What decides the rating of a restaurant?
What is on the plate is by far the most important factor. The quality of produce is among the most telling signs of
a restaurant's culinary status. It requires a great deal
of commitment and money to stock the finest grades and cuts
of meat and the finest quality of fish. Ask any sushi chef
if there's a difference in tuna, and with the flash of his
knife he will tell you there certainly is. One extra-virgin
olive oil is not the same as another. Ditto for chocolates,
pastas, spices and one thousand other ingredients. Quality
restaurants also attune themselves to seasonal produce,
whether it is local berries or truffles from France. Freshness
is all-important, too, and a telling indication of quality.
This means not only using fresh rather than frozen fish,
for example, but also preparing everything from scratch
at the last possible moment, from appetizers through desserts.
else do we look for in rating restaurants?
Details are telling: If sauces are homogeneous, you know
that the kitchen is taking shortcuts. The bread on the table
is always a tip-off; similarly, the house wine can speak
volumes about the culinary attitude and level of an establishment.
Wine complements food, and wine lists and offerings can
be revelatory. A list doesn't have to be long or expensive
to show a commitment to quality.
among the very finest restaurants, creativity and innovation
are often determining factors.
These qualities, however, are relatively unimportant for
simple, good restaurants, where the quality and consistency
of what appears on the plates is the central factor. A restaurant
that serves grilled chicken well is to be admired more than
a restaurant that attempts some failed marriage of chicken
and exotic produce, or some complicated chicken preparation
that requires a larger and more talented kitchen brigade
than is on hand. Don't be taken in by attempted fireworks
that are really feeble sideshows.
How it works:
Our rating system works as follows, with the highest
possible score being twenty, based on the system of grading
students in France. The rankings reflect only our opinion
of the food. The decor, service, ambience and wine list
are commented upon within each review.
that are ranked 13/20 and above are distinguished with
toques (chef's hats) according to the table above. Renowned
for worldwide guidebooks, Gayot ranks restaurants in major
destinations, including Paris, London and New York. Thus,
in our rankings here we are comparing the restaurants
on our site to others in major cities. Also, our rankings
are relative. A 13/20 (one toque) may not be a superlative
ranking for a highly acclaimed (and very expensive) restaurant,
but it is quite complimentary for a small place without
much culinary pretension.
When a restaurant is undergoing changes or is new, we give