I’m done with online recommendations and best-ofs.

ImageThis is the final straw.  The Couch Tomato Cafe just won PHL17’s Philly Hot List for Best Pizza 2013.  Granted, even Zagat didn’t get it all right but at least they includes Tacconelli’s and Osteria in the top two.

Then there was the recent Philadelphia Battle of the Burger sponsored by Amstel Light.  As this Yelper puts it so well, “Is anyone else thinking this Philly Mag’s Philly Burger Battle is a joke?”  You know there’s an issue when the top five burgers in the city aren’t even in the competition and rumor has it there were some burgers allowed in even though they didn’t make the final cut.  If you go to the Philly Mag website, you can’t even find who the winner is.  It was Pour House which I had to find out from some website called examiner.com.

Yelp has lost a lot of street cred in the past couple years.  Once everyone got word of it, nothing could stop people from posting unwarranted, unqualified and even fake reviews.  Just look at the Amy’s Backing Company story. As wacko as those people are, I feel bad for them.  I’ve read scathing reviews on Yelp by people who had never even been there.

Look, I definitely pay attention to those best-of emails that come in once a month and make lists for places I’d like to eat.  Did I know that Couch Tomato Cafe had that good of a pizza to make a best of list? No.  Not that I’m adding them to my pizza crawl list, but I appreciate the heads up.  There’s too many people publicly publishing their pretentious opinions these days (check out that alliteration!).  Although, how much of that am I doing by writing this message right now?

This past weekend, someone actually stopped me on the street and asked where a good place for a quality end of the evening cocktail with some friend would be.  I told him about this bar that was a little bit out of the way but after explaining it to him and his friends, they were anxiously flagging down the next cab.  Turns out, his phone had died so he wasn’t able to look up where to go in the neighborhood we were in.  I’m certain he had a much better time by asking a local and going just a little bit out of his way.

How confident can you feel about a review that was written by someone who was more interested in writing the first review for a new restaurant than actually tasting and experiencing the food and service?  How much credibility do give a best-of list that is published by a major media outlet whose main revenue source is advertising from national and international brands?  Maybe those with the best opinions aren’t necessarily those with the loudest opinions.


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