How many times have you been out for a meal, and been disappointed? Many people don’t feel their restaurant experience came up to scratch, yet tend not to do much about it (apart from swear never to visit the eatery in question ever again).
There are ways to ensure that you enjoy a better dining experience – here are just a few ideas.
Enjoying a meal out – properly
Work out what ambiance you want. Going out to eat shouldn’t focus solely on food. Some restaurants are lively, bright and bustling, which is ideal if you’re meeting up with friends. However, if you wanted a relaxing, romantic night with your partner, you’ll probably prefer a more intimate restaurant, with dim lighting, comfortable seating, and cosy, private booths.
Look at the menu beforehand. Okay, so this might take the spontaneity out of it a bit, but it’s a wise idea to peruse the menu before you make a purchase. With severe food allergies now more common than ever, there are plenty of people who have to do this anyway. But even if you’re allergy-free, the menu will give you a good idea of whether you’ll enjoy the food or not.
Make an event of it. Obviously, there will be times when you just want somewhere to fill your stomach, before moving on to other places. But for those occasions when the meal is the star-event, take the time to make it feel special. Dress up beforehand, then splash on some Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, or whatever fragrance tickles your fancy. Order a starter, as this immediately stretches the meal out (ditto dessert, if you’ve got room). Take your time with it, and relax between courses.
Time it right. Go at the wrong time, and you might end up entering an overcrowded restaurant, complete with harassed waiters, long waiting times, and a nervy, slightly negative atmosphere. Conversely, if you go when it’s too quiet, you’ll feel self-conscious that you’re the only ones in there! Find out when their busy periods are (this information is usually available online when you do a google search) then book either slightly before or slightly after.
Consider a buffet or carvery. These ‘different’ forms of dining make a pleasant change from simply being served at your table – which immediately makes them more memorable. Also, there’s something about carvery dinners that is very ‘nostalgia inducing’ and takes people right back to their childhoods! This is great if you’re looking for a meal experience that gives you warm, comforting feelings…
Don’t drink lots beforehand. Try to save the heavy drinking for afterwards, if possible. While it’s nice to have a glass or two of wine at the table, if you’re absolutely hammered before you even start eating, you won’t remember much about it afterwards, which ruins the experience somewhat. After all, you’ve paid good money for this – you’ll want to enjoy it as much as possible. It’s also wise from a health perspective, as drinking on an empty stomach is always a risky business.