We prefer to rely on our flowery prose, but if you must look at ratings it’s simple enough.
Zero stars: truly awful
One star: not good, but maybe not without hope
Two stars: not that bad, worth a visit
Three stars: a decent place that we’d recommend
Four stars: very good indeed, well worth seeking out
Five stars: exceptional – one of the very best places we have visited
We are keen to avoid ‘star inflation’: unlike many review sites three stars, for us, is a good review. We want to save four and five star reviews for places that really stand out, that’s why we don’t give them out very often. This is the same for both the overall star rating shown at the top of the review and the individual scores shown at the bottom.
Reviews written before 2015 don’t all have a star rating but are rated ‘We love!’; ‘We like’; and ‘We don’t like’. Hopefully these are self-explanatory. If a review does not include one of these – and several do not – it means that we either don’t feel strongly one way or the other, can’t make our minds up yet, or that there was some reason why we couldn’t rate the establishment (such as we couldn’t get served). By reading the review you should be in no doubt as to which of these applies. Because we don’t feel like going back to update 500-odd reviews, we keep both the ‘We like’ tags and the stars running simultaneously.
One thing we’re not particularly bothered about is promoting businesses as an end in itself. This website is about food and eating out; so even the most splendid small business, run by the most charming young couple, in the most deserving and deprived location will not receive any favourable review unless it also provides decent food and service. Don’t forget, too, that this is not a directory of attractions. We only rate a venue on how good it is as a place to enjoy a meal. That’s not just the food, but the whole experience including service, the venue, and the feel of the place. But we go there for dining, not other reasons and so just because we don’t like the meal we had doesn’t mean the place isn’t great in other respects – plenty of really good pubs and bars, for example, are hardly perfect places for a meal.