The article aims to, first, critically assess the idea and practice of deliberative democracy and, second, find it a proper place in the democratic theory. I start with defining the concept as it emerges from the works of some of its most prominent proponents (such as Fishkin, Cohen or Habermas), reiterating several of the important arguments in support of it. I then present various criticisms of deliberative democracy, regarding philosophical assumptions that inform it (the idea of common good, the conditions of rational deliberation etc.) and its modus operandi (its alleged procedural superiority over aggregative methods). I then off er further criticism of deliberative democracy as a model of democracy, an alternative to the dominant model of representative democracy, arguing from its ineff ectiveness in influencing political decisions. Instead, in the final section, I propose to establish deliberation as one of the two criteria of classifi cation and assessment of democratic systems, thus restoring its importance in the democratic theory.