Hanna Raskin, formerly the food critic for two of our sister papers, just published Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews. The book's a how-to guide for contributors to sites such as our own Voice Places, where you can weigh in with your opinions of local restaurants. We asked her to offer up a few pointers.
If you spend enough time reading online restaurant reviews, you'll come across plenty of laughable examples of eaters assailing pasta shops for not accommodating their gluten-free diets and attacking pho joints for offering up cheap silverware and paper napkins. But you'll also find well-intentioned reviewers openly struggling with how to best put their restaurant experience into words: The phrase "I don't know how to say this" shows up in online reviews almost as frequently as "da bomb."
As a former food critic for the Dallas Observer and Seattle Weekly, I fully appreciate the difficulties of restaurant reviewing. But I also firmly believe that our culinary culture would be tremendously enhanced if users of online reviewing sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and Voice Places had the tools they needed to produce valuable write-ups of their meals. That's why I recently wrote Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews, a comprehensive guide to reporting and writing about restaurant visits.More »