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7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Restaurant

Updated on December 10, 2016
Restaurant in Sicily
Restaurant in Sicily | Source

How Do You Choose a Restaurant?

How do you choose a restaurant? Will the occasion itself shape your choice. Or, is food a major factor? Aren't service, ambiance and location important too? Or, do you go for Michelin stars? When you take the time to choose, oftentimes you are rewarded with a great gastronomic experience built around the ambiance of the restaurant and the attitude of the staff serving you.

In choosing a restaurant, one faces many considerations. Word of mouth or reviews are useful. They give you an idea of what the restaurant is like. Especially from people who had been to this place several times. That would be a vote for the restaurant.

But why not take the risk and try out something new each time? This, too, could result in gastronomic surprises.

Criteria in Choosing a Restaurant - What is your top criteria?

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Best Guide in Choosing a Restaurant

Sometimes, all we want to do is get a table and eat. But once in a while, to make of our eating out an experience is quite enjoyable. Some of us know exactly what to look for. But for those who have not much clue in making your restaurant visit a memory to cherish, here are some tips:

1. Location of the Restaurant

Choose a Restaurant you can walk to. When you want to have a great time, driving afterwards can pose a real problem. So, get a restaurant that is close by where you can easily walk or where it is easy to get a cab. Another fifty bucks for a cab to go to a restaurant adds unnecessary expense. Of course, it is different when the location is truly superb: a lake, seaside, riverside or a spectacular view of the mountain or an architectural gem.

A Neighbourhood Restaurant?

Beautiful Restaurant in Istanbul
Beautiful Restaurant in Istanbul | Source

In choosing a restaurant, what is your top criteria?

Here's a list of criteria in choosing a restaurant. If you don't find your top criteria in the list, please add in the comments.

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2. Ambiance Matters

Sometimes, the restaurant may be beautiful but the d├ęcor is not to your taste. It jars your senses. Go to a place where you enjoy the general atmosphere. Do they play music? How loudly? Check out the people who go to the restaurant. If you find it pleasant to be around these people as you eat your dinner, then go book a table. Maybe, a specific table away from the kitchen doors and not under the air conditioner.

Sometimes, you have to work when you're in a restaurant. For meetings where you need to discuss serious deals, go for restaurants that have private rooms.

Mood, Music, and Art in the Restaurant

Sicilian Restaurant
Sicilian Restaurant | Source

3. Particular Cuisine Paired with the Right Wine

There are evenings when you just want a particular cuisine. And if that restaurant is the only one available where you live, there is really not much choice. After coming back from Asia, many folks just go for that big chunk of beef. The revenge of the tidbits, they say. Other evenings, the menu has to be titillating to your taste buds. Especially when the restaurants are all clustered in an area and you have choices.

The wine list is also important. In some restaurants, the wine list consists of highly priced bottles of 6 wines all from France. Or overpriced bottles from you don't know where. But often, there are two or three choices for a particular cuisine. Check out if their chef comes from the country where that cuisine is from. You are more likely to get the real thing and not the stylized version of it. There is nothing wrong about stylized cuisine as some of the real ones are hard to take anyway.

The World's Best Restaurants?

This video showcases the latest on the best restaurants in the world. What is best for one may not be for another. We have different preference especially for food. So, go for what is best for you. But in case you're curious as to the latest trend, view this video.

Source

4. Choose a restaurant that gives good value

Price matters when you choose

When you are bringing a big group, look for one that will give you value for your money. This does not mean being cheap but getting a good meal that you feel happy about paying. You are satisfied for what you get.

As an example in Thailand, why would I pay $25 for a Pad Thai that tastes average in a restaurant when I can but a better tasting one in the street for a dollar?

5. Good service

Want good service in a restaurant? Don't just expect it. Make it happen. When you find a restaurant you like, befriend the waiters and waitresses. Treat them kindly as you would treat your own friends and you will find that you will get great service all the time.

