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why are Yelp reviewers so bad?

i've pretty much stopped using yelp for anything food-related, as i've gotten so frustrated at seeing restaurants get such bizarre reviews. Barrio Cafe in phoenix gets knocked for not being "authentic" because they don't serve rice and beans with every dish. my favorite place in phoenix (Asadero Norte de Sonora) has exactly two reviews: one from me (5 stars) and one from a guy who judged the restaurant by their BURRITOS (1 star).

is anyone else tired of yelp? i'm close to just deleting my account over there.

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  1. I clicked over and skimmed through a bunch of the reviews of the two restaurants you mention. I have to tell you that, collectively, that's about the most well written and information set of reviews I've seen on Yelp. The people who reviewed the places appear to have actually gone and eaten there. They gave reasons for their star rating (especially the people who rated Barrio Cafe one or two stars) and wrote, mostly, about what they ordered and why they didn't like it.

    This seems to be a case in which you're conflating "bad review" and "review I disagree with."

    Yelp can be a headache, but if it all read like those two sets of reviews, I'd find it far, far more useful than I currently do.

      1. Unlike Chowhound, Yelp is very lightly moderated. If you don't like the reviews, why not just not read them? Why the necessity of coming to Chowhound to complain about Yelp?

        BTW, there are corresponding threads on many Yelp boards on why Chowhound reviewers are so stuck up.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PeterL

          Although yelp is a simple extortion scam that I wish more of its crowdsourced free employees would wake up to, that is an interesting point. CH is very, very heavily moderated, to the point that I am sometimes discouraged to use it. "Yes, i know there is an older thread about this. i want a new one or updates", "no, you really do not have to retitle or move every post", blah blah.

        2. I love Yelp for getting basic restaurant information. What CC they accept, if cash only, decor, atmosphere, parking, menu, etc. But for information about the food I still think Chowhound reviewers are more fair and informative. Chowhound has less "OMG I gave them 4 stars because the waiter was so cute". I have found good information in the discussion section of Yelp.

          1. I've found Yelp to be helpful... I've found places using Yelp that I didn't even know existed in my area. One thing about Yelp compared to Chowhound. Yelp seems to have many more active members which results in a broader coverage of restaurants.

            As to the reviews whether on Yelp, Chowhound, CitySearch... etc, I take them with a grain of salt. If a place sounds interesting, we usually go to decide for ourselves.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dave_c

              Yep - there's no better way of finding something delicious for oneself, other than to actually taste it. It's not that the posters on all the websites are bad or anything, it's just that tastes vary tremendously and no one knows one's taste better than oneself.

              1. re: limster

                I would make a terrible reviewer. I tend to focus on the negatives so I don't post on Yelp.

                Here's a little irony. I never knew of yelp until I read a discussion on Chowhound.

              2. re: dave_c

                I agree with dave c...on my board (northwest) it can take one or more days to get an answer on a question about a restaurant, so I often look to yelp for reviews on restaurants in my area. Of course I learned critical thinking skills in school so I cull through the reviews for the information I believe to be valuable. A bad review on yelp isn't going to keep me from going to a restaurant, but a good review there might tip the scales for a restaurant i may want to try out.

              3. I believe there is room and need for both Yelp and CH, I was an avid CH lurker and poster, but found, as another tread suggested," ChowHound just was not for me". I like Yelp because for the most part I get the raw,unadultered, and largely unmoderated information I need to find that one place where I can spend my hard earned cash. I have been to a lot of the established, and well documented Restaurants posted so many times on CH, and enjoyed them all............ But it seems to me that there is little in the way of new topics, fresh opinions, and above all, honesty that Yelp offers.
                Yes, It can get rather raunchy and juvenile at times, but I dismiss that as the exuberance that comes with youth and find it refreshing. I too am not willing to retire my taste buds or honest opinions just yet.

                8 Replies
                1. re: currymouth

                  I believe there is room and need for both Yelp and CH

                  Of course there is. By virtue of the fact that Yelp is not moderated, there is room in the world of armchair food critics for Yelp.

                  How funny.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Armchair viewers with iPhones finding places when they're are out and about and away from their laptops.

                    I really don't get the animosity.

                    If you don't like it, don't use it, and move on.

                    1. re: Caralien

                      I think Dolores meant that the notion that there's not room for both CH and Yelp is funny. The fact that there is room being so clear that it need not be stated.

