The 8th-annual Restaurant Survey of your favorite places for food & drink ends in a few days. The online survey runs each year throughout December and the results will be published in January. The survey results, which cover 99 categories, will be displayed on the Restaurant Guide Best Of page throughout 2014. New categories this year include Best Mac & Cheese and Best Funk Zone Destination.

To vote for your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries & more visit:

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Christine says:

    John, what would be awesome is if only the restaurants in each category were in each applicable drop down button. It’s a pain to scroll through the entire list each time. I’ve only gotten to 5 categories and I’m already done wasting time looking thru the list for the application types of restaurants. Maybe it’s a browser thing? I’m using Chrome on a Mac, which is what I would expect you to use as well.

    • Christine says:

      Sorry, maybe that doesn’t make a lot of sense. For example, in “American” the drop down shows ALL restaurants in the list. Pretty sure “Ahi Sushi” isn’t American. And it sure as heck isn’t a Bakery. Thanks.

    • Brendan says:

      I think this every year. The problem is that it would probably require way more detailed categorization than this restaurant guide currently provides. If you click into the various categories from the main page, you can see there are many eateries listed under just one category that actually offer other types of food too. Like, Metropulos is only listed as “Deli” despite being widely adored for its gyros, which would presumably fall under Greek. Presidio Market is listed as “Mexican” but also has sandwiches and Middle Eastern items. On The Alley isn’t even listed under “Seafood” even though most of the menu is seafood. There are probably dozens of restaurants that offer burgers but aren’t listed in the “Burgers” category.

      I doubt there’s a way for even the redoubtable Restaurant Guy to keep track of all that. One possibility would be to have a way for users to submit updates to restaurant info that would then be vetted. That way you could crowdsource the work so motivated restaurant-goers could correct omissions.

      • John Dickson says:

        Brendan – you nailed it. I had custom drop down boxes for each category a few years ago and I got flooded with complaints about missing restaurants, for example one person wrote “Starbucks is only listed in coffee but they are my favorite place for desserts!!!” So I changed it so people can vote for any restaurant in every category. Drop down boxes are the chosen way to automatically tabulate the results because letting people type in a name introduces name variation chaos, for example some people type in “Santa Barbara Brewing Company” while others type in “Santa Barbara Brewing Co.”, “SB Brewing Company”, “SB Brewing Co.”, “SB Brew Co.”, “SB Brewco”, “SB Brew”, etc. Unless you are Google it is impossible to automate tabulation with that kind of entropic survey data. Manual tabulation, which is what I did for the first few surveys, took me 5 weeks. I’d rather stop doing the survey than do that again. This is the first time I have received complaints about the survey which is essentially unchanged in 3 years, though I am sure many people were unhappy all that time and just didn’t speak up about it. I agree with all the complaints. It is difficult to use the survey. Hopefully it improves over time.

        • Gerald Bostock says:

          I don’t go out enough to justify more than a handful of votes, and it’s apparent to all that the layout of the survey is cumbersome.

          Reading John’s response echoed my assumptions about why the survey is designed as it is, probably single-handedly. Thus I can’t complain.
          Thanks again for what you do, John. It will evolve.

  2. Don says:

    When I try to Submit I get “Page is not Responding”

  3. . says:

    christine – try safari on mac

  4. Andy Gault says:

    Way too difficult to vote. Big waste of time. Can you make it simpler?

  5. FinSb says:

    I agree with Christine! Surveys should be EASY if they are to to be MEANINGFUL.

  6. mkfresh says:

    hi what restaurants are open new years DAY/NIGHT not eve.

  7. Judy says:

    Maybe it’s me, but drop downs that must be completely searched each time are so cumbersome that I gave up after completing only a tiny part of the survey. Sorry.

  8. Liz W says:

    I was just wondering why Chinese does not have a separate category

  9. Gerald Bostock says:

    Also, I cannot and will not pick “The Best” in many categories. I can pick my “best corned beef hash” but no way can I pick my “best breakfast”! Just as I cannot pick a favorite novel, poem or author. Too many variables and I enjoy or highly value too many things.
    Eh. Just ranting about surveys in general. lol

    • Liz W says:

      It is like the secrete questions one must answer to verify identify. Favorite color, movie, song etc…I have to skip those as the answer can change at any moment.

  10. lemonjelly says:

    I do a couple things to make the selection process easier. First, I have a separate window open to the website’s general dining page, where I can click the assorted categories to jog my memory on certain restaurants. Second, once I have the survey’s drop down menu open and I already know the name of the restaurant, I type in the first letter of the restaurant’s name, that immediately pops the cursor down to all the restaurants starting with that letter and it’s an easy scroll the rest of the way to the specific restaurant.

    • Christine says:

      LJ, this is exactly what I did to get thru the survey. Thank you John for responding. I figured you’ve tried it every way to Sunday and people would still complain. I truly didn’t mean for my first comments to sound like a complaint, just more of a user experience feedback sort of thing!

      BTW the Starbucks as best dessert thing: If a person is looking for the “Best Dessert in SB” no one in their right mind would think of Starbucks. John, you’ve organized this Guide. If a restaurant falls into multiple categories, it should be listed as an option for all those categories. If I’m voting on “Best Sushi” I’m not choosing Starbucks, or Pizza Guru, or Tee-Off… I’m sure we agree there. 😉

      Thanks again John, I enjoy using this Guide and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get my votes in!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *