Tom Sietsema’s ratings code

Stars Key

Ratings are based primarily on food quality but take into account service and ambiance. Restaurants that earn no stars are rated poor.

* (one star) Satisfactory

Restaurants that are useful to know about if you are nearby; they may have only a few dishes or a single quality, such as a view or atmosphere, to distinguish them.

** (two stars) Good

Restaurants with generally appealing cooking, service and settings; they tend to be worth driving across town for.

* * * (three stars) Excellent

Rewarding destinations, no matter where you’re coming from; they typically blend high-quality cooking with the environs.

* * * * (four stars) Superlative

An unsurpassed dining experience; these restaurants do what they do extraordinarily well.

Decibels key:

Quiet: Under 60 decibels

Conversation is easy: 60-70 decibels

Must speak with raised voice: 71-80 decibels

Extremely loud: Over 80 decibels

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