                      1. re: ccbweb

                        Thank you so much for clarifying. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your informed updates to my posts!

                        1. re: Caralien

                          Tone is tough online. I really don't intend any insult at all and hope that it hasn't come off that way. If it has, I apologize.

                          1. re: ccbweb

                            Agree with that -- there's room for CH and Yelp and tons more. The existence of many sites is important to ensure that we all have choices about where to find and share information about food and other things -- after all, just like different people have different tastes, different folks will enjoy different websites.

                        2. re: dolores

                          Thank you for your refreshing honesty.

                      2. I use both CH & Yelp

                        CH: more detailed discussions, more information pertaining to both restaurants and everything food related; difficult to navigate for something specific: restaurant information may be in 5 different places and take 10 minutes on a laptop, 20-30 on the iPhone. Yet I'm addicted to CH and actually find it far more social than Yelp.

                        Yelp: better infrastructure for finding things close by or near wherever we're going (ie within 5 miles, bird's eye view, of wherever I am, no name or town needed; the iPhone app is excellent for this), with quick reviews (looking for a place in town x, reading reviews, reading reviews from same poster in different places, deciding this poster might have similar tastebuds to mine, deciding, ok, I'll try this place: under 5 minutes while driving as a passenger)

                        more detail from this post:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585833

                        Some posters find taco places that don't make burritos the size of your head inauthentic--on both CH and Yelp. There are people on both who like places simply because they're popular, not necessarily because they're any good. And bashing regarding what's considered overpriced (or worthwhile) is prevalent too. There's good and bad on both.

                        1. As I've noted before, yelp is a social site more than food site and the reviews reflect that (e.g. "my boyfriend likes sushi but I think it's kind of yucky" or "the portions are way smaller than at Denny's"). In addition, there's the "post-cool" set who amuse themselves by posting contrarian reviews (like the lunkheads on Amazon who post 1-star reviews for otherwise well-reviewed movies and books). There are a number of excellent restaurants that get bashed for no good reason.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: ferret

                            I agree that it's a social site, with an emphasis on collecting points and friends, rather than on the substance of what you post.

                            It often seems to me that people write reviews with very little substance just to add to their numbers or to prove their ability for "creative" writing.

                            I am also annoyed that their are options to rate posts as useful, cool or funny but no way to rate posts negatively.

                            1. re: pamf

                              If you don't agree with other posters, you make your own post and call the other posters crazy. If someone decides that they like your taste (including your disagreement with most and the pancake house is crap), they're more likely to trust your reviews than those from someone who rates a Mexican place based on the size of the burritos and the price of margaritas.

                              1. re: Caralien

                                The old Boston CM explained several times that they don't have the 'negative' vote as they don't want to foster a back-stabbing, bad vibe atmosphere, iow it might be used as a weapon.

                                The one problem I personally have w/ the structure (not talking about content) of Yelp reviews is that there's no way to directly refute something that is overtly incorrect. I often see reviews that are of the form "1 star because this place sucks, they don't have/do/whatever XYZ" when I know for a fact that's not true.

                                1. re: jgg13

                                  what I've done in that case is simply put in my own reviews (or updates) that "such and such information by another reviewer doesn't make sense because it's simply not true..." Others have done the same regarding my reviews, and I don't take it personally (but if I see their SUPER! reviews, I have a tendency to avoid that place)

                                  1. re: jgg13

                                    I've also put down statements such as "damn you Yelp for steering me wrong! This place is NOT open when you said it was!" Then made an effort to update the business info.

                                  2. re: Caralien

                                    Caralien, I like your approach, however, I don't post on Yelp. I mostly use the site to get some basic info about a new place. it just annoys me to waste time reading through the flowerly prose or chatty posts about what someone's friends are up, to get to some real info on a particular restaurant.

                                    I don't see the posts there as being conversational, like we have here on CH, so I am not really interested in replying. Also, I am mostly looking for info on places I haven't been to yet.

                                    I do understand why the site doesn't offer negative input, that would be bad for business. I probably should have inclued a smiley in my earlier post, but I would often really like to click on "this post was a waste of my time" :)

                                    Finally, Caralien, do you know my SO? Because his favorite rant about Yelp has to do with certain posters hyping a very mediocre local burrito place in just that way. Cheers!

                                    1. re: pamf

                                      We moved from SF a few years ago, so no, sorry. :)

                                      I've had to learn that many places have ratings based solely on the size of the portion and price of food, or whether it's an "institution". If I were a starving student (never met ivy league students who were actually starving), I might think otherwise.

