North American eateries

Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 24. The scale used to be 0 to 10, so restaurants written about before 2012 may have only had their ratings adjusted by formula and not by hand (hence all the 2s, 5s, 8s, etc.) The scale works as follows:

24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16
15 14 13 12 11 10
9 8 7 6 5 4
3 2 1

An asymmetrical 0 to 24 scale may not be intuitive, I realize. But as a rule of thumb: a double-digit score means I liked it, while a single-digit score... less so. Also, as you might expect, scores from many years ago may not be very reliable, so do check the dates.


I'll have a large corn with a side of corn and a glass of corn, please.

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Name Cuisine Address Last update Score
Biaggi'sItalianUtica Ridge & 53rd, Davenport, IA2005-10-1214
This is a branch of what is apparently quite a large chain here in flyover country. I was skeptical but hungry and couldn't quickly find a more promising prospect near my hotel. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised: my bruschetta was very good with large slices of bread, decent tomatoes even in October, unmelted fresh mozzarella and lots of basil; the ravioli appetizer in scallion cream sauce was even better, and the bread pudding with hot white chocolate sauce and strawberries was also a fine choice. I guess this shows that the tide of decent food is bit by bit lifting all boats... nowadays I have had enough exposure to good food that I can't really stand the big chains like the Olive Garden and Chili's and such, but I grew up in suburbia in the 1980s, and I can tell you when restaurants like these started appearing in our shopping centers we greeted them as liberators, because they were such a huge step up from the Burger King and Taco Bell and Denny's. Now fifteen years later you can get a meal that is another standard deviation or two above the Olive Garden even in a strip mall in Davenport, Iowa, and that is very encouraging.
Zingerman's DelicatessenSandwichesDetroit btw 5th/Kingsley, Ann Arbor, MI2006-06-2411
Crazy-expensive grilled sandwiches: for twelve bucks I expected a huge sub, not a square sandwich like I used to find in my lunch bag back in fourth grade. The gourmet food items are similarly overpriced compared to their counterparts in other cities. But all that said, the sandwiches are pretty good.
Anthony's Gourmet PizzaPizzaPackard btw King George/Pine Valley, Ann Arbor, MI2006-06-2311
The stuffed pizza is not as good as Zachary's, or even Giordano's. But it's better than Patxi's. About on par with Little Star, I guess.
The OvenIndian8th & P, Lincoln, NE2005-10-138
The mulligatawny suggested great things to come, but the pureed saag paneer and ketchuppy dal were as mediocre as you'd expect from an Indian restaurant in cowboy country. I was reading some of the clippings out front as I waited for the place to open, and they said pretty much what you might expect: the place caters in large part to people who have come from the coasts for conventions (or, as in my case, because they're going from one coast to another and Nebraska is in the way and this might be the last recognizable food in a long while).

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