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What makes a good restaurant?

26th Jan 2010

Eating out should be a treat every time, it’s something you are willing to spend your hard earned money on and you should enjoy every minute of it. It’s easier to spot a bad restaurant, as a good one should offer a discreet, professional and seamless dining experience. It should have an unhurried convivial social atmosphere where guests can unwind, relax and enjoy what’s on offer. Some key characteristics of a good restaurant:

• The food, of course. The best quality ingredients cooked simply to let the flavours sing, not too fussy or over-elaborate, with bizarre combinations of flavours.

• It should be buzzing – not too cramped or noisy, but equally not silent and isolated. Atmosphere is everything. It’s hard to define, but it can make or break a place.

• There should be appropriate space between tables – not too far to be isolated, but Sitting in your neighbour’s lap and hearing their every slurp does not make a good dining experience.

• Background music is a tricky one to get right – too much is definitely a bad thing. Fashionable spotlights and wooden floors look great, but can create a noise cave which can ruin a good night out.

• Service is key – it should be discreet, unfussy and attentive to the right level. No hovering, no ignoring, but a pleasant anticipation of the guest’s needs is important. It should be friendly, but not over familiar, or ingratiating, an equal dance of respect for guest and server.

• Timing is everything. A gap between courses – but not too hurried, or drawn out. Restaurants have a frustrating knack of slowing things down towards the end of the meal, particularly over coffee or the bill.

• The wine list should be an imaginative selection of wine without crippling mark-up prices, and where good wines are chosen to match the cooking, rather than the wine merchant.

• Glass wear matters – everything tastes better from beautiful generous-sized glasses.

We love fine dining at Design Restaurants, we live and breathe it, and we carefully select the finest restaurants based on our experiences to include in our club. A bad experience can be disappointing, but a good one will stay with you forever. Please share your thoughts and comments on your dining experiences with us as well, and let’s celebrate fine dining as one of the best riches of life.

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