When it comes to visiting a restaurant, there are lots of ideas about what is a sign of a good one and what isn’t. The ultimate sign is, of course, good food but there are other factors that can help tip a visit from an okay one to a good one.
Some people look at external factors before they even step in the door but these can be variable. For instance, if there aren’t a lot of cars in the car park, is this an indicator of a bad restaurant? Not really, it could just be that your visit is at a quieter time or is near public transport so people can have a drink and not use the car.
1. Server promptness
When you first walk into a restaurant, you want someone to acknowledge you as soon as possible. Whether this is to guide you to a table or a waiting area or, if you haven’t booked, tell you how long a wait will be for one, prompt acknowledgment is always a good sign
2. Server knowledge
When you are at your table and start looking at the menu, you may need to ask question about dishes or ingredients. Your server should be knowledgeable but also know when to get a second opinion. For example, if someone has an unusual allergy, it is okay for them to go check with the chef if the dishes are safe for that person. They should also know what is available or not from the items on the menu.
The overall ambience and feel of the restaurant is important and shows thought has gone into its design. Some places can be a little cramped or designed in such a way that the noise level spoils conversation.
4. Clean facilities
Health and safety is a massive area but even just the little details of the bathroom facilities are important. They may be clean to the standard of the law but is it welcoming? Is the water warm? Plenty of soap? Paper towels readily available or other drying materials?
5. Are the free items good quality?
Many places will offer free bread and butter or breadsticks with or before the meal. A sign of a good restaurant is that the free items are as good quality as the things you pay for.
6. Accommodating within reason
There are always people who make outlandish requests and restaurants shouldn’t have to always concede to these but for simple requests such as a sauce on the side or a salad without dressing should be accommodated.
Getting the meal
7. Food arrives together
One very important sign of a good restaurant is that no matter how many are in the party, the food arrives for everyone at the same time. No-one should be left sitting without their meal while others either start without them or sit while their food gets cold
8. Plate temperature
If it is a hot meal, the plate should be hot but if it is a cold meal, then the plate should be the same.
9. Server checks in during the meal to see if there’s anything else you need
While you don’t want to be badgered by your server, an occasional check to see if the meal is okay or if you want anything else is an important part of good service.
10. Plates are cleared but not too quickly
One of the biggest irritations in restaurants is where the plates are either left until the moment before the next course arrives, or are whipped away from you the second the last morsel of food is eaten. The right timing is in the middle.
Do you agree with our list? Let us know your top tips when looking for a great place to eat!