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Apr 23, 2010 09:54 AM

"Best" Restaurants [split from Phoenix]

(Note: This thread was split from the Phoenix board at: -- The Chowhound Team)

At the risk of prompt moderation, can I take this thread on a small tangent?

How the heck does one name a "best" restaurant? How does one ascribe relative value to places with wildly different styles? I mean, it's one thing to say that this Sonoran hot dog is the best, or this steak frites is the best... though even that can get dicey when people stray from the strictest traditional preparations... but how can you possibly take fine dining, casual dining, Mom 'n Pop ethnic joints and greasy spoons and place them all on the same continuum?

This is like saying the Beatles were better than Mozart, or vice versa. Can't they just both be incredibly wonderful and influential musical artists in their own unique ways? Why does a discussion like this need to be a winner-take-all king of the hill match to see who can be named The Greatest Restaurant Of All Time?

I'm not saying the word "best" is one that should be banished from a food nerd's vocabulary, but it's grossly overused, and when you're trying to apply it to an entire metropolitan area with a population of 4.2 million, it's absurd. It's a diverse and wonderful world of food out there, and I don't understand the need to stratify it and declare a winner. Except when comparing things in the most narrow manner possible, I say leave the "best" restaurant discussions and the top ten lists for those who view dining as a matter of status. We should know better.


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  1. Good point. I'd wager the op got zero help from this thread. Let it be an example of how *not* to ask for help on this board. "Best" is too vague and distracting. Don't expect a lot of replies over a weekend. Phoenix is largely closed on Monday.

    ( Original post: )

    1. I agree. It is what you are in the mood for. For example, I opened this thread up this morning and I am totally craving Richardson's/Dicks Hideaway, which, is in my mind the best New Mexican (US State) in the valley (Carlsbad a solid second place). However, tomorrow AM I may be thinking about best breakfast or sushi!

      One last point, I am not always in the mood for Binkley's. I love it and it is my go to for truly special occasions and when I want to splurge/get super foodie! But, other times I want to go killer steakhouse or a place like roka to get my somewhat expensive foodie love on...

      6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      1. I wholeheartedly agree.

        1. My feeling is that anyone who feels compelled to reduce the world of eating to a single best restaurant or top ten list is unlikely to understand or benefit from any opinion I might have. So I feel no need to spend any precious time in those conversations.