Yelp has released its Top 100 Places to Eat and not surprisingly, nearly half are located in California.
Of course the Golden State has a distinct advantage since a like number of Yelp members reside stateside. Nevertheless, this new list of great eateries does have some surprising additions as well as some uber-popular spots missing from the list.
Leading the Top 100 isn’t even on the mainland - Da Poke Shack on the Big Island of Hawaii, with 621 five star reviews. Seattle-based Caribbean restaurant Paseo came in second with a nearly perfect rating from 2,820 reviews and Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue in Kansas City took third with an almost identical score from 1,006 Yelpers.
Only a few high-end restaurants made the Top 10 - Chicago’s three-star Michelin-rated Alinea and Michelin-rated Gary Danko, one of seven eateries based in San Francisco, which just so happens to be the location of Yelp headquarters. The widely acclaimed Napa Valley restaurant French Laundry, considered one of the best in the world was a third of the way down the list at No. 34 while the Restaurant at Meadowood, the Bay Area’s only other three star Michelin honoree failed to make the list altogether. And arguably New York and LA’s most expensive restaurants – Daniel and Urusawa came in at No. 24 and No. 76 respectively although some may wonder why the latter even made the Top 100, given the owner’s nasty reputation.
Even though other prominent, award-winning establishments were noticeably absent from Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat, is more reflective of generous amounts of positive reviews from Yelp members and rightfully so. The perfect example is the ease of trying to book a reservation at Daniel, the French Laundry or Alinea. Other California spots making the Top 100 were Carmel’s Dametra Café, Joe’ Falafels in LA and Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in San Diego.
While fine dining is normally an unforgettable experience, other small businesses such as Burbank’s Porto’s Bakery, Berkeley’s Cheese Board Pizza and even LA's popular El Chato Taco Truck can be pleased to know they are providing top flight service without a lofty price, and likely acquiring a whole lot more customers.