TripAdvisor on trial: Ronda

LAST UPDATED: 27 Aug, 2012 @ 20:46
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TripAdvisor on trial: Ronda

By Eloise Horsfield

AT first glance of TripAdvisor’s top fives for Ronda, perhaps most surprising is that two extremely new restaurants (Meson El Sacristan and De Locos Tapas) come in tops – pushing stalwarts Almocabar and Traga Tapas into fourth and fifth position.

Yet number one restaurant De Locos Tapas – unbelievably also currently Number One for the whole of Andalucia – has only been operating for a few months.

Our reviewers agreed that while it is a pleasant spot with some of Ronda’s more adventurous food, the service is somewhat chaotic and it certainly does not deserve to come above well-established Almocabar and Traga Tapas, who top our poll.

Even its experienced chef/owner, from the culinary capital Bilbao, expressed disbelief at his restaurant’s first-place spot.

“Let’s just see if I can keep myself up there for a year,” he exclaimed.

It is also a surprise to see three-month-old Meson El Sacristan coming in at Number Two – especially when you consider it only has 16 reviews compared to Almocabar’s 86. Fourth and fifth Almocabar and Traga Tapas meanwhile are well established on a large number of websites including Lonely Planet and Rough Guide which list Almocabar in their top two.

Meanwhile local foodies Rodrigo Ashorn, a hotelier, and Vicente Vives, a tennis professional, believe that Traga Tapas, whose chef Benito has experience at some of Spain’s top restaurants, should be at the top.

Vives describes it as having the ‘best atmosphere in Ronda’, while Ashorn praises its ‘first-class ingredients’.

Another downfall of TripAdvisor seems to be its failure to categorise establishments in a systematic way geographically.

For example Andy Chapell’s hotel and restaurant Molino del Santo in nearby Benaojan is listed as the second best restaurant in Cadiz province, despite actually being in Malaga province – and very near Ronda.

He said: “As a hotelier I am very grateful for what TripAdvisor does for us. It has certainly brought us many thousands of euros worth of business as we are so highly rated.

“But it’s very random geographically. Hotels that are not in Ronda get listed under Ronda and some that are nearby get placed in their respective villages.

“Also there is no attempt to distinguish between very different dining experiences and the price being charged. “Tapas restaurants cannot be compared with full-blown restaurants.

“Users of TripAdvisor need to be aware that it is not totally reliable – you may miss some gems if you only scratch the surface.”

Another well-placed critic, wine expert Fernando Angulo of Placer Ego wine shop, rated Bar Los Cantaros for its pigs trotters and Bar La Reja for its tripe.

However, neither of these even features within TripAdvisor’s 96 restaurants for Ronda…although surprisingly the fast food chain Telepizza does, sitting proudly at number 39.

It all goes to highlight the fact that it is really the locals who are the best authority for proper Spanish food.

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According to TripAdvisor

5 Top Restaurants in Ronda:
1. De Locos Tapas
2. Meson El Sacristan
3. Puerta Grande
4. Almocabar
5. Traga Tapas

5 Top Hotels in Ronda:
1. Fuente de la Higuera
2. Hotel Ronda
3. Hotel Alavera de los Banos
4. Arriadh Hotel
5. Hotel San Gabriel

According to the Olive Press

5 Top Restaurants in Ronda:
1. Almocobar
2. Traga Tapas
3. Carmen la de Ronda
4. Pedro Romero
5. Casa Santa Pola/ El Porton

5 Top Hotels in Ronda:
1. Fuente de la Higuera
2. Hotel San Gabriel
3. Molino del Arco
4. Hotel Alavera de los Banos
5. Hotel En Frente Arte/ La Cazalla

7 COMMENTS

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  1. The article simply reasserts the worn contention that a few elite reviewers know better than actual customers of the establishments in question. That a traveler can consider both the usual guidebook suggestions, and the sometimes surprising finds of actual travelers is never considered. In addition, the top lists on TripAdvisor are starting points that include all types and levels of highly rated establishments – which is why a pizza place can appear in the company of higher end restaurants. There are a myriad of filters available to users that refine the lists by cost, cuisine etc. if you only want to see, for example, the highest rated high end restaurants you can accomplish this with one additional click. It baffles me why the press takes such glee in bashing such an incredibly useful resource.

  2. Good reporting. I believe Trip Advisor is waning as an influencer as more social media outlets gain followings. They are surpassed today by Yelp, Twitter and Google (now owns Zagats) review sites. An adjacent issue not fully explored is how many local businesses hire people to write fake reviews on trip advisor. This games the system. It also is a rampant practice. Sidebar. One well-known Ronda english blog will write a story about your biz for money. These gray areas are pay-to-play promotions, but it is never made clear to reader that this is a paid promotion or paid advert.

  3. I partly agree with your story but not complete….. Tripadvisor is only used by internetminded people and not foodlovers….

    Therefore if you are in a tourist place AND you are active on the internet you are rewarded by many more visitors then when you are not… As soon you have some positive reviews this will attract more people which are already influenced…..

    Also If I read some reviews people are not totally happy with a restaurant but the points are 4 out of 5… Some say for example about Almocabar that it is overprised and not the best food they had BUT the service and how the customers feels at home give extra points..

    In the case of Locos Tapas. I happend to be there after 2 days when he started. I did not know but the place is nice so that invites people to sit there. The Tapas are very good ( much more better then many others in Ronda ) AND very important the owner is VERY active on facebook… Al his customers are on the picture with him and on the web, the people are happy and share the picture. They liked the food and because there are as “family” when they are there they put it on the web. Traga Tapas for example is not really on the web, at facebook they posted something 8 months ago….. This has a huge influence. Yes they are in the most busy tourist street in Ronda, therefore the have people. The food is not bad…. BUT I personally find it over rated… Also Faustino is not really good, BUT the atmosfere makes the points go up.. Pedro Romero I do not like at all. etc etc.

    So you see, it is all about opinions, we alle have one but….

    If I would put a tapas bar or whatever business related to people I would spent also energy and effort in being visible on the web. That really helps.

  4. Looking at Trip advisor , specific in the example of locos tapas has it mostly negative reviews in Spanish from reviewers who have or NO other review or a second one which gives a super review to an other Ronda bar…. that is not really reliable.

    But as always once should look at the average of most reviews not at the one very good or very bad one…..

    again in the case of Locos , of almost 800 revieuws to have mostly very good reviews must mean that it at least is the effort to see for once self if they have reason… ;-)

    But still, this year a super place can be different next year… In al the years i am visiting Andalucia and especially Ronda i have seen how some bars still have good quality and other went bad…. This will never change, everywhere on the world….

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