We all know that dining at a restaurant can run the gamut from amazing to lackluster. And there are many factors that can influence your restaurant visit, from the food to the ambiance to the service. Whether you are dining with a friend or flying solo, here are some helpful restaurant dining tips to enhance your experience.
Sit At The Bar
It is much easier to score a seat without a reservation. In comparison to sitting at the table, dining at the bar allows you the freedom relax, linger, and order as you wish. And generally, you get better service at the bar as someone is seemingly always in front of you and can monitor your progress.
The bar is also great for social and antisocial folks alike. For dates, you get to sit closer to your companion rather than across the table. If you’re dining alone, you can chat up the person next to you or enjoy your alone time while avoiding the usual stigma felt in the dining room.
In addition, depending on the restaurant, you may miss out on all the action by choosing a table rather than a seat at the bar. For example, if you sit at the sushi bar or raw bar, you get to watch the chefs in action, slicing the fish or shucking oysters, which can add to your overall experience.
The lull between lunch and dinner offers a peaceful and quiet environment to enjoy your meal. Wait times are usually non-existent and service is less rushed. Also, there is less pressure to order an entrée, giving you the freedom to graze and enjoy a more leisurely meal. And the icing on the cake? There are usually great deals between 2pm-6pm, which is music to your wallet’s ears.
Save Your Splurges
We are all on some sort of budget, whether it be with our money or our calories. With that said, you should splurge on the good stuff and the good stuff only.
Charcuterie boards are a popular choice these days, so long as they are made up of house-cured meats and/or high-quality imports you can’t easily come by elsewhere. If there are made with underwhelming cold cuts and cheese, save your money.
Another example is baked goods, like the bread basket starter. Unless the bread is hand-crafted, fresh from the oven, and serve with first-rate butter or olive oil, save your appetite. Filling up on mediocre bread before your chef-prepared meal ultimately defeats the whole purpose.
And when it comes to dessert, you should ask what’s prepared on-premises because, more often than not, only a few of the desserts are homemade (if that) and the rest are purchased from a distributor. Don’t waste calories on an ordinary dessert – choose a glass of dessert wine or liqueur instead.
Peruse The Menu With A Critical Eye
There’s a reason menus vary drastically from restaurant to restaurant. Menu engineers study the visual and verbal psychology behind why people order certain items and use that info to design menus in a way to maximize profits.
Research shows that diners often check the upper right hand corner of a menu first, so of course, that is where the most expensive dishes usually appear. Also, red and blue hues stimulate the appetite so those colors are often used to highlight pricey menu items. And lastly, diners tend to pay less attention when prices are “buried” in text rather than formatted into columns, when they are presented without dollar signs, and when they are not rounded to the nearest dollar.
Remember these things the next time you scan the menu at a restaurant.
Find The Hidden Gems On The Wine List
There are some unspoken rules to the wine list. First of all, most restaurant beverage programs follow a graduated markup, meaning the highest markups are on the cheapest wines, while lower markups are saved for higher-end wines. With that said, you get a better bang for your buck by spending extra on wine.
And while most people choose the second cheapest bottle on the list to seem less tight-fisted, don’t – it is usually the worst value. And the bar managers often price the lesser-known wines they are passionate about more reasonably than well-known household brands. So the moral of the story is to take a chance on a new wine discovery in the mid-to-upper price range.
When In Doubt, Order Champagne
But of course, if you cannot decide, go with champagne. It is a great pair for many foods, along with high acidity, low alcohol, and palate-cleansing bubbles. It can be expensive, but it is a safe choice that is worth it.
At the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli, we serve a variety of signature sandwiches and salads made to order. Visit us in store, online or have our food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS. We also provide catering for business lunches, special events and parties. Call 909-596-5225 to learn more!