Websites like Yelp! have empowered the everyday eater to become their local neighborhood's New York Times food critic, praising and damning behind the anonymity of a computer screen.
Some peeved restaurateurs have argued Yelp! is little more than a "forum for the uninformed," a digitally-savvy clan of unsophisticated palates with little-to-no culinary education.
True or not, the reviews listed on the website unquestionably impact popular perception. Will you dine at a place one newspaper critic gave a dazzling review to if the same restaurant was scorned by the unwashed masses? Maybe. Maybe not.
So how does the average joe rank the many restaurants in Ridgewood and Glen Rock?
Based on Yelp!'s star ranking, we countdown from #5 down to #1 on Italian fare. We'll break down Yelp! rankings of other Ridgewood and Glen Rock restaurants by cuisine over the coming days. So stay tuned.
Many of the restaurants accrued the same star rating, so in the case of ties the restaurant with the greater number of reviews is ranked higher. A minimum of five reviews is required to qualify.
5. A Mano, 3.5 stars, 64 reviews
"Having lived in Naples, I know what Neapolitan pizza should be," said CO of Allendale. "The pizza here is it. If you like this style of pizza, this is as good as it gets in North Jersey."
4. Francesca's, 4 stars, 10 reviews
"Everything is delicious and authentic here," said Lorena L., of San Diego. "They believe in using only fresh ingredients and make everything on premises daily. Their menu isn't like others since they use their family's recipes from Sicily."
3. La Lanterna 4 stars, 13 reviews
"Favorite local restaurant," wrote Lisa V, of Glen Rock. "Fresh and delicious food. Ask for the 'original room' for perfect atmosphere!"
2. Pasta e Pollo, 4 stars, 16 reviews
"Love this place!" wrote Glen Rock's George W. "Cozy little restaurant with fantastic food! For some reason a lot of locals overlook this gem. If you are looking for a great tasting, filling meal, this is the place for you. Portions our very generous, so it is quite likely you will be bringing some to go."
1. La Bottega 4.5 stars, 11 reviews
"Excellent spot," Kevin D. of Westwood commented. "Nice addition to Ridgewood. Stopped in for lunch recently -- great sandwich, service. Place was busy, nice business for a Thursday. Highly recommended."
Do you agree or disagree with the Yelp! top 5 list? RoCCa in 2012 was selected as Patch readers' favorite Italian restaurant, but falls out of the top 5 on Yelp! (It ranks much more highly on Tripadvisor and Opentable.)
Like A Mano, RoCCa, La Piazza, Tre Voci and Osteria La Fiamma also garnered 3.5 stars.