We all have our ups and downs with Yelp, but it’s hard to argue with the Seattle restaurants on its list of the nation’s top 100 places to eat (or, as they lengthily described it, the “ultimate, try-before-you-die, food-coma-inducing, so-good-it-makes-you-want-to-slap-your-momma places to eat across the globe.”)
Paseo, a mainstay on just about every other roundup of Seattle greats, came in at #2 nationwide. (Da Poke Shack in Hawaii was #1.) Other Seattle winners were Bakery Nouveau (#20), Cafe Besalu (#33), and Mr. Gyros (#47).
Now, time for the arguments. Even if we support the places that made the list, there are issues with the places that aren’t on it. Mr. Gyros, but not Salumi? No Seattle restaurants that don’t qualify as snacks or cheap eats, though Paseo is listed five slots above Chicago’s Alinea ($210-$265/meal) and Besalu was ranked higher than The French Laundry ($295/meal)? I’m not sure how you fairly compare a pastry to a multi-course meal, but if you’re going to do it, I’d argue that a Cafe Juanita dinner and Besalu’s ginger biscuits achieve equal levels of Platonic perfection.
Describing how the list was developed, Yelp sent us to this page on “binomial proportion confidence intervals” (this explanation was a lot easier to digest.) Engineers took into account the number of total reviews as well as the overall star ratings, said the Yelp site. I can’t tell (statisticians, help me out here?) if pricier restaurants, newer outlets, those with limited hours or hard-to-access locations would have been shortchanged.
Data-miners? Diners? Yelpers? Is this list as good as it can get?