                                      I'd actually like to see "ignore posts by this yelper" button.

                              2. yelp's ok.
                                use all the brains you have plus all you can borrow.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Caralien

                                  I must be an imbecile because I thought that steve h. was saying use any many sources as possible (your brain + others). But then again I have been cooking and drinking wine :)

                                  1. re: Caralien

                                    Yes - agree - it's not about the person, it's about the delicious food.

                                  2. i cannot speak for yelp in phoenix, but here in new york the reviews are pretty right on the mark, for the most part. the community of reviewers is very serious about reviewing. obviously there are differences in taste and expectations from place to place, and there is a small number of people w/ an ax to grind and shills who create accounts to praise their own business, but those are relatively few, and always easy to pick out. You can filter reviews by cost, cuisine, and neighborhood, something fairly difficult to do on a site that does not have a distinct review area, like CH.

                                    If one person's criteria for a place is how good their burritos are that's ok, he obviously made it clear that is how he judged a place, and you can take that advice accordingly.

                                    it serves an entirely different purpose than CH and does what it does in a different way than CH. Ch is a great place to talk about food. yelp is a great place to find and read about restaurants. the talk and the reviews on yelp are completely distinct entities, while on CH reviews are buried within the talk. Yelp is a review site that has a social/chat aspect. CH is a social site about food, that includes reviews in the talk. I use both. I find they compliment each other well.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: thew

                                      "You can filter reviews by cost, cuisine, and neighborhood" --- you might want to check out the Places database (pull down menu from "restaurants and bars" for these searches here on chowhound. The Manhattan and Outer Boroughs sections are pretty well tagged to find these.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        i have used the places database, and it does not work as well as yelp's. not in any way shape or form. it does not bring you right to reviews of places (as opposed to conversations that mention the place) in a 'hood, of a cuisine, in a price range as easily, completely, or intuitively.

                                        i love chow and chowhound. i have discovered many great places, and had many great conversations, but for searching out places it just is not as good as yelp.

                                        luckily i don't have to choose between them.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          an example of why i like yelp's search &tc.

                                          there was a thread on here for someone looking for a place near madison square garden. in yelp it was very easy to plug in MSG and then search for restaurants in either a 4 block or 1 mile radius. took about 3 seconds.

                                          it works.

                                          1. re: thew

                                            yelp's iphone app is very good, very fast. chowhound team must know this and i hope they have an equal offering sometime down the road.

                                            1. re: steve h.

                                              I suspect it'd be a lot harder for CH to provide a good/useful iphone app. Look at the Yelp app, it doesn't involve the Talk section at all, just ties together the GPS functionality w/ the reviews. While CH has the places thing, the bulk of the value here is the message board capability.

                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                it's up to the chowhound team to do it right. mobile stuff is not an aberration. it will only get more important.

                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                    Oh no doubt. Just noting that it'd be a lot more difficult to do given how CH works vs. Yelp. Perhaps that's the reason for the delay, perhaps not.

                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                  Yelp's iPhone app is very VERY good. It's fast, it gets me the information that I want, and it's easy to save information. Yelp also has information on new places a lot sooner than Chowhound does. Sure, I trust CH posters more than Yelp posters, but Yelp also gives me a lot more information about a restaurant, which is helpful especially when it's a restaurant that doesn't have a big online presence.

                                          2. I used to be a lot more dismissive of Yelp, but it's growing on me. (Note that most of my time spent on Yelp and Chowhound is the Boston boards, so that's mostly what I know.)

                                            The average Boston Yelper definitely seems younger and consequently less sophisticated and experienced as a diner. Many Yelpers inject reams of useless personal details into their reviews, making it more about themselves than the food. The Talk section (the closest aspect of Yelp to Chowhound's bulletin-board, conversational format) has a lot of time-wasting, unfocused blather, social chit-chat rather than serious food/restaurant discussions. Sometimes it's funny, but it's rarely useful from a practical perspective.

                                            Chowhound is clearly more tightly moderated, so there's less shilling and disgruntled ax-grinding and bad Internet manners. Yelp is much more likely to tolerate behavior where the individual is attacked rather than their opinion disputed. They also do a far worse job at identifying obvious spammers and insiders. I dislike the use of posters' pictures on Yelp; I think anonymity is better for serious reviewers.

