I’ve been busy tagging articles and blog posts about restaurants (and other businesses and anything to do with Fitzroy and the nearby area) in the Fitzroyalty bookmarks on del.icio.us. I’m doing this for two reasons: first to build a flexible and easy to browse index of reviews for the public to use, and second to be able to start mining the data it generates.
Why use del.icio.us? Because it is convenient: why build my own database when there is a really great one freely available online that many people know how to use? My purpose is to make this database of Fitzroy restaurant reviews available for everyone to use and eventually to add to.
This index of Fitzroy restaurant reviews (and other Fitzroy related articles and blog posts) is necessarily incomplete; Google is great but far from perfect in finding content based on keyword searches. I also must note that I have not included short reviews in the ever increasing number of cloned commercial review sites, where the spam ads on the pages exceed the review space. Only genuine blog reviews (including my own) and newspaper articles count here. So what is the most blogged about restaurant in Fitzroy?
It is The Commoner with 15 reviews. Second is Birdman Eating with 11 reviews. Both have an indescribable charm and their own sense of style. Third is a three way tie between the Napier Hotel, the Moroccan Soup Bar and the Vegie Bar (both vegetarian), who each have 10 reviews.
Fitzroy is one of the best areas in Melbourne for vegetarian food and many bloggers are passionate about it. The Napier was helped significantly by the reputation of its Bogan Burger (which quickly became legendary despite being completely unsuitable for vegetarians).
Indexing blog reviews in del.icio.us allows me (and everyone else) to see what places are popular with bloggers, and to consider what their experiences tell us about these places. Popularity with bloggers does not necessarily mean popularity with the public in general, so I am not going to make any significant claims about the data I have gathered so far. At best it says something about which places are currently fashionable.
Each of the these places is always full, and getting in without a booking can be difficult. In the case of the Moroccan Soup Bar, which does not take bookings, getting in is best done as a couple (the bigger the party the harder it is to get a table), by arriving early and by spending time lounging about in the nearby gorgeous Deco Bar waiting for a table to become available.
This study is made possible by the many dedicated Melbourne food bloggers and their fabulous publications. The very best are indexed in the right column of the Fitzroyalty homepage as well as del.icio.us. View the complete list for yourself to see how many reviews your favourite place has. If you want me to add reviews, post a comment here containing the URLs.