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DonRocks
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The following are tripadvisor.com's Top 20 restaurants in Washington, DC as of 5:15 PM Friday, June 3, 2011:

1. Cava Mezze

2. Zaytinya

3. Komi

4. ICI Urban Bistro

5. Fogo de Chao

6. Blue Duck Tavern

7. Rasika

8. Old Ebbitt Grill

9. Birch and Barley

10. Amsterdam Falafel Shop

11. Tabard Inn Restaurant

12. Black Salt

13. POV Lounge

14. RIS

15. Old Europe Restaurant

16. Good Stuff Eatery

17. Matchbox Pizza

18. La Chaumiere

19. Siroc Restaurant

20. Pitango Gelato

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In general, my opinion is that TripAdvisor is among the worst sources of restaurant advice out there. The posters are amateurs in the extreme--even worse than Yelp. At least with Yelp the posters appear have an interest in food, even if they often have no knowledge; this doesn't seem to be the case with TripAdvisor, based on the content and tone of the reviews I have read. I gave up on it long ago.

The only situation where TA has some usefulness is when one finds oneself in a smaller city or town, with so few places to eat that just about every non-chain place is mentioned. Thus, one at least can learn what the choices are, and then use whatever tools are available to make a choice. For example, Mrs. b and I recently spent a week in Milledgeville Georgia (yes, I know). Actually it is an interesting place relative to Civil War history, and is (was) the home of Flannery O'Conner, but I digress. Anyway we checked several sources to learn what was there, and found a place named Sylvia's Bistro, which turned out to be really good--perhaps because, turns out, it is owned by a retired couple from the Washington area.

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In general, my opinion is that TripAdvisor is among the worst sources of restaurant advice out there. The posters are amateurs in the extreme--even worse than Yelp. At least with Yelp the posters appear have an interest in food, even if they often have no knowledge; this doesn't seem to be the case with TripAdvisor, based on the content and tone of the reviews I have read. I gave up on it long ago.

The only situation where TA has some usefulness is when one finds oneself in a smaller city or town, with so few places to eat that just about every non-chain place is mentioned. Thus, one at least can learn what the choices are, and then use whatever tools are available to make a choice. For example, Mrs. b and I recently spent a week in Milledgeville Georgia (yes, I know). Actually it is an interesting place relative to Civil War history, and is (was) the home of Flannery O'Conner, but I digress. Anyway we checked several sources to learn what was there, and found a place named Sylvia's Bistro, which turned out to be really good--perhaps because, turns out, it is owned by a retired couple from the Washington area.

What site would you suggest for Camden, Rockland, Rockport, Maine? Trip Advisor has rankings for each little town. Perhaps we need a RuralSpoon.

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What site would you suggest for Camden, Rockland, Rockport, Maine? Trip Advisor has rankings for each little town. Perhaps we need a RuralSpoon.

FWIW, I actually had good luck with TripAdvisor finding moderately priced lodging in Ireland.

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And FWIW, Trip Advisor helped recently with London restaurants and hotels.

Ontario or England? I ask this as a serious question because I would take a look at Trip Advisor for London, Ontario (lack of few other sources to look at) and never consider it for London, England (far too many sources to consider).

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It's a good source for small town America. Not the first place I go to find decent food in Marietta, Ohio but one of them. Anytime you get a review that says "They have cold Miller Lite (one of my favorites) and you should get the pizza or a sub for dinner", I generally look elsewhere though. I just use Google and proceed from there.

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It's a good source for small town America. Not the first place I go to find decent food in Marietta, Ohio but one of them. Anytime you get a review that says "They have cold Miller Lite (one of my favorites) and you should get the pizza or a sub for dinner", I generally look elsewhere though. I just use Google and proceed from there.

Yeah, that pretty well captures it. Google will give you a lot of reviews from many sites for any given local spot, and that's hard to beat.

I have found that I like Y!Sketch, a Yahoo app for the iPhone (and perhaps others?). With it, wherever you are, you can pull up the local map and draw a circle around the area you are specifically interested in, i.e. in proximity of where you happen to be, and it will find whatever restaurants are in that area and give you reviews. Handy if only because, unlike most other sources, you limit the geographical area it surveys to exactly what you are interested in.

Long long time since I've been in Marietta. Probably a good place to get Miller Lite, I imagine.

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Long long time since I've been in Marietta. Probably a good place to get Miller Lite, I imagine.

And not much else. I have dinner reservations with a number of other people on June 17. I'll let you know what I think of The Levee House. It's going to be a four course tasting menu with paired wines and dessert so I'm not sure it'll be typical Marietta, OH food.

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RoadFood is also good for traveling thru smaller towns.

Before there was Chowhound, eGullet or anything on television there was Jane and Michael Stern. I still have their first three or four Roadfood (1980) and Goodfood (1983) books. I actually built an early driving trip through the south and southeast around their first book along with Reader's Guides for local city magazines. The first Roadfood didn't have a lot of great places; rather a few plus a lot of meals they'd had at "regular" restaurants just to fill out the concept. Their second and third books were another matter: many people including myself wrote and called them with recommendations. By Goodfood in '83 they had become a really valuable resource.

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I've found TripAdvisor to be better on lodging and attractions than on the food. We used them as a cross-check for our lodging on last summer's trip to South Africa and it was very useful in that regard. Nearly all postings on TripAdvisor seem to be from tourists, rather than locals, so it is much harder to get a take on whether you can trust a particular reviewer's tastes.

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I've found TripAdvisor to be better on lodging and attractions than on the food. We used them as a cross-check for our lodging on last summer's trip to South Africa and it was very useful in that regard. Nearly all postings on TripAdvisor seem to be from tourists, rather than locals, so it is much harder to get a take on whether you can trust a particular reviewer's tastes.

I agree. In response to Joe H. TA's reviews of the Edwardian Grafton in Tottenham Court Road were spot on. For London UK restaurants, I relied on local sites.

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Before there was Chowhound, eGullet or anything on television there was Jane and Michael Stern. I still have their first three or four Roadfood (1980) and Goodfood (1983) books. I actually built an early driving trip through the south and southeast around their first book along with Reader's Guides for local city magazines. The first Roadfood didn't have a lot of great places; rather a few plus a lot of meals they'd had at "regular" restaurants just to fill out the concept. Their second and third books were another matter: many people including myself wrote and called them with recommendations. By Goodfood in '83 they had become a really valuable resource.

Cool! I like the resource since my tendency when visiting a new place is to find the locals' home cooked meal restaurant and they do a good job with that. Thanks for helping them out with your reviews Joe!

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