Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

GAYOT.com Restaurant Rating System

Gayot's ratings reflect only Gayot's opinion of the food

Our worldwide team of professional GAYOT.com reviewers is here to help you find the perfect restaurant for your dining needs.

GAYOT.com evaluates each restaurant on a specific rating system based on a 20-point scale. You'll see this rating on every restaurant review page.

Check out our regional toque tallies to see ratings for all the restaurants in your area!

Gayot's rating system works as follows, with the highest possible score being 20. The rankings reflect only Gayot's opinion of the food. The décor, service, ambience and wine list are commented on within each review.
Rating of 19/20
Exceptional
Ratings of 17/20 & 18/20
Excellent
Ratings of 15/20 & 16/20
Very Good
Ratings of 13/20 & 14/20
Good
Ratings of 10/20, 11/20 & 12/20
Average
Rating of Quick Bites
Quick Meal
No Rating
Not rated because restaurant is new or undergoing changes


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.

What 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.

Finally, 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.

Restaurants 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.

Note:

When a restaurant is undergoing changes or is new, we give No Rating.


 

How to Use the Gayot Price System


Restaurant prices are coded using one to five dollar signs (or pounds — London reviews, euros — European reviews, yen — Japanese reviews). Prices reflect the average cost of dinner for one person, including appetizer, entrée, dessert, coffee, tax and tip. Wine and other beverages are not included.
$
under $20
$$
under $35
$$$
under $50
$$$$
under $75
$$$$$
$75 and up
 

THE TOQUE, CIRCA 1700

Have you ever wondered about the origin of that towering, billowy (and slightly ridiculous) white hat worn by chefs all around the world? Chefs have played an important role in society since the fifth century B.C., but the hats didn’t begin to appear in kitchens until around the 18th century A.D. The toque is said to be of Greek origin; many famous Greek cooks, to escape persecution, sought refuge in monasteries and continued to practice their art. The chefs donned the tall hats traditionally worn by Orthodox priests, but to distinguish themselves from their fellows, they wore white hats instead of black. The custom eventually was adopted by chefs from Paris to Peking.

RESTAURANT AWARDS 2014

Check out the 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue, which features the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., Rising Chefs and more.