                                            But I've found a handful of Boston Yelpers who are truly passionate and adventurous about food, whose opinions I'm starting to trust the same way I do some Boston Chowhounds. So I've started focusing on finding like-minded posters and folks with special expertise I lack (e.g., with depth about Taiwanese food) there. Yelp is not a complete wasteland. There are worthy resources, and plenty of people whose opinions I don't find particularly useful or trustworthy.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              That's a great assessment. I too used to dismiss Yelp, but I use it more now, though generally only for lower end dining--work lunch spots, that kind of thing. It's pretty easy to tell who might know what they're talking about, and who doesn't. There are so many "drive-by" reviews, where people get one item during one visit then make huge generalizations about the place based on that. But those are easy to ferret out and ignore.

                                            2. Simple answer. It's because Yelp isn't a website devoted solely to food.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                For the purposes of this discussion, I was referring only to Yelp's restaurant and bar reviews and the Food category of its Talk boards. That's a reasonable apples-to-apples comparison, I think.

                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  But sites that aren't specialized have lots of dabblers crossing over from one area of interest to another. I wouldn't expect to get advice about bicycles from Yelp that was as good as advice about bicycles from Bikeforums.net. I wouldn't expect to get advice about firearms from Yelp that was as good as advice from The Firing Line website. I wouldn't expect to get audio advice from Yelp that is as good as that from Audio Asylum.

                                                  1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                    There's a famous story at a fair, where the ringmaster wanted to prove how stupid the masses were. If I remember correctly, he had one group of educated people guess the number of x in a container, then had the wild, uneducated masses determine the number. The masses had a greater variety of guesses, but in the end, the average was similar to (or closer than) the guess from the educated folk.

                                                    That said, I certainly won't be buying the most popular US sparkling wine, because I don't like it, even if the majority does.

                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                      What an excellent story, and quite appropriate. However you may encounter some dissension from a group of educated people.

                                                2. there is a brand new bbq restaurant in san francisco that has had a lot of setbacks in opening. the yelp reviews for this restaurant illustrate everything i find frustrating about yelp. there are about 19 or so reviews, some look like obvious attempts from friends to hype it up, some are from a brief period in late december when they were open, but had to close again until now. and... there are a few from people WHO HAVE NEVER EATEN HERE. it opened for business last night, i believe, which means that the few that reviewed in the brief few days in december when it was previously open for business are the ONLY valid reviews for that restaurant as of this moment, at least.

                                                  on the whole, i've found, at least here in SF, that people who work in food service and bars, especially, almost universally loathe yelp. i know we're talking about food reviews, but just to illustrate a pretty pervasive tendency for whiny, immature, and entitled reviewers, a friend of mine was threatened she was going to be "yelped" for throwing two men out of her bar. do you know why she threw them out? they were smoking weed inside the bar. now, i did not find any such threatened 1 star yelp review after hearing this, but if i did, would i really want to know what these two men have to say about local restaurants?

                                                  no.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: augustiner

                                                    How much are these "revenge Yelps" tolerated on that site? I've heard this type of story ("If you don't treat me right, I'll yelp you") from more than one source. It seems to me that this issue means something is wrong with the posters and their own sense of entitlement, not the site as a whole, but if the people who run Yelp knowingly tolerate that sort of thing, that would change my opinion.

                                                    1. re: augustiner

                                                      No one on this tread ever claimed that the incident you described is an anomaly on Yelp or any other food blog for that matter. But you were educated and enlightened enough to spot and discount such an obvious infraction, but at least YOU were given the choice to read it and make up your own mind. While on more edited or moderated blogs, this is done for us.
                                                      Agreed. some of us like this, we have become comfortable with the idea that we are fed only the prime cut , dispense with the gristle for me.
                                                      I on the other hand ,like to feed myself,where I am the one to decide what to eat and what to give the dog.

                                                      1. re: augustiner

                                                        On Yelp, it is easy to spot shills, usually because tf a suspicious rave (or slam) is written by somebody with no previous reviews. It takes milliseconds to crossreference a reviewer. When wading through a thread, it is far easier to toss out outlying opinions than it is on CH, where the loudest and most persistent posters on a board usually manage to herd everyone else into a consensus, no matter how wrong that consensus may be.

