One of my absolute favorite sites is Yelp-it's great for finding out new places & menu items in your neighborhood. The top reviews for each restaurant or location are often by Yelp Elite-members who seem mysteriously chosen...until now! Here are a few tips:
1. Enjoy the site even if you don't become Yelp Elite-everything I describe below will help you find better recommendations, so why not use them?
2. Write reviews! Of restaurants, hair salons, national monuments you like or dislike! When writing a review, I try to imagine I am talking to a friend. If it's a restaurant, you want to mention what the atmosphere is (is everyone dressed up? do people linger?), menu items you liked, wait service, and anything else that catches your eye. The reviews I have that get rated most useful are often the ones that mention what occasion you would go to this restaurant for...weekend brunch with friends? casual dinner with parents? date night? Be specific!
3. Use the bookmark function. I love this function on Yelp and it's one of its most addicting features. whenever you hear about something, use the bookmark button. Then, under "About Me", you can see your bookmarks, you can filter by city, label, or category. This is great for all those times when you are bored of your current choices! It also can help you filter by location if you are in a slightly unfamiliar part of town.
4. Use the friend option. Once you start reading more reviews, look for people who have similar taste to you in restaurants. Go to restaurants you've already visited, and if you agree with someone's assessment (or like their style), and friend them. Most people on Yelp WILL accept people they haven't met-it isn't as weird as it sounds, I promise! This makes their reviews go to the top whenever you visit new places.
5. On your profile home, comment on "talk" and respond to discussions. Help someone out finding the perfect place for their 21st or their wedding rehearsal, or tell everyone your favorite Philly cheesesteak restaurant.
If you love reviewing, and reading other people's reviews, don't be too surprised if you find yourself nominated for Yelp Elite :) I hope this helps and I'd be happy to answer any questions in the comments!