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longroper

What do you like about restaurants?

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We read plenty of criticisms about all the general things that restaurants do that displease people. 

 

What do restaurants do that make you happy?

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Someone else doing the work in cooking and cleaning up.

 

Trying things I haven't had before. Or are too much trouble to make at home.

 

Exploring previously unknown cuisines.

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Enjoying the fact that a team of people are cooking for me.  A wide variety of wine.  A good atmosphere, and occasionally the chance to dine (well) in the sun.

 

And service.  I love great service, when the waiters are invisible until you need them and your glass is always full.

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We eat one meal out every day, usually dinner and have done so since we retired in 2003.  

 

Service is as important as the food that's served.  I'lll forgive a chef whose version of a dish doesn't quite match mine, as long as he/she put some thought, creativity and good ingredients into the dish.  

 

But we will leave a restaurant that ignores us for more than 8 minutes after being seated.  Yes, we put them 'on the clock' and vote with our feet. It's been our experience that when the initial contact is s-l-o-w, the entire meal service will just go downhill from there.

 

We tend to go to restaurants that offer foods that I don't make at home either because the ingredients are difficult to come by or making the meal at home involves a lot of clean-up, splatter, or mess.  

 

We like places that offer at least a few off-menu specials, it's a sign that the kitchen is still having fun cooking (not just cranking out the same-old same-old). 

 

We like a range of wine prices by the glass, including a house wine that is no more than $7 per glass.  

 

We like small plates and an array of appetizers with a big variety.  

 

Eclectic offerings always a plus; we don't go out to eat a standard steak dinner or meatloaf. 

 

Outdoor seating is a big draw for us (we live in FL now, prior to that AZ and Central Mexico); even when we travel to colder climates we enjoy eating outdoors whenever feasible.  

 

Don't like places that push desserts, extra sides, etc.  

 

We always start with a glass of wine before we order food, and it's nice when they bring the breadbasket when they serve our pre-dinner wine so we aren't drinking on an empty stomach.    

 

We like friendly waitstaff but it's more important that they're knowledgeable about the menu items.  


Edited by gulfporter (log)
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Someone else doing the work in cooking and cleaning up.

 

Trying things I haven't had before. Or are too much trouble to make at home.

 

Exploring previously unknown cuisines.

 

Exactly this

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I like QUIET in a restaurant; the really noisy ones don't get a second chance.

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Ever been to a Red Robin?  It's so loud it's like trying to have a meal in a Gymboree!  I will NEVER go there again.

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Mainly for dishes that I can't or won't make at home. And that list is becoming shorter. Generally though, I quit eating out at any kind of restaurant on a weekly basis about 11 years ago and primarily will go in the company of friends to share the meal once or twice a month.

 

So that's positive part. Everything else about the experience is generally not that motivating.

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Sounds dumb, but the feeling I often have is that someone is throwing a party and I'm the guest of honour.

 

p

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I have to say I appreciate value from a restaurant nowadays, and that's disappearing.

 

I can't afford to eat out often, so I like to look at "food porn" photos, both on eG and places like Yelp or Roadfood.

 

Has anyone noticed that shrimp dishes are now served with five shrimp or even less? I can remember when it was a minimum of a dozen; then it halved dramatically to six, and now the norm is only five.

 

When you peruse posts about oysters, the news is even more depressing. The norm of a dozen on the half shell went to six, and now it's $3 or more each. Yikes!

 

Fortunately, my local Harris Teeter has a dozen oysters for $4.99. My brother just informed me today that these can be done successfully in ... the microwave. I've yet to test what I consider a dubious theory.

 

There are some restaurants around here that offer real value for your money with excellent quality. They are usually ethnic, which just means that they offer dishes from a cuisine that is uncommon in these parts. 

 

I do not like to fry at home. It's a huge mess to clean even if done outside. So the fact that someone else does all the prep, serving, and especially cleaning up the mess for fried foods (which I don't eat a lot of, but adore) is a major selling point for me.

 

I also like restos that offer me something at a good price that I can't get anywhere else. A good example is Torrero's (WARNING, this is a .pdf, for those with slow connections):

 

http://www.torerosmexicanrestaurants.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/TOREROS1.pdf

 

You can't buy skirt steak anywhere around here, unless it's possibly Whole Foods or the like which I never darken their doors. This place offers PERFECTLY cooked skirt from $10.95, and I can eat on it at least twice. That is real value these days!

 

Here's the yelp reviews with lots of photos for those who might be interested:

 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/toreros-mexican-restaurant-cary

 

They have old-fashioned deeply padded ample booths to make their customers comfortable too, and $2 margaritas on Mondays. Who could ask for more?

 

It's like transporting (beam me up, Scotty)  back to a better time.

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What I like about restaurants is the re-visitation of my early childhood, where I sat in my high-chair and had to do nothing but open my mouth and swallow. Of course the downside of that was I never had much say in what was offered or how it was prepared. The same could be said of the meals I've had in some restaurants with a "vision".

p

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I appreciate restaurants where the chef and/or owner visits each table to chat about customers' dining experiences.  I think it's a sign of a good restauranteur when he/she takes a personal interest in customers' opinions.  And it becomes a plus for restaurant "regulars" who get to know the chef/owner a little better.  Unfortunately, I think that's the exception rather than the rule in most restaurants.  In my vicinity (southeastern PA), I can think of three such places, and those are by far my local favorites. 

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I prefer restaurants where the pace is sufficiently relaxed and the noise level not so overwhelming.  Those are the conditions that help facilitate long conversations with my dining companion(s), one of the nonfood pleasures of eating out.

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I appreciate restaurants where the chef and/or owner visits each table to chat about customers' dining experiences.  I think it's a sign of a good restauranteur when he/she takes a personal interest in customers' opinions.  And it becomes a plus for restaurant "regulars" who get to know the chef/owner a little better.  Unfortunately, I think that's the exception rather than the rule in most restaurants.  In my vicinity (southeastern PA), I can think of three such places, and those are by far my local favorites. 

And while you 'regulars' are shooting the hash with the chef, I'm looking at my watch and wishing the chef was back in the kitchen  :raz:

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I like going out to eat for every reason mentioned all ready …ESPECIALLY to eat someone else's food other than my own with friends! …second to just eating someone else's cooking …second to that I like to stay on trend with food in my area. I try new things get excited bitch about how it was not as good as it could have been ..go home and make it myself and go out and find more food to bitch about …it is the cycle of life 

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I like when a restaurant has this friendly feel about it and you just know you're going to come back here again. I prefer restaurants when it's not too busy and you can actually have a conversation, but I like to go to some of those where there's live music accompanying the meal. I find it very important that the staff is friendly. It puts me away if someone is working there as if they were forced to do it. I prefer short menu's like this one:  http://www.saltflakeslondon.co.uk/menu/ Another thing that's important to me is trying out something new. For me, going to restaurants is especially a good way to explore different kinds of cuisines or eating something I wouldn't be able to cook myself.

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