Sometimes, these waiters are super busy and you demand a hundred things. When you see them carrying many things to your table, be helpful. Give them space to put it. Take some of the things that are hard for them to place on some sides of your table. These may be little things but when you help them, they will go out of their way to make sure you are served properly. Over and beyond this, of course, are restaurants with impeccable service no matter who you are.

Service in a Restaurant - Give the best to the customer

World Cuisine in Restaurant
World Cuisine in Restaurant | Source

Do you enjoy good service in restaurants? - How much do you appreciate this?

How much do you tip for good service in restaurants?

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6. Hygiene in the restaurant

Check out the washroom

You may just want to check out the restaurant before you decide to book a table. Have a drink first and check out the place. Go use the washroom.

This is my friend's standard procedure. Use the bathroom and when it is clean, chances are hygiene standards are followed in the restaurant.

7. Tried and tested restaurants

For big events, this is my criteria

However, for big events it is always helpful to go to places you have tried and tested. You are better able to focus on the evening when the place is familiar and where the staff know you. You can make recommendations, you know the wine list, and you are familiar with the way things are done. You don't have many things to worry about. Just enjoy the meal and the experience of good service and a happy environment.

Even for just a regular going out, there is comfort in places you know. Every Saturday, we go to FCC, a riverside restaurant here in Cambodia. We had been doing this for years so we have attended weddings of staff, we know their kids and families and their desires and dreams. We actually go back to get updates. Here, we can ask for what we want to eat even if it is not on the menu. Comfort food. How can it be better than this?

My Recent Restaurant Experience

Sometimes, I Luck Out

Last night was one of those perfect moment in dining, when the wine is great and not over priced, the food is well prepared and presented, the ambiance is perfect, not loud and the diners were sedate. The chef went around asking each table how they find the food. The servers were all attentive just at the right time without disturbing our own conversation. We were very happy. To top it all, they had a promotion that if your bill reaches a certain amount, you get a free stay with breakfast for two in their newly opened hotel which is at present the top hotel in the city. You can even gift this to your family or friends. What a bargain and a great value for money.

That was not the highlight of what we got. We decided for this restaurant because of a news item that they have for this week, the Michelin chef, Eric Maio, cooking dinner. We called up a friend and trooped there. We have not been to the hotel before as it just opened and we were impressed but the lamb my husband had was perfect. My pigeon had this heavenly crust and the pigeon is the most tender and juicy I have ever eaten and all the other accoutriments were tasty and different that we got some ideas, too. It is seldom to have this restaurant experience.

Leave your comments or share your own favourite restaurant stories - Or more advice for readers on how to choose a restaurant

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    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 3 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      for me taste and hygiene are very important. thanks for an interesting share

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I love to try new restaurants, but I also have my favorites.

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 4 years ago

      Great lens. I like going to restaurants with good food, nice ambiance, and good service too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Always take a step back and watch the servers, dishes coming out to patrons and the faces of the diners. A lot can be told about the establishment from this exercise.

      www.blog.epiconcierge.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love restaurants with friendly staff, good ambiance and quality of food. Of course location plays a major role too.

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 4 years ago

      I often choose restaurants based on ambiance, service and good food. Great lens.

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 5 years ago

      Great tips on choosing a restaurant.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I was a server in my 20's while in college, so I look for good service and good food (prepared in a healthy way). I often ask specifics about how the food is prepared.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice tips and unique topic. Liked!

      Thanks so much for your support and blessing my "Top 10 Most Favorite Foods of Filipinos for Christmas Eve (Noche Buena)" lens.

      As a token of appreciation, I have featured your this lens on my "Top 10 Pinoy New Year's Resolutions "lens.

      Hope you'll like it, too.

      Blessings,

      Amieljaven

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      We usually go for value for money in a restaurant. Unfortunately we can't afford fine dining, but so many of those places leave you still hungry when you come out. I think I have only tipped more than 15% on several occasions, and then it was when service was exceptions. I can't imagine tipping 60% or more.

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