Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Stars No Longer Align For L.A. Times Restaurant Reviews

Image by -vector-illustration- via Shutterstock
Support your source for local news!
The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

The Los Angeles Times has implemented some big changes in their Food section, including bundling it up with a bunch of other lifestyle-y sections and pushing it to Saturday, and hiring (Pulitzer Prize-winning) writer Jonathan Gold to spill some ink on the subject of eating in L.A. But now they've announced they're doing away with star ratings in their restaurant reviews.

The LAT's Daily Dish food blog explains the rationale:

First, star ratings are increasingly difficult to align with the reality of dining in Southern California -- where your dinner choices might include a food truck, a neighborhood ethnic restaurant, a one-time-only pop-up run by a famous chef, and a palace of fine dining. Clearly, you can’t fairly assess all these using the same rating system. Furthermore, the stars have never been popular with critics because they reduce a thoughtful and nuanced critique to a simple score.

No word on how resto critic S. Irene Virbila feels about being unburdened of the stars, but her food enthusiast readers might be relieved, since one major frustration has been from reading glowing reviews ending with a modest star rating, and "bigger" star ratings heaped on at the end of a more critical review.

Support for LAist comes from

But perhaps the Times is doing this to justify bringing on Gold, and to be sure readers take his trips to SGV noodle bars and dumpling houses as seriously as SIV's fawning over an established local celeb chef. And in an era when any ahole with an internet connection can give their 2-stars' worth on sites like Yelp, maybe if we paid more attention to words than "ratings" we might become better diners.

Most Read