- Our guides are designed for visitors who want to experience the best examples of local cuisine in countries with deeply-rooted food cultures. For that reason, you will not, for example, find Chinese restaurants in Rome or Ethiopian restaurants in Paris in our guides. We strive to focus on unique local cuisine, but make exceptions for truly exceptional restaurants of any genre.
- In places with less ingrained domestic food cultures—such as London, New York, Los Angeles, Zurich, and Sydney—our focus shifts to excellent restaurants regardless of cuisine.
- While we include the very best of haute cuisine, our guides are not centered around fine dining.
- Our written guides are unique in that they are single handedly curated, meaning that I have personally eaten at virtually all of the restaurants that appear in our guides with few exceptions—as well as many other restaurants which we do not recommend.
- All of our guides are the product of multiple trips—the Japan, Hong Kong, and Italy guides are the product of nearly 30 separate visits each.
- Our guides started as a personal way to keep track of restaurants where we dined. Over 15 years and 100 countries, these lists evolved into full culinary guides, which I continue to build upon. After many requests from friends and acquaintances, we compiled them here to share them with a larger audience.
- We update our guides regularly and include the revision date on the bottom of the first page. We also regularly scan our guides for closures.
- I am not a social media influence or a blogger. I have no sponsors or biases other than my palate. I do not post reviews. I am merely a lifelong student of cuisine—learning and exploring places and cultures one meal at a time. My enjoyment is derived from learning about food, tasting all that the world has to offer, and sharing my accumulated knowledge with others.
- The Best: In most cases, there does not exist a single ‘best’ place or dish. Rather, there are generally several outlets executing a given dish at the highest level in their own way—be it cōng yóubǐng in Shanghai, croissants in Paris, ramen in Fukuoka, bún chả in Hanoi, or pasta alla gricia in Rome.
- Scale: There is a distinct difference between the best and the best that one has had. Just because someone has tried and enjoyed a place does not necessarily make it a “must-try.” Such a claim is only meaningful if the person has tried a multitude of establishments within the same category, from which they can draw comparisons.
- Expertise: In accordance with the previous point, seek advice from people who are knowledgeable enough to appreciate the most minute differences between outlets of the same category—a skill honed by the most fervent of connoisseurs who visit hundreds of establishments serving the same dish.
- Notoriety: Fame, history, or age do not necessarily equate to good food. Just because a restaurant is famous does not mean it is the best in its category or class. In fact, fame can often negatively impact the quality of a restaurant.
- Experience: To quote the respected epicurean Margaret Lam, “people change, nature changes, supply chains change—restaurants evolve and devolve. Just because it once was, does not mean it still is. This prevents using common or past knowledge to write about restaurants.” Use your own palate as the ultimate measure of quality, and be cautious when reading articles or guides, particularly from major publications, as writers rarely visit all of the places they recommend.
- Service: Hospitality and service standards can vary greatly between cultures. Avoid making judgements of a restaurant based on foreign hospitality standards or preconceived notions of what an experience should be. Rather, evaluate the service based on the standards within that particular culture.