                                                        If somebody is writing a revenge yelp post, usually on some weird service complaint - these are not unknown on CH either - it couldn't be more obvious. Restaurant folks do hate the Yelpistas, and often for good reason, but that doesn't mean that used properly Yelp tends to be the most useful online resource on the interwebs.

                                                        1. re: condiment

                                                          You make a good point here about the herd effect on CH (or any discussion environment). I've seen it happen lately on my own local CH board. Newcomers who recommend restaurants not sanctioned by the local CH elite, or those who hold unfavorable views of board favorites, can be treated rather icily and many don't linger after an initial unwelcoming response. The result is a tremendous amount of groupthink and enforced consensus on CH. On a review site like Yelp, however, each review stands on its own, and only positive reinforcement is allowed. If other users like the review, they'll praise it; if they don't, they can ignore it. For that reason, I think Yelp often arrives at a better overall picture of a restaurant's quality than CH -- particularly if the restaurant has more than half a dozen reviews posted.

                                                          Don't get me started about the Yelp talk threads, though. Those are generally useless. If I want a meaningful dialogue on a topic, CH is often still the better choice -- as long as the subject matter falls within CH's strict topicality standards.

                                                          1. re: silverbear

                                                            However, I do think that a rave restaurant review of a previously undiscussed restaurant by a first-time poster sends up warning signals, particularly when it reads like a cliched pr release (i.e. Taste their fabulous ____! You won't be disappointed!). I think that icy treatment is warrented in this case. And as far as "group think" is concerned, all you have to do is read the comments by posters of frequently-reviewed restaurants to understand that there is never any consensus of opinion or "group think" (Tarry Lodge and BSF in the tri-state board spring immediately to mind). Yelp has its place, as does Chowhound and I personally denigrate neither.

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              Never say "never." It may vary from one board to another, but I've seen plenty of groupthink on CH.

                                                              1. re: silverbear

                                                                Really? I'm surprised. There are so many strong-minded posters with long-held opinions, that I would like to be pointed to a discussion of a restaurant on any board in which everyone is in total agreement. Can you suggest one for me to read? You seem to have a lot of experience with this.

                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                  No, I'm not going to play that game. I'm sure that no matter what thread I point to, you'll find a dissenting point of view within it and try to prove me wrong. We'll just go back and forth and resolve nothing. I'd prefer to just agree to disagree on this topic.

                                                      2. Why... because their avg age is about 22! I use it, but since I am three times their age I often don't relate too well.

                                                        Should I mention all the "potty mouths" (who are most often the so-called) Elite members? I guess their moms did'nt teach them manners.

                                                        Maybe since I don't own a Blackberry (or even a cell pone that txts) I should go elsewhere.

                                                        14 Replies
                                                        1. re: JRCann

                                                          JR.
                                                          At one time in your life you too were 22, and filled with the piss and vinegar of youth, just biting at the bit of the establishment. The" potty mouth" of the previous generation.
                                                          Cut them some slack. I try to remember when my elders said that our generation was going to be "The end of the world as we know it". Some say it has come to pass, others just consider it a natural progression.

                                                          1. re: currymouth

                                                            When I was 22 I liked the chicken fingers at Ruby Tuesday. I really would prefer not to take restaurant advice from 22 -year-old Danna, no matter how much I liked her.

                                                            1. re: danna

                                                              But when you were 19, you may have thought it was the best advice going, especially the part about the virgin strawberry daquiris.

                                                              1. re: condiment

                                                                well, you have a point...I could have told them chicken fingers were two for one on Tuesday, as were Fuzzy Navels. (the drinking age didn't go up in SC until the year I turned 21)

                                                              2. re: danna

                                                                Just because you had poor taste in food when you were 22 doesn't mean all of us younger folks do, thank you very much. : )

                                                                1. re: kasiav

                                                                  nor does it mean every yelper is 22

                                                                  1. re: kasiav

                                                                    But see...I didn't KNOW I had poor taste then... :-)

                                                              3. re: JRCann

                                                                forget the talk section then.

                                                                read the reviews. it is a review site. NOT a food discussion site

                                                                1. re: JRCann

                                                                  According to the former boston CM, the average age is older than one might think.

                                                                  1. re: JRCann

                                                                    "Maybe since I don't own a Blackberry (or even a cell pone that txts) I should go elsewhere."

                                                                    As is true with any type of self-censorship, if you don't like it, don't use it.

                                                                    I must be an old fart *if* the average Yelper is 22, as I'm more than 50% older.

