I use TripAdvisor for both Hotels and Restaurants. For hotels, I tend to read multiple reviews before I decide if I want to stay at the hotel. For restaurants, I’m more likely to look at ‘restaurants near me’ by highest ranking.
I hate the TripAdvisor interface, both on PC and mobile. It’s both clunky and messy, mostly because TripAdvisor’s attempts at monetisation get in the way – I never book through TripAdvisor and I think they’re wasting their time with the current route to monetisation. They have a huge database of reviewers that they could engage with for discount offers and secret shopper reviews, but they don’t. All I get is ‘well done you’re now a level 7 reviewer and earned and attraction expert badge’ – well woo, bloody, hoo!
But until now I’ve tended to trust TripAdvisor. That was until yesterday when I was looking at the best restaurants in Prague by ranking.
The excellent ‘Wine O’Clock Shop’ had dropped from 1st to 4th Place. Now I’m not saying that it should be Number 1 as it’s really just a wine bar with some tapas, but I wouldn’t expect first and second place to be occupied by two Indian Restaurants that I haven’t even heard of. There aren’t that many Indian Restaurants in Prague, but my experience is that they are all pretty terrible; the pappadums are usually rolled and oily, the dips are expensive and poor, the curries don’t contain enough meat nor spices and the service is bad. Now if may be that ‘Sangam’ and Namesti’ aren’t like that – but there are some amazing restaurants in Prague that should easily beat them.
Let’s look further down the list.
Johnny Pizza does serve great pizza, albeit from a small takeaway location with just a few seats. I stopped going there because it was always a 30 minute wait and even if I went in and said “I’d like this pizza in 30 minutes and I’m going for a beer and will come back”, when I got back it was never ready and I had to wait 20 minutes. But, okay let’s give them number 5 as they have a loyal following.
I’ve never heard of ‘Be Bop Lobby Bar’ – it looks like a bar within the Alcron Hotel and seems unlikely that it would be number 6. Then I see that ‘Nameste Indian’ is 7th and ‘Indian by Nature 1’ is 8th.
Here are entries 9th to 12th.
‘Pepr a Sul’ looks like an interesting place, although it’s out in Prague 9.
Let’s see 13th to 15th.
Le Bouquet and Bellevue I can definitely vouch for – I can quite happily believe their rankings.
Let’s look at the position of the Indian restaurants in Prague:
1.Sangam Indian Restaurant
2. Namesti India Palackeho
7. Nameste India Indian Restaurant
8. Indian by Nature I
11. Indian by Nature II
13. Taaj Palace
18. Curry Palace
30. K The Two Brothers Indian
34. Rang De Basanti Indian
43. Five Rivers Indian Kitchen and Bar
Anyone would think I was looking at TripAdvisor reviews for Birmingham, England!
And let’s look at the type of reviewer for Sangam Indian Restaurant.
All the reviewers have only reviewed one restaurant – maybe they loved Sangam so much they joined TripAdvisor especially so they could write a positive review!
Obviously I don’t want to be sued for suggesting that restaurants are paying for fake reviews in order to increase their ranking and so I’m not suggesting that – perhaps there has been a sudden rise in the popularity of Indian cuisine in Prague?
Note that the banner image is taken from the Marriott Hotel Midtown Grill Christmas Brunch – just because I wanted a picture with a restaurant theme. The Midtown Grill is number 148 and probably deserves to be higher than that.