, and I’ve never thought it’s fair to give a low score to a restaurant just because on your one trip you didn’t like what you were served or how it was served to you. Certainly, that makes for a bad night but behind the scenes the issue may have been one-off and corrected and never to be again.

I’m sure Yelp is fine for some folks but for me, no sir.

Kirk

September 2nd, 2011
8:08 am

I love reading reviews. I always think of them as biased and based on the reviewers preferences. The reviews allow me to live vicariously as my money doesn’t go as far as it used to. I can go to a bunch of places and not leave the house. Sometimes they lead me to do different things with my own cooking. So, Yelp on folks.

Victor

September 2nd, 2011
8:09 am

If you believe anything you read on this site, you should be eating at the 5 star rated Ryan’s. Yelpers are just a bunch of kids who were eating boxed mac & cheese just the day before and cooked in a microwave. They know nothing about food or cooking techniques, 99% of them have never been in a commercial kitchen. Freebies = raving reviews.

Michelle

September 2nd, 2011
8:20 am

People take Yelp seriously? News to me.

Jadzia

September 2nd, 2011
8:34 am

I use it for mapping when I travel. Yelp is actually pretty poor to figure out restaurants in an area. If they have focused their sights on a restaurant for graft and the restaurant won’t pay up they don’t show on the map, only if you type in the name. For instance I just typed in Vinings, GA choosing restaurants, and focused in on the cross streets of Paces Mill & Northside Pkwy (US 41), the Kroger shopping center. That shopping center has 5 restaurants. Only 1 is shopping on Yelp. The Yelp listing is showing 5 on their list, the other 4 are across the street. So you can be in an area wonder where to go and not know that there are 4 other restaurants in the shopping center. If you type in the name of the restaurant – then it shows up, but not the other 3. The 4 of them must have pissed off the Yelp sales person.

Angela

September 2nd, 2011
8:43 am

Honestly, I have no problem differentiating between the whiners and real critics on Yelp. I also have no problem thumbing through a couple of pages in order to get to legitimate reviews. I would rather have a compilation of reviews from a variety of different people than an opinion of a one paid food critic with an unorthodox grading system.

If I do manage to read a paid critics review, I tend to pay more attention to the reader responses. That, along with the critics review should provide enough info for me to form my own opinion.

to sum up, my “tastes” may be more in line with a multitude of opinions than a single critic.

Yelp on.

Mountain Steve

September 2nd, 2011
8:51 am

I read yelp reviews from time to time and it absolutely makes me laugh. There is a restaurant in Chattanooga, the Pickle Barrel, that is in a historic building and absolutely has an authentic pub feel and is 21 and up. The food is honest and well made. The staff are stoners and hipsters. People complain about the variety of dress of the servers. They complain about the building being old. They complain about the menu. It’s like enough already go to Applebees! They have a dress code. They have some crappy prepackaged food like you are used to eating at home. All the building are just like the others and scream welcome back to the 80’s.

But then you can find the reviews where you can sense the kindred spirit and those are the reviews that help. People being honest about their experience and openly admitting when some things are a matter of personal taste and not a reflection on the restaurant. If you are patient enough you can find useful reviews on yelp and urbanspoon.

BuHi

September 2nd, 2011
8:57 am

“the thin line between a blogger and a Yelper is only $15 a year and a Godaddy.com account ” – Really, Jon? I seem to remember a time in the not too distant past that you were among the throngs of independent bloggers. Is this really how you viewed yourself?

Not all food bloggers are “critics” – I’d venture to say that quite a few of them don’t truly “review” restaurants so much as simply write of their experiences. I’m not going to jump in on the Yelp thing here – my opinion of Yelp is pretty widely known – but lumping bloggers in with Yelpers is really a stretch..

Jess

September 2nd, 2011
9:07 am

I’m a Yelper and I agree that you make some valid points — some (I wouldn’t say most, but definitely some) reviews are immature, petty and based on situations that are biased. Like Laura M. said, you’ll always have those lame reviewers who went to a sushi place and gave it 2 stars because they “don’t eat sushi.” Those are the reviews you shouldn’t take seriously. On the other hand, as BroccoliRob pointed out, even with a mixed bag of reviewers you’re probably going to have a positive experience at a place that’s had 350 reviews and is rated 4-5 stars.

