When I am traveling in an unfamiliar city, I love jumping on my favorite rating site, Urbanspoon, to find a fun, unique place to eat whose food has been deemed tasty by the locals. More often than not, I have found some outstanding and memorable spots. Even when the food isn't as good as I anticipated, I've always come away for the dining experience with a fun story.
I did a little research to see which restaurant rating site is used most often and found very little published on the subject. With a little bit of very unscientific research I preformed, here is my ranking of top rating sites as defined by the number or written reviews three of my favorite selected restaurants received from each rating site:
Before doing this research, I was under the impression that Urbanspoon was the go-to choice for restaurant enthusiasts. A lot more restaurants would need to be compared to come away with any conclusions on what rating site is used most, but the above numbers along with some of recent conversations I've had with restaurant owners leave me to believe that Urbanspoon isn't the top choice at this time. Yelp showed a lot of power in the Utah and Washington restaurant market and Tripadvisor's restaurant ranking system seems like a quality assistant for any traveler.
In addition to these sites, I happened on Aword thanks to their social media manager who informed me that it'll soon be in beta. I'll be keeping an eye on Aword to see how they progress.
I'll be trying out Yelp and Tripadvisor more in the future. With larger sets of users rating their favorite restaurants, the accuracy will likely improve, increasing the chance that I'll find a great spot to dine next time I'm on the road.