My husband and I love trying out dishes in restaurants, something we can’t do better at home, so we choose a restaurant based on this.
How do you choose a restaurant? Will the occasion itself shape your choice? Or, is food a major factor? Aren’t service, ambience and location important, too? Or, do you go for Michelin stars? Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have our reasons for choosing a restaurant.
When you take the time to choose, oftentimes, you are rewarded with a great gastronomic experience built around the ambience of the restaurant and the attitude of the staff serving you.
In choosing a restaurant, one faces many considerations. Word of mouth or reviews is 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.
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 to a great restaurant experience.
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 50 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. But food must be excellent to enjoy a $50 cab ride value.
Sometimes, the restaurant may be beautiful but the décor 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 to restaurants that have private rooms.
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 six 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.
This video showcases the latest culinary trends you must try in restaurants. What is the latest for one may not be for another. We have a 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.
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 buy a better tasting one in the street for a dollar?
Or, in Hanoi, the street restaurants offer local food that are more tasty than in fancy restaurants.
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 place 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.
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.
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 and the staff knows 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?
Last night was one of those perfect moments in dining, when the wine was great and not over priced, the food well prepared and presented, the ambience was 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 accoutrements were tasty and different that we got some ideas, too. It is seldom to have this restaurant experience.
With the COVID lockdown, most of our favorite restaurants only offer delivery. Most of us, even though some restaurants have opened, we still stick to the delivery option. It is interesting to note here that recent studies have shown different age groups’ behavior to restaurant delivery. Particularly interesting to restaurants who want to enhance their food delivery options are the insights on a survey made by Revenue Management Solutions. The July 2020 results compared to May 2020 :
If you’re finding a good coastal restaurant just contact us for more information.