When reviewing a restaurant, obviously the food is the most important thing to consider; however, there are a number of other elements that can contribute to making the experience a positive or negative one. The professionalism of the staff, cleanliness of the restaurant and atmosphere are all contributing factors to a successful or unsuccessful dining experience. All of these elements are taken into consideration by restaurant critics when they are determining what restaurants to recommend to their readers.
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From the moment you enter the restaurant, take note of how you are treated by the staff and how promptly you are taken to your table. Ask the waiter questions about the menu to see if he is equipped with adequate knowledge of the restaurant’s offerings. Assess how long it takes for the food to arrive and whether other diners get their orders filled before you even if they were seated later. Do the waiters leave you to dine or do they ask you incessant whether everything is ok? Make notes of if your glass is kept full, if plates are removed promptly, and if the serve is courteous to those around you. Finally, does it take a long time to get the bill?
Read the menu carefully to see whether the dishes make sense, i.e. is there an Italian dish on a French menu? Assess whether the menu is easy to follow and make a note of prices-- do the same for the wine list. Taste as many dishes as possible, including your dining companion’s. Do the flavors on the plate balance well or is there too much of something? Notice plate presentation and whether each dish appears to be appetizing. Most importantly, does the restaurant deliver what was promised on the menu?
Look around to see whether the restaurant attracts a particular type of diner. Also take note of the atmosphere, whether it’s peaceful, quiet, or noisy; whether there is plenty of space between tables or if tables are packed tightly together so you can overhear your neighbors.
Look at the furniture, lighting, fixtures on the walls and color scheme and decide whether it suits the restaurant. Is it a pleasant environment to look at or is it an eyesore? Are the tables set ready for diners and are the plates, glasses and cutlery clean?