One easily accessible parameter is the number of restaurants by city under Trip Advisor which might be considered a proxy for the vibrancy of a particular city. This is of course a completely non scientific approach as a kebab stand or even a garden shed can be listed as important as a Michelin starred restaurant. Nevertheless it has been argued by the economist David McWilliams that it can be used as a measure, no matter how imperfect as a proxy for economic vibrancy. I looked at major cities in Britain and Ireland and the results whilst broadly as expected threw up some surprises.
Before searching, knowing the comparative economic size, I had suspected London to be easily in pole position followed by Dublin, with Manchester and Birmingham vying closely for 3rd place. A number of things however were surprising.
- How far London was ahead. I had expected London to be about a factor of about five times greater than Dublin/Birmingham/Manchester but it is ahead by nearly a factor of ten.
- The strength of the Scottish Cities; both Edinburgh and Glasgow are up there with the big boys with Glasgow in no. 3 position and Edinburgh in no. 5.
- How far Derry/Londonderry is behind both Limerick and Galway; the two cities in Ireland with very similar populations.
Of course as the population of Britain is about ten times that of Ireland there are many smaller cities and even large town in Britain which will exceed Derry’s modest listing of 142 resturants. Nevertheless I can recommend Derry restaurant Mamma Masalla an Indian restaurant which also did pizza, much to the delight of my then 12 year old boy when I was there last Easter.
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Table 1 Restaurants listed On TripAdvisor Britain/Ireland.