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How do you pick restaurants when eating out?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Blackbird, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I have three or four favorite places which I visit occasionally and sometimes experiment, going somewhere new that might become another regular place for me. I generally pick clean looking places where it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, although a nice place is worth checking out on occasion.

    How about you?
  2. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Clean is good.

    Usually I go by recommendations from friends. Next I go by what I feel like having - Italian, Chinese, Meat & Potatoes, Greasy.

    I don't mind paying alot for a meal, as long as it's worth it. Once I had a $39 peppercorn steak, mushrooms, baked potatoes, etc... killer. I'll treat myself, and my girl, to one of these every couple of months. Sounds pretty much like what you said. ;)
  3. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    It depends what I am looking for. If its a fancy night out, I will generally go to the very well regarded resturants in town. Prices at restuarants here are very high so, for example, mid range "nice" restaurants have mains at $30+ so I think you are better off paying $40+ per dish to go to a top restanraunt and get a better dining experience than saving the $10 per dish for a much more average experience.

    In terms of cheap nights out, I look for interesting cuisine or dishes which are not your standard fare. Also, good cheap prices in suburbs which should have good food (ie go to a Vietnamese suburb for pho).

    I try not to repeat myself too much because I love trying different foods and am happy to travel to check out somewhere cool!

    Also, cleanliness doesnt bother me too much if the place is packed with "locals" from the type of cuisine im looking for. I rarely eat at an empty place.
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I go to places that won't leave me hungry an hour later.
  5. There are only 4 restauants in the town where I live. Choosing is fairly easy. We just returned from 10 days in rural Southern Mexico and I chose restaurants based on recommendations of locals and looking carefully at who was eating there. If it were the local business people, it was probably safe. If it looked like other tourists were in the vicinity, it wasn't. The only time one of us got sick was when my wife got a breakfast meal at the Burger King in the airport in Cancun. So my recommendation is when you are a tourist in Mexico, never eat at a Burger King in an international airport; always eat at a hole in the wall where the local businessman eats. I never got sick in 2 years in Brasil either, basically using the same policy.
  6. My better half and I usually sit around thinking for a bit and ask our friends and relatives if they know of any decent places.

    That's how it usually goes.
  7. That makes 2 of us. There are too many restaurants that serve great food, but give you small portions.
  8. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    yeah i'm a big fan of feeling full to.
  9. When I saw the title I thought it said "how do you pick astronauts for eating out."

    No further comment.
  10. If I want really really good food, for a very reasonable price. Ok, for pretty cheap, I usually go out for Vietnamese. Amazing food. Theres a good number of Vietnamese restaurants here, most of which have excellent food and selections. My favourite place, a fairly busy restaurant, is like a Tai/Vietnamese restaurant, LOTS of selection(rolls, rice, soup...mmmm, pho, so good...stir fries, etc etc). And the only time I ever paid more than $25 was when I took 2 ladies there one time, together. Its a fairly nice looking place, very clean, good service and the fortune cookies oftentimes have 2-5 fortunes in them.

    So I usually go for Vietnamese when I want a damn tasty meal for not much money(and its pretty healthy food), or I try and find some family run restaurants because IME they make better food, are more friendly and appreciate you coming and eating there. That and I like to support local businesses.
  11. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    My wife and I have the same outlook. We also tend to look for places that appear to be family run. Those types of restaurants seem to have the best food, staff, and atmosphere.
  12. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    After we have read a good review in the paper, or a friend has suggested a place to us.

  13. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i'm sorta the antithesis of your post.

    i've been eating out, ordering in, taking out for soooooooooooo long, that i'm sick of it, and my body is NOT lookin' the better for it.

    thus, w/ Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" book that my sis got me for christmas, i'm finally putting it to good use.

    heck, check out what i made tonight for myself and my two housemates:


    dont ask me why i took a picture of it... i just did... :p
  14. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    I'm comin' over for dinner...

    i used to judge a restaurant by how good its tiramisu was (that's an italian dessert for those that don't know), or by how clean the toilets were.

    recently i see if the restaurant's patrons are from the same culture/nationality as the restaurant. there's a great chinese place about 30 minutes from me, and it is always filled with asians.
  15. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I just like burritos a lot.
  16. thats a great way to judge quality.

    also (insider tip here, folks) - ring the concierge desk of your nearest 5-star hotel.

    Tell them you will be staying there on the weekend and want to know what restaurants are good. Concierge knows where the good food is, believe me - they get a bad rep if they get it wrong.

    They will offer to make a booking for you. Just say no thanks and hang up. Happened all the time when I was in hospitality. :D
  17. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I'm always up for a bit of experimentation in a nice upscale restaurant. Friends' recommendations are great, and the local papers are usually pretty good with their reviews.

    Recently, I've been using www.opentable.com to book reservations, and I even get points towards a discount coupon. :hyper: It has links to quite a few really nice restaurants of different price ranges, and reviews, etc.

    We also use Zagat's, but usually take the reviews with a grain of salt. I mean, I'm not sure "they use too many spices!" holds much water when the person responsible for the quote lives in Blandsville, USA. :D
  18. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    those are pretty much what my wife and i expect from our favorite restaurants ...
    but i would have placed SERVICE a little higher on the priority list .
    the stories i could tell about bad service , well , let's just save those for
    another thread ...

    { i've pretty much given up food like burgers and fries , so that cuts
    down on the convienience factor ...}
  19. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Man...I attract bad waitstaff like flies to honey. I don't know what it is. Once, when I mentioned to my server that the broccoli was gray, his response was, "Yeah, you get used to it." :meh:

    My response? "I'll be leaving now and stiffing you on the check. As for a tip, there isn't one--with service this bad, you'll get used to it."
  20. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I let my wife decide.