Comparison between Restaurant Ratings and Guides

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Gastronomy has become one of the fastest-growing sectors, both around the world and in Slovenia. With that being said, there are plenty of world-famous guides, which rate restaurants. From the Michelin and Gault & Millau to The Slovenian Restaurant Awards.

In the “gastronomic flood” of guides, evaluations, and selections, one might not know what is the difference between them.

With this in mind, we prepared a comparison, which will help you get a better understanding of how they differentiate.

THE SLOVENIA RESTAURANT AWARDS

The innovative, independent and national selection of the best Slovenian restaurants that is now in its 4th year of running. In early autumn 2016, we started the selection of The Slovenia Restaurant Awards with the help from some professional International and Slovenian enogastronomy and tourism experts. Now each year we organize an exclusive event, where we reveal all the best restaurants in Slovenia.

A collection of the best restaurants in Slovenia can help tourists (local and foreign) decide where to go when seeking new culinary horizons. The selection of the best Slovenian restaurants is also meant for the general Slovenian public – how many times do you think about going out for a nice family lunch on Sunday, but have no idea where to go? 

With The Slovenia Restaurant Awards, we want to bring awareness of our rich culinary offer and raise the requirement in the general public to demand the best. 

How the voting for The Slovenia Restaurant Awards works?

Based on expert criteria and personal experience, the Expert Committee prepared a long list of restaurants, which, based on their review, offer an excellent culinary experience, with their culinary offer and quality of food and service. In accordance with the Slovenian Tourist Board, they divided Slovenia into four regions; Alpine Slovenia, Mediterranean & Karst Slovenia, Thermal Pannonian Slovenia, and Ljubljana & Central Slovenia.

The selection for The Slovenia Restaurant Awards happens in three stages

The wider selection of 250 restaurants is prepared by the Expert Committee, who then turned over their list to the Gastronomic Academy for the vote. Their votes count for 75% of the final grade. Based on the results of the first round of voting, the organizer removes half of the restaurants from the list and turns over the shortened list to the general public, who’ll be encouraged to vote online and on social networks at the beginning of March 2020. The public’s vote counts for 25% of the final grade.

MICHELIN GUIDE

First published in 1900 by the Michelin tire company as a little red guide to help French motorists find lodging on the road. It wasn’t until 1926, when the guide began to award stars for fine dining establishments, initially marking them only with a single star.  Five years later, a hierarchy of zero, one, two, and three stars was introduced, and in 1936, the criteria for the starred rankings were published.

The Michelin Guide is now exclusively devoted to fine dining. Over the decades, the guide has far surpassed its humble origins to become an almost-sacred tome to chefs, foodies, culinary experts and restaurants who regard the guide as the final word in fine dining.

How the rating for Michelin Star(s) work?

Michelin Stars are given out on a scale of one to three, and only the top establishments in the world qualify for this designation. Michelin gives out up to three stars, with only the world’s greatest dining establishments attaining that coveted third star. But exactly what does each star mean?

According to the guide, one Michelin star represents a “very good restaurant in its category,” while two stars denote a restaurant boasting “excellent cooking” that is “worth a detour.” Three stars, however, are the ultimate accolade, afforded only to those restaurants that offer “exceptional cuisine” that is “worth a special journey.”

For the first time in Slovenia, we will receive Michelin star restaurant(s) on June 16th. Check out the potential recipients, here.

GAULT&MILLAU

Only a few decades after the Michelin Guide, another french restaurant guide “risen to gastronomic fame”. Gault&Millau guide was founded by two restaurant critics, Henri Gault and Christian Millau in 1965. It’s been more than 50 years since Gault&Millau published its very first restaurant review. Today, qualified Gault&Millau reviewers evaluate more than 10,000 restaurants and hotels each year, across 23 countries. They are also present in Slovenia, where each and every year they award the best Slovenian restaurants.

There has been discussion about which guide is more important, the Michelin Guide or the Gault&Millau. In the 1970s the Michelin’s continued conservative support of traditional haute cuisine was challenged by the support of nouvelle cuisine by the Gault-Millau. The Michelin Guide is more popular and therefore more influential, while Gault Millau has been considered more food-focused due to the main system being based purely on the quality of the food.

How do the Gault&Millau hat rating and benchmarking system work?

Gault&Millau reviewers use the same strict standards as all their international counterparts, which have been well-honed over five decades. At Gault&Millau, they are all about the food, and their evaluations focuses on the ability and creativity of chefs and their entire kitchen brigades. They consider service, ambiance and the dining experience.