I think it’s fair to say that most business reviews — whether done by your average American citizen or a paid blogger that does it for a living — should always be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own opinion. Just like there are bloggers out there who’s blogs are published weekly in a newspaper, not everyone likes what they have to say or agrees with them. Same goes for a Yelp reviewer — some of them you know are probably crazy and you wouldn’t trust what they have to say if your dinner depended on it; others you find you can trust and you’ll continue to read and take seriously.

Nick D

September 2nd, 2011
9:13 am

If I’m in a city/town that I know next to nothing about, I’ll check out yelp. I mostly look at the average ratings, but will skim the reviews and if I see a recurring theme (either positive or negative), I might pay a little more attention to that.

Yelp hasn’t led me astray- I used it when in San Fran a few weeks ago and it was great, and used it in Miami last week and also didn’t lead me astray.

Kristin B.

September 2nd, 2011
9:15 am

If you’re interested to hear what yelpers think about this post, we’re discussing it in the talk threads over there this morning :)

And I’ll copy my comments: Yes, reviews are biased. Yes, people give one star reviews if the hostess was mad, or the air conditioning vent was directly above them, or if they couldn’t find parking. However, I think the average that comes out is generally reliable. When I’m looking at trying a new place, I don’t just read random reviews, I read the reviews from my yelp friends or from yelpers I follow. I know their personalities and their tastes and trust that their opinions would align with mine (most of the time).

CJ

September 2nd, 2011
9:24 am

Yes, reviews are biased. Life is biased. But here’s the benefit that Yelp yields: If Charlie P. gives five-star reviews to six of my favorite restaurants, I start thinking, “Hey, that Charlie P. sure knows what he’s talking about!” And I look at Charlie P.’s other reviews and find four other restaurants that he loves that I haven’t tried. Since our tastes match up so nicely, I think to myself “Yeah, I think I’m going to try one of those other four tonight.” And it almost always ends up being great.

People who discount a restaurant because of a handful of whining Applebee’s-going reviewers are idiots anyway, and you probably don’t want them in your restaurant to begin with.

Bob from Accounttemps

September 2nd, 2011
9:24 am

Opinions are like ***holes — everybody’s got one. Read reviews, even the ones here, with that in mind and you’ll never go wrong. Plenty of AJC reviews have steered me wrong over the years (both good and bad), so I’ll try almost anything once. Looking forward to No. 246 – and yes, I will drive across town to try it.

george saru

September 2nd, 2011
9:31 am

What? Opinions are biased? Holy cow, someone give this guy a genius grant, he’s close to solving the secret of life!

RK

September 2nd, 2011
9:33 am

Yelp is very cliquey, which makes it hard to take seriously. The “important” people seem to have people fighting to click the cool button for them, floating their reviews to the top.

That said, I can usually wade through the reviews of people that don’t match my tastes and get a good read on a restaurant. And the database of locations is very easy to use.

observer 1

September 2nd, 2011
9:51 am

I’m with you Jon. Great piece.

Gene Lee

September 2nd, 2011
10:21 am

Personally, I do read Yelp and there are individuals on there who come off as intelligent, fair and have given a restaurant time to settle in and have made more than one visit.

But at times, there is a bit of a “wild west” element to it that I wish Yelp would rein in. For instance, individual “Daniel T” who made this irrelevant comment on Gu’s Bistro back in June: “.. The peanut milk soup was tasty and interesting but the funny thing is when she announced it sounded a lot like “p*nis milk soup”.”

I’m sorry, is broken English funny? Why don’t you come to my family’s house for dinner and point and laugh at them while they struggle with their Rs and Ls?

StylinGirl

September 2nd, 2011
10:32 am

Frankly I see no difference between Yelp and your column Gene- except you get paid for yours.

RK

September 2nd, 2011
10:37 am

“I’m sorry, is broken English funny?” Yes.

TG

September 2nd, 2011
10:48 am

rk – let’s take a trip out to Ann’s Snack Shack & make fun of the way she talks.

I didn’t think so tough guy.

Maria S.

