Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Aug 10, 1999 04:38 AM

Q: Re: What's included in Zagat's and why

  • m

I've been a volunteer reviewer for Zagat's New York
Restaurant Guide for the last 2 years. It's interesting
to review for Zagat's, but it's frustrating that they
never publish write-ins. I'm mystified by how they
decide which restaurants not to include. Why, for
example, are neither Madras Mahal nor Madras Cafe, 2 of
the best (THE 2 best?) Indian restaurants in Manhattan,
included in that book, and why are mediocre Thai
restaurants included and good ones left out? Why are
none of my favorite Malaysian restaurants included? Why
do the Outer Boroughs scarcely exist? Does anyone here
understand how those folks make their editorial

(P.S. I know that many of you have some negative
feelings toward Zagat's, but keep in mind that I am not
an employee or representative of them.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. j
    Josh Mittleman

    I can't claim any special knowledge of Zagat's ways,
    but my understanding is that they list restaurants
    that get the most recommendations. Thus, it's not
    surprising that write-ins don't often make the cut.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Josh Mittleman

      Thanks for your reply, Josh.

      But then, how does Zagat decide (1) How to list one new
      restaurant and not another, and (2) When to stop
      listing a previously-listed restaurant. Case in point:
      They haven't listed L'allegria (9th Av. and 44 St.)
      since 1996 or '97 though, to my knowledge, that
      restaurant has never lacked for clientele.

      1. re: Michael
        Josh Mittleman

        I can't say, but I'd guess it's based on increase &
        decrease in the number of positive comments they

        1. re: Josh Mittleman

          There are apparently other factors that play also. A
          friend of mine who is on the fringes of the food
          establishment called an acquaintance of his at Zagat's
          to suggest that they add a couple of places to their
          tally sheets. All were turned down for such reasons
          as "I don't like their attitude," and,"their name is
          too much like another restaurant and we don't want to
          confuse readers.

          Another friend who owns a restaurant that Zagat's
          doesn't list has claimed that it is common knowledge
          in the trade that the editors manipulate the ratings
          of restaurants they like more than the public and vice
          versa. I had dismissed this as the sour grapes of the
          spurned, until the second friend, who had no self
          interest, told me his story. Now, I wonder.