Tag Archives: TripAdvisor

Yelp! I Need a Trip Advisor

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This is how my road-trip food research usually starts

Before embarking on a road trip, I spend considerable time figuring out all the places where I’m going to eat and drink. That research usually begins with a perusal of online reviews, principally on Yelp and Trip Advisor.

What I’m looking for at this stage is a general sense of what’s worthy of my cheap-eats attention. It’s mostly a process of elimination, winnowing out hundreds of contenders and ending up with a short list that may require further research elsewhere.

The question, of course, is how much can you trust the online reviews of a huge swath of customers—some of whom may have an axe to grind or, at least, have very different tastes/standards than you.

All of which makes a recent New York Times article, Why You Can’t Really Trust Negative Online Reviews, so intriguing. The tagline gets right to the point: “Research suggests that people heed negative reviews more than positive ones—despite their questionable credibility.”

Despite being in the minority, negative reviews carry more weight than positive ones, perhaps because of their relative scarcity. They’re also seen as more trustworthy because the reviewers are willing to point out flaws, even if they’re just in the eye of the beholder.

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So who you gonna trust?

The story goes on in more detail about why you shouldn’t take negative reviews to heart, and it’s well worth reading. Although not about restaurant reviews per se, the article got me thinking about how I react to both negative and positive reviews.

I admit my eye is drawn to one-star reviews, just to see how bad things were for that diner. And if I see a lot of one- or two-star ratings, I’m apt to move on to greener pastures.

But it’s quite common to see a one-star “worst place I’ve ever eaten” right next to a five-star rave about the “best meal I’ve ever had.” Which can make it quite frustrating to figure out who’s right.

What I now do is look for places that have a high percentage of four-star reviews, on the theory that if most people had a great meal/time, it’s probably a true representation. It also reduces the impact of the one-star complainers and the five-star ravers, some of whom may have ulterior motives.

Your thoughts?


Yelp! Restaurant Reviewers Say the Darndest Things

Everyone's a critic when it comes to online restaurant reviews. Which can lead to some hilarious bloopers

Everyone’s a critic when it comes to online restaurant reviews. Which can lead to some hilarious bloopers

When researching potential places to eat and drink during my long, intensive road-food trips, I spend considerable time reading online reviews from TripAdvisor, Yelp, Zomato (nee Urbanspoon) and their ilk.

Occasionally, I run across some unintended zingers, often the result of a fortuitous spelling mistake, no doubt committed while typing with thick thumbs on a smartphone with a mind of its own. So here, for your consuming pleasure, are some of my favourite online reviews. The sources shall remain anonymous, to protect the guilty. Comments in italics are mine.

The coffee here is excellent, which is likely the most important thing about a coffee shop (lol)… for me personally, I’m not a coffee drinker.

I only had iced tea (preceding a six-paragraph, five-star review).

Full disclosure (after a lengthy review): I did not eat here.

The hours are kind of strange, as they close before a person under 60 would even consider eating dinner….I wish this place were a Filiberto’s style late-night place, but alas, I’ll be forced to eat here sober.

I don’t feel right writing about a bakery because I rarely eat bread and don’t have much of a sweet tooth (in the midst of a five-paragraph review). Continue reading