Until this day I still feel Foursquare’s City Guide is probably one of the best kept secrets in travel. It’s probably the only app to find great places to eat (and to go in general, for that matter) that is still highly reliable. And for some locations important as well, it’s nearly impossible to game its system.
Foursquare used to have an article on its website that explained how their algorithm works, but this has since been removed. On StackExchange we can still read a little bit about it:
It's not magic like they claim, but a combination of all the 4sq metrics: likes, check-ins, tips, loyalty, etc., in order to have a better evaluation algorithm.
Based on this and things I learned about their ranking mechanism in the past, I can share that the most important part is that they don’t just use reviews to rate a location. This is a system that’s well-known to be susceptible to locations gaming the system, as I have seen on Google Maps more than once.
Instead they look at real behavior, like how often do you frequent a place, do you share tips about the location and probably also your experience with a certain “location category”. And this data is reliable, which is why investment firms love this data for stock predictions as well.
When I discover a restaurant on Foursquare with a 9+ rating, I can guarantee you that it will be great! So give it a try and let me know what you think!