                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        Next you're going to tell me you text message.

                                                                        I really don't see how age has much to do with having good taste in food. Age certainly brings experience but there are some very good young chowhounds out there and I would not dismiss them just because of their age.

                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                            There's room in the world for both sites. Bottom line, Yelp is less moderated. This site has its merits. Balance the two, and then go to the restaurant yourself, since no one has the same taste as you do, and then weigh in on the restaurant at one or both sites yourself.

                                                                            Easy peasy

                                                                    1. Even a truly awful reviewer can provide useful information. I vaguely recall a Yelp reviewer who complained about the unidentifiable bits in his soup that turned out to be organ meats, and thought that the staff was rude because they spoke to each other in "their language." He gave the place a bad review; I gave it a spot on my regular rotation.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        That "negative review" works on Chowhound, too. There are posters I've identified as having rather opposite tastes from mine. If they love a place, I probably won't love it, and if they hate a place, I'll want to give it a chance. I'm sure there are folks who view me that way, too.

                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                          How's this. I am a 1000+ reviewer on yelp, and have grown completely weary of it.

                                                                          It works BRILLIANTLY for small local businesses like alteration shops, vacuum stores, or dry cleaners. But when it starts getting to restaurants, you have shill reviews by owners, by competition, by yelpers who simply want to review a place (oh, I peeked inside and I have an opinion), and so on.... It is markedly arbitrary.

                                                                          Even if you do skim the reviews, and filter the wheat and chaff, you still have to deal with the averaging out of the stars....

                                                                          Over a period of time, when a place has 300 reviews or more... you will have some really good, some really bad, and many middle of the road. It will all average out to be around a 3. Maybe not... I just seem to notice it more and more.

                                                                          What's more is that their business model is in trouble... they are begging money from the same businesses that feel slighted and defensive because yelp errs on the side of the reviewer.

                                                                          Oh my don't get me started. Needless to say I might be posting a bit more around these parts. Cheers.

                                                                      2. Are you serious about the poor ratings for Bario? How stunningly ignorant. I find yelp to be plebian and a site used to air mostly vapid complaints.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: woodandfine

                                                                          Actually, the OP here is picking out only a couple of reviews to take issue with. Barrio Cafe has a 4 star rating overall on Yelp. There are a few people who slammed it but there are always a few people who slam anything. It's actually a really bad example of the weakness of Yelp...the set of reviews for Barrio Cafe appear to be some of the more useful as a set out there.

                                                                        2. The Barrio Cafe + Yelp = perfect together. A pretentious place for know-nothing poseurs to 'chill'. The Barrio Cafe is a joke, with their Lenders bagel-like dinner rolls, their not-a-drop of fresh-squeezed lime juice margaritas, their pathetic wow-factor cranberries in the guacamole, their "do you want fries with that" entrees. The Barrio Cafe is as authentically Mexican as their Wonder bread staff. Unbelievable. They rent a downmarket storefront, hire a huckster to write the menu, squash an avocado at your table and... voila! They're hip! downtown! and eclectic! Get a clue, Phoenix. ... And Yelp? Google the essay "Life Reeked With Joy." Them's your Yelp posters.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: markp

                                                                              cranberries? I think it's actually pomegranate arils in the guacamole. I'm not a huge fan of Barrio Cafe, but let's keep the discussion factually based.

                                                                            2. I think that most of the "reviewers" are relatives/friends/employees of the restaurant being "reviewed," or of one of their competitors. I see no other explanation for the off-the-wall posts on this site.

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                As a former Yelper, I find this topic amusing and interesting at the same time. I have found some excellent Yelp reviewers, but at the same time, more and more, I think the site is made up of very young and sometimes irresponsible reviewers. I use the word irresponsible because some are quick to trash a restaurant's or business's reputation. Some Yelp reviews are also downright useless because the reviewers drone on and on about their personal lives, which I could care less about. Still there are some very good reviewers there. I like the concept and some of the features of the site, but take issue with the way it is run and some quality control aspects that affect businesses and users alike.

                                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                  i hear this complaint about yelp again and again, and i find it amusing as hell.
                                                                                  a) i like the stories. if i want reviews ala a newspaper, i will read newspaper reviews. i like a story. i think it gives context to a review.

