Frequently Asked Questions

Do you get paid by the restaurant to make the review?

While we do get promotional considerations, including some free meals, all of our reviews are independent and uncompensated. We do not allow our relationship with the restaurant community to affect the content of our reviews.


Are your reviewer’s identities a secret?

In a closed community it is not always possible to keep the identity of all of our reviewers a secret, and secret reviews are not always the best way to make an evaluation of a restaurant’s skill and capacity. While we don’t go out of our way to advertize our presence at a given restaurant, we don’t try to hide it either.


Aren’t secret reviews the best way for a true reading on a restaurant?

While there is some wisdom in that idea, it is not universally accepted that secret reviews are inherently better than reviews where the staff knows about it. While the secret review can catch mistakes and omissions, the upfront review tests what the restaurant can do when it’s really trying.

We have other sources of information that help us evaluate what the day to day customers think of the service and quality of the restaurants that we review. This combination helps us to make a balanced evaluation.


Have you ever given a bad review?

If you check our archives, we have many examples of reviews where we felt that there were one or more fundamental problems with the establishment that had to be brought to the attention of the public. This could involve cleanliness, food quality, service or any number of other tangible elements in the dining experience. We also take into account the restaurant’s ability to make good on its claims. If it advertizes 5 star cuisines, it better be able to make 5 star cuisines.


Do your reviews favor restaurant’s that make fancy food?

No. We understand that each establishment has its own function within the food world, and haute cuisine is just one element in the food spectrum. If a restaurant says it makes a great bowl of chili, and it does in fact make a great bowl of chili, we will acknowledge this fact for the benefit of all of you out there looking for a great bowl of chili.


How much does atmosphere count in your reviews?

The ambiance is, of course, an important element in any dining experience, but it is not necessarily the deciding factor. For that reason, we try to mention the food and the atmosphere separately. That way, you can evaluate all the factors when making a dining choice.


How much does price count in your reviews?

Much like ambiance, price is a subjective element, though it may not feel that subjective when you see the bill. But if the food and the atmosphere and the service and the total experience were worth the cost, then that is all that matters. We try to express price in terms of the kind of dining experience that he restaurant is offering.