Dining out should be an experience that rivals your kitchen. When the dining stars align, you are treated to great food, in a lively restaurant, served by a personable and friendly server. However, more often than anyone would like, dining out becomes cumbersome or significantly less than stellar. In this article, restaurant guru Matthew Delsignore shares a few tips to guarantee the best experience while dining out.
1. Keep Coming back
The best way to ensure a quality dining experience is to frequent a place regularly. After a while, the staff gets to know you and you may even have a favorite server or bartender. The visits will become almost magical with the staff starting to anticipate your needs. If you become a regular and treat the staff well, they will give you that extra bit of magic that really changes your great dining experience to an exceptional evening out. Of course, this is only if you treat the staff well, which brings us to the next tip.
2. Tip Your Server
Often the biggest complaint with tipping is that it should not be expected because it is supposed to be a part of your meal. While that is a logical argument, the reality is that in most places in the United States, tipping is the main part of your server’s salary. In fact, in many restaurants, the wait staff is taxed based on 15 percent even when they receive no tip. If you wonder why the service at your favorite restaurant is always slow for you, reconsider how you tip. The standard acceptable tip is currently 18 percent and the better you tip, the better your service will be on future visits.
3. Don’t Eat the Sushi at a Pizza Parlor
If you have chosen an Italian restaurant for dinner with your family because you are the only one who wanted sushi, do not eat the Italian restaurant’s sushi. If it is a good restaurant, there is a chance it might be good, but if it is not a fusion dish you will likely not enjoy it. When dining out, try to keep to the cuisine of the restaurant. One thing restaurant insiders know is that you stick to the cuisine the restaurant is known for producing. No matter how great their version might be, the best experience with it is going to be with a chef that understands the flavors of that cuisine.
4. Don’t Go on Friday and Saturday
The song says that “everybody’s working for the weekend,” but going to a restaurant on Friday and Saturday is going to be the busiest time you could go. When the restaurant is busy, your server does not have the time to spend with you and give you the kind of quality service that is part of a stellar table service experience. Additionally, you are more likely to have to deal with long wait times for food and fight for attention with other tables. A good server will make the wait unnoticeable, but if you want to really benefit from your server’s time and experience, going on a slower day of the week will really help.
5. Try the Familiar New Thing
If you find that every dining experience is the same, it might not be service-related. Often diners fall into a rut of ordering the same things that they know taste wonderful. However, this leads to every meal being the same, even when you have chosen a new restaurant. Do not let yourself fall into a dining rut, just try the familiar new thing. Look for something on the menu that is familiar, but different. Try the butternut squash ravioli, if you like butternut squash and ravioli, but never had them together. Try the fish tacos, if you have had tacos, but never with fish. It will give that extra bit of excitement that you were not even aware you were missing.
Remember, dining out is supposed to be an experience. Work with the staff, so they can help you have the best dining experience of your life.
About Matthew Delsignore
Matthew Robert Delsignore is a chef and restaurant guru with unsurpassed passion and energy for everything involving restaurants. Currently working as a sushi chef for a new restaurant, Mr. Delsignore is cultivating his interest in Asian cuisine. He is also a craft beer and cocktails enthusiast with a passion for travel, fitness, and sports cars.