After landing on a popular restaurant rankings list for several consecutive years – including a San Diego food truck ranked No. 1 last year – not a single San Diego restaurant made the cut on Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in 2021.”
Yelp released its rankings Thursday here.
Absent from the list: any restaurants from San Diego County, a bit of a surprise since local eateries have landed on the list for the last few years -- and even topped it.
Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in 2020” gave top honors to the Shawarma Guys, a food truck based in San Diego’s South Park community. Two other local spots landed on last year’s list, too: Soichi Sushi and Mr. Bibi. In 2019, six restaurants in San Diego County landed on Yelp’s Top 100 list. Six local restaurants made the cut in 2018, too.
Now, typically, Yelp’s annual list highlights delicious dining destinations across the nation based on reviews from Yelp users, including both ratings and the number of reviews over the past year. The list is then curated “with the expertise of our community managers around the country to finalize the rankings,” a Yelp spokesperson told NBC 7 last year.
This year, the methodology was a bit different.
A public relations rep for Yelp said Thursday the list started with “Yelper nominations,” so it’s possible San Diego eateries weren’t nominated enough to make the Top 100.
“To determine the list, Yelp asked Yelpers to nominate their favorite restaurants, resulting in thousands of suggestions from the Yelp community,” the PR spokesperson explained Thursday via email. “Next, Yelp’s data science team used the data generated from the community submissions and then narrowed down the list with the expertise of our community managers and Trend Expert to curate a list as quirky, interesting and unique as the Yelp Community itself.”
According to Yelp’s methodology, Yelp asked Yelpers to nominate restaurants “they can’t wait to return to in 2021.” Then, came the data analysis to “determine the top restaurants by ratings, number of reviews, and volume of submissions, with geographic representation based on equal share of submissions of top-rated restaurants nationally.”
So, according to Yelp’s methodology, the top 10 places to eat in the U.S. on Yelp’s Top 100 list are:
Top 100 Places to Eat for 2021
- Kelley Farm Kitchen - Harpers Ferry, WV
- Mazra - San Bruno, CA
- Local Expedition Wood Fired Grill - Alpharetta, GA
- Heat Da Spot - Washington, DC
- Simon’s Hot Dogs - Scottsdale, AZ
- Arun’s Indian Kitchen - Coral Springs, FL
- Halls Chophouse - Charleton, SC
- 1618 Asian Fusion - Austin, TX
- Intentional Food Cafe and Market - Mesa, AZ
- Enat Ethiopian Restaurant - Charlotte, NC
You can see the full list here.
According to Yelp, nearly all of the eateries on the 2021 list are new to the list and priced at under $30 per person. Nearly half identify as vegan or provide vegan options on their menus. Yelp also said mentions of plant-based in reviews were up 26% in 2020.
"This year's list was driven by submissions from our community. Just because a business ranks differently doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not as favored - it just means other businesses are getting attention from the Yelp community, too," a Yelp spokesperson added. "Keep in mind there are more than 30 million small businesses in the US. We’re highlighting just 100 restaurants with this list, but there are millions more amazing businesses on Yelp!"
Listen/subscribe to the Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater Podcast to get the latest local lifestyle stories and news from our local food and drink scene. As we continue to adjust to life in the coronavirus pandemic, the way we enjoy our city has changed. We’ll keep you up to speed on those changes as it impacts the things to do during your downtime in San Diego. Tap here to find Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater wherever you listen to podcasts.