September 2nd, 2011
10:53 am

I’m a fan of Yelp, and a regular reviewer on the site. I strive to give fair reviews based on my experiences. I love sharing my opinions, but I don’t have time to create and maintain my own blog. I’ve found great restaurants in unfamiliar cities thanks to Yelp, and there is useful information to be gained from Yelp and similar sites. Just use common sense, and look for trends. Like others have said, if a restaurant has 100+ reviews, and averages 4-5 stars, you’ll likely have a good experience. Ditto the reverse, but good Yelpers have also helped me have a 4 star experience at a 2 star restaurant.

RK

September 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

Sure, let’s go, and I’ll post jokes on an anonymous blog.

Karen

September 2nd, 2011
11:30 am

oh also, speaking of graphs, I do like the trend one on the restaurant page itself.

Jon Watson

September 2nd, 2011
11:46 am

Hopefully, and this seems to be the case, it came across that I don’t think Yelp and the like are all bad. I definitely use the site and pay more attention to average ratings, and can quickly identify the reviews to ignore. My point really in all of this was that I was shocked that anyone, especially someone with Ozersky’s status, could say that it is unbiased with a straight face.

Any opinion can be considered “biased” depending on your perspective. But the “bias” I really take umbrage with is the PR reps who generate fake reviews for the clients, or family members posting 5-stars as many times as they can without getting flagged, or other restaurants using them as a forum to bash the competition. There are plenty of honest reviews in there, and I think it is great that sites like these excist. But like anything on the internet, once it gets big enough, the bad is surely going to follow the good.

@BuHi – I see your point, and don’t want to make my meaning unclear there. I still consider myself a blogger. I was simply making the point that the ease with which a blog can be set up means that there can be just as many bad bloggers as there are bad yelpers. I was really just anticipating that rebuttle and pro-actively addressing it.

Bob from Accounttemps

September 2nd, 2011
11:51 am

@Jon — Spell Check!!

RK

September 2nd, 2011
12:49 pm

How about the “Best of” lists in these local free magazines (no, not the Top 10 Steakhouses in the US in the back of airline magazines)? I’m very suspicious that any of them aren’t bought or promoted — how can you really rate the best laser hair remover?

Ivan

September 2nd, 2011
12:57 pm

Jon,

Double-edged sword, man. Yelp leverages algorithms that filter out possible “shills,” i.e., PR generated reviews. They also take pains to filter out “review blasts.” That’s what I call businesses’ requests (via email) for reviews on Yelp. They realize that what you’re referencing undermined the credibility and ultimately torpedoed citysearch.

However, Yelp keeps a lid on that algorithm because publicizing it would allow folks to manipulate it. This lack of transparency coupled with occasional false positives (filtering out legit reviews) leads to charges that Yelp is “manipulating reviews.” So, as I started, double-edged sword, man.

Lorenzo

September 2nd, 2011
1:17 pm

The average Yelper is not really a “foodie” or savvy about dining. Some of the reviews sound like they were written by teens. Some reviews smell of bias toward places with high prices or fancy decor that might have wowed the reviewer on prom night. The Yelp reviews of a run-of-the-mill restaurant of the kind that hasn’t suffered from over-hype in the mainstream media and dedicated food blogs are often all over the board, half loving it and half hating it. So, I find the Yelp reviews of that type of restaurant nearly worthless. And for the restaurants that have received some hype elsewhere, I don’t need to read Yelp reviews to tell me whether to try it or not.

John Kessler

September 2nd, 2011
2:02 pm

I love Yelp when I travel and need to find nearby restaurants. It’s particularly helpful in New York. I don’t pay any attention to the aggregate ratings, which always seem inflated, but I do look for reviewers who express themselves in a way I can relate to. If they have a measured tone (no angry rants, no OMG!!!!!!’s) and make some thoughtful observations, then I am inclined to listen to their advice.

CJ

September 2nd, 2011
2:13 pm

Re: “The average Yelper is not really a “foodie” or savvy about dining.”

