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Question about restaurant reviews, particularly in Italy and Spain...curious!

Question about restaurant reviews, particularly in Italy and Spain...curious!

Old May 12th, 2024, 01:08 PM
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Question about restaurant reviews, particularly in Italy and Spain...curious!

Its probably obvious that I spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming about, and planning, travel.
I admit to spending a lot of time browsing around various review sites, including the very popular Trip Advisor (yes, I know that TA is not a dependable site for selecting restaurants, but I do look at it, mostly for the photos, and the comments from locals). (Whew, I've admitted this!!)

SO...here is a question from an admittedly very curious person:

WHY do so many of the "top" rated restaurants in cities throughout much of southern Europe and in much of North America, and maybe even beyond.....feature Indian cuisine?

You take a peek at a major city, or a major tourist destination, and once again.....there are sure to be Indian restaurants near the top of the list.

Some of the reviews are from first-time posters; I always discount those.
But some are not.
Am I missing some fantastic Indian food in far-flung locales?

I've been wondering about this for years and finally decided to put forth this question.....(yes, it's gotten so bad that I will do almost anything to avoid packing for an upcoming trip, but that's besides the point!!)

Thanks to anyone who cares to shed some light, or venture forth an opinion......

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 12th, 2024 at 01:10 PM.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 09:49 PM
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The last time I ate Indian in Italy it was in Pisa (just cycling through) and it was an ok Indian, nothing to shout about. Tripadvisor has it at number 15. Nothing above it, something at 17 and then number 42.

Most of the names posting are Indian, semi-Indian or names from countries with a large Indian diaspora.

I think in this case you are seeing people looking for home comforts.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 10:04 PM
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I never EVER look at TA for restaurant reviews. Anyone including people who have never set foot in a place can leave reviews. In some cities 6 of the '10 best restaurants' are essentially fast food or take aways or maybe as 'posh' as fast casual. Owners often entice their friends/customers to post positive reviews. TA restaurant review are meaningless IMO.

If I want legit on-line restaurant reviews the booking platforms are more reliable because only people who have actually eaten there can leave reviews. (Same with hotels BTW -- Anyone can post on TA. Booking .com or Hotels .com - reviews are only by authenticated/legit guests)
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Old May 13th, 2024, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
I never EVER look at TA for restaurant reviews. Anyone including people who have never set foot in a place can leave reviews. In some cities 6 of the '10 best restaurants' are essentially fast food or take aways or maybe as 'posh' as fast casual. Owners often entice their friends/customers to post positive reviews. TA restaurant review are meaningless IMO.

If I want legit on-line restaurant reviews the booking platforms are more reliable because only people who have actually eaten there can leave reviews. (Same with hotels BTW -- Anyone can post on TA. Booking .com or Hotels .com - reviews are only by authenticated/legit guests)
I agree with janisj wholeheartedly!

If you look at the "top reviewed" Tripadvisor Madrid restaurants, the first one at the top is always a sponsored restaurant, not the top reviewed (sometimes it's Indian Aroma, a favorite of the Queen).

The top reviewed for a long time now, has been Montes de Galicia, which I've been past several times but have never entered. It's on the expensive side, in the far northeast corner of the Salamanca district.

There are many more excellent Galician restaurants closer to me and every bit as solid
---Lúa, Alabaster, O´Pazo on the higher end, Desde 1911 by Pescaderías Coruñesas at the very top...
...Farmacia de Guardia, Naveira D'O Mar, Taberna Garelos, Morgana, O Pazo de Lugo, the Ocafú group on the lower end.

The next "top reviewed" are all the chain brunch places (???), sushi, Mexican, pizza, burgers, American steakhouses, "international" etc. Of the top 15, only 1 is Spanish (haven't eaten there although it's in Letras).

Of the top 59, none stands out as an excellent Spanish restaurant. Number 60 is Bardero, which I can and would recommend if you find yourself in that neighborhood of Arganzuela.

In short, I see TA's top 50 in Madrid as a very bizarre list. I don't use TA.

Last edited by Maribel; May 13th, 2024 at 01:46 AM.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 03:42 AM
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Hi,
For Roma, the page results show italian restaurants. And for Pisa too !
We don't use the same revision of TA .
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Old May 13th, 2024, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by PJ94
Hi,
For Roma, the page results show italian restaurants. And for Pisa too !
We don't use the same revision of TA .
Good point, I tend tto use .co.uk as being less important than .com hence less likely to be rogued
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Old May 13th, 2024, 04:35 AM
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Okay not having seen the reviews in question but there is a large industry in leaving fake reviews. Both good and bad. Tripadvisor supposedly got into trouble over this. In the past something like the 8th rated thing to do in Rome was a Thai massage. IIRC that was above St. Peters and a few other lessor known places.

In addition there are fake posts. Fodors is good at blocking these but in some forums you'll see

OP new users with zero posts asks a seemly normal question

A few minutes later a second new poster replies. Hey I got really good service from X. Including a link to X.

