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Photograph: Courtesy the Spare Room/Eugene Lee

Restaurant reviews and recommendations: how we do it

Here's how we select, review and rank the very best restaurants around the world

Morgan Olsen

At Time Out, it’s our mission – and privilege! – to help you make the most of whatever city you’re in. A big part of that job is guiding you to the best dining and drinking experiences around, because we know that restaurants and bars are the fabric of our cities. After all, a memorable meal can stick with you for years and deepen your understanding of the place you call home.

So, how do we ensure spot-on recommendations every time? For starters, our editors and writers are constantly out and about – they’re popping into the newest restaurants, checking in on old favorites and scoping out the pop-up experience everyone’s buzzing about. Those honest, real-life experiences are distilled and delivered to you via recommendations and reviews.

Recommended restaurants and bars are ones we want to shout about from the rooftops – and we do. In addition to marking them with a stamp of approval on our site (look for the iconic red checkmark), we add them to our best-of lists so that you can find them faster. Recommended restaurants and bars are a mix of established icons, instant classics are future stars.

Star-rated restaurants and bars have been independently reviewed by a local Time Out editor or writer. Our reviewers always visit restaurants incognito and pay their bill like everyone else. While we’re there, we pay attention to everything from the food and drink to the vibe and design details. Here’s what our star ratings mean:

One star: avoid
Two stars: not good
Three stars: good
Four stars: very good
Five stars: unmissable

Then what? As soon as we hit ‘publish’ on top-rated recommendations and reviews, we add them to our best-of lists so that you get the freshest finds every time you go searching for brunches or sushi or burgers. We’re also constantly updating our definitive lists of the best restaurants and bars in each city. And, if we like it enough, we might just ask the restaurant or chef to join us at Time Out Market, our editorially curated food halls that showcase the best of the city under one roof.

Whether we’re recommending or reviewing, we always audit our picks to ensure we’re showcasing an equitable and diverse representation of our cities. We’ve also got a keen eye for sustainability practices in the industry – whether that’s a restaurant that sources all-local ingredients or a bar that’s turning food scraps into cocktail ingredients. Find out more about Time Out’s editorial guidelines.

Now dive into the world’s greatest restaurants

Welcome to your one-stop shop for the best restaurants in the world. We’ve spent more than 50 years looking for the freshest, most inventive and downright tastiest places to eat in cities around the globe. Our local editors and writers never stop searching for great food, phenomenal value, amazing atmosphere and memorable meals – because we know that eating well is a big deal.

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