Dine.com is a resource of unbiased reviews and information on thousands of restaurants. All the reviews come from visitors to Dine.com - not paid reviewers.
Back in early 1994, Dine.com's founder and recent transplant to California from the Midwest, Andrew Conru, was eager to explore the Bay Area's great restaurants. Uninspired by traditional reviews in the local papers, he started asking his friends about their favorite restaurants. It became clear that each person had their personal opinions on what made a great place to eat.
The idea to create a site that could enable literally thousands of people to share their reviews. In April 1994 Dine.com launched as the Bay Area Restaurant Guide. Other cities were added shortly thereafter.
A key goal of Dine.com is to be able to personally suggest restaurants to you just as if you asked some of your closest friends - friends who know what restaurants you like and dislike. Dine.com became the first website that used a technique called 'collaborative filtering' to predict restaurants based on the relationship between your favorites and other members of Dine.com.
To let Dine.com help you, just become a regular and look for your favorite restaurants. When you find one, click on the button that says something like, "Add this restaurant to your hotlist". Once you create a list of your favorite restaurants, there will be a link to let you view Dine.com's recommendations based on your particular tastes.
How many times have you asked someone for a restaurant suggestion? The first thing someone will ask is, "Well, what type of food do you like?" to be quickly followed up with questions regarding ambiance, price ranges, and other restaurants you like. Then the person may try to match you with restaurants that they have already visited.
That's a little bit how Dine.com works...
A key difference between Dine.com and the way a friend may help is that Dine.com only knows what groups of restaurants people like instead of the reasoning why. While this may seem like just a little bit of information, it's actually remarkably powerful. If a member of Dine.com likes many of the restaurants you like as well as some that you have not yet visited, then it's pretty likely that the others may be of interest to you. The real power of this assumption comes in when we ask everyone in the system to suggest restaurants for you and tally the results.
What this means is that by playing an active role in Dine.com (e.g., posting reviews and listing your favorite restaurants), you are simultaneously improving the quality of the site for everyone! This, to us, reflects the true power of the web.