I don't know that I'd lump the word of the professional newspaper or magazine reviewer in with that of the yelper or twitee. Certainly, your experience or my experience at a particular restaurant may be better or worse than that of said reviewer; but I tend to trust the pro a bit more.
Exactly: no matter what site you go to, or what newspaper/blog/Facebook page/Twitter feed you read, the world is littered with reviews that are not going to reflect your experience of the restaurant.
At a minimum the pro is (supposed to) have a baseline of experience in dining out. Maybe do some fact-checking.
For individual Yelp reviews, I wish you could flag them as:
- reviewer has no familiarity with this cuisine/food
- reviewer has totally unrealistic expectations
- reviewer went on opening night and complained that things weren't perfect
- reviewer is a vegetarian/vegan reviewing a steakhouse/meat-centric restaurant
- reviewer is posting a retaliatory negative review because wasn't comped when asked
- reviewer is superficial positive review based only upon attractiveness of wait staff/bartenders
- reviewer is reviewing the wrong restaurant
- reviewer is giving a poor review because they preferred the establishment that used to be in the same space, but closed
A friend calls Yelp "what happens when you give Livejournal users credit cards." Real reviews from real people remind us that real people are often idiots. Not to mention that the default filter is the unexplained "Yelp Sort" where "certain" unfavorable reviews get filtered out.
I use Yelp on my iPhone has a directory as well but I believe the overall star rating affects the order of the search results, especially in less-populated areas.