At one point, I was too cool for yelp. That changed.
The amount of listings, search functionality, and messaging is hard to beat for any brick and mortar thing. Yelp is especially useful when their presence is just starting out in a city and hasn’t reached Massive magnitudes yet. For these areas, like non-Astoria Queens 2012, only the most passionate people will voice an opinion, and not necessarily the everyone. Cities like San Francisco and Manhattan, however, can be a headache to find the actual stuff from the people you’re looking for.
I love finding outliers like Nuch N. from Elmhurst – I mean who is this girl?? It’s gold whenever I find people who are from a neighborhood that is out of my demographic, people who are recent immigrants and don’t speak English good, or people who review places that really don’t need to be reviewed. You’ll get some reviews from the heart and places that have no trending right to be on social media websites. On chowhound, most of the writing is 2nd hand like: ohh, there’s this Indian dumpling place where there’s lines out the door! as opposed to yelp, where you will have a person with 8 reviews write “I was standing on line with about 15 other punjabs for my weekly meethi paratha. When did this get so popular?” It can be more direct to the people, unfiltered.
Right now I use yelp for when I want to express some opinions on a place that don’t necessarily have a place on my website. I’m not going to do reviews on iwantmorefood anymore, and especially not of ones in Manhattan, but if I want to give tidbits, I’ll put them on sayyes.yelp.com. Also, I love the list functionality of the site.
Yes, you may have to sift through hundreds of reviews, and the opinions aren’t always spot on, but for a food explorer, yelp is hard to beat. Yup.