I guess that’s true. Most Yelper’s aren’t giant foochebags (foodie douchebags). The average Yelper doesn’t know the difference between bloc or entier foie gras, and most of us only spend $100 on a meal on special occasions. I don’t think Yelp’s purpose is to speak to that audience. Yelp is where one goes to find out which gastropub is pouring the latest Bell’s draught, serves delicious duck but also has options for the vegetarian in the group, and is a comfortable atmosphere for a four-top book club group. It’s where one goes to find which place is serving chicken sausage slingers at 3 a.m. or which restaurant turns into a dance club every night at 11. No one uses Yelp to see if Charlie Trotter’s is worth a visit. Yelp is a review site for the everyday consumer, reviewed by the everyday consumer.

Intowncook

September 2nd, 2011
5:04 pm

This is for victor. I cook for a living and just ate Microwaved mac and cheese. Does that make me a bad cook.

Steve

September 2nd, 2011
6:28 pm

TripAdvisor is just as bad.

Heather

September 2nd, 2011
6:44 pm

It is impossible for a review site (or a paid food critic) to be completely accurate and unbiased. That doesn’t mean that the content is not useful.

I’ve found some amazing gems because of Yelp. I have some favorite Yelpers (like Addy C) that are very detailed and prolific, and I trust their judgement.

For the snarky commenter about all Yelpers being basically ramen-chomping neophites, look closer. I’ve been to dives and Michelin starred places all over the world, and have over 350 reviews. I’ve worked in great restaurants in SF, taught cooking classes, I grow my own food, I’m a member of Slow Food and GA Organics, on and on…I’m not trying to be the next François Simon; I just want to share my experiences. Yelp is also a great place to record spots I want to return to in lists or future places to try with bookmarks. I always use it when traveling-it’s a fantastic resource.

Cheers~

Dave

September 2nd, 2011
7:14 pm

Good rules of thumb: Throw out the raves and the rants. Ignore the people that use OMG and the like (I don’t think they and I have the same taste, so this rule might not work for everyone). And those that commented above that enough reviews and a positive rating are signs of a good place are right. An aside, I’ve had good and bad results using Yelp while traveling, the bad usually in an area where there aren’t enough places and people to make “crowd sourcing” work, the good in places like Atlanta where there’s enough of both.

Horsetoothedjackass

September 2nd, 2011
7:23 pm

Personally, I don’t take a lot of stock in user reviews on sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc., unless there is a definite pattern in the reviews. If the recent reviews (within the last 60-90 days) tend to skew a certain way, I’d tend to believe them, especially if it’s a swing from earlier reviews. If there’s a overly glowing review in a sea of average or below average reviews, or a savagely negative one in a sea of above average or average reviews, I tend to look at them as either planted reviews or we’re not getting the entire story (Folks will tend to leave out details, especially when said details makes them look bad.). As the saying goes, “your mileage may vary”.

Brooke @ Food Woolf

September 2nd, 2011
7:41 pm

Yelpers and Bloggers may seem different (the Go Daddy account is just one piece of the puzzle), but they are very similar in one important way: the things they say online have the power to effect the livelihood of others. By posting scathing reviews (whether truthful or not), online publishers have the power to shut down businesses, scare customers, and change the way people do business with them. Yelpers and Bloggers alike have power when they publish something online. But many don’t really think about their responsibility for that power.

I think you bring up some really great points and am grateful for making people think. This is, in part, why myself and my friend wrote the Food Blog Code of Ethics (www.Foodethics.wordpress.com) because it’s time that we all think about the responsibility we each have to stand behind our words–for better or worse.

george

September 3rd, 2011
1:50 am

even the name yelp suggests a pack of dogs on a hunt and i would trust them about as much as i trust any other ravenous mob to evaluate prepared food service and quality. of course fox claims to be fair and balanced too with about the same amount of versimillitude.

Realist

September 3rd, 2011
7:30 am

One difficult thing about using Yelp is that a large number of the reviews are written by a small number of people who all know each other. Most but not all are part of the Elite Squad. In theory this is a good thing but it doesn’t take long before you notice that who is sleeping with who or who is in a fight with someone else in the group effects reviews as much as the actual quality of the estiblishment.

