eater's digest: a short and useful history of restaurant reviews

"When choosing a restaurant, whose opinion do you typically trust? A personal friend? Reviews by strangers on Yelp? The opinions of individual critics in newspapers, magazines or digital publications? Perhaps you use a combination of these mediums, or even all of them. But it’s likely you’ve never thought about where the tradition of reviewing restaurants originated, or how the logistics behind this practice shapes the way we think about food.

 PHOTO BY ANTONIO DIAZ

PHOTO BY ANTONIO DIAZ

I’ve worked on-the-ground with restaurateurs and seen the effects of reviews in-action; yet most diners don’t have a sense of how this all plays out from a thirty-thousand-foot view. This abbreviated guide to the history of culinary criticism—from the 1800s to current times—may provide some interesting perspective in navigating the different channels of choosing a restaurant in our digital age."

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