Good recommendations are hard to find

One often seeks advice on where one should find a good repast. As you know dear readers, your Doctor seeks out the very best if he can. So the interweb has been a wonderful resource to research potential eateries. Tripadvisor for many is the first place to look but there is no sense check at all on their recommendations as demonstrated by a search on Google for “best restaurants in London. One got the result shown below which is quite frankly appalling. (not wishing to put down the establishments in question which I am sure are quite fine!!)


Tripadvisor recommendations (click for larger image)

Now, when one is looking for best restaurants in London, to find a café at the top of one’s list is quite simply unacceptable even if they had “lovely scrambled eggs”. To further insult one’s intelligence, one of your Doctor’s recommendations (see this link), Le Gavroche, is sitting in ninth place in this list. Obviously, the 89 people who recommended the scrambled eggs at the new London café know better than I or the 2000 or so other reviewers who loved it…harrumph!! The reviewer who recommends that he and the “Italian Pizza Connection” (in at number 5)  are “gonna be friends” obviously has tried Le Gavroche and decided that he prefers pizza in Notting Hill. (No offence intended sir!)

So it is clear that TripAdvisor is a busted flush for restaurant recommendations as so many reviewers have different tastes. Admittedly one could filter the results by price or cuisine but when a google search delivers “30 best restaurants…tripadvisor” one would believe that was what you would get! Harrumph!!

The next link from the search was for Time Out which presents an alphabetical list which one can filter by “affordable”, “mid-range”, “expensive” and “blowout”,  NO RANKING…and it’s awful to navigate. Gadzooks! One simply would like a list with a ranking of sorts! Harrumph! When one is visiting from abroad like one’s American chums, one does not to offer suggestions from sites such as these!

Zagat’s also does not help much but lets you filter by cuisine. On selecting steakhouses you are presented with a short list which consists of Goodman’s or Hawksmoor which are both good but it does seem limited given that they are now chain restaurants. Look at the screenshot below. “what are you in the mood for?” it asks…Well ask the Nolans!! Pah!*


Yes, one knows that the dear Doctor’s site is not perfect but at least you have a refined view of each restaurant. Furthermore if your tastes do not match those of your Doctor, then you should be able to identify with one of the Doctor’s chums to see what they like. Fortescue is a meat and two veg man, Masterton loves curries and Asian fare, Guiffart likes trendy more affordable establishments, and Sir Cosmo Longstaff is into latest high end or interesting new concept venues. As for Sir Stephano Gustonovich Minaloski…who knows!

Their profiles are shown here. Or you can find details of the protagonists under the “Chum’s choices” menu option above.

Rant over dear friends…it is nearly lunch time!

* As a footnote dear readers, one would like to point out that the reference to The Nolans above in no means that one is a fan of such music! Harrumph…If you did not get the reference to the Nolans, were an English group who sang a pop song called “I’m in the mood for dancing“….bit of trivia for you there….I am sure it would not have crossed the pond!




Categories: Anecdotes, London, Miscellaneous, UK

Tags: , , ,

4 replies

  1. As always the Doctor knows best…

  2. um, the Nolans were Irish.

  3. Greetings Dr. Lunch: The timeliness of this posting is ironic! Only yesterday I was reading online reviews of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Being the famous institution it is, we would like to dine there in October. However, we were concerned by the abundance of negative reviews online.

    Upon closer inspection it became apparent that the negative reviews centered around two common themes: It’s an expensive restaurant and it has a dress code. I suspect the reviewers who gave Harry’s Bar a negative review for these reasons might be the same people who rated scrambled eggs over Le Gavroche.

    When looking for online reviews, I tend to favor the opinions of professionals such as Fodors, Frommers, and Doctor Lunch. The opinions of the general public in TripAdvisor, Yelp and the like can, unfortunately, be misleading. For example, I once read a negative review of a hotel in TripAdvisor because there was a cleaning cart in the hallway. Well… unless I’m mistaken, every hotel uses cleaning carts!


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