Any food rating system is controversial. The most famous is the Michelin Guide, which rates restaurants for comfort and also for food via the coveted Michelin Stars. A one star Michelin restaurant is likely to be very fine indeed, while three stars (the best) is an accolade handed out only to about three dozen restaurants in the world each year. However, this system leaves the vast majority of places untouched, and Michelin is ultra sensitive to the commercial consequences of its accolades. Hence it tends to be slow to dish out stars and even slower to take them away. This suits chefs fine (which is why chefs love the Michelin, provided they get a star of course) but makes it difficult for consumers, as it is not possible to tell whether a 1 star establishment is just on the brink of a wonderful two stars or actually should have long since lost its star.
The system I have adopted is the one used in
the Good Food Guide, the best of the UK restaurant Guides. Unlike many other guides, the Good Food Guide
has an inspection system (so is not just a popularity poll that can easily be
influenced by unscrupulous restaurateurs) and accepts no hospitality, hidden
fees or advertising. Its inspectors are
completely anonymous. This means that,
while it may make mistakes, they are honest ones rather than due to some hidden
commercial interest. The Good Food Guide
has tried scoring out of 20, and out of 5, but has settled on a simple out of
10 system. It
should be said that 1/10, which sounds dreadful in a school report, is actually
very good in Good Food Guide terms. It
means that the restaurant is in the top 1% of restaurants in the
The marks I have used are based on this system but are my own, and may or may not coincide with other guides, including the Good Food Guide at any given point in time (the Good Food Guide is updated annually – I update this site at least monthly).