19 Bella Tapas BYOB Restaurant

UGH! Are You In A Good Restaurant?

UGH! Are You In A Good Restaurant?

Did you always want to try some place new but were hesitant as to whether or not the hygiene of restaurant was as good as the food claimed to be?

The Amateur Gourmet has come up with a top 10 signs to let you know whether or not you have made a good restaurant choice. Author Adam Roberts has extensive experience in not only dining in several restaurants, but also cooking in over 50 kitchens that has helped him create his list.

To quote a few of his signs, here are the first five:

1. The bathroom is clean. I’m putting this first because to me, it’s such a useful way to judge a restaurant’s attention to detail. Also how clean they’re cooking in the kitchen. Sure, there are divey restaurants with wonderful food that are still worth going to that have filthy bathrooms…but that’s a different thing altogether. I’m talking about special occasion restaurants in this post and if you’re coughing up big money for a special night out and the restaurant has a dirty bathroom? Chances are you chose poorly.

2. A server comes over quickly. Nothing irks me more than sitting down at a nice restaurant, excited to begin the meal, and then waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to come over. I understand that servers are busy people, but the better restaurants seat you according to a server’s busy-ness. If a server just had a table seated in their section, you shouldn’t be seated right after that table. So if you’re waiting forever just to get a “hello, welcome to dinner” you may be in trouble.

3. The items on the menu are in season. If it’s winter and they’re offering up an heirloom tomato salad? You should worry. Same with fresh corn. And asparagus. If you see asparagus on a restaurant menu and it’s not spring? You’re not in a good restaurant.

4. You can hear the other people at your table. Sound design is actually something that restaurateurs consider as they plan a room. Some even spend money on sound proofing to help with acoustics. A big part of this has to do with how many tables are crammed in there: the higher the prices on the menu, the less tables they have to turn a night, the more space they can put between them, the quieter the room. So it’s fair for you to judge a restaurant based on sound–if you’re spending a fortune and you can’t hear anyone, you’re being gouged.

5. The servers are knowledgable and authentic. You can tell pretty quickly when you ask a server a question about an item on the menu if they’re genuinely excited about the food at this particular restaurant or if they’re delivering a rehearsed speech. The telltale sign is when, in the middle of describing a special, they consult their notebook. What this indicates is that the server probably wasn’t even allowed to try this dish; so how could they be expected to remember it? At the best restaurants, servers have a deep familiarity with the menu because they actually get to eat the food. (I know this from experience: when I was a server at Murphy’s in Atlanta, the chef would bring that day’s special out on a plate for 9 servers to fight over before service. I rarely got a bite and couldn’t really convey much enthusiasm when describing it to customers.)