Thursday, January 15, 2009

New from 2009 - all restaurants rated on Enjoy Food & Travel




















I launched my bargain rating system in 2008 in order to try to evaluate the restaurants I visit during the year. As you look through last year, you'll find that most restaurant visited were not rated. This will change in 2009. Whereas I earlier rated restaurants where I enjoyed more than two dishes, all restaurants will get a Bargain rating in 2009.

The Bargain rating system

I launched the rating system late 2007. I needed to find a way to evaluate my restaurant experiences. It has been extended to rate hotels as well.

When rating restaurants the rating is used to describe the quality of a restaurant by evaluating its location, interior and atmosphere, service, food and wine. How does this rating system separate the good restaurant from those not worth visiting? Here I will try to explain to you what indicators I use to award the highest rating, namely BBBBB.

1. Location refers to accessibility and location.

1.1. Accessibility: As most tourists have no car, the Bargain rating will take into account how easy it is to get to the restaurant by train, bus or other means of public transportation. These are questions of importance as getting there will cost the traveler both money and time. This point will of course favour restaurants in cities or suburban areas.

1.2. Location: High scores will be given to restaurants located in a historic area or in a place of extraordinary natural beauty. If so it will be an extra plus for the traveler. What could be more appealing than a romantic dinner in an area of historic and cultural beauty and importance, or in an immaculate natural scenery. This point may favour restaurants in more rural settings or in historic or quaint cities and towns.

2. Service refers to hospitality and service by the table

2.1. Hospitality: High scores will be given to restaurants with a professional and welcoming staff. You are kindly welcomed as a guest, and are well taken care of from you arrive until you are seated by the table. The staff provides you with good information on food and wine.

2.2. Service by the table: High score is given to restaurants where you do not have to wait long to be served a meal. High score will be given if you wait less than 10 minutes, and low score is given for more than 30 minute waiting time. There will be exceptions. If food is exceptional (down to BBBBB-) score may deviate from this requirements, as high standard food will need more time to be prepared.

3. Interior and atmosphere refers to interior design, style on table and seating comfort

3.1. Interior design: High score is given to a restaurant with a delicate and well maintained interior with a clear theme. The bargain rating divides design into:

- Classic (following style on location - as Italian in Italy etc.)
- Retro (may refer to rococo as well as the 50's)
- Designer (new and innovative)
- Theme (wild west etc.)
- Ethnic (may be Italian as well as Chinese outside these countries)

Mixed interiors will get lower scores, as well as those that appear run down and ill maintained.

3.2. Style of table: High score is given to a restaurant with a delicately set table. This means in most cases tablecloth, at least one set of cutlery (fork and spoon), matching napkin, and wine and water glass.

4. Food evaluate each course separately. The final score is the average. Food rating refers to presentation on plate, texture, balance, taste and price. In addition to these there are a bargain factor related to price.

4.1. Presentation on plate: High score is given to a restaurant that assemble and present each dish in a way that is pleasing to the eye, as well as tasty for the pallet.

Presentation refers to shape of main ingredients, colour, arrangement, and how arrangement fits the china.

4.2. Texture: High score is given to a restaurant that choose the best ingredients with care to ensure top quality.

The restaurant is also expected to prepare the ingredients in a way that preserve their structure. Prepared vegetables are expected to have a fresh colour and still be "al dente."

Meats are expected to be tender, when prepared bloody or medium done, as well as cheaper cuts cooked or roasted over longer periods.

Fish is expected to retain the structure of the flesh as well as being tender.

Creamed soups and desserts are expected to be creamy and smooth with no lumps.

4.3. Balance: High score is given to a restaurant that season their food delicately and provides a good balance with at least two or more of the five taste elements present in the dish. I refer to the five elements are salt, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami.

4.4. Taste: High score is given to a restaurant that manage to achieve a good balance between the seasoning and the aromas of the ingredients used in the dish. This covers the same five elements as mentioned in point 4,3.

4.5. Price: High score is given to a restaurant that serves good food at a reasonable price.

- Rating 5B will be given to starters and desserts priced at 5 Euros or less, and main dishes priced at 10 Euros or less.

- Rating 3B will be given to starters and desserts priced at 11-15 Euros, and main dishes priced at 21-30 Euros.

- Rating 1B will be given to starters and desserts priced at 21 Euros and up, and main dishes priced at 40 Euros and up.

- Bargain factor: Price is however irrelevant when served a terrific meal. The bargain rating system will therefore award a 5B rating, irrelevant of price, if the average score on point 4.1. to 4.4. is over 4,51 points, i.e. BBBBB- to BBBBB.

5. Beverage refers to beer, wine, cider, fortified wines and liquors. This point evaluate skills of the staff, beverage suitability to food served, and price. In addition to these there are a bargain factor related to price.

5.1. Skills of staff: High score is given to a restaurant that has a sommelier that has made a clear recommendation on what beverage to choose to each dish and/or where the staff may recommend beverages.

5.2. Suitability to each dish: High score is given to a restaurant whose recommendation of beverage are well suited to the character of each dish, or creates new and interesting contrasts.

5.3. Price: High score is given to a restaurant that recommends good beverages at a reasonable price.

- Rating 5B will be given beer, ciders, and fortified wines priced at 5 Euros or less per glass, wine bottles priced at 25 Euros or less, and liquors priced at 7 Euros or less per glass.

- Rating 3B will be given beer, ciders, and fortified wines priced at 7 Euros or less per glass, wine bottles priced at 36-45 Euros, and liquors priced at 11-13 Euros or less per glass.

- Rating 1B will be given beer, ciders, and fortified wines priced at 9 Euros or higher per glass, wine bottles priced at 56 Euros or higher, and liquors priced at 24 Euros or higher per glass.

5.4. Bargain factor: Price is however irrelevant when served a terrific beverage. The bargain rating system will therefore award a 5B rating, irrelevant of price, if the average score on point 5.1. to 5.2. is over 4,51 points, i.e. BBBBB- to BBBBB.

The Bargain system - description of classes.

The rating goers from five B's to one B. The final sum will be presented as with two decimals. This is what the different ratings cover.

Highly Recommendable BBBBB: (5,00 - 4,51 points)

This rating is given to restaurants easily accessible by public transportation with a stunning location. The staff is kind and welcoming, may elaborate on menu and wines and provides brilliant service. The interior and atmosphere has a delicate and distinct character and theme.

All food is delicately presented, and balanced seasoned enhancing the taste of the ingredients. Fish, food, poultry and vegetables are perfectly prepared. Sauces and soups and desserts / pastry have perfect consistency. Recommended beverage complements the dishes perfectly.

Price does not matter, you leave feeling content with a sense that the meal was worth whatever price you paid.

Good BBBB: (4,50 - 3,51 points)

This rating is given to restaurants either accessible by public transportation or a with a stunning location. The staff is kind and welcoming, but has less knowledge on the menu and wines but service is satisfactory. The interior and atmosphere has a a clear character and theme, but may have smaller deviation from the main theme and may be slightly less maintained.

All food is nicely presented, and well seasoned. Fish, food, poultry and vegetables may be slightly under or overcooked, and sauces and soups and desserts / pastry may be a little too thin or thick. Recommended beverage complements the dishes well.

You expect to pay a low to medium price in order to be satisfied with quality of the food.

Room for improvements BBB: (3,50 - 2,51 points)

This rating is given to a restaurant given to a restaurant on a location with no distinct character and in a medium distance from public transportation. The staff has considerable room for improvement. They are either unskilled or may appear uninterested in their guests well being. They provide no service to talk of. You order, they bring - only, and you may wait for up to 30 minutes to get your food.

The design may have been modern 10 years ago, but is out dated, and is in need of maintenance. You will find either holes or stains (or both) on walls, upholstery, and carpets.

The food is served on plain china and the cook has not given a thought to how the food appear on the plate. Food will have taste, but you may have to season yourself in order to get the balance you need. Food is either over or under cooked, meat will be tough. Sauces or soups may be too thin or thick.

You expect to pay a low price in order to be satisfied with quality of the food.

Bad BB: (2,50 - 1,51 points)

This rating is given to a restaurant off the beaten track and on a location with no character. The staff has considerable room for improvement. You wonder whether they are there for themselves or for you, and provide no service - full stop! They are not nice, rather talk back to you and you will wait forever to get your food.

The design is interesting as it either looks like anything you have not seen before, or is in need of a full makeover as well as new owners. There are major needs of maintenance.

The food feels like one main dish, served out of a skillet with a ladle. The cook has not given a thought to how the food appear on the plate, and you are wondering what has died in there. Food is either over or under cooked, meat will be tough. Sauces or soups may be too thin or thick.

You expect to get the food for free, and get an address to forward your medical bills.

Waste of time and money B: (1,50 - 1,00 points)

This rating should be given to a restaurant that, if still open, should be closed by the local food authorities.

Do consult Enjoy Food & Travel for better restaurants in the neighbourhood.

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