Sorting through restaurant reviews and navigating the best-of lists can be maddening; finding one that fits your personality and tastes often takes more time than necessary. So we’ve broken it down to help you navigate restaurant review sources based on common personal preference.
For the Food Nerd: Opinionated About Dining
Steve Plotnicki, formerly an executive in the music industry, began the first ranking for amateur food maniacs in 2012. The list taps into the expertise of a community of globe-trotting food fans to create the annual list.
Plotnicki says he came up with the system because he didn’t care for the way other rankings like Gault et Millau, Michelin, and Zagat did things. The list no longer consists of a global ranking, but rather it focuses on the U.S., Japan, and European regions.
For the Francophile: La Liste
This list began with support from the French government in 2015. Since then, it has become its own independent commercial entity under its founder Philippe Faure, former owner of the Gault et Millau restaurant guides.
It uses an algorithm to crunch the numbers from around two hundred published sources and create a list of the top thousand best restaurants on the planet. Businesses from Japan and France dominated its very first list. There are plans to add an additional nine thousand restaurants from around the world that were previously unranked.
For the Early Adopter: Food & Wine
After announcing its first class of Best New Chefs in 1988, Food & Wine now boasts some of the biggest names in American cooking (Daniel Boulud and Tomas Keller, among others).
While the publication reviews restaurants regularly, it also releases its list of Restaurants of the Year as well as Best New Chefs which features some of the best rising chefs who have run their restaurant for no more than five years. The magazine’s editor says everyone who works on the list thinks of themselves as talent scouts – and so far, they’ve been pretty accurate.
For the All-American: Eater
Eater came onto the scene a couple of years ago after receiving corporate funding from Vox Media. It follows national food critic Bill Addison as he travels the country in search of “essential” restaurants. 2015 saw the first publication of “National Eater 38,” which favors established restaurants over the new ones. Every summer Addison also puts out a list outlining the best new restaurants around the nation.
For the Scorekeeper: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
The World’s 50 Best has been around for a while – since 2002. It started out as a minor feature in Restaurant Magazine from Great Britain and has since become a go-to list for millions. It seeks to highlight various regions around the world that either go unranked or do not receive sufficient consideration by other lists and guides.
Recent locations that have garnered a lot of attention include Peru, Spain, and Denmark. The ranking is decided by a group of more than nine hundred anonymous voters who work in the food industry or write about it for a living. There are also smaller branches of the list that focus on restaurants in Latin America and Asia.
For the Hipster: Bon Appétit
After taking over the magazine in 2011, editor Adam Rapoport made some changes to the annual Best New Restaurants list. The focus of the September issue is now almost solely on the year’s top ten and includes recipes from each one.
Two editors spend months at a time traveling to find hidden gems, often searching for those independent restaurants that have something unique to offer. A few weeks before the top ten list is published, fifty nominees are listed online.
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