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Feb 19, 2008 07:51 PM

where to find objective San Diego reviews?

Can anyone point me to a web database of professional, reliable and objective restaurant reviews for San Diego?

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    1. re: Josh

      Agreed - I believe both of these sources are better than the local paper (the UT) which has recently gone through some upheaval. I also write some on my blog - though I'm not sure how "professional" they are. :-) I also have a list of all the other blogs (that I am aware of) in San Diego, as well as a list of local sources for restaurant reviews and news - both are on the righthand sidebar. I know two for sure - mmm...yoso and What We Dig - also write restaurant commentary.

      1. re: Josh

        I think these weeklies are not objective, they need ad revenue and will skew places in that advertise in their pubs. I'd look at CH and other blogs to get a real feel for good and bad.

        1. re: cstr

          This is a pretty serious accusation. Do you have any specific examples or reasons for saying this? I have never seen any evidence, and I read them all pretty regularly.

          1. re: cstr

            As someone who actually used to write for one of these weeklies, I can assure you that your assertion is totally baseless. I never wrote anything other than my own opinion, nor was there any pressure from the editor or publisher to write anything in support of an advertiser.

            There are publications that engage in the practice you're talking about, but not in the realm of the alt-weekly. Alternative weeklies do care about their credibility, and take their role as an authentic journalistic voice seriously.

            "Pay for play" is found in the free glossy publications that you see at hotels, not the pages of the Reader or City Beat.

            1. re: cstr

              wow I have read Naomi Wise's Reader column since I can remember and I think she is damn fair (and objective). CH is a great resource for blogs but the reviews here are rarely objective *cough* "San Diego Restaurants are Bad" thread *cough*

              1. re: cstr

                I think cstr (you wouldn't happen to be a chemical engineer, would you?) is thinking of the old Union Tribune "Dining Around" column by Wolfgang Verkaaik, Advertising Coordinator. :)

                I thought that Maria Hunt's UT reviews were fairly objective most of the time, though at times I felt she'd get quite subjective when irritated by some slight or other.

                1. re: RB Hound

                  I read a few months ago (I forgot where and will try to find it again) that there was a restaurant owner who accused Maria Hunt that she more or less said to him that he only would get a good review if he would cater (for free) one of her parties etc. Not because of this but I always found her reviews not very objective.
                  I like the Naomi Wise's column a lot because she if very fair and also always points out negative issues in each restaurant. This is something I miss a lot in the City Beat column where yout got always the impression that each restaurant they review is great.

                  1. re: honkman

                    I agree. I also find Naomi's reviews to be the most objective of the SD restaurant reviews, and the most helpful. San Diego Metro magazine also has a restaurant review, but since it is written by the gal that owns cafe 222, I have never seen less than a glowing review of any SD establishment. I just use it for info i.e. type of food, general idea of ambience etc. The same holds true for SD Magzazine and SD Home and Garden.

                  2. re: RB Hound

                    Hilariously, cstr's post made me think of Verkaaik, too. A recent Sunday UT had an insert with his dining recommendations for the year. Does he still write regular columns? It was pretty upsetting to see that over half his list were chains and most of the rest were incredibly mediocre to bad restaurants. I almost posted a rant about the insert, but figured it wasn't worth my time or everyone else's.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        Ah, that would be why I don't see it. We have the weekends/holidays subscription.

                        Per the OP, I enjoy Naomi Wise's articles in the Reader. I think, given the very nature of food criticism, it's near-impossible to find completely objective commentary. My approach to a restaurant is to look through CH, blogs, and publications to see what's being said. Then, I visit the restaurant anyway. Sometimes it's exactly what I read and sometimes I'm surprised.

              2. I seem to recall that David Nelson used to write some decent reviews. His reviews appear in the Auto Club magazine Westways. Not sure if his reviews appear anyplace else these days. I agree that Naomi Wise's reviews are pretty objective and quite detailed.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JeffSD

                  IIRC, he was/is the reviewer for either San Diego Magazine or San Diego Home & Garden (I get those two mixed up...). He's also done what appeared to me to be additorial work for the Pennysaver (i.e. adds and reviews appears to be 1-1).

                2. I thought that was what Chowhound was, except for the professional part.

                  1. The original comment has been removed
                    1. I used to value Naomi Wise's weekly restaurant review almost as much as Frank Bruni's in the New York Times. And our own San Diego Tribune has obviously budget cut down their food section to piddily articles about nachos and gardening. But, Naomi Wise's reviews in The Reader have slid downhill as far as Im concerned. It seems as if in the last 3 out of four reviews she gave 3 1/2 stars and the fourth review 4 stars!!! So what? Everyone is just that good? The articles read with almost as much praise for the food as dislike, then why such a good review? Maybe she is getting too close and comfortable with who she is reviewing. And why review the so called popular places (I know its what most people want to read and I know she reviews by email requests) but review the small places that people might not know about so we can make our food city grow. I think she has to be the reviewer and not be pushed around by places like Whisknladle sending mass emails for a review. I like her alot and she is a very good writer with a great sense of what food should be. Alice q foodie is also great as is what we dig, both quality sites.