The evaluation process is split into two parts. In the first part, six components of each dish – seasoning, the harmony of flavors, technique, quality of ingredients, presentation, and the overall success of the dish – are rated equally. The averaged ratings of the dishes make up approximately 70 % of the restaurant’s final score.

The second part of the evaluation is the rating for service, ambiance and the overall experience which makes up the other 30% of the final score. It encompasses everything from making the booking through to walking out the door at the end of the meal. While this aspect of the dining experience makes up a much smaller proportion of a restaurant’s total score, comments about service, experience, and the atmosphere always make it into the written review to help diners determine whether an establishment will match an occasion or mood. We see this as a key factor in the evaluation process because, as diners and restaurateurs understand, outstanding service can make a good meal great.

Each restaurant is scored out of a maximum of 20 points, and each point score equates to a hat rating, as noted in the panel below. While 20 points are ideal, it is a vanishing horizon – and until 2004, no restaurant in the Gault&Millau family of guides had achieved this honor. Any restaurant that receives a score of fewer than 11 points is not published in the Gault&Millau guide.

VIVI – Šola okusov

Vivi – Šola okusov is a Slovenian web-platform run by Violeta and Uroš Mencinger who believe that Slovenian cuisine has a rich tradition and it is important we make sure it will have a future as well. The future of Slovenian cuisine is assured by a steady increase in the quality of the best Slovenian inns. Therefore, at Vivi they try to answer the question of what are the best Slovenian pubs and inns. In the flood of many different reviews, assessments, evaluations, and guides they decided to built the Šola okusov (School of Flavours) and provide the culinary world with their own set of evaluation.

How does the evaluation at Vivi – Šola okusov work?

At Vivi – Šola okusov they use the system of “hearts”, which are a new measure for assessing the quality of Slovenian cuisine and is an upgrade of newspaper culinary criticism, which began in the 1990s. The culinary critic comes (unannounced), orders, pays and rates the restaurant he or she visited. This means that the rating is the result of his last visit to a restaurant and it might not be a reflection of the current state or menu at a restaurant.

At Vivi they believe that individual culinary criticisms and ratings in the media are not enough since they always bear the date of publication of the medium in which they are published, they have, on the basis of years of experience and professional work in culinary criticism, devised a new methodology for assessing the quality of Slovenian inns and restaurants. Their criteria is based on three demands that need to be satisfied in a restaurant. The first one is: “When we eat, we are in a good mood”, second: “When we pay, we are not sorry (about the amount we have spent)”, and the last one: “When we leave, we would like to come (to this restaurant) again”.

Based on these three demands Vivi has created the evaluation process or system of hearts. Let us “break the hearts” down for you. “On a good path” – not exactly a heart but it means when you paid for the food your tummy is full and would visit this place again. Next, the heart ratings go from 1 heart to 5 hearts. 1 heart means you are between the better restaurants out there and we would visit again (soon). 2 hearts means everything is not the best just yet, however, it is good. 3 hearts mean that we got out money worth out of a meal and we would visit the place at least once per season. 4 hearts mean you are without a doubt sitting in good if not an excellent restaurant, which we are proud of. 5 hearts mean you are dining in one of the best restaurants in the whole world and the meal you just had was one of your culinary highlights.

MLADINA DOBRE GOSTILNE

Mladina is a Slovenian magazine, which has launched their own website Dobre gostilne where the experts and (restaurant or website) visitors rank Slovenian restaurants. The website’s aim is to combine the best restaurants in the place where you are staying. Their motto is “Lunch at work, lunch in an unfamiliar place, or dinner with your special someone? You open Dobre gostilne and see which are the best restaurants near you. Instead of Slovenian classics, do you prefer a pizza, a burger, or swear by healthy organic food on a tourist farm, or better yet – in a mountain hut? Are you restricted by celiac disease and looking for gluten-free restaurants? No harm, we know you too.

On the Dobre gostilne website they combine the evaluation from other sites as well, such as Delo and Siol.net

How does the evaluation at Mladina Dobre gostilne work?

The pubs and restaurants at DobreGostilne.si have two types of ratings: visitor rating and experts review.

Visitors rating is weighted on the average of their visitors’ ratings. Because at Mladina they value real visitor ratings, visitors than add a comment, which has more weight than visitor ratings that didn’t add a comment. Likewise, the ratings of visitors who sign in with their Facebook account have more weight than the ratings of casual visitors.

Expert evaluation is a weighted average of the evaluations of expert evaluators who have evaluated the pubs for various Slovenian publications in recent years. Older grades have less weight than newer ones. The list of ratings that make up the professional grade is published with the name of the publication on the page of each restaurant.

Find out who are the Slovenian chefs who might get the first Michelin stars!