                                                                                  b) especially here it amuses me. this site is nothing but people telling stories of their experiences with food, every restaurant review here begins with the story of how the reviewer found out about the place, who they went with, what the waiter said, how the place looked, etc, and yet no one here trashes CH reviews as flawed because the reviews are not just lists of food and reactions

                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                    excuse my hyperbole. i will try to refrain
                                                                                    let me rephrase

                                                                                    a great many reviews here include more than just the bare bones of what the food was, how it tasted, and how the service was. especially as, unlike yelp, the review area and the talk area are not separate, there seems to me to be a great deal of overlap between telling the story of the night and the review of the restaurant. and it seems to me to be amusing, on a site that does integrate its reviewing into conversational threads, to complain that the reviews on another site are overly conversational.

                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                      thew,

                                                                                      I think (but am not sure) where you're coming from. Reviews on CH of personal angst happen, but are few. On Yelp, they are many. Most of the CH restaurant reviews that I read are strictly about the food; some are about (usually poor) service. Yelp tends to be extreme rants for or against.

                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                        I can't say much of anything about CH reviews because I'm new to this site (I don't even know how to find or post these reviews yet!), but IMHO, you are correct about ranting on Yelp. I can understand when people back up their bad impressions with details about what actually happened, but very often I've read snarky reviews with very little substance. Some even make me wonder if the reviewer has actually been to a place given the lack of information.

                                                                                    2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                      no. i just dont understand the hate for it here. i use both sites. i love them both.

                                                                                      and yes, many people's reviews here include stories. not to the degree of yelp. but then this and yelp are not the same, nor ought they be. as the mayor of dublin said when asked why the clocks on the city hall tower showed different times :
                                                                                      "if both were the same, one of them would be redundant"

                                                                                      are you saying there are no personal details in people reviews here on CH?
                                                                                      and just what is wrong with personal details? these are community talks. story telling is in order in a forum such as this.

                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                        I don't know if thew's comment about a "complaint" was directed at my post, but I merely stated my opinion based on my firsthand experience with Yelp in response to the OP's original posting. Because I'm fairly new to this site, I have no comment about CH reviews and did not make any comparison between them and Yelp's. Carry on with the discussion if you are directing the comment to others, but I think I've been as clear as possible in expressing the opinion expressed in my first post.

                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                          >> just what is wrong with personal details? these are community talks. story telling is in order in a forum such as this.

                                                                                          Chowhound has always been about food and not people. Chowhounds are obssessed about food, not people. This is not and was never meant to be a social networking site. That's a plus for some (who will likely prefer to use this site for the focused information) and a minus to others (who will likely prefer to go somewhere else that is more social).

                                                                                          When I want to share and learn information about places to find delicious food, I come to chowhound. When I want to socialise, I have a meal with someone. We built CH communities by having meals, picnics, chow crawls together. It about using best possible approach to do something.

                                                                                          1. re: limster

                                                                                            you do see how this very post has you sharing personal information about you, your likes, and dislikes, right?

                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                              Not so much sharing my personal details as merely pointing out how the site has been used historically.

                                                                                              People do share likes and dislikes about the food -- that's germane to the discussion about the food -- and that's very different from personal stories in terms of the content and relevance to finding delicious stuff to eat.

                                                                                              1. re: limster

                                                                                                i repeat - yelp and CH are not the same. and that's a good thing. i find them both appealing and useful. i think yelp is better for finding and researching restaurants, CH better for discussing them.

                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                  I'm not saying that one site is better than the other (nor do I intend to), but I am reiterating the history and values for this site that make it what it is.

                                                                                                  I appreciate that differences between sites are good. Thus, I see no reason why we should change this forum to be more like Yelp or other sites per your point about "story telling is in order in a forum such as this."

                                                                                                  1. re: limster

                                                                                                    i didn't mean to imply any site should change. i was saying that i see a lot of story telling on this site, while hearing that the same thing is a shortcoming on yelp.

                                                                                        2. re: thew

                                                                                          I don't mind people telling me their experiences with their experience at a particular restaurant. However, at least in my area, there are several yelpers who post long, long rants that are frankly racist. That aspect of it is inexcusable.

                                                                                          1. re: mayjay

                                                                                            that is unfortunate. here in new york that sort of stuff gets called out pretty quickly for the most part, and anyone like that is quickly dismissed, again, for the most part.

