Eater Maps Methodology
Eater maps, a backbone of Eater, are curated lists aimed at giving readers a tight, inclusive selection of excellent dining options with a variety of cuisines, dishes, and locations. Editors make a deep effort to look beyond the restaurants with large marketing budgets to uncover neighborhood favorites, underrated gems, street food destinations, and more. Though maps draw on the experience of our seasoned editors, they are generally written with a reporter’s sensibility, and are not mini-reviews of restaurants.
Each restaurant on a map is editor-endorsed, and the criteria for selecting map points is holistic, aiming to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, ownership groups, cuisines, and prices. Maps also take into account a restaurant’s standout dishes, beverage selection, overall vibe, and resonance in a community. Key criteria include:
- Neighborhoods: Eater includes restaurants not just in the most “popular” or centrally located neighborhoods, but also in neighborhoods that may typically be overlooked in restaurant lists or that are geographically farther from a city center. Neighborhoods are also a reflection of the communities that live and work there, and Eater strives to have our restaurant picks reflect that unique composition.
- Ownership: Eater aims to spotlight restaurants of varied ownership, including restaurants from big companies, independently owned spots, and local chains. Eater’s best practice is to not include several restaurants from the same ownership group on a single map.
- Cuisines: Many of Eater’s maps reflect a wide range of cuisine offerings. Some maps focus exclusively on compelling options within a specific cuisine in a particular city, such as Filipino or Mexican.
- Price: If the theme allows, our maps reflect a mix of price ranges, from affordable to splurges. Maps focused on a specific category, such as tasting menus or happy hours, will often include specific pricing information when available.
Map points are ordered geographically and not ranked. Eater editors dine out frequently for research purposes; for more on how we approach this, see our ethics statement.
Eater actively seeks pitches from journalists, writers, and other contributors of all backgrounds, especially those whose voices are often underrepresented in media. Freelance writers can pitch map ideas to Eater’s city editors following the guidelines found here.
For maps based in locales which do not have a dedicated Eater editor — international and domestic — Eater prioritizes local contributors over visiting journalists. Such maps typically focus on the essential restaurants in a city, including domestic locations like St. Louis, Phoenix, Denver, and Kansas City, as well as international destinations like Barcelona, Rome, Paris, and Tokyo.
All Eater maps are written by or edited by an Eater staff editor.
Eater updates dozens of maps across cities nationally and internationally each month.
In cities with a dedicated Eater editor on the ground, we update several maps each week, each with a different focus — such as where to find a particular dish, the best restaurant options in each city neighborhood, and the best dining options for a particular holiday. The most regularly updated maps are the Eater 38, which is updated quarterly, and the Heatmap, updated monthly. The Eater 38 is a snapshot of the pillar restaurants that define a city’s dining scene. It reflects a diverse selection of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Restaurants must be open at least six months to be eligible. The Eater Heatmap answers the question, “Where should I eat right now?” and represents the newest, hottest, and buzziest restaurants that have come on the scene recently.
Eater maps are updated on a frequent basis, with publication dates reflecting the most recent update; the byline is the best reflection of the current authorship of a map.