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Using online resources to find local restaurant recommendations

We are lucky to have such a wide variety of restaurants in our area--but how can you choose?

There are positives and negatives with living in Woodbridge (personally I believe that there are way more positives).  One of the great things is that we have a great diversity of restaurants.  Of course, traffic and the high cost of living count as negatives.  So when you choose a restaurant to spend your money and valuable time at, you want some reassurance that you will have a pleasant experience that provides good value for your money.

Many times, that means going to the old reliable restaurant that you've frequented for years or to a chain that promises to provide a consistent experience no matter the location.  Woodbridge has a wealth of chain restaurants, but we all know that quality does vary from location to location.

So, how do you discover new restaurants if you aren't the trailblazing type?

The old method was to rely on restaurant reviews in newspapers.  These resources provide usually professional reviewes and in the case of the Washington Post a searchable dining guide which list their critics' reviews and reader reviews.  Of course, these don't have the ability to review all of the restaurants or to revisit them often enough to reflect changes to levels of service or quality. Especially in the case of the Washington Post, the immensity of the area they cover means that Prince William and Woodbridge restaurants haven't been comprehensively covered.  They have just 22 restaurants in the county and nine in Woodbridge covered.

Of course, they didn't miss Dixie Bones (giving it a Best Bet for barbeque) and Occoquan's Bistro L'Hermitage but we know that we have much more to choose from on our end of the county.

Growing in popularity is the website Yelp.  While well-established in bigger cities, it has finally started to have a lot of entries and reviews in Prince William.  Lots of reviews make it a better resource because all it takes is one person to complain about their experience to give a restaurant a negative review to bring down its overall rating if only two or three people have reviewed it.  You also run the danger of a glowing review being the result of an enthusiastic owner trying to realize their dream of  having a 5-star restaurant. 

Yelp is fun because it reviews all types of restaurants and when you start seeing three or four reviewers mentioning the same great desserts or the same surly bartenders you can assume that their may be a reason to visit or avoid a place you have been curious about. 

Did you know that right here at the Woodbridge Patch we have a directory of restaurants?  Just click on the Directory tab and the choose Food & Dining (which includes take-out and ice cream shops) or Restaurants.  We provide photos, descriptions and information like hours and credit cards accepted.  You can post your own reviews or read the opinion of your fellow Woodbridge Patch readers.  Take a look at the listing for a newish restaurant that I discovered as a result of this Patch, .  If it wasn't for Patch I probably would have driven by and never noticed this little gem.

How do you like to find new restaurants?  Maybe try entering reviews for your favorite spots so that they can flourish and be there to serve the Woodbridge area for years to come. 

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