Tag Archives: data

The 60 Best Restaurants in West Chester 2017

The following  West Chester area restaurants meet my  statistical threshold for being worth a visit within a 25 minute drive of the borough. They are grouped by category, then sorted by popularity.  Living in West Chester, I’ve been to many of them and can vouch for the list. Where available, I have included links to my reviews. I’ve placed a star next to places I think are worth a special look based on personal experience.


Greyhound Cafe- Malvern
Montesano Brothers- Chester Springs
Il Granaio*– Glen Mills
Carlino’s Specialty Foods*– West Chester
Portabello’s Restaurant- Kennett Square
Antica Italian Restaurant & BYOB– Chadd’s Ford
Pomodoro Pizza & Italian Restaurant-Downingtown
Toninos Pizza & Pasta- Malvern


Taco Maya– Exton
El Limón- Malvern
La Peña Mexicana- Kennett Square
El Tio Mexican Restaurant- Berwyn
Los Sabores De Mexico- West Chester
Real Mexican Kitchen- Glen Mills
El Limón- West Chester


Asuka– West Chester
Tsunami– West Chester
Murasaki- Chester Springs
Okinii Modern Japanese– Downingtown
Bon Bon Sushi*– West Chester
Rai Rai Ramen & Hawaiian BBQ– West Chester
The legendary Bonzilla Burrito at Bon Bon Sushi in West Chester


Amani’s BYOB- Downingtown
Talula’s Table- Kennett Square
Bonu Cafe Express- Exton
Spence on High Street– West Chester
39 West American Bistro– West Chester


Roots Cafe*– West Chester
Market Street Grill*– West Chester
Three Crazy Ladies- Malvern
Julie Anne’s Place- Malvern
The Black Cat Cafe- Devon
Cafe Americana- Kennett Square


Byrsa Bistro- Glen Mills
Cedars Cafe- Frazer
Fattoush- Malvern
Zoes Kitchen – Glen Mills
Kaboburritos- Kennett Square
La Madera Bistro-Kennett Square


Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana- Concordville
Venice Pizza & Pasta- Malvern
Anthony’s Cucina Fresca- Downingtown
MOD Pizza- Glen Mills
Giorgio’s Pizza & Subs- Exton
Gyro from Opa! Opa! West Chester Pa


La Baguette Magique– West Chester
Yori’s Church Street Bakery- West Chester
Big Bad Wolf Barbeque BBQ- Aston
Malvern Buttery- Malvern
Pour Richard’s Coffee Co- Devon
Cajun Kate’s*– Boothwyn
Da Shin Bistro- Media
Lemon Tree Asian Restaurant– Chester Springs
Philter- Kennett Square
Coffee & Tea
Purebread Deli- Glen Mills
Opa! Opa!*– West Chester
Mi Pais– Malvern
Manam Indian Cuisine- Malvern
Delco’s Original Steaks & Hoagies- Chadd’s Ford
Raw Can Roll Cafe- Wayne


The Best Restaurant Rating Site: Yelp vs. Google vs. Facebook

Rating the Rater

This past week I wrote my 500th Yelp review. With little fanfare, in my own bizarre celebration, I decided to model a predictive algorithm for my rating of any given restaurant based on existing online reviews. For example, I would want to be able to say that my Yelp rating will be the general Yelp rating*.9+.1*the general Google rating. I had been planning this for a while because I choose a lot of restaurants for myself and others. Even a slight improvement in my picking would mean a couple more enjoyable restaurant experiences per month. The time seemed right with my personal rating dataset at 500. This algorithm I describe is, albeit simple, tailored to my tastes and ratings history. It will not necessarily match your tastes. My goal was to see how Yelp, Google, and Facebook did at recommending me restaurants. I learned a few things about online ratings. I will change how I approach the way I choose restaurants.

My Hypotheses

  1. Yelp’s predictive power could be improved by consulting Google and Facebook.
  2. Very popular places would be worse because they were “touristy” or too crowded.

Gathering the Data

I sent my Yelp profile through Upwork.com to a virtual assistant for gathering the necessary data. He gathered Yelp, Google, and Facebook ratings for each of the 500 restaurants I visited over the past 3 years. It took him two weeks’ by calendar (not nearly 80 hours) to get this data into a spreadsheet. With the spreadsheet, I was able to begin analyzing my ratings and their comparison to the general web consensi on Yelp, Google and Facebook.

