About My Restaurant Reviews

Before starting The Epicurean Traveler, I followed a lot of travel blogs, and I often found myself wondering, “Where are these bloggers eating?” At the time, very few were writing about the food — and specifically the restaurants — they encountered during their travels.

So, my goal is to share the positive restaurant experiences I’ve had — in Grand Rapids and on the road — with my readers. My hope is that these reviews help you to plan a more complete trip itinerary that includes where to eat in your destination.

I only share reviews of restaurants where I enjoyed the food and overall experience.

My Restaurant Review Rating Scale

  • 10: Absolutely fabulous  — My top rating will be dished out sparingly. A restaurant that earns this rating exceeds my expectations with delicious dishes, high quality drinks, exceptional service, and a lovely ambiance.
  • 9: Fantastic — Earning a 9 or higher means I loved this restaurant and highly recommend it.
  • 8: Superb — These restaurants serve tasty food and drinks, but are missing a “wow” factor.
  • 7: Very Good — Not quite superb, but better than good. You know what I mean. Often these restaurants serve delicious food — earning a 8+ in that category — but their score may be lower for service and/or ambiance.
  • 6: Good — Exactly what you think — solid food, service and ambiance. Totally OK for a meal.
  • 5: Fine — Some destinations are not known for dining. Since we all still need to eat while traveling in these areas, I’ll share these restaurants that are clean and serve adequate food and drink.
  • 0-4: Poor – Fair — Not reviewed by The Epicurean Traveler

How Each Restaurant’s Score Is Calculated

I judge each restaurant with equal importance in the following categories:

  • Food — First of all, were the dishes delicious? Were they cooked properly? Was anything particularly unique or creative on the menu? Were the portions filling enough for the value? Were items made in house? Were local or high-quality ingredients used?
  • Drink — This category may be combined with food. If a restaurant also has a bar or brewery, this category will be separate from food. I take into account the kinds of drinks offered.
  • Service — Were servers and hosts friendly, knowledgeable and efficient? Were diners given time to finish a course before the next was delivered or dishes were cleared? If there was an issue, was it resolved quickly and professionally?
  • Ambiance — Most importantly, was the dining room clean? Did the decor, music and lighting suit the restaurant? Did the environment add to the enjoyment of the meal?