THE RATINGS ARE NOT DIRECT COMPARISONS OF ONE RESTAURANT TO ANOTHER.
That wouldn't make sense, since so many different kinds of restaurants, from fast food to fine dining, are rated here using the same scale.
Each restaurant is rated on how well it does what it claims to do best, and how it succeeds in being what it claims to be.
For example, a perfectly prepared $3.99 burger at Wendy's might earn a 9.5 for food and a 10 for value. A beautiful rack of lamb for $38 at the Blue Moon might earn the same ratings.
This does not mean that the two places are the same type of restaurant. It does mean that each did a good job making you happy and giving you what you paid for.
Ice cream stands, markets, walk-up windows, most carryouts and snack bars are not numerically rated.
THE 1-10 RATING SCALE
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale and should be interpreted as follows:
9-10 = Excellent, with few flaws, at least during our visits.
7 - 8 = Good, with minor issues that could change from visit to visit.
5 - 6 = Less than average. Some flaws may or may not be correctible.
3 - 4 = Flaws are built-in and are not of the type that will change from visit to visit. Not recommended.
1 - 2 = No redeeming features and does not, in fact, seem to be concerned about it. Don't worry, they won't be around for long.
STANDARDS APPLIED TO EACH RATING CATEGORY
Overall: General impression of the restaurant including cleanliness, view, aroma, ambient temperature, and general attitude of the staff.
Food: Ingredients, preparation, consistency, presentation, creativity, mouth feel, and, of course, taste.
Service: Consistency of the service over several visits, and in particular, the attitude of the management and the individual server(s).
Noise: The lower the rating, the noisier. Based on annoying reflected noise caused by poor acoustics. Most acoustic issues can be solved. If a restaurant doesn't at least try to address ongoing issues, the rating will remain low. Outdoor venues and carryouts not rated for noise.
Bathrooms: The way an eatery maintains its bathrooms is a reflection on the sanitation throughout. There is NO EXCUSE for dirty bathrooms. Is there hot water? Are the soap dispensers working? Is there enough light? Are the sinks and toilets clean? Are there towels and not just those annoying air dryers? (NOTE: the new high-velocity hand dryers like the XLERATOR, the Dyson Air Blade and the Bio Jet Dryer are fun, very effective, and earn higher ratings.)
Value: The value of the experience vs. the price paid. Includes location (and view, if applicable), physical amenities, portion size, etc. Think of this as the "Did I Get What I Paid For?" rating.