                                                                                    3. After having my say and abandoning this tread, I find myself compelled to toss my hat in once again.
                                                                                      I believe that I am not the the only one that has over time detected an unmistakable and insidious elitism among a large percentage of CH members.This tread only reinforces my opinion, not only have I read about 22 year old's and their lack of taste,self control,and writing skills,but also questioning the relevance of anyone that reads or entertains the opinions on Yelp.
                                                                                      I value both CH and Yelp for what they are and quite aware of benefits and short comings in both, but I ask you, how many treads about CH's faults have you read on Yelp?. Perhaps our 22 year old friends are a little more accepting of other opinions and is not bogged down in group think by virtue of their youth, honesty and exuberance.
                                                                                      Just my .02 cents.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: currymouth

                                                                                        "detected an unmistakable and insidious elitism"

                                                                                        I've probably used this phrase before in this thread, but it goes both ways. I remember an anti-CH thread on my local Yelp where the basic gist was putdowns regarding CH being a bunch of no-nothing old fogies - people talking about reviews of prune juice, early bird specials & the old country buffet.

                                                                                        Much like here, it's a vocal minority that really perpetuates these things, but for every CH who views Yelp members as no-nothing kids, there's a Yelp member who views CH as a bunch of stuck up, old stodgy folks.

                                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                                          Chowhounders do tend to be older than Yelpers, but much more likely to be writing about foie gras than prune juice (actually I just made that up, but then decided to check it by doing board searches on both terms - sure enough, foie gras has 9,165 hits, prune juice 572 - and, given that I didn't do exact-phrase searches, most of the latter were probably threads that mentioned both prunes and juice, while foie and gras are rarely separated). ;-)

                                                                                        2. re: currymouth

                                                                                          hmm. should I be taking offense? actually, I am LESS than 22 years old and have a job as a concierge in a four star hotel. (they did not know my age when they hired me. heehee!) so, no, I do not eat fast food, write senseless reviews, and use foul language in my CH posts. i do not use yelp (it is not quite popular in Montreal), but use CH extensively.
                                                                                          so, hear hear, currymouth! to honesty and exuberance!

                                                                                          1. re: currymouth

                                                                                            Re the "unmistakable and insidious elitism" of Chowhound:

                                                                                            No argument here, but I think it falls into two categories. The first are the contributors who are (or claim to be) experts at assessing a particular cuisine or type of restaurant. They can be irritating, but if the information they present seems correct, and they express themselves well, their posts are very valuable.

                                                                                            The second category are the posts designed to rally a chorus of "chowhounds rule & everybody else sucks!" You know, the ones entitled something akin to "why do people eat bad food? don't they know anything? I do! I bet you do, too! let's mock the idiots who don't like what we like!" I wish those posts would go away. Which I guess makes me a whole 'nother kind of elitist.

                                                                                          2. I've been spending a boatload of time lately at the European equivalent of yelp = qype. There are complaints about 'white noise' all the time, not the least b/c qype had an incentive for a while for newbies to get an iPod shuffle once they reach a certain number of points. As you can imagine, a LOT of people abused this and wrote 2, 3 word reviews.

                                                                                            But just like in the CH community, I have found a number of people whose opinions I trust, and whose reviews (regardless of what, not just restaurants) I enjoy tremendously.

                                                                                            I am a fairly avid poster myself, and love sharing my restaurant reviews with others, and receiving feedback, etc.

                                                                                            But yeah, there's a LOT of b.s. being posted as well. Same here, I would say '-)

                                                                                            uh-oh.

                                                                                            1. yo peeps, word on the playa hatin. chowhound is aiight. but yelp = keepin it real. when me and my homies is jonesin for a slice, we don't need all this egghead sht and all. i'm just sayin.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: markp

                                                                                                Where is Barbara Billingsley when you really need her?

                                                                                                1. Chowhound is my first, but then Menupages, anyone use trip advisor? (hate yelp.. it's like mean girls)

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: surfmama

                                                                                                    Tripadvisor is no chowhound, but it's better than nothing and much more likely to cover restaurants outside the US.

                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                      I used Tripadvisor when I was traveling through Europe this summer. The recommendations are solid overall and the reviews are less catty than Yelp. The thing with Yelp is that anyone can post a review (they might be a Cheescake Factory fan, but think Michael Mina sucks) and you need to take that into account. I remember reading a review for Aziza the other day, and one reviewer was seething from the small portion size. It's fine dining, not a buffet. And of course, you have the reviewers that act like divas and expect to be treated like royalty. To use Yelp more accurately, you need to look at the history of the reviewer to get better context.