A well-written restaurant review can inform the reader about everything from the quality of the food and the ethnicity of the offerings to the service one can expect to receive at any given restaurant. A good review cites both the best and worst about a particular eating establishment or chain of restaurants. An in-depth restaurant review can discuss the chef’s particular specialties and his history in the food business. Reviews of fine dining establishments may also include commentary about a restaurant’s wine selection. Many professional restaurant reviewers seem to know as much about a particular chef as they do about the food offerings in his restaurant. This may include personal information, such as the chef’s age, where he has previously worked, and whether or not he owns the restaurant being reviewed.
Historically, newspapers had a food column that was written by a food critic. Many of these food writers became quite famous for their reviews of traditional and highly regarded restaurants. Some restaurant reviewers, or food critics, were relied on heavily for their opinions. Elite society would choose, for one reason or another, a particular critic to espouse. Restaurants would ‘live or die’ by the opinions of these reviewers. If a review was negative, commerce at the restaurant would decline. Conversely, a rave review could bring throngs of faithful readers to the establishment.
Today, restaurant reviews can be written by nearly anyone with a computer or a smart phone. Special applications make it easy to disseminate information about a restaurant, even while one is eating at the establishment. Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, handles many restaurant reviews, as well. It doesn’t take a special ‘restaurant review’ app to share one’s opinion. Most people happily share their opinions about food, service, ambience, and prices. While a particular person’s opinion may not have the impact of an old-fashioned restaurant reviewer’s column in a newspaper, popular opinion can ‘make or break’ a restaurant. And, today’s casual restaurant reviewer doesn’t need to be particularly knowledgeable about cooking techniques, ingredients, or the chef’s personal life. A casual reviewer simply calls up the appropriate app, and states what he likes or doesn’t like about an eating establishment. Then he can immediately publish that opinion for millions of people to read.
The internet is becoming an important source for restaurant reviews. Professional restaurant and food critics publish reviews regularly on their websites. Both amateur and professional reviewers write blogs or lead discussion forums. Foodies, those people who truly enjoy eating and dining out, can be avid readers of a particular reviewer’s or critic’s blog. They also contribute to discussion forums, with reviews or questions of their own. Shows have been created that are seen only on the internet. Many of these address a particular subject, such as frozen food or ethnic cuisine. While they are not restaurant reviews, per se, these shows are entertaining and educational. They provide a learning environment for the viewer to discover facts previously unknown. This knowledge translates into better casual reviews, if the viewer enjoys sharing.
Restaurant reviews can be presented in numerous ways, from lengthy discourses on the food to a simple rating system that doesn’t require much reading. Professional reviewers tend to write in-depth articles about particular restaurants. They may share these writings online or in print publications. Casual reviewers may be more inclined to use a rating system app to comment on a restaurant. It is a simple matter to go to a smart phone app and choose stars or numbers to reflect the reviewer’s opinion of a restaurant. Many of these apps have small sections for a few comments.
Finding a restaurant review is an easy task today. Whether the prospective diner is seated at his or her computer, or out looking for a good place to eat, information is easily accessible. Devoting a little time to online research can result in a wonderful evening’s enjoyment of great food. Restaurant reviews can make consumer choices so much easier. Many people rely heavily on what their peers have to say about a restaurant. Others are interested only in professional restaurant reviewers’ opinions. Either source makes the selection of a restaurant an enjoyable experience.
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