Sometimes a restaurant will get a harh review because the Eliter reviewing it saw another Eliter they don’t like there or one that gave the restaurant a positive review. One Eliter’s review was about a dozen paragraphs long about how a member of her party didn’t pay what she considered their fair share of the bill. What that had to do with the restaurant itself, I’ll never know but it resulted in a low rating for the business.

While the number of people engaging in this behavior is small, they tend to be the most prolific reviewers.

Carrie Neal Walden

September 3rd, 2011
12:42 pm

I am a Yelp Elite of four years now- Carrie Neal W. for those of you who may look it up – and am proud to write for Yelp (unpaid and as a fun hobby) as well as for various other blogs and a local paper (paid) – Kristin B summed up my opinions well.

Yelp is a great tool if you use if the right way – it’s easy to sift through the BS/shill reviews and find those from those of us (myself definitely included) who care about what we write, know what criteria to use to evaluate a place, and love food (and other things- some people forget that Yelp is not just a food-review site!). To lambast Yelp as a source of drivel, or of false info, or whatever is missing the point and unfair.

Sid

September 4th, 2011
4:27 pm

StylinGirl

September 2nd, 2011
10:32 am
Frankly I see no difference between Yelp and your column Gene- except you get paid for yours.

*****************************************************************************
Eyes wide shut, your a perfect example of what the article is about. You don’t expect to make Elite do you?

Sid

September 4th, 2011
4:38 pm

Carrie Neal Walden

September 3rd, 2011
12:42 pm
****************************************************
I have seen your snobby personal attacks so many times and your response here truly confirms your narcisstic socail stratification. You are so blinded by your own elitism that you totally miss what a source of drivel and false info you are. Oh, we all want to look up Carrie Neal W, she should be ROTD every day. You are what makes being Elite at Yelp a bad thing.

GoDawgs

September 4th, 2011
10:29 pm

I don’t go to those sites to base my opinion of a restaurant. I feel the best way to know is to go and try it out. Just cause one person had a bad experience doesn’t mean you will. I use family, friends, word of mouth and article write-ups from this site to try new places out.

Rick

September 4th, 2011
11:45 pm

The trick is reading CAREFULLY. Honest reviews tend to be quite blunt and detailed. Its pretty easy to figure out which ones are written by the restaurant employees or hired henchmen!
All you have to do is look at trends, if 75 people hate a restaurant and they tell you WHY, then its pretty much a given that you should pass it up.

Cump Sherman

September 5th, 2011
12:57 am

It’s like movie reviews. The web has turned everyone into a critic. And neither by training, experience or skill are most qualified.

jeas3

September 5th, 2011
1:20 am

Yelp, Urban Spoon and other sites like it can be good sources of information if you know what to expect:

1. Plenty of people who have no idea what constitutes a good restaurant or good service will post negative reviews based on their personal biases (”the hostess couldn’t get us a table for six at 7:30 pm on a Saturday with no reservation”, “I’ve never had rabbit before, and I didn’t like it”)

2. Employees and friends of employees will post glowing reviews, usually right after a negative one. These are usually characterized by perfect grammar and big words.

3. A small number of reviewers will post thoughtful comments with explanations for what they thought was good and bad about their experience.

The key is to find a number of examples of #3. Also, as pointed out numerous times above, if you keep seeing the same type of complaint (or praise) from multiple reviews then that is a good indicator that the point is accurate.

i just realized yelp is useless

September 5th, 2011
11:23 am

I NEVER use yelp for local restaurants in Atlanta. I read articles about new places to go and give them a shot or just stop in some random place or by word of mouth. You are seriously going to pay attention to someone that writes (and as an example I’ve seen this numerous times in reviews on yelp) “I waited one hour to order my food and another hour to get my food”. Exaggeration is rampant. Yes there are a few good reviewers locally, but it takes so long to get through the BS reviews or reviews that dont say anything that it makes it a worthless service for the local diner.

I’ve also tried to use Yelp when out of town. For your phone it has a great feature of locating establishments in relation to where you are currently located. Come to think of it though every time I’ve used it when out of town whether for higher end or lower end restaurants, I’ve pretty much been disappointed with the suggestions. So yeah I guess I just realized by writing this comment that yelp is pretty much useless and nothing can really replace a trained restaurant critique.