How Our Reviews are Scored
Since dinner places and those that close before the dinner hour are very different dining experiences, we use different ratings symbols to avoid implying a one-to-one comparison. Each symbol has its own unique tie to Sausalito history and culture.
We use a One to Ten "Sea Lion" system to rate dinner restaurants and hotels, where 10 Sea Lions is the highest possible score.
The Al Sybrian statue of a Sea Lion that graces the edge of the Bay alongside Bridgeway in Sausalito is an enduring symbol of the city (although the sea gulls love it as a resting place!)
The elephant statues that guard Vina del Mar Park in downtown Sausalito were created for the 1915 world's fair held in San Francisco celebrating the City's rebirth from the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. When the fair ended and the exhibits were demolished the elephants came to Sausalito, and they've been a symbol of the city ever since.
Note: We are not going to award any 10 Sea Lion or 10 Elephant reviews until at least November, 2009 (one year after our launch), so we can repeatedly review 60+ restaurants and hotels and balance the ratings system. For now, "9 Sea Lions" or "9 Elephants" is the highest rating.
"5 Sea Lions" or "5 Elephants" would be the average score for a restaurant or hotel anywhere in the country. You'll see that a solid majority of Sausalito restaurants and hotels are Above Average compared to the experiences you'd typically have in towns and cities across America. This is a very competitive market, and the places that survive have proven the value they offer to visitors.
This rating system is not like the 5-star polls where most places score between 3.0 and 4.2, and every decimal point seems to matter. In our opinion:
8 to 10 Sea Lion places range from very good to totally outstanding.
6 to 7 Sea Lion places are good and are recommended.
5 Sea Lions is the National Average in our scale.
3 to 4 Sea Lions: we think the place offers a below-average experience.
1 to 2 Sea Lions: we do not recommend this place at this time.
Our dining reviews are intended to rate many kinds of places, not just high-end restaurants. If people (including us) line up at a little diner and then rave about the experience, we'll give that place a great review. Same for a fabulous breakfast joint or the area's best burger place for lunch.
Sometimes our reviews will disagree with the Online Experience IndexTM for Best Restaurants and Best Hotels that we prepare each month using comprehensive online surveys. We always give you both the consensus of online opinion and our own personal views, so you get to decide what's relevant.
Sausalito restaurants that earned our top review scores.
Our online surveys on the top restaurants in Sausalito.
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