What started in 1979 at the Zagat's house was dinner conversation with friends over the unreliability of the New York Times food reviews. What it became 34 years later was one of the nations leading surveys of consumerism.
Yelp may seem like it is preeminent out there with consumer based reviews on the internet but we forget the Zagat business mantra since 1979. It states;
"Zagat Survey® is a business based on a simple premise – that the shared opinions of thousands of avid consumers with real experiences are inherently more accurate than the opinions of just one or two critics. Through our guides, we give people the power of a collective voice and the information to make smart decisions."
There is a definite argument taking place in the food review scene on Zagat V.S Yelp and both sides have merit. Below are some recurring frustrations with these two institutions.
Zagat skews to an older, more moneyed crowd, while Yelp skews towards 20 somethings.
Yelp is free and Zagat isn't ($24.95/year to view ratings and reviews).
Zagat's is pretty much an old fogey restaurant review guide. You won't see a Zagat review of either the Bacon Dog Cart or Farolito's, but you will see Gary Danko's.
You can't trust 90% of the reviews on Yelp. Most people don't know jack and are just mad that they had to wait 5 minutes for a table, etc.
Most of the reviewers are insipid hipsters, and the really sharp reviewers often get drowned out in the noise.
They both suck. Zagat is stuck in the past and isn't broad enough. Yelp is too broad and run by monkeys -- seems like every other review on there reads something along the lines of "the restaurant was great! my friends and i got pretty drunk and had a great time, besides my boyfriend was telling really funny jokes that night so it was an AMAZING NIGHT!" -- totally irrelevant blather that has nothing to do with the actual restaurant in question. Feels more like Facebook than a restaurant review site.
Most everyone has settled where they land in this debate. One thing to mention however regarding one of the quotes above is that Zagat is indeed free if you go to www.zagat.com/socialLA to cast your vote of the restaurants you like around the Los Angeles area or click on the image below.