No rest for restaurant guides in 2008

Steve Plotnicki believes it's possible to combine elements of the Zagat populist approach and Michelin's ultra-discerning rating method into a guide that's more timely and meaningful for experienced diners.

A veteran music industry executive based in New York, Plotnicki has been writing a fine-dining blog (oad.typepad.com) for five years. Earlier this year, he invited about 500 of his most widely traveled readers to participate in a survey of the world's top restaurants. He weighted those responses, based upon the reviewers' experience with international dining, and in October began publishing some of the results on opinionatedabout.com. The final results are to be published in book form in March as The Top 100 Restaurants in North America & Europe, which he plans to sell through the website.

"It occurred to me that the best information was coming from people who had the most dining experience," says Plotnicki, who notes that his current panelists have eaten at an average of 125 of the world's best restaurants.

By using one panel overall instead of the collection of mostly local panels that Zagat uses, and by updating his entries frequently instead of once every year or two as do Zagat and Michelin, Plotnicki thinks he has "come up with a better wheel."

Where do you turn for restaurant reviews? Experts or consumers? Share your picks below

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