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CHers recommending restaurants that they have never been to....I don't get it?

I frequently see posters recommending restaurants that they have never been to. I find this odd.

If you haven't been there would you recommend?

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    1. Yes. But I would let the reader know that I haven't been there. I write "I've heard that...", "Many have posted about...", or " <name of restaurant> is usually recommended.."

      1. While the intent isn't malicious or meant to ruse, I think part of it is that some CHers just want someone to validate/invalidate a claim. As if to say, "No I haven't been there, but I want you to go so that you can tell us about it."

        But no, I would never recommend a restaurant in which I hadn't dined.

        1. I don't think I have ever done so, but occasionally I'm tempted when someone posts a specific request that hasn't received any replies yet, and I know a restaurant that fits the requirement.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dave Feldman

            I've done the same. If a post sits without replies for a few days I'll throw in a possibility, and qualify it by stating that I've never been. I figure half a rec is better than no rec at all.

            1. re: Morton the Mousse

              Same here. Occasionally, I'll recommend a place that fits a requestor's specific needs, even if I have not yet had a chance to visit. The recommendation is based on reviews I have read, accounts from trusted friends, or postings from other CH threads. I think it's better sometimes than letting someone go away without any response. As with Morton above, I always try to make it clear that the referral is based on research or hearsay rather than personal experience.

              1. re: silverbear

                Thanks for your explanations.....I really couldn't figure this one out.

                My next pet peeve on the Manahattan board..."What's your favorite burger joint?" and the infamous "Where to get good Dim Sum".....I really do laugh when I see new posts like this pop up on a daily basis.

          2. If I haven't been there but know someone I trust who has, I might report their impressions as such. However, if someone asks about TGIF or Applebee's I don't think I have to take that bullet to know it's not a good idea.

            1. To expand on this general question though, after how long a period of time is your recommendation no longer valid? For example, there are some restaurants that i havent been to in 4 or 5 years. Do my impressions of these restaurants still truly matter? Or is this the same as me having never been there?

              From my perspective, if i havent been in the past year, i always mention such, and suggest that my observations could very well be out of date.

              2 Replies
              1. re: yen

                Great follow-up question. The accuracy of my recommendations declines in proportion to time away from the restaurant. If it has been more than year, I tend to me more reserved in my comments. If it has been more than five years, I may post about the restaurant but will generally avoid voicing any opinion since my knowledge could be obsolete. I agree that some sort of disclosure is in order if it has been a long time since the last visit.

                1. re: yen

                  Ah, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I will sometimes toss in a suggestion concerning a restaurant I haven't visited in a few years, but I *specify* that I haven't been there in a while, and so the info could be out of date. Sometimes I'll add, "Anyone know if this place is still as good as it was then?" (or similar) to try to spur further discussion. If I have time, I'll even search for other recent comments about the restaurant in question (using the advanced search feature "posted within 1 month" or "within 1 year"). Just a little while ago, I posted about Wondee Siam on the Manhattan board, but since I haven't been there for a few years, I included several links to other, more recent reports on that restaurant.

                2. Generally I wouldn't but there are exceptions - some people that visit my home board (L.A.) really wants to go to a place to celeb-spot, so I can easily recommend a few hollywood hotspots that I personally have never eaten. Likewise for posts that are looking for a highly specific, rare kind of food (to which I'll always reply along the lines of "they have it, but I don't know if it's any good")


                  1. Yes, I have done this on occasion. I usually offer this in addition to a tried-and-true place but always indicate that I haven't tried it personally. I will usually follow that up and ask if anyone out there has eaten at such and such place recently. Ultimately, I'm trying to be more helpful and generate fresh discussion, but I do realize that it behooves me to try these places for myself!

                    1. Really, as long as you qualify a response with "but I don't know personally" or something along those lines, then you're covered, and the person reading it understands that it's based on second-hand impressions or word of mouth or what have you.

                      1. Yes, if it seems to fit the bill perfectly. I tell them I've heard of... Sometimes it brings others who might not have thought of it but have been there.

                        1. Sometimes I’ll make similar recs by telling a visiting ‘hound that I’ve been wanting to check out this or that place because I’ve heard from friends that it’s good. Local restaurant coverage—usually the source of “conventional wisdom” or buzz—is nowhere near the level of NYC and other metropolitan food writing; it can’t be trusted.

                          But is it really true that on other boards, most recommendations about places that CHs haven’t tried are motivated by a genuine desire to help ‘hounds who otherwise would get no responses to their queries? I can only dream that one day our board will become more like that.

                          On the board I frequent, some posters make generalizations about an entire restaurant scene without disclosing that they’ve never been to most of the restaurants in question. A related kind of hearsay recommendation is the listing of all existing Indian restaurants in answer to questions like, “Where can I get good Indian in neighborhood Y?” Of course, it is always possible that someone who has been to one of the restaurants in question will see its name and chime in, as chowser noted. However, it’s not always obvious that posters who provide such lists haven’t tried any of the restaurants on them.

                          I find these kinds of uninformed recommendations not only odd but profoundly unhelpful.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MPH

                            Definitely--it's no different than looking up restaurants in a phone book in that case (of throwing out all names). If someone is looking, say, for an authentic Iranian restaurant near xxx that's nicer, I might tell them I have friends who are Iranian who highly recommend ------, though I've never been there.

                            1. re: MPH

                              The type of requests which are now frequent on the Manhattan board, for example, seek restaurants in specific locations for specific non-food-related purposes (I am going to Madison Square Garden and need dinner under $20 within two blocks, any cuisine). It's more like a trivia quiz than a food discussion - hence the replies, which are displays of local knowledge rather than dining rec.s.

                            2. It appears to me that there are frequent posters, who if you do the numbers, eat at 40 different restaurants each week...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: gudeatz

                                haha, well actually I think it's much less - but posters do make repeat recommendations alongside any new encounters they've experienced(I certainly do). Likewise, some 'hounds may have been in events where multiple restaurants were cooking stuff up.