The Michelin Guide may never rate Seattle's restaurants, and Yelp, with its open-to-all reviews, is nothing like the famous restaurant ratings guide, but diners may take heart that another system with Michelin-style aspirations is rolling out here instead.
Data-driven rating system Renzell is currently evaluating Seattle restaurants and is preparing to release its findings in 2017. The app has existed in New York for some time and has recently been expanding in cities like Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Boston.
Renzell is working to position itself as an alternative to Zagat or Michelin and is geared toward younger, tech-savvy diners. Seattle, then, seems like the perfect fit.
Reviews are written by Renzell members, which number around 3,000 across the country. These members are "regular patrons and connoisseurs at high-end restaurants." Membership is free, but you’ll have to fill out a survey and meet specific qualifications in order to be chosen. Members dine anonymously and on their own dime, completing a survey with 70-plus questions at the end of their meal.
Renzell says its algorithmic system works better than other guides out there: "Renzell’s ratings are free of the subjectivity, biases, and inaccuracies that plague other systems, such as the Michelin Guide and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The Renzell Ratings, which provide overall and categorical scores, are an essential guide to curating ideal dining decisions."
When the ratings are released, look for overall winners and top-rated restaurants in eight categories: cocktails, design, food, hospitality, service, value, vibe, and wine/sake/beer. Renzell releases scores periodically to provide insights into how restaurants stack up. In an effort to be transparent, the company provides its survey, methodology, and data to the restaurants it covers.
Will Renzell really catch the modern diner’s eye in Seattle? It certainly could, given the general distaste for Yelp on the part of many diners and restaurant owners.
Here's a full list of restaurants that will be included and rated in the first guide:
Art of the Table
Brimmer & Heeltap
The Harvest Vine
How to Cook a Wolf
Le Petit Cochon
Matt's in the Market
Rockcreek Seafood and Spirits
Sitka and Spruce
Staple & Fancy Mercantile
Sushi Kappo Tamura
The Whale Wins