How To Pick A Quality Restaurant

So, we decided to get in touch with one of our correspondents who has over thirty years experience in the New York restaurant business. One of the key ways to become a successful restaurateur is knowing how to check out the opposition – and learn from their mistakes. This guy dines out practically every night of the week and is incredibly picky! So we did a Q&A to find out the basics of what the essentials are to ensure good food and service.

  1. Q) How important is the location?
  2. A) Depends on the cuisine. If you want lobster – a shoreside view will be the best but add a lot to the bill. But if you are looking for a typical meal out for two, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. Yeah, you can find decent Italian places everywhere – but exceptional? Think geography and go where the locals do.
  3. Q) What about the decor and so forth?
  4. A) Crucial but depends on the food. Would you want a tray of hotdogs in a five-star hotel? Put your food and expectations into a context. Avoiding anywhere that may look dingy and cheap can sometimes mean missing out on a gem. Think about the ambiance and what you expect from the establishment.
  5. How To Pick A Quality RestaurantQ) So does that mean reviews are important?
  6. A) As a guide – but only as a guide. Online will get you an indication, but remember that lots of those bad reviews and write-ups are going to be fake. Word of mouth is the best way of finding a decent restaurant. That may be from your best friend, or a casual chat in a bar beforehand. If you’re out of town that’s the best way – don’t trust a hotel concierge!
  7. Q) Say I had to cover an informal family occasion – what restaurant is best for that?
  8. A) Generally speaking, you want to look for shareable dishes. Korean, Thai, Japanese and Indian are all fantastic for that. If there are kids about, may be best for opting for a more a la carte establishment. Either way, if it’s not a drive through kind of place, always call ahead to book and if possible try to avoid busy nights for best service. Sunday evenings are great. Oh, and another serious tip – call a few places and ask what they can do for you while name-dropping a nearby rival. Works every time and you will get great service.
  9. Q) How about service? Any advice on getting the best?
  10. A) Yes. Always follow the three P’s; punctual, politeness, and paying. Service staff knows how to judge a table and in most places have the power to make your time there so much better. The more you spend, the greater their tip. Ask for menu recommendations and they will 99% of the time make sure that it’s top drawer – they do speak to the chefs every minute – before your meal is presented. Tip well, make sure to remember the server’s name and next time you call to book ask for that person to wait on your table. Get that right and you will have the best every visit. Even if that server moves on, you will be a known name in the management – meaning priority seating and tables on tap.