Post-Gazette restaurant rating system

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The ratings system underwent some changes as of Jan. 26, 2012. Keep in mind that price is taken into consideration for all reviews, particularly where high prices are not matched by high quality.

Overall star ratings are an average of food, service and ambience, and diners should weigh each based on their particular needs.


FOOD

Zero stars -- Unsatisfactory: Food that is poorly executed and unpalatable.

One star -- Satisfactory: Food that is palatable and prepared as described, but lacks interest; or food that is particularly uneven, with some promising dishes undermined by more disappointing ones.

Two stars -- Recommended: Good quality food, carefully prepared, but not particularly creative. Representative of its genre.

Three stars -- Excellent: High-quality ingredients treated with care and skill; offerings showcase a distinctive culinary viewpoint.

Four stars -- Outstanding: Highly creative and skillful cooking. Memorable food that distinguishes itself in terms of flavor, appearance and quality.


ATMOSPHERE

Zero stars -- Unsatisfactory: Space does not meet the basic needs of diners eating on the premises.

One star -- Satisfactory: Accommodations for dining on the premises, but without more than basic attention to style or comfort.

Two stars -- Recommended: Some effort is made to ensure a comfortable dining experience and a space that matches the style of food.

Three stars -- Excellent: A very comfortable dining experience is offered, in a space that complements and enhances the style of food.

Four stars -- Outstanding: A noteworthy space, remarkable in its own right. All elements of atmosphere have been considered, from flatware to music to staff uniforms.


SERVICE

Zero stars -- Unsatisfactory: Servers fail to perform basic tasks, even upon request.

One star -- Satisfactory:Basic table service; tables are cleaned appropriately, water and utensils are provided, and diners typically have to request basic items such as a spoon for soup, more water, or the check.

Two stars -- Recommended: Servers perform basic tasks efficiently and cordially, and ensure a smooth dining experience.

Three stars -- Excellent: Servers make diners feel welcome and well cared for, and adapt service to the needs of each particular table.

Four stars -- Outstanding: Servers anticipate guests needs and demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skill, both in regard to service standards and the food and drink offered at the restaurant.


China Millman: 412-263-1198 or cmillman@post-gazette.com . Follow her at http://twitter.com/chinamillman .


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