Often you'll have a third and maybe a fourth person also replying pushing X. BTW no one has likely ever heard of X before.

At this point the OP comes back to thank the others. To really push the issue the OP repeats the link.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:26 AM
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I think some of you misunderstood my post.

Yes, Janis, i know how ridiculous the TA ranking are but your post didi not address my question. I only have to look at my own city to see that the "top" places are names mostly. unknown to me. In my home city!

There are plenty of sites that are reliable in the countries I visit most often. Most of these are not in English but for some the is not a problem.

My question was not about how valid the rankings are; we know they are silly, but as I said, I sometimes will look at photos and reviews written in the language of the city I am interested in visiting. So if I am headed for Catania and I've narrowed down my list to 4 restaurants, based on reviews written on L.Pignataro, from the Gambero Rosso archives, from Italian bloggers, and from HungryOnion.org......only then I might look at TA to get a feel of what their Italian reviewers have to say. I discount anyone with only one review, and anyone who has some kind of beef about cover charge or facing an "unfriendly" server. Or finding a hair in their tiramisu. Or not getting comped because the serving of the second took too long.....the entitlement is mind boggling.

Sometimes I do get a chuckle about some of these reviews, especially when the place gets bashed after the reviewer could not get a table and left!

The question remains: Why are so many top rated (not sponsored) restaurants Indian?
This is not true in every city, or in most citiies,but it is true in enough European cities that it makes me wonder what is going on.
I think that Nick has gotten close to the truth here.




Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 13th, 2024 at 05:29 AM.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:50 AM
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eskcruncy,
Yes, I too misunderstood your question.

Apparently from this report India has quite the industry in producing and selling fake reviews.
https://www.moneycontrol.com/europe/...d-7635411.html
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Old May 13th, 2024, 06:10 AM
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Maybe British people (and Americans?) who want an evening off from trying local food and go for something 'safe' they'd eat back home. Or Ex-pats feeling nostalgic (I ate twice in fabulous Indian restaurants in Cagliari and admit even chose an apartment there due to its location near my favourite takeaway). It's international cuisine and often reasonably priced and something you can find in the big cities not the provinces....just guessing ....
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Old May 13th, 2024, 06:47 AM
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No - I didn't misunderstand your (quite long) post/question. Indian/south Asian restaurants attract a a very high % of reviews and as with other TA an inordinate % are fake. Here locally a small local Indian restaurant in a down at the heels suburban strip mall (think nail salon, pot dispensary, discount grocery and check cashing storefront as neighbors) is ranked # 4 in the city of over 1 million people. Uh -- nope . . . .
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Old May 13th, 2024, 07:41 AM
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I never totally rule out any source of information. I occasionally use TripAdvisor, with caution. A recent post about AI elicited many responses like "I would never use AI to get information for travel." In my opinion all sources of information are useful, if used with a bit of discernment.

It's fairly easy to identify fake reviews. You get better reviews on a site for the country you're visiting. For instance, if you search for TripAdvisor Italia, you can search for reviews in the Italian language, which are more likely to be serious reviews from people familiar with the cuisine. I just searched on that site for restaurants in Rome, and most of the results were either restaurants I've heard of or restaurants mentioned by a friend of ours who lives in Rome.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 01:35 PM
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Exactly....I use TA.it, or I go to the Italian-language reviews on the USA TA site....

Anyone who has time on their hands can get quite a laugh at some of the reports written by American and British tourists in some European cities.....

Couple walks in with no reservation. (They are already peeved because they TOLD their hotel that it was their anniversary and they did not receive even ONE bottle of champagne!!!)
They ask for table on terrace.
Host recounts that all terrace ables are booked.

Reviewer deduces that this is some kind of anti-British/American hostility.

They leave.
They post review of no stars......with much diatribe.


OR


One course takes too long to come to the table according to "reviewer." They complain.
Dish eventually comes.'
Diners are flabbergasted that the dish remains on the bill...it was so late in arriving it should have been :comped!!!!). Horroes..it was not!!!!!!
AND NO FREE DRINKS ARE OFFERED.

Immediately post negative review on I Phone while still seated waiting for bill.




OR


Staff stumbles a bit with English.
Diner becomes irate, and convinced that local-language speakers ("natives') are offered "better" dishes, and are served more quickly.
Check is not dropped off on table the nano-second that forks are put down.
Imagine!!!!
Diners do not wait to return to hotel..on their I-Phone they blast the hotel as being biased against foreigners and counsel that Paddy Morgan's Fish and Chips is a much better spot..... Zero rating on TripAdvisor is posted.




How can you not laugh and, at the same time, appreciate the travails of operating a restaurant in an area where many of your clientele comes from far away lands?

It's So EASY to overcome all this nonsense!



Dear Janis...was my post annoying long for you? Just wonder why you mentioned the length. If you take a look at some of my other posts, this one just cuts to the chase..short and sweet compared to the dozens and dozens of others......I have so much fun rambling here and you, dear, surely would not want to take away my pleasure in such small things......at least I hope not!!!

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 13th, 2024 at 01:42 PM.
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