Analyzing the Data

My median rating on Yelp is a 4.  The median general rating for those restaurants is a 4.25 on Yelp, 4.5 on Google, and 4.7 on Facebook. These site’s rate restaurants progressively higher. Practically this means, on average,  a 4.7 on Facebook is a 4.25 on Yelp and a 4.5 on Google. I rate restaurants more harshly than any of the sites analyzed.

Takeaway: Be less impressed with high scores on Facebook than on Google. Be even more with high scores on Yelp.

Developing a Prediction Model

I first analyzed this dataset myself with a free Mac data analysis program called Gertl as well as the Solver add-in on Excel.  This allowed me to see how strongly correlated my scores were to the general Yelp, Google, and Facebook scores. The strongest correlators with my restaurant ratings were Yelp rating (r=.9) and Facebook rating (r=.8). This means that 89% of changes in my rating can be explained by the general Yelp rating and 64% can be explained by the Facebook rating.

Preliminary Takeaways: Yelp is the best predictor of my restaurant ratings. It alone is better than any combined Yelp/Facebook/Google aggregate rating. Facebook is the second best predictor. Google was not statistically reliable. 

Improving the Model

I looked for a more technically skilled assistant to help me build a predictive model beyond these insights. I found a Ph.d in Financial Modeling from France to help me out. Because he asked too much money for the assignment, I told him I didn’t want the contract. In response, he solved the problem for me FOR FREE. He ran several regression models and found a simple solution. His model was slightly better than mine [mine was to use a simple linearly adjusted Yelp rating(yelpscore*8.899=myyelpprediction)]. He found the best predictor of my restaurant rating was to use Excel’s “trunc” function on the general Yelp rating. “Truncate” removes the decimal from a number (4.5 becomes 4, 3.5 becomes 3). With his model, 86% of the predictions fall within 1 of my actual rating (and it gets it right 36%). That is 9% closer than using the actual Yelp rating (which only gets it EXACTLY right 15% of the time) and 6% closer than just guessing a 4 (which gets it EXACTLY right 34% of the time).

Takeaway: The Truncated Yelp score is the best predictor of my actual Yelp restaurant rating. 

How to Pick Restaurants?

I haven’t learning a ton from this exercise. The models I found only marginally improve the predictive power of Yelp’s provided ratings. I suspect all the variations in my analysis are significantly better than randomly eating at a restaurant, except maybe Google.

  1. Yelp is much better than any other site at predicting how much I’ll enjoy a restaurant. The truncated Yelp score is particularly powerful. (Hypothesis 1 above disproven)
  2. The number of reviews a place has on any platform (except when less than the Yelp reviews are <25, when Facebook is a better predictor, probably because Facebook has a larger sample size) is irrelevant to my rating. I had thought that super popular or unknown places were best avoided, but this turned out statistically false. (Hypothesis 2 above disproven)
  3. Facebook and Google both give restaurants a higher average score than Yelp (this is partially due to their extra degree of freedom.) This should be taken into account when viewing those sites.
  4. Google ratings were not statistically significant enough to have any correlation to my ratings. I will not use Google for restaurants in the future.


15 Lesser Known NYC Pricey Restaurants Worth Your Attention

List Methodology

The following 15 restaurants in NYC meet my Yelp data criteria for being lesser known and worth trying. These are the publicly accessible  (private clubs were excluded) restaurants in NYC with $$$$ price, 4.5+ rating, between 40 and 100 reviewers. I haven’t been to any of them, but based on my experience sifting through Yelp and building food tours, these have a very good likelihood of being worth a try.

The value in this list is the ability to discover restaurants that offer new dishes, greater value, and less difficulty in securing reservations. I believe there is some value gained in the feeling of finding a newer place vs. dining at one of NYC’s halo’d fine dining places like Gramercy Tavern or Per Se.

Greenwich Steakhouse, West Village
Aska, Williamsburg
Secchu Yokota, East Village
TEISUI, Flatiron
Sakanaya, Midtown East
L’Appart, Battery Park
Sushi Zo, Greenwich Village
Royal 35 Steakhouse, Midtown East
Rouge Tomate, Chelsea
Sushi Daizen, Long Island City
The Simone, Upper East Side
ZZ’s Clam Bar, Greenwich Village
Benjamin Prime, Midtown East
15 Fox Place, Jersey City
Sushi Inoue, Harlem

Standout meal options

  • The Porterhouse from Greenwich Steakhouse
  • The tasting menu at Secchu Yokota and Teisui
  • Omakase at Sakanaya, Sushi Zo, Sushi Inoue, and Sushi Daizen
  • Venison at Rouge Tomate
  • The duck at The Simone
  • Oysters at ZZ’s Clam Bar