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Florida restaurant reviews and Trip advisor

An article in the Fort Myers paper (online also) discusses the power of Trip Advisor. It is the driving force for restaurant reviews. I do not find their reviews that useful. The #1 restaurant in my area, for instance is The Wisteria Cafe. This is a sweet little tea shop selling ok tea and mediocre sandwiches and tea cakes. Perhaps these people have never had afternoon tea, but I was underwhelmed by this 40's ranch house serving tasteless soups and sandwiches.

Chowhound seems to have less reviews these days and many don't take the time reviewing to comment on what they ate or what their tastes are.
I prefer the information here however. At least some have a little sophistication regarding food preparation, etc. LMF

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  1. I agree with you. I think Chowhound is much more informative but you have to look around, ask questions and read through post.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

      I don't find their reviews that useful either. Also, over the years, hubby & I have learned who to ask as well. For instance, don't ask an 18-20 yr old the best fine dining restaurant in town. They'll most likely direct you to the nearest Applebee's or Cheesecake Factory. They haven't lived long enough to know what fine dining is. lol!

      When we're off to a new city, I'll read up on their websites, menu's and try to find articles written about them.

      1. re: chloebell

        Good point...depends on who you ask! LOL.

    2. On another thread here in Florida, I asked the poster how they found a local gem that was not mentioned on Chowhound. Their reply was Yelp.

      Went back to the Old Fish House on SR520 in Cocoa Beach after the launch Friday and verified that the fried oysters are still sublime and the bisque was great. While it has all the prerequisets of a fine Florida dining experience, I would hesitate to send strangers there. Strip shopping center, decor from the 70's, tacky painted windows, and All You Can Eat prominently displayed.

      So Yelp can be another tool in the shed, if not the sharpest.

      3 Replies
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

        One warning about Yelp...
        The Ritz Carlton in Sarasota just went through a major restaurant re-haul. Yelp and The Ritz invited their top local contributors to a free soft opening. All of the yelp reviews were overwhelmingly positive (why not.. they were pampered and fed for free!) yet when I went with my husband we were less than impressed.
        It almost seemed like The Ritz "bought" a bunch of good reviews...

        1. re: christinet.

          I see your point, and I don't like reviews like that because it doesn't reflect a real dining experience.

          They usually set up yelp event section where those yelpers can rate the event but not the actual restaurant itself. Some what to post on both but I think it's helpful to only post on the event section.

        2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          Yelp can be useful. I think there is a way to use it. Find people you agree with friend those people and read their reviews.

          Don't just go based on a yelp event high rating, or users that you typically don't agree with.

        3. I agree with the TA ranking being way off. Kind of weird, the order does not reflect reality - but the verbiage in the reviews can be quite helpful.

          I also think TA comes from the world of tourism - you have reviews from all over the world for a particular area, whereas Chowhound message board format is a better way - tourists pose the questions and mostly locals respond. A great back-and-forth that is quite helpful.

          With the advent of Facebook, combined with the (in my opinion) extreme heavy-handed moderating going on here, folks cannot express themselves freely. In fact, because this thread is not about actual chow, I'm pretty sure it will be either deleted or moved to the food media page, where it will wither and die...

          I have heard that Yelp charges restaurant owners to delete bad reviews and/or ads from competitors appearing on their page.

          1. Urbanspoon seems to have better traction among the locals in my part of the panhandle because Yelp took forever to sort out the local geography.

            I tend to think of Trip Advisor as for the people who want to eat at a place with the best ocean view, and don't particularly care if their 'grouper' is actually Asian catfish as long as it's cooked acceptably and the fries are at least lukewarm.

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