Final Foodster Categories for 2017: Best New Restaurant, Best Restaurant Overall

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Our final two categories in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants for 2017 will be for Best New Restaurant and Best Restaurant Overall. Polls are now open for both categories.

The nominees for Best Restaurant Overall were chosen based on past performance and critical review, previous nominations and votes, and standing in the culinary community.

The nominees for Best New Restaurant were chosen from among the notable restaurants that opened within the past 18 months.

Unlike previous categories, write-in candidates will not be selected.

To thank you for participating in selecting the winners, Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide will give away a $100 gift card to the winner of the Best Restaurant Overall category. The winner will be selected by random drawing from among the list of Scott's e-letter recipients. If you already receive the weekly mailing, you're already entered to win. If not, click here and enter your email address; simple as that.

Voting will continue through Jan. 10 and the winning restaurant will be announced in the Jan. 11 edition of the e-letter.

After you place your ballot, leave a comment telling us why you think it's the Best. We may use your comments when the winners are announced. Be sure to give the name of the restaurant in your comment, otherwise we won't know which one you're referring to.

Fake News: How One Man Created the Best Restaurant in London and Why You Can't Get a Reservation

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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This won’t come as a huge surprise to any of you, especially those of you in the restaurant business — or any business, really — but many of the reviews you read on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor aren’t real. I know, it’s like finding out about Santa Claus, right? (You do know about Santa, don’t you?)

Most of us who read crowd-sourced reviews know to take them with the proverbial grain of salt. The most glowing reviews of flawless dining experiences often have the whiff of having been written by the chef’s mother; the most damning notices can usually be dismissed as the work of someone with a score to settle, a disgruntled former employee or even a competitor. You have to learn how to spot the fake reviews. Pro tip: Look at how many critiques the reviewer has posted for other restaurants. This is a first-ever review and it's the best place ever? Say hi, mom.

But that doesn't mean the system can't be further gamed. And to prove it, a man in London set out to make his restaurant the number one restaurant in the city on TripAdvisor's site. And he did it. The restaurant, The Shed at Dulwich, went from last in the site's London listings, 18,149th, to number one, the best restaurant in one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world in just a matter of months.

There was just one problem: the restaurant doesn't exist.

Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar has Closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Two Chefs

What's that saying about too many chefs? It would seem that two chefs was one too many, at least for Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar. The restaurant in the North Quarter has closed.

Bernard Carmouche, who opened the restaurant with fellow chef Larry Sinabaldi, said Saturday that they have dissolved their partnership and that he is in talks with a potential buyer for the Two Chefs space. However, it will remain closed until a deal is made, and it will not reopen as Two Chefs. The restaurant opened in an office structure on Magnolia Avenue in April of 2015.