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Feb 28, 2014 10:56 AM

Why Yelp is useless (Boston discussion on their "Top 100 places to eat!" article

Here's the article:

I'll distill the Massachusetts portion of the list down for you:

32: Dave's Fresh Pasta, Somerville

To save you the trouble, here's the rest of the New England mentions:

60: Fisherman's Grill, Portland, ME
69: Los Andes Restaurant, Providence

I'm not posting this here to discuss the merits of these restaurants, I'm posting this here to remind folks that looking at the rankings on Yelp is a terrible way to find a good place to go for a nice dinner.

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  1. The recurring Eater Boston feature "Board Wrap" is also a useful reminder of the differences between the typical Boston Yelper and the typical Boston Chowhound:

    4 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Some of those yelp reviews are hilarious. Intentional or not.

      1. re: C. Hamster

        " 20% of the Time I Find Scraps of Metal "

        1. re: Luther

          Best thing about do you get to 20%? That involves 5+ visits at least! How much metal do you gotta eat?

          1. re: devilham

            He was served part of a broken fryer basket but went back for more!

    2. "This method takes into account both star rating and number of reviews", so it's not surprising that Dave's Fresh Pasta is on the list, since it has a high number of Yelp users (507 reviews) compared to most Chowhound favorites (Ribelle - 55 reviews).

      Plus, I would rank Dave's in my top 10 for sandwich places, so it's not horrible advice.

      1. there were some interesting and cheap places to eat on the list in NYC and Chicago - at least. But the metric used was strange. I think that there is a Big Bang for buck issue for Yelpers in general.

        1. I find yelp useful at times - but I don't look at rankings or ratings as I don't find that kind of thing all that useful no matter what the subject - I tend to read some positive and some negative reviews to get a feeling for type of experience I might have. To me its usually obvious when someone is unfairly giving a bad review, or the opposite - which isn't all that much different than chowhound reviews imo. But usually more helpful when I want to know if the place is kid friendly, or has a particular item on the menu, types of beer served, or if it accepts credit cards, etc when there isn't any other info about the place on the internet. To me its just another tool at my disposal, not something to wholly base your judgement on. Nor do I just write it off because of some preconceived notion about the quality of its members and/or reviews.

          4 Replies
          1. re: LStaff

            Yelp is useful, but overall ratings and rankings are nearly worthless. One must filter out a lot of noise to get potentially good information. Things like: dissing a place because of service, restaurant week reviews, judging a place on crab rangoons, not getting into a popular place without a reservation, obvious schilling, etc. etc.

            1. re: junior coyote

              Not always. I wrote a negative review of a restaurant in Boston because I thought their service was poor without even stepping into the restaurant. Their reservation person was simply non responsive.

              1. re: BlueMagic

                Bad service often over shawdows good food.

                1. re: libertywharf

                  I do not dispute this. It is hard enough to get an idea about the food. So many of the comments on service I find be useless, I just throw them all out. I'm just trying to decent food. I'll form my own opinion on service when I get there

          2. What is most offensive is the sheer number of places in California. Why would you share a list that proves your method for creating it is seriously flawed? I know no list is perfect, but this is insane.