Restaurant Reviews

[quote=“Maoman”]Today’s Taipei Times has this review.

Hmm, I wonder if that’s because Papa can spot the reviewers and thus treat them well, but with poor schmucks like me can just rant and rave and get away with it. Do the Taipei Times reviewers identify themselves as reviewers before the meal is served? If not, how do they explain to gentlemen like Papa why they are taking pictures of his king prawn? He could think they are stealing his recipes and flip out on them…

They know they’re reviewers for crying out loud! I’ve been on a few ‘reviews’ with a couple TT writers and seen them hand out their namecards and take pics of their dishes. They mainly go to places that people have recommended to them, btw. But Momphard seems to be going back to places and hoping to find something to criticize. Tavern and Papa Giovanni. What’s next? Momphard, check out Grandma Nitti’s, why not?

I don’t think it’s ALWAYS that obvious. I know of writers, in Taipei, who go to a restaurant, eat, pay and leave, without telling anyone (the staff or the owner) that they are doing a review.

If they don’t give name cards and don’t take snaps, yes. If they do, the owners know. Fredericka knows of what she speaks. So David, did you tell Papa you were DM from the TT? Yes or no?

guess i should check with you or fredericka before posting on such a topic. i was under the delusion that there were newspapers other than the taipei times in town…

yah, and most of the writers have worked for at least one other paper.

I know personally ahem of some restaurant reviewers who go into a place and decide only afterwards to write a review because they liked the restaurant. Others are set up in advance but those are the old establishments and others you may plan to write about but drop because the article would be too negative. Still others are negative but you give the restaurant owner a chance to respond and address those concerns if you have had a long term relationship say with a major um hotel.

I personally know of one guy (Chinese) who demands payment for his reviews along with free meals…as in like free meals for him and 12 of his buddies. Needless to say, every restaurant he reviews is wonderful. :unamused:

Most reviewers, for the English papers here at least, would never do that because the papers would never reimburse them for the meal. The reviews are done in hopes of getting the restaurant to buy ads, not to inform readers where it is good to eat. Of course, writers such as the PG reviewer will throw in a few negative remarks so they don’t sound like pussies, but at the end of the day none of the papers give accurate reviewers and the ones that dare to do are banned.

When you’re out eating and drinking with friends and everything is FREE, how is it possible not to think good of the restaurant?

When you’re out eating and drinking with friends and everything is FREE, how is it possible not to think good of the restaurant?[/quote]
Alleycat, you’ve been in Taiwan toooooo long. :laughing:

Again there is balance to reviews. Look for the hidden remarks or if the emphasis is on something as opposed to other things.

Then again, most negative reviews are dropped. Why write a negative review. If the place is so bad then don’t review it.

Finally, some reporters may do this just for fun so they do not care who is paying them or the restaurant.

That said, faces get recognized around town pretty quickly. I think that most restaurant owners are aware of who they are dealing with. Then again, try getting staff at most restaurants to provide good service even when the boss is there. Not that much is going to change from visit to visit.

Most negative reviews are dropped? Negative reviews are not even allowed as the papers/magazines won’t get ads this way.

Actually negative reviews are allowed but not if the whole place is a disaster. I believe that one completely negative review was written on the Grand Hotel and that was perhaps a bit too much but then again … I think it did shake them up and the reporter went back a few weeks later and things had improved A LOT. Now did that remain that way or has it gotten worse again, I dont’ know.

and Fred, who do you, er, believe wrote that then? :laughing:

I think that the reviews posted here are the best for restaurants in Taipei, and probably for other parts of Taiwan.

Fred Smith, may I politely ask if you write reviews for the China Post under the name “Frank Smith”? If you wish to remain annonymous, please accept my apologies and excuse the question.

Whatever the case, I think “Frank Smith” writes some pretty good reviews in the China Post–in a similar loose but well-informed style of many of your posts.

And I like your reviews here on Forumosa, expecially the numbering system you’ve come up with for food, atmosphere, and so on.

If you are not already writing reviews (for fun) for some of the English-language newspapers in Taiwan, perhaps you should consider doing so.

I am not sure about the pay (probably pretty low) but it could be fun. Or just continue to post here.

Thanks for contributing here.

i think the pertinent question is: did the grand hotel know the reviewer was coming back for a second try? if so, it’s not suprising the service was better. after all, they had time to prepare. btw, i’ve generally had poor service at the grand hotel.

Actually Fee:

I have never met the reporter named Frank A. Smith, and what do you mean by LOOSE writing style?! :smiling_imp:


I believe that hotels always know in advance whether someone will be coming to do a review. That said, it does not always guarantee that they will get a good one, at least from what I know of the reviews that have been written.

Thanks for clearing that up, Fred.

By “loose,” I meant casual, off-the-cuff, quick with a quip–the opposite of dull, boring, polite, stody (the kind of writing that often appears in many restaurant reveiws – am I digging myself further in a hole here?!)

Anyway, it was meant as compliment.