In my early years as a New Yorker, I had a huge issue keeping track of all of the different restaurants I had been to - where I had eaten, where I'd like to go again, and where I didn't like so much.
This really frustrated me because every time I wanted to return to a good restaurant, I had no idea where it was or the name of the restaurant. I also started feeling embarrassed because my out-of-town friends would visit the city and ask me for restaurant recommendations, and I was usually speechless...because I couldn't remember.
I had lived in NYC for two years at that point, but to the outside world and sometimes myself, it didn't seem like I knew anything about the city.
Enter Restaurant Spreadsheet
As a result of my frustration, I decided to create a spreadsheet (of course) that organized all of the restaurants I'd been to, by cuisine, and ranked them from my favorite to least favorite. I also included a section that tracked what restaurants I wanted to go to based on recommendations from friends, NY Magazine, Eater, etc.
What I like about the spreadsheet is it allows me to get a good overview of all the restaurants I've been to and the ones I still want to hit. On any given day, if I'm looking for a restaurant for myself, I can think about what 2-3 cuisines I happen to be craving that day and then go to my trusty spreadsheet and take a look at those columns to get a sense of where I may want to go.
Though the list looks pretty big, since I've been to all of the restaurants on the "Where I've Eaten" list, I can weed out restaurants pretty quickly based on rank, location, and price. When friends or colleagues ask me for restaurant recommendations, I just ask them if they have a preference for cuisine, location, and price range. A quick glance at my restaurant spreadsheet is all it takes to give a couple of good recommendations.
So take a look at my NYC Restaurant spreadsheet for yourself and feel free to use it as a template for your own restaurant spreadsheet or even to get ideas for new